*Warning: Naughty language below!
“Hey, it’s been a while. How are you doing sexy?” the text read.
I picked up my phone, having spent the last hour running in a forest, feeling balanced by nature, and then immediately having my heart sink.
Will I ever be free of this, I thought? Followed by, maybe I could meet up with him for a drink—one wouldn’t hurt. I’ve been feeling lonely, isolated, craving human touch…
You see, that’s how my love addict mind works.
It loves to downplay the severity of what I know is a really fucking stupid choice.
Just one time, just one more dalliance, one more fuck, one more escape, one more time to feel “loved.” Do it! You only live once—what does it matter? You’ll feel so much better.
The dialogue in my head is relentless, but one thing remains steadfast—I am then right back where I started. Usually putting my clothes on, making some excuse about having to leave, or dealing with the uncomfortable chitchat of having to wait for someone to leave. That familiar feeling of emptiness then washes over me.
This person doesn’t love me. They don’t respect me. They certainly don’t feed my soul with good energy. Why did I do this? You’re such an idiot. You haven’t progressed at all! Still doing the same stupid shit and expecting a different result—congratulations, you fool!
This is how I know what I have struggled with—for most of my life—is real.
In my reading and researching of love addiction, I kept seeing, “Love Addiction, Fact or Fiction?” I can tell you from experience that it is most certainly an addiction. I can also tell you that I wish it had a different name.
The word love is one I hold in high esteem; it is pure. This addiction is so far removed from anything good. Like all other addictions, it requires you to sacrifice your dignity, your self-love, your growth, your mental stability, and in some cases, your closest relationships.
I may not be shooting up in some dingy drug den, but I can guarantee that my choice of escape has done as much damage to my psyche and to the people I love around me. There’s always a new fantasy, a new obsession, and the cycle then repeats.
These are three things I am constantly working on to face my addiction, to break the hold it has on me:
1. I treat every relationship as an assignment and every experience as a lesson.
I met someone new online, a man. This is someone who, despite distance and divide, I connect with on an intellectual and spiritual level. Our conversations run deep, and they’re meaningful, and I often find myself in awe of his words and his heart. He’s a writer too, and a damn good one.
Yet I have felt myself struggling with that monster of obsession and fantasy. When he messages, I feel that euphoria of bliss, and I daydream about him, about us and what it could mean if we let ourselves fall in love.
The reality is that we live on different continents and that we are barely scratching the surface of how we can know each other. The odds are stacked against us, even if we did want to try.
We don’t have body language, and as much as this is a meeting of spirit, I find myself torn with him. He’s respectful, a true gentleman, and someone I have shared my concerns with. He handles it with the utmost care and consideration.
I have had to push myself out of obsession with him because I genuinely value the friendship we are building. This has been fucking hard.
There have been times I have had to cut communication because an overwhelming sadness comes over me, and he’s the type of person to take on what isn’t his to take on—both a gift and a curse of the nature of an empath.
Today, for instance, I have spent crying because there is no hope for a future with him. I realize that most of what I feel is obsession, but underneath that is the capacity for real and lasting love within a friendship.
If I look at it from logic, surpassing emotions of fear, rejection, and desperation, I know the universe is sending me another lesson. This is another assignment in my soul’s progression, and because of the authenticity, I hope beyond hope that I can stay true to him and his infinite kindness.
Most importantly, I feel the desire to stay true to myself, and who I know I am, without the addiction taking over and destroying everything I hold dear. These situations bring clarity if we choose to see them with an open heart and mind and go beyond the pain we feel.
2. Staying single for a year.
I’ve done this too many times to count. I’ve bellowed from the rooftops that I will remain single for an entire year. I’ve read some phenomenal articles on Elephant Journal from women who have taken time away from dating to learn to love themselves with an even deeper intensity.
Hell, all my articles wax on lyrically about self-love, and most of the time, what people don’t see when they read my words is that I—more often than not—am writing what I need to hear. I, too, struggle with that darker shadow self, the addiction demon that nips at my heels constantly.
Some days I have all the answers; I’m spiritually balanced and loving the hell out of myself, and other days, I’m a weepy mess of fucking emotion, desperately clinging to the idea that love and only love will save me.
I’ve managed about five or six months at most of being single, always making excuses for why I should start something new with someone within that time. How can I take this promise to myself seriously if I continue to dishonor and break it?
So here it is, for you guys to hold me accountable, the 24th of October 2020, I vow to remain single for an entire year. As it is written, so it shall be.
3. I educate myself.
I remember a time when we didn’t have access to the sheer volume of content that we do now. Libraries were still the place to be and books were an endless source of wisdom and imagination.
Today, the internet is a powerful machine where every single thing we want to know is in the palm of our hands.
I don’t know about you, but that makes me pretty fucking happy.
There isn’t anything we can’t know and can’t have access to within seconds. That’s why I educate myself, particularly on matters of love addiction, behavioral patterns, and the experiences of others.
There is no more valuable content than someone who is sharing what they have been through and helping us along the way. We learn as much from each other as we do from the wonders of the internet.
Awareness, first and foremost, has been my most powerful weapon in the war against myself and my addiction.
I’ve had some of you reach out to me on this journey of mine, commending me for my bravery, my vulnerability, and my honesty, and fuck, I can’t thank you enough. This article comes from the dark side, the side of me I don’t always show everyone.
I believe in feeding the light parts of our soul, but the dark has its place. It deserves recognition, it demands it, and we appreciate being in the light so much more once we pass through it. There can be no growth without this duality.
I don’t have all the answers, especially today when my addiction feels like a friend that’s pulled up a chair to sit next to me.
I’ll sit with it for a while, I’ll cry, I’ll delete those texts, and I’ll treat myself with a little more kindness and understanding, safe in the knowledge that the light always returns.