Navigating the need for love

When clinicians talk of Love addiction or Relationship addiction, we are referring to individuals who are struggling with relationships much as someone can be addicted to alcohol, drugs, or food. For love addicts, the need to acquire approval, affection, and sometimes sex (as a sign of love) is insatiable. Phones, computers, and calendars revolve around the time and attention from/for a lover. To friends and family, a person struggling with love addiction may seem unavailable and preoccupied. Careers suffer as the addiction grows stronger. Physical health is often compromised.

If you have ever felt the overwhelming need for love from a person who just can’t seem to give it to you, you know the feeling of hunger that I’m illustrating. No matter what you try, you can’t seem to get enough from the person who matters the most to you.

You may find yourself feeling rage, or fear. Sometimes shame. How can this be happening? You never imagined the depth of ache you could feel.

Love addiction is a very painful issue born from developmentally unmet needs. The void left by early childhood lack of attachment distorts your ability to navigate intimacy. This makes finding a partner risky. For many, the search becomes addictive. As addiction takes hold, attempts to fill the void can become alarming to yourself and others. Deep inside you may feel hopeless and small, yet on the outside your behavior grows manipulative, controlling, even aggressive giving others the idea that you are strong. As you navigate your way to getting the love you so desperately crave, the true you is hiding deep within your soul.

Beneath the need for love (which is a healthy human need) is an empty void that turns your search into a frustrating, defeating path of pain. As you grow increasingly lonely, deprivation turns into frustration and rage. To the outside world, you seem greedy and demanding. But inside your soul, you know the truth. You’re a good person, in a lot of pain. You have a broken heart.

When does need become greed? Only you can decide when this distortion takes place. Listen to the people you trust. Search for help. You don’t have to be alone anymore.