Is Love Addiction Really Love Dependence?
Popular culture often portrays love as always being near that person, not being able to live without them, and being willing to do whatever it takes to obtain the person of their desire. This sort of love is portrayed as an addiction – a sort of love that someone “can’t get enough of”. While in songs or movies they generate the context to be appealing and “ideal”, this sort of love isn’t healthy. This portrayal is an addiction masked by beautiful people and images that represent the sort of fantasy love that everyone wishes to live out.
What the movies and songs don’t provide insight into is the very nature of addiction and its long-lasting effects of dependency. Just as someone steadily increases their dose of drugs and requires more to achieve the “high”, a person can slowly become more and more reliant on their significant other to produce feelings of security and worthiness – leading to a dangerous path of love addiction and dependency.
Relying on someone to determine one’s worth is to assume that without that someone, a person is without worth, love, and inner happiness. This way of thinking generates a feeling of isolation and loneliness if that person is not in a relationship. Growing to depend on someone for love takes away an individual’s ability to find it within themselves, an important part of everyone’s personal growth and discovery. Love dependency also forces an individual to stay with someone even if the relationship isn’t healthy, all because the person doesn’t feel that they are truly worthwhile without that person.
An important part of love is autonomy – each person having their own unique interests, personalities, hobbies, lifestyles, etc. and coming together to create a world where each individual fits respectively. This means that each partner should be able to actively pursue their own identity and work towards self-love and happiness while also working together as a team. If a person feels that they cannot work on developing their own sense of identity and building of self-worth unless they are in a relationship with someone, they may have fallen into the love addiction and dependency trap.
If you feel that you suffer from this, recovery is possible. Love addiction and dependency often stems from inadequate or inconsistent nurturing as a child, low self-esteem, absence of positive role models in committed relationships, and indoctrinated cultural images of the “perfect” love and “happily ever after” endings. Speaking with a psychologist is a great way to work through these deep-rooted beliefs and to overcome these feelings of low self-esteem and inner unhappiness. True happiness, with or without a significant other, is entirely possible and should be found within each person on their own journey.
Polysubstance abuse, dual diagnosis, process addiction- Cottonwood Tucson offers a residential treatment program and full continuum of care for all of your needs. Internationally recognized and critically acclaimed for clinical renown, our beautiful campus in Arizona is the perfect place to take an integrative approach to treatment. Call today: (800) 877-4520