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Recently, a client of mine shared that she feels totally addicted to her boyfriend and their relationship.
It’s something I can very much relate to myself, which is why - before I set off for travelling with my boyfriend for 6 months - I was a regular attendee at Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous.
I first discovered that I had a serious problem around relationships (that went beyond normal levels of dysfunction) 7 years ago, when I was given the book ‘Women Who Love Too Much’ by therapist Robin Norwood.
This book was one of the biggest catalysts for me turning my life around.
In it, Norwood explains the core symptoms of being a love addict, which include:
o Feelings of obsession towards the object of your affection
o Seeking validation or feeling whole only when in the arms of another person
o Regularly putting your needs secondary to someone you love
o Planning your entire week’s commitments around seeing your partner
(…or worse, holding off making any in case they might want to hang out last minute)
o Fantasising about getting married/ having children in the first few dates
o Believing you “can’t live without” the person you’re in love with
(Don’t panic if you’re able to tick off every single one of these symptoms – most of us have felt all of them at one time or another).
Norwood also talks about how many children of alcoholics or addicts grow up to display codependent behaviours like those listed above as a result of not learning healthy ways of relating to others in the early years.
Others use codependency as a strategy to deal with trauma and pain in life, because if we’re committed to focusing our attention outwards, we don’t need to deal with what’s going on within us.
For some people, behaviours like this simply become a habit; perhaps our codependency once helped us bag (or keep) a relationship – for a while, at least.
But, as I’m sure you well know by now, you can’t manipulate someone in to loving or staying with you – not forever, anyway.
The good news is that there is a solution.
It’s starts by fully understanding and accepting that the only person who can really love and support you like you crave to be loved and supported is… YOU.
As Norwood encourages her reader:
“Make your own recovery the first priority in your life.”
The reason I went from being a serial cheater and obsessive love addict to attracting and sustaining the healthy, loving relationship I’m in today is because I worked on my healing like I was getting paid big bucks to do it.
Because, in a way, I was.
I began to reap the benefits of my self-healing very fast, as every single relationship dynamic I had (both romantic and platonic) became more intimate, more open, and far more fulfilling - fast.
If you know in your bones that you have real problems around relationships, I urge you to take action – just one small step in the right direction is enough.
Because – and I’m sorry to say this – like all addictions, this one’s progressive.
Meaning, it will only get worse over time if you’re not doing something to remedy it.
There are many paths to recovery, but I’ll keep it simple and recommend my top 2:
1) Buy Norwood’s book ‘Women Who Love Too Much’ here – it’ll change your life, I guarantee it.
2) Do some research around/ look in to attending a Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous meeting here. I won’t lie to you, the first meeting will be terrifying, but the benefits you get will be worth it, trust me.
The above two courses of action are where I suggest you start, but if you’d like some additional support, you can also find out more about my intensive love-coaching program – just email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you over some more detailed info.
The program has been specifically designed to empower you in making whatever vision you hold for your love life a reality, and I’m deeply passionate about helping you do so, because I’ve done it for myself.
(N.B. I’ll be resuming full time coaching after I get back from travelling early 2018, but let us know you’re interested now to get on the waitlist).
Wherever you are right now and whatever action you decide to take, I wish you all the love, support & success in making your own love story a happy one from this moment onwards.
You deserve it.
I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU:
Have you ever struggled with ‘loving too much’ in the past?
What symptoms were the most prominent for you, and how did you move forwards?
Let me know in the comments :)