Being in love has different meanings to all of us and there are countless ways show it. In its purest and healthiest form, it is a deeply personal and intimate expression of vulnerability, a willingness to share all of ourselves – the good, bad, and the ugly – with a “cherished other,” and the emotional capacity to accept what that individual has to offer in return.
But what if that capacity doesn’t exist or is significantly limited? Some people mistake intensity for intimacy, choosing inappropriate partners because they feel the excitement of being wanted, seen, and desired. To them, that is what love means. When that “high” inevitably wears off and the relationship becomes deeper and more intimate, they often find themselves unable to tolerate the difficult experiences and unpleasant emotions that are bound to arise in any relationship. Some may find themselves in a toxic or dangerous situation, while others may lose a sense of themselves as individuals and get lost in trying to hold on to their partner.
In the end love inevitably becomes loss, and the initial joy is followed by despair. This is love addiction.