Romantic Addiction Mirrors Drug Addiction in Many Ways

Posted by on 02 20 14 in Romance Addiction | Comments Off on Romantic Addiction Mirrors Drug Addiction in Many Ways

Romantic love is a wonderfully mysterious combination of physiology and psychology. Being in the presence of a loved one can produce a drop in blood pressure and a rise in the bonding chemicals oxytocin and dopamine. In some ways, romantic love emulates the responses which help drive drug addictions. The same emotional highs and lows occur and can be strongly motivating.

Experts say that it’s hard to overstate the influence that role modeling has on children. This is especially true in terms of how a person defines loving behavior and relationships. The parent-child style of bonding and emotional expression sets the template for how the child will relate romantically as an adult.

If mom and dad were cuddly and expressive toward the child, this is the tone the child will seek to repeat in his own love relationships. The same is true if parents were aloof and non-expressive, leaving the child unsatisfied and hungry for more.

Adults will seek out romantic relationships that mirror the parent-child relationship even if those early ways of relating were less than ideal. The brain is programmed to use the early pattern as an outline for future relationships.

In fact, some people will seek out unhealthy romantic relationships in order to subconsciously confront past pain and disappointment. The person seeks to make the new relationship work in a way that the past relationship failed to. All of which sets the person up for what can be described as an addictive kind of relationship.

This kind of bonding will initially result in the positive rushes of the brain’s feel good chemicals. Similar to drug use, when the relationship sours and the person leaves, those feel-good chemical levels drop. A person can feel a relational withdrawal as certainly as addicts experience a drug withdrawal.

One expert compared these feelings to the child’s fear of abandonment when a parent steps out of the room. The power of emotion can be overwhelming. And it can drive the continuation of even unhealthy love relationships.

Just because a person had a poor parent-child experience does not mean that they are destined to repeat unhealthy romantic relationships in adulthood. It is possible to take stock of what the early family relationships looked like and then compare them to what is happening in adulthood.

The person may see themselves reliving their role as the child or they may see themselves as repeating what their parents did. Efforts must be made to develop loving relationships with healthy partners.

People have the marvelous ability to change and break free from previously learned behaviors. Recovery is possible with drug addiction, and it is possible with romantic addictions as well.