Love Is A Drug: Losing Myself To Addiction

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I woke up this morning feeling more positive than I have in a few weeks – perhaps even a few months. Last night, I decided to remove myself from someone’s grasp – figuratively speaking, of course. I realized that the way things were going wasn’t healthy for me – and it had gotten to the point where this “relationship” was doing me more harm than good.

I received a message from him, which I chose to ignore. I decided to temporarily block him on Gchat. I went about my day without giving him too much of a thought.

Now, however, the anxiety is starting to kick in.

I can’t help but wonder what he’s doing, if he’s OK, why he didn’t even bother to attempt another message, why I didn’t hear from him for few days, what if we never speak again… and so on.

The truth is, this entire situation is as much my fault as it is his.

 

My biggest downfall?

When I care for someone, I lose myself completely to them. Relationships become a high, love is a drug.

I’m fiercely loyal – I always have been. I’ve had the same best friend since I was four years old, and most of my other friends are people I’ve known for at least 15 years. While this level of loyalty is, for the most part, a positive thing, there are times when it can truly work against me.

When it comes to relationships – both romantic and friendships – I can’t half-ass anything. For this reason, I find it hard to maintain more than a handful of friendships at a time. And dating? Forget about it. Once I’ve decided that someone is worthy of my time, energy and emotions, I’m all in. It’s all or nothing. As one might assume, this makes dating and relationships very difficult for me to handle. They wipe me out emotionally – at times, they suck the life out of me.

 

Relationships become an addiction.

Have you ever found yourself so wrapped up in another person, that the relationship becomes something like an addiction, and their love is a drug? Even something as simple as speaking to them can become like a drug. I live for the next hit – it’s all I can think of, day and night. I go through withdrawals when I don’t receive it, but when I have it? It’s like having the most amazing high on earth.

And when it’s over? I can spend weeks going through emotional and physical pain until I finally find myself again. Once I finally overcome that addiction, I spend months avoiding that “drug” like the plague, because I know what will happen once I start using it again. In other words? After a relationship goes south, I’ll avoid dating for months on end.

Interestingly enough – when I was searching for images to go along with this post, I googled “addicted woman”. Do you want to know what I found? Not hundreds of images of women with needles hanging out of their arms or bent over mounds of cocaine – rather, hundreds of images belonging to posts exactly like this one, or posts for women who have become addicted to love. In other words – I suppose I’m not alone in this issue.

 

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The funny thing about this is, I’m actually a very independent person – at times, probably even to a fault. The majority of the time, I prefer my own company to that of others (ahem, only child syndrome). I’ve lived alone for years, I support myself, and I rarely find myself in the position of needing to “lean” on others. When I am in a relationship, I’m not one of those women who stop talking to and spending time with everyone in their life in order to devote every living second to their boyfriend (I loathe people like that). In fact, the last relationship I was in where I saw a boyfriend more than every other day or so was… probably a decade ago.

Oh, and before you ask – no, I don’t have daddy issues. (He may not be warm and cuddly – in fact, he’s pretty damn stoic – but I would be lucky if I ever found someone as devoted, dependable, self-sacrificing, trustworthy and honest as my father.)

 

So what gives?

The reality is, this isn’t some sort of psychological or emotional issue caused by some sort of trauma. It’s simply my personality – a part of who I am. In fact, almost every description of my MBTI personality type (INFJ) points to many of the traits and habits I’ve previously mentioned. (I came across this post while trying to find a backlink and it’s like looking at a re-write of everything I’ve just written – it’s actually almost scary!)

So the question is – how do I stay true to my personality, yet learn how to love someone without allowing those feelings to turn into something akin to an addiction? Because if I don’t figure out a solution, I’ll either spend my life alone as a crazy cat lady who’s scared of ever getting close to anyone, or I’ll make myself an emotional wreck until I get married (and who knows – maybe marriage will just make it worse – ha!)

I do know that blocking out my emotions isn’t the answer. I’ve been there, I’ve done that. I’ve been in an, erm, “relationship of convenience” with someone. We’d talk a few times a week, we’d meet up every few weeks, and that was that. I cared for him in the way you’d care for any friend, but if we stopped talking, it would be fine. If he started dating someone? Good for him. Why the difference? As soon as I went out with him a few times and realized that he’s, well, kind of a douche (but completely honest about it – and I can respect that), so I flipped gears into the “nothing” end of the “all or nothing” spectrum.

The problem with that? Point blank: once I’m disengaged, I don’t give a shit – plain and simple. If you’ve ever been in a relationship with someone who has that approach, you know that it ultimately leads to a one-sided relationship that rarely progresses. It’s not healthy, it’s a waste of time for everyone involved – and I’m not in the business of taking people’s feelings for granted.

 

How do I find a happy medium?

How can I allow myself to love someone, without losing myself in the process?

I suppose I’ll ponder that question while I’m in Paris this week. Alone. On the trip that I was supposed to take with the man in question. (While there was a very valid medical reason why he had to cancel, when I look at how things went down, I can’t help but conclude that he subconsciously sabotaged his health because he didn’t have the balls to simply say “I can’t go through with this trip.”)

In the end, I suppose it was a blessing in disguise. At the moment, five days alone in another country is much-needed (in fact, I wish it were longer). I’m excited to disconnect from everything and everyone and just spend some time thinking about what’s next for me in life.

And afterwards? I’m meeting up with Laura and we’re going to spend a week in Prague, Amsterdam and Dublin… acquiring material for the blog, of course.

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Now the real question is: will I ever talk to him again? Yes. In fact, I care about him too much to not speak to him ever again. However, right now I need to work on finding myself again. And that’s more important.

 

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Co-founder / Editor of Secret Lives of Chicago Singles. Chicago native. Lover of kitten GIFs and travel; hater of dating - particularly the online variety.

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