Thread: Love Addiction
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Old 12-01-2013, 02:48 AM
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Originally Posted by LoveBunny View Post
I'm currently sorting out some behaviors that point toward "love addiction," namely fear of setting boundaries with my lovers, falling obsessively in love with emotionally unavailable people, and feeling personally rejected when my partner isn't in the mood for sex.
I believe that behaviours can be changed without resorting to labels.

Whether or not you're diagnosed as having "love addiction," it doesn't really change the actions you would take to overcome these challenges and learn new behaviours and new ways of relating to people. However, using a label like that often becomes a barricade rather than a bridge towards growth.

Addiction or not, you would still like to learn to set boundaries, to focus your attention on people who are available, and to find ways to meet your need for acceptance when your partner is not in the mood for sex. And if you start to do all those things anyway, then what benefit does the label "love addiction" introduce?

I don't want to feel ashamed for wanting more love, passion, sex, intimacy and companionship than the average monogamous marriage can hold. I just stumble a little in figuring out how to get it without hurting myself or anyone else.
So you have a need for love and intimacy, and you have some strategies for meeting that need, and you are afraid that meeting this need will hurt other people. Does that sound about right?

It's impossible to perfectly predict what's going to hurt people, including yourself. Sometimes we aren't aware of our needs until something tramples them, and feelings can get hurt. But by listening to your own feelings and needs, and the feelings and needs of your spouse and other partners, you can give yourself the best chance to find strategies that meet everyone's needs.

Originally Posted by opalescent View Post
I think terms like love addiction or sex addiction are not useful in healing at all. (Addiction is real. However, applying that term indiscriminately is not helpful.) They are not helpful because they label the behavior without providing a way out.
Worse than that, they label the person more than the behaviour. They cause the exact same behaviour, in the exact same situation, to have different moral judgement based solely on the person doing the behaviour.

In medicine, diagnoses like "cancer" or "diabetes" are useful because there are treatments for those illnesses. The diagnosis provides clear choices for actions to overcome them. But if your behaviours are causing your needs to go unmet, whatever those needs may be, then simply labelling yourself as a "love addict" doesn't tell you what actions you might take to change your life.

Originally Posted by LoveBunny View Post
Funny, people in the love addiction forum don't believe in polyamory, people in the polyamory forum don't believe in love addiction!
From some quick reading, even health professionals are not in agreement about whether or not love addiction exists. It's not in the DSM.

At the risk of appearing arrogant, I wouldn't recommend looking to a group of people who identify as romantically dysfunctional as the best source of relationship advice. If you want to learn how to become healthy, whole, and happy, then it's helpful to speak with other people who are healthy, whole, and happy.

We certainly have our share of problems (who doesn't?) but by and large, the advice-givers on this forum are functional, healthy, happy adults living lives we enjoy with people we love.
As I am sure any cat owner will be able to tell you,
someone else putting you in a box is entirely different
from getting into a box yourself.
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