Love Addiction: A 20-Year Fixation

Posted by on 11 29 14 in Romance Addiction | Comments Off on Love Addiction: A 20-Year Fixation

Love addiction, despite the name, is a deeply self-destructive behavior. Seeking the intense high that comes with a new sexual partner, love addicts often go through dozens of relationships, only to bail when things get too real.

Shonda is a 37-year-old mother of two—successful, smart, outgoing and happily married. She says Rob couldn’t be a better husband, that he stands by her side in all matters, does more than 50 percent of the housework, and is an amazing father and loving partner. She’s happy to be exactly where she is and as the years go by, she envisions no changes. The only wrinkle in the bed sheet is that Shonda, an otherwise loyal mother, sister and friend, is cheating on her husband with a man she has loved for 20 years.

Enticing Older Man

Love Addiction A 20-Year Fixation -

Shonda met Terry when she was still in high school. He was 28 at the time, 11 years her senior, but strong, handsome and fun to be around. He had a way with the ladies and everyone seemed to want him, but Shonda was dead set; she would have him. Their romance kindled for about two years, then life took Terry in another direction; he’d met someone else. Shonda’s heart was broken. She says she thought of Terry every day for the next seven years.

In that time, Shonda met and married Rob. He didn’t make her stomach flutter quite the way Terry had, and he never left her longing for more, but he was a good man and someone she could trust. In a lifetime of men who’d been untrustworthy—Shonda’s father had been abusive to her mother and to her—she believed the smart thing to do was to settle down with a “good guy.”

‘Object’ Of Love Addicts Often Toxic Or Unavailable

During those years apart, Terry had gotten in trouble with the law and had found himself in jail. When he saw his release date coming near, it was Shonda he called. “It was as if seven years had never gone by,” Shonda said. “We were right back where we started.” Thrilled to be back in his life again, she picked him up and took him to a hotel she’d rented long-term for him. They had sex and spoke of their long-time affection for one another. She gave Terry money and sent him out into the world with the assumption that he would contact her soon.

But Terry’s contact was sporadic at best. Sometimes he reached out, other times he’d go weeks without replying to her texts and phone calls. It seemed he only reached out to Shonda when he wanted sex or needed money, but she refused to see this for what it was. Terry knew that Shonda would never leave her husband, but still she wanted more. She asked Terry on their last hotel visit: “Please let me know if we can take our relationship to the next level. I need to know.”

He hadn’t responded then, and days had gone by without contact. Shonda explained that her moods were dictated solely on the actions of Terry. If he reached out, and if they’d had sex or gotten to see one another, she would be ecstatic, floating on a cloud for days. But she knew the high could never last. When Terry went off the grid or made excuses for why he couldn’t get together, her mood shifted to despairing. She could be depressed and irritable for weeks on end. She never stopped thinking about Terry.

Needing Validation But Settling With Not Getting It?

There had been two other affairs when Shonda’s relationship with her husband was still new, and she’d loved the thrill of the chase, the intoxication of romantic intrigue, but neither of them had meant more to her than temporary crushes, flings. No one, not even her husband, meant quite what Terry did to her, even though she reasoned that her feelings for him were not only irrational, but highly self-destructive. She knew that if her husband found out about Terry, she could lose everything dear to her: her marriage, her child, her home—her way of life. And even then she would not have Terry because he could not be had.

“I need Terry to validate me,” she said in frustration. When asked to explain, she couldn’t quite articulate an answer. “Maybe it’s because of my daddy issues,” she guessed.

Recognizing Sustained Love Addiction

Shonda represents a particular kind of love addict. She maintains a self-destructive relationship with an unavailable man over a long period of time. The relationship is like a drug to her; it creates tremendous highs and crashing lows and she simply cannot get enough. Because love and sex addiction are intimacy disorders, it isn’t hard to see that perhaps Shonda is simply attempting to keep herself from becoming too vulnerable in the intimacy she has with the one man who is committed and truly present for her.

Early on she learned that there is no such thing as positive and rewarding love, that relationships must be fraught and embittered. In many ways, Terry represents Shonda’s father, keeping her wanting his love and validation while never quite getting it. The little bit of attention he does provide is enough to send Shonda sky high and to keep her coming back for more, even at the risk of everything she holds dear.

Love addiction, despite the name, is a deeply self-destructive behavior. Some love addicts go through dozens of relationships, seeking the intense high that comes with the sexual attraction and romance period in the beginning, and when things get too real, too intimate, they split for the next intense attraction. Others, like Shonda, are able to sustain this feeling of intensity for the long term, but the damaging nature of the addiction is no less felt. In either instance, the addict needs to come to an awareness of his or her problem and to risk being willing to heal. The opposite course—remaining stagnant in the obsessive/compulsive pattern—is sure to end up nowhere good.

Understand More About Love Addiction – Including Who’s Prone To It.