This issue brings us back to addiction. Our hearts have a place that belongs only to God, and if we put anyone else there, it becomes an addiction and a type of shirk. Cure the addiction and your faith — and love — becomes pure.
With Love and Hope,
Love addiction. Those two words have taken over the last four years of my life. As I say in my introduction to Leadwrite.org, I have been reading and asking about this topic since I realized it existed. I was probably an addict in my 18 years in an abusive marriage. Understanding this concept has been very important to me.
So, I just found an article that really clears up some confusion regarding the question: What is normal love vs. addicted love? Now, if you were in an arranged marriage like myself, and you never dated, then upon marriage you may not have felt “in love” right away. But falling in love does happen to many Muslims and others who just did not look for love but it found them anyway. And if things go right, you can feel you’re “falling in love” after marriage. It is important to know that in normal healthy relationships, the initial passionate obsessive feelings of “falling” do give away to a mature, calmer but stronger type of love.
When this euphoria and joy calm down, the addict can get uncomfortable. They start feeling withdrawal, just like people feel when they stop using cigarettes (or drugs, alcohol, etc.) for a while. They might want to get another “fix”, another dose of that initial falling-in-love feeling. That is when trouble starts. The addict might leave their current relationship, or cheat on a partner, in order to find that feeling again.
Granted, I did not have that exactly. I was addicted to the relationship more than to “love” feelings. I wanted to be married and stay married. But the definition of addiction, as described by Elements Behavioral Health, do fit my attitude as well as a love addict:
“Addiction experts recognize a common pattern in addicts: the addict is preoccupied or obsessed with the object; they feel out of control and unable to stop their addiction and will go to great lengths to satisfy their craving; and they continue to “use” despite the negative consequences.”
So the negative consequences that I was willing to take included emotional, verbal, financial and physical abuse. But isn’t it love, when you will stay no matter what?
Addiction is not really love at all. In a healthy love relationship, partners get more intimate by being open, vulnerable, revealing their innermost thoughts. But the addict is not looking for that. They are looking for the “high”, for the feelings of euphoria and passion. Being intimate scares them, and they are unable to share. It is also scary to the addict when the partner reveals displeasure. The addict will either manipulate, get real quiet, or become abusive in response to their fear. Ironically, this pushes the partner away, causing the addict’s fears to come true.
The final difference is that an addict will be codependent. They think that the relationship will cure all their problems. Due to a childhood of either neglect or over-involvement with parents, the addict does not have a good model to follow. Plus they are dealing with feelings of low self-esteem, fear of being engulfed, and fear of being abandoned. But in a healthy relationship, the partners know that only some of these needs are met in the marriage, while some are met by your other pursuits in life and your other relationships like friendships.
Normal real love is a changing but awesome adventure with one partner, whereas addicted love is fraught with fear, pain, and broken hearts. If you get married, it should reduce the obsessive thoughts of the “falling” phase, as there is no more fear of loss. If the addiction does not stop, please get help from 12 step programs, codependence groups, therapists, and books. We don’t have to stay in a painful place once we recognize we are there!
“What is Love Addiction” is the original article on the website for love addiction treatment by Elements Behavioral Health. Many other helpful articles can be found there as well.