Love addiction is as real – and can be as dangerous – as the addiction to actual drugs.
It has its moments of ‘highs,’ but it’s the crash that happens when a relationship stops that can bring you to a low point that will be very hard to recover from. And we experience love addiction when we get dumped by a boyfriend or divorced by a husband – and we just can’t bring ourselves to walk away. It can also happen when we keep on clinging to a guy, showering him with love, giving him sex when he wants it, doing everything he says, even though we know that the relationship is no longer healthy.
That boyfriend is like that drug we can’t have enough of. We need to have our fix by being around him. It’s a rollercoaster ride; it’s a thrill when we just see him, but the minute we say goodbye, it’s like we just want to die.
There is solid scientific basis for this behavior, which also explains love addiction. Dr. Helen Fisher, an anthropologist from Rutgers University, studied this emotional condition in a groundbreaking research project. The participants were people who had just been let go by a lover. Their brains were scanned every time they looked at a photo of their ex.
The study found that the regions of the brain that lit up when viewing photos of an ex are the same areas associated with addiction and pain. As far as your nervous system is concerned, love is as addictive as meth, and losing it suddenly can even cause you actual physical pain.
Furthermore, Fisher states, “According to If the beloved breaks off the relationship, the lover experiences the common signs of drug withdrawal, too, including protest, crying spells, lethargy, anxiety, insomnia or hypersomnia, loss of appetite or binge eating, irritability and chronic loneliness. Like most addicts, rejected lovers also often go to extremes, even sometimes doing degrading or physically dangerous things to win back the beloved. Lovers also relapse the way drug addicts do: long after the relationship is over, events, people, places, songs or other external cues associated with their abandoning sweetheart can trigger memories and initiate renewed craving, obsessive thinking and/or compulsive calling, writing or showing up in hopes of rekindling the romance despite what they suspect may lead to adverse consequences.”
So how can you break a love addition?
Understanding why the brain functions the way it does during love addictions will not change your unconscious desires of wanting to attach – but it helps. As a matter of fact, the only way to really break a love addiction is putting time and space between and your ex. According to Fisher, “the more time that passes, the more you detach.”