Healthy love is wonderful and makes life worthwhile. On the other hand, “love addiction” can cause pain, suffering, and even death. Knowing the difference between love and “love addiction” can be life-saving.
1. Healthy Love develops after we feel secure.
Addictive Love tries to create love even though we feel frightened and insecure.
2. Healthy Love comes from feeling full. We overflow with love.
Addictive Love is always trying to fill an inner void.
3. Healthy Love begins with self-love.
Addictive Love always seeks love “out there” from that “special someone.”
4 Healthy Love comes to us once we’ve given up the search.
Addictive Love is compulsively sought after.
5 Healthy Love comes from inside. It wants to give.
Addictive Love comes from outside. It wants to take.
6. Healthy Love grows slowly, like a tree.
Addictive Love grows fast, as if by magic, like those children’s animals that expand instantly when we add water.
7. Healthy Love thrives on time alone as well as time with our partner.
Addictive Love is frightened of being alone and afraid of being close.
8. Healthy Love is unique. There is no “ideal lover” that we seek.
Addictive Love is stereotyped. There is always a certain type that attracts us.
9. Healthy Love is gentle and comfortable.
Addictive Love is tense and combative.
10. Healthy Love is based on a deep knowing of ourselves and our lover.
Addictive Love is based on hiding from ourselves and falling in love with an ideal “image,” not a real person. http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/cc-is-it-love-or-love-addiction/
My fear of abandonment
is exceeded only by
my terror of intimacy.
Ethlie Ann Vare
Relationships can break your connection to your family. Relationships can be the ultimate symbol of growing up. They represent starting our own lives as independent, autonomous individuals. This development can also represent a parting from our family. Much like breaking from an old identity, this separation isn’t physical. It doesn’t mean literally giving up our family, but rather letting go on an emotional level – no longer feeling like a kid and differentiating from the more negative dynamics that plagued our early relationships and shaped our identity. Love stirs up existential fears. The more we have, the more we have to lose. The more someone means to us, the more afraid we are of losing that person. When we fall in love, we not only face the fear of losing our partner, but we become more aware of our mortality. Our life now holds more value and meaning, so the thought of losing it becomes more frightening. In an attempt to cover over this fear, we may focus on more superficial concerns, pick fights with our partner or, in extreme cases, completely give up the relationship. We are rarely fully aware of how we defend against these existential fears. We may even try to rationalize to ourselves a million reasons we shouldn’t be in the relationship. However, the reasons we give may have workable solutions, and what’s really driving us are those deeper fears of loss. Most relationships bring up an onslaught of challenges. Getting to know our fears of intimacy and how they inform our behavior is an important step to having a fulfilling, long-term relationship. These fears can be masked by various justifications for why things aren’t working out—but we may be surprised to learn about all of the ways that we self-sabotage when we get close to someone else. By getting to know ourselves, we give ourselves the best chance of finding and maintaining lasting love. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201401/7-reasons-most-people-are-afraid-love Read more from Dr. Lisa Firestone at http://www.psychalive.org/author/dr-lisa-firestone/
In the arithmetic of love,
one plus one equals everything,
and two minus one equals nothing.
Love is often unequal. Many people I’ve talked to have expressed hesitation over getting involved with someone, because that person “likes them too much.” They worry that if they got involved with this person, their own feelings wouldn’t evolve, and the other person would wind up getting hurt or feeling rejected. The truth is that love is often imbalanced, with one person feeling more or less from moment to moment. Our feelings toward someone are an ever-changing force. In a matter of seconds, we can feel anger, irritation or even hate for a person we love. Worrying over how we will feel keeps us from seeing where our feelings would naturally go. It’s better to be open to how our feelings develop over time. Allowing worry or guilt over how we may or may not feel keeps us from getting to know someone who is expressing interest in us and may prevent us from forming a relationship that could really make us happy. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201401/7-reasons-most-people-are-afraid-love Read more from Dr. Lisa Firestone at http://www.psychalive.org/author/dr-lisa-firestone/
I feel it take over,
It knocks out my wind,
The feeling then lowers,
And it hits me again,
I feel like I’m falling,
This time it’s for real?
Or am I logically stalling?
Afraid to feel.
From “Time To Be Bold” by Dennis
Many of us struggle with underlying feelings of being unlovable. We have trouble feeling our own value and believing anyone could really care for us. We all have a “critical inner voice,” which acts like a cruel coach inside our heads that tells us we are worthless or undeserving of happiness. This coach is shaped from painful childhood experiences and critical attitudes we were exposed to early in life as well as feelings our parents had about themselves. While these attitudes can be hurtful, over time, they have become engrained in us. As adults, we may fail to see them as an enemy, instead accepting their destructive point of view as our own. These critical thoughts or “inner voices” are often harmful and unpleasant, but they’re also comfortable in their familiarity. When another person sees us differently from our voices, loving and appreciating us, we may actually start to feel uncomfortable and defensive, as it challenges these long-held points of identification. With real joy comes real pain. Any time we fully experience true joy or feel the preciousness of life on an emotional level, we can expect to feel a great amount of sadness. Many of us shy away from the things that would make us happiest, because they also make us feel pain. The opposite is also true. We cannot selectively numb ourselves to sadness without numbing ourselves to joy. When it comes to falling in love, we may be hesitant to go “all in,” for fear of the sadness it would stir up in us. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201401/7-reasons-most-people-are-afraid-love Read more from Dr. Lisa Firestone at http://www.psychalive.org/author/dr-lisa-firestone/
Your greatest task
isn’t to find love,
but to discover
all the barriers
that you have
built against it.
To experience spiritual intimacy, take time being naked. I don’t just mean taking your clothes off to make love. I mean actually be naked together. Hold each other. Take a bath together. Even pray naked together! Redo that exercise where you just take time touching each others’ bodies. Really feel as if you completely know the other person. It’s actually more vulnerable to be naked while someone touches you than just to be naked while you “have sex”. And so take that time to explore! Take time to be spiritually naked. This may sound weird, but trust me on it: pray before sex. When we unite together spiritually first, it’s as if our souls are drawn together. And when our souls are drawn together, we want to draw together in a deeper way. If you’re uncomfortable with free-form prayer, buy a book of prayers… The words don’t matter; the heart does. When you mean it, and you bow before God together, you really are drawn towards each other in a much more intense way. Look into each others’ eyes. The eyes are windows, and yet how often do we close our eyes, as if we’re trying to shut the other person out, and concentrate on ourselves? I know sometimes you have to close your eyes to feel everything, but sometimes open up and look into his eyes. To actually see him–and to let him see into you–is very intimate, especially at the height of passion. Say “I love you”. It’s such a little thing, but while you’re making love–or even when you orgasm, say “I love you”. Make sex about not just feeling good, but expressing love. http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2012/02/29-days-to-great-sex-day-27-experiencing-spiritual-intimacy-while-you-make-love/
There are only two
guidelines in good sex.
Don’t do anything
you don’t really enjoy
and find out what
are your partner needs
and don’t balk them
if you can help it.
We don’t always fall for someone simply because their positive qualities complement our own but also because their negative traits fit ours so well. Therefore, the first thing to do when entering into a relationship (or improving one, for that matter) is to take a look at yourself and at the history of your relationships. What are the qualities that you typically look for in a partner? Are there certain negative qualities that always seem to show up and eventually drive you crazy? Do you have a pattern of choosing a person with specific traits, only to end up dissatisfied with them? Do your relationships seem to always break up for the same reasons? Once you recognize a pattern, you have something that you can work with. By figuring out how you go about ending up with the same objectionable partner in every relationship, you will know what to do to break this cycle. With each choice you make and action you take in a relationship, it’s important to have a good sense of what is operating within you that’s motivating your behavior. When it comes to love, it is advisable to not only go into it with your heart; but to go into it with your head. That way, instead of automatically selecting the same type of person for the same negative traits, you can try selecting a partner who is entirely different. For instance, if you grew up feeling invisible or ignored, you may avoid someone who shows a real interest in you. Instead, you may feel more attracted to someone who is distant or withholding of affection. You can consciously decide to be open to the possibility of being with someone who is different from the people you typically choose, for example, someone who expresses a strong attraction to you. This change will most likely cause you to feel somewhat ambivalent. However, because you have identified your pattern, you can be aware of the negative factors influencing your decision. Perhaps your disinterest in this person may be largely motivated by the very interest that he/she is showing in you. When you consciously choose to break a pattern, you can establish a better relationship with a better, albeit unfamiliar, outcome. If you hang in there, and give this out-of-the-ordinary person a chance, you can become accustomed to this out-of-the-ordinary relationship. Yours could be one of those stories of friends who fall in love or unlikely seeming couples who live happily together. From an article by Lisa Firestone http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-firestone/wrong-relationship-choices_b_830989.html
Perhaps we can recognize
our way out of patterns
rather than repeating
our way out of them.
First, take a few deep breaths, relax the tension in your body (perhaps by stretching), and slowly count until you calm down, whether this takes 5 seconds, 20 seconds, or more. Imagine your parents and grandparents, a preacher or priest, a respected and well-loved teacher or boss, your counselor, or several policemen are watching how you respond. If you can’t use a calm tone of voice to respond tactfully and respectfully, start counting again and pretend the authority figures are watching. If this doesn’t help, take a time out. Leave and do something else until you calm down. Be sure to avoid angry thinking when you count or leave to calm down. Repeatedly thinking about the conflict only prolongs the upset feelings. If you tend to blame other people or circumstances for your anger, read or repeat every day, “Nobody makes me angry. I make myself angry over certain situations and only I can change this.” If a man’s anger is intense or explosive, don’t bother with counting: he should leave the situation immediately. If he has ever been violent, he should use time out often, at least several times a week for practice and to develop the habit, even if he feels only mildly irritated and doesn’t really need to leave. Avoid angry thinking during time out by getting things done or doing what you enjoy. You might work on a hobby, read a good book, or work on projects around the house. Practicing meditation or deep relaxation is an excellent way to calm down. Physical activities such as walking, jogging, exercising, or bicycling help by releasing tension. Don’t punish a loved one by leaving for much longer than an hour or two. Be very careful if you drive a car because angry people often drive dangerously. Don’t use alcohol or other drugs when you feel angry. If you return and can’t use a calm tone of voice to respond respectfully, despite pretending authority figures are watching, leave again and do something else. As you gradually improve in dealing with your anger, you should be able to reduce the time you need away from the situation to calm down.
friends are lost
enemies are gained;
anger destroys and changes
anger is blind…
Taken from “Anger”
by Johnny Nathan Botelho
Male attachment needs are somewhat different from women’s. Men generally do not need verbal communication about feelings or “talks” about the relationship. Nor do they need direct, verbal validation of their feelings or needs. Men have a natural, biological proclivity toward interaction with the environment, more so than the verbally based interactions that women desire. They do need to know they are appreciated, respected and loved. And men are often quite satisfied by having these needs met with direct, physically nurturing behaviors by women. Many adult men feel a basic sense of security and even love simply by the very presence of the significant women in their lives. Men also experience sexual connection as a form of nurturance, acceptance, love, and even emotional security. Sex for men is a primary attachment need – compared to women, who need verbal communication and validation. Men also tend to have fewer friends than women, and when they do, they tend to focus on activities rather than verbal interactions (watching sports, hunting and fishing are examples). Recent findings from modern neuroscience and interpersonal neurobiology show there are unique aspects of the male brain (also endocrine and other systems) – quite different from female brains. This includes analytical brain structures (not emotional) designed to solve problems. Men have an inborn, biologically based competitive instinct. They also have an area of the brain designed for sexual pursuit that is more than 2 times larger than females (Brizendine, 2010). The brain circuits for fear, aggression and defense are far more prominent in men than in women. In comparison, women have more prominent mirror neuron systems for emotional empathy. There are no male-specific diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The most common diagnoses for men are addictions, personality disorders such as narcissism, avoidant, and anti-social personality disorders, intermittent explosive disorder, conduct disorder, and ADHD. Depression, however, is very common in men. Men also experience complicating medical issues such as stress-related heart and digestive disorders, and they may also present with a variety of sexual disorders. Other medical concerns may result from drug and alcohol addiction. From article by Richard J. Loebl, LCSW, PA http://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-men.html
I would suggest that just as women
who make it in the world of business
need male business mentors,
perhaps men who make it
in the world of emotions
will need female
According to new research published in The Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, one in 10 men are harboring serious sex secrets of one kind or another. “There are two kinds of secrets guys keep,” says Les Parrott, author of Crazy Good Sex. “Things they wish their wives or girlfriends would understand but are scared they won’t, and things they’re just plain trying to get away with.” With that in mind, we polled hundreds of men to learn what they hide at each stage in a relationship and enlisted experts to offer their insights. Some men exaggerate to sound more sexually experienced; others low-ball so you don’t dismiss them as players. “Men know that if they confess to a large number of partners, it sends the message that they’re unlikely to commit to one. That is, to you,” says David Buss, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and author of The Evolution of Desire. According to a study at Brigham Young University, 87 percent of men have looked at some form of porn in the past year, and one in five help themselves to X-rated fare daily. Men like to look at naked chicks—no surprise there—but what is shocking is how quickly they can become dependent on those erotic images. A powerful pleasure cocktail of endorphins and epinephrine (hormones responsible for arousal and alertness) are released while a man watches porn… And that feeling can become addictive. Technology has made it easier than ever to reconnect with former flames. In the past four years, the number of adults with profiles on social-networking sites has quadrupled. Experts say that men may reach out to an ex as a sort of insurance policy. “People like to have backups, not necessarily to form a long-term relationship with now, but to have as a placeholder so they’re not left high and dry should their existing relationship end,” Buss says. From an article by Carrie Sloan http://www.womenshealthmag.com/sex-and-relationships/mens-sex-secrets?page=1
Anything will give up its secrets.
if you love it enough.
George Washington Carver
Go to the mirror now, and look yourself in the eye. There is a child inside of you, the child you used to be. He or she is you — a frightened child who is frozen in time because of harm suffered and endured at a young age. You know you desperately want to be released from the shackles of self-doubt, self-loathing and fear. You, and only you, can make the determination to walk down a new path in life that will certainly bring you to happiness, serenity and improved self-esteem. The decision is yours: Live with limited risk but perpetual relational dysfunction, or risk everything and choose to begin the personal/emotional work that will bring you to healthy and satisfying mutual love — true love. Along the way, you are likely to make a mistake or two. Do not let the pain of these mistakes throw you off course. More importantly, don’t second guess your commitment to yourself. There will be a payoff — I promise! In time, you will realize that you are now healthy, confident and strong enough to choose a romantic partner who is first and foremost a friend and who loves, cares and respects you for who you are, not just what you can do for him or her. You also will find that your improved “relationship picker” will help you get to the point in which you are ready “to take the one hand and the one life, you know belongs in yours.” Your improved psychological health will change the “polarity” of your human magnet. You will start to naturally repel narcissists while finding yourself irresistibly attracted to a person with whom you share deep feelings of love, respect and caring. Better yet, a person who wants to love, respect, and care for you will be attracted to you! From an article by Ross A. Rosenberg http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ross-a-rosenberg/dealing-with-codependency-_b_3854196.html
In dreams and in love
there are no impossibilities.