Love and sex addict

Candles in love, photo by Nevit Dilmen, Istanbul, Tukey,  loving relationshipsIf you need to ask “am I a love and sex addict?” then you are, because if you are not then you know it clearly. A love addict, like anyone afflicted with any other addiction, is searching for the “high” from a relationship with another. They are obsessed with the thought of how good they feel in their company and having sex, to the extent that when they are apart they cannot think of anything else. This usually leads to clingy and jealous behaviour quite often accompanied by feelings of rejection. Then their feelings swing back up to unhealthy heights and not always together. A functional loving relationship has ups and downs but not extremes.

Veronica seemed contented as she told me
about her marriage of 4 years
as a person with unpleasant past relationships
she had been terribly hurt and because of
her love addiction had previously attracted
such painful relationships
so as we ticked off the positives about
her marriage and 3 children
she couldn’t believe she had found happiness
and was always expecting something to go wrong
then she realised that this was the same
when she first gave up drinking
with doubts about her sobriety, if it would last?
this helped her to realise it was the
cunning process of addiction which
plays tricks on your mind to tempt
you back to the old ways
so she went off to enjoy her success
which she had earned

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Children are not pets

Pets Corner, photo by Hazel Moore, United Kingdom, appropriate loveThe love we feel for our children needs to be different from the love we feel for our pets, because children are not pets. When we want to hold our children non stop we teach them to be clingy and they get serious abandonment issues. This slows the child’s ability to develop good ego boundaries and affects their relationships later on in life. When I see that type of behaviour I, as a family therapist, suggest that the parent(s) get a pet in order to balance out their need to cling onto their child. Pets thrive on cooing and playful love, and humans benefit from showing them that. Children thrive on appropriate parental love and parents benefit from having their children develop healthily.

Zelma was totally focused on her disabled daughter Elli
and took great pride that she was a loving mother but
hadn’t noticed that she was treating Elli like a pet
hugging her, cooing to her and using baby talk
even until she was an adult and
didn’t see how it annoyed Elli
then one day Zelma became embarrassed
when her daughter barked at her!
so she got a dog and a cat so that
they could coo over them and kept
appropriate love for her daughter which
made a huge difference to Elli’s development

Pets Corner, photo by Hazel Moore, United Kingdom, appropriate love

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Relationship dance

Light dance 2, photo by Audrey Johnson, United States, healthy loveResearch has shown that in a roomful of people we unconsciously choose a person who will do a relationship dance with us which suites our present need. That need can be healthy or not, a happy one or full of misery – depending on our self esteem level. There may be unfinished business with our parents and we choose someone to be attracted to who will give us the opportunity to resolve those issues.

Although we know that it’s not good to
fall in love with someone who reminds us
of one of our parents, nevertheless,
it happens so often unknowingly
the relationship dance that follows
can make us or break us
all in the name of being in love
her first husband reminded her of
her charismatic neurotic mother
whilst her second husband reminded her
of her gentle dignified father
neither marriages turned out
no wonder, but she resolved many issues
and said that perhaps her third marriage
will have a better outcome

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Unresolved grief issues

“I am wondering how much the loss of a parent contributes to a new, hopeful, but tentative relationship becoming dysfunctional and morphing into a love addiction.”

Holding hands, photo by Laura Kennedy, Johannesburg, South Africa, lost loveLetitia made this comment when I wrote about the loss of a parent and my response is that awareness is 50% of the solution to a problem. So if we are aware of our unresolved grief issues then we can avoid letting them contaminate our relationships and turning them into dysfunctionality and/or love addiction. With unresolved grief issues it is difficult to avoid loving someone who subconsciously reminds us of our parents, whether it’s a loving parent or a punishing parent. This is, mainly because we search to find either a replacement for the loving parent whom we miss, or the punishing parent whose approval we seek. That is why grief counselling is vital, so that we stand a better chance of developing healthy loving relationships.

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