My last two posts dealt with sex addiction and love addiction, respectively. Though I touched on codependence in the latter, this post will further delve into a “romantic” addiction to an individual, often called codependence, and will answer the question, “if you determine you are addicted to a person, can you make the relationship a healthy one?” It is the third and final post in this trilogy of what might be called intimacy addiction.
“She’s the worst thing I’ve been addicted to” is part of a chorus from the Black Keys song, “Run Right Back”. I am certain this isn’t the only song that glorifies an addiction to an individual. If you agree with my last post, you’d likely posit nearly all songs about love are really about addiction to an individual. Psychology Today’s Stanton Peele, who wrote, “Love as an Addiction”, has a post called, “The Greatest Love Addiction Songs of All Time”. It seems evident many agree that people can be addicted to another person.
Many prefer addiction to a healthy love. Being addicted to someone is intense. How else would so many songs about it become so popular? Some believe addiction is what “true love” is. For them, a relationship without the intensity is like loving without being, “in love”. The love then becomes more like siblings.
It is sometimes difficult to differentiate between love addiction and being addicted to an individual. Whether one is codependent (which in this post is used to refer to an addiction to an individual) or addicted to love depends on the circumstances. Is there a string of short-term intense relations? That would be love addiction. When the feeling loses its intensity, does the person leave the relationship? Again, this is love addiction. In codependency, a person is the object of addiction, rather than the feelings. Often with the codependent, the intensity remains a part of the relationship, or the codependent perpetuates the intensity through drama, as a result of his or her addiction to the individual.
In fact, codependency and love addiction are likely two sides of the same coin. Most addictions are the same enemy with a different face. Insecurity abounds in addiction. No matter what someone is addicted to, they fear its loss. The heroin addict can’t imagine life without a substance to either numb or uplift his spirits. The alcoholic, gambler, or sex addict is the same; giving up the addiction seems unfathomable. Life without an object one “depends” on (be it a substance, a behavior, or in the case of this post a person) is threatening. Whatever someone is addicted to, the individual counts on it, excessively and to the point of dysfunction, to cope with life.
Read the rest on Psychology Today here.