Love Addiction in The Age of The Corona Virus
“An intelligent person can rationalize anything; a wise person doesn’t try”
The focus of this particular post will be on love addiction in the age of the Corona Virus. Please keep in mind this is but a broad, general stroke about a complex issue; one that I hold close to my heart. I invite those who struggle with addiction of any kind, to understand they are not alone in how addiction has a special way of driving us to make destructive decisions while feeling as though we are completely justifiable in our actions. Our behaviors in our addiction may present as insane to others & even to ourselves once we are out of “the fog” but deep down our authentic self is very much sane, alone, & hurting. Sex & love addiction is no different & yes, it’s really “a thing”.
In the age of the Corona Virus, we have been forced to rely solely on technology as a means of connecting with others. How wonderful it is that we have such tools to remain connected & productive. For those struggling with love addiction, however, technology and isolation can be a dangerous road to destructive behaviors. So to all the sex & love addicts out there, who are having an impulse to call that ex or love interest &/or stalk their social media, please pay attention: put the phone down, take your hand off of the laptop & keep reading. If you are tempted to connect with your ex, your married high school or college flame, the crush on your married neighbor or co-worker, reaching out is probably NOT the best idea. If you are in a committed monogamous relationship & those you want to reach out to are single, probably NOT the best idea. If you are single and believe you will only be happy in a relationship, still probably NOT the best idea.
This doesn’t mean that anyone who looks up their old flames is a love addict. As with any addiction the behaviors become compulsive, obsessive, & distracting from daily responsibilities & when not engaged in the behaviors, we are left moody, anxious, or depressed. Some people can look up Johnny Joe or Sally Sue, see what they’re up to and move on with their life. Love addiction, however, carries with it the powerful tool of fantasy; not necessarily sexual fantasy but fantasy of how things could be or maybe if we could only get that person to be with us or if the world would just leave us alone so we can “make things right” &/or be with our “soulmate”. The fantasy is protected like an expensive jewel by the soft cushions of rationalizations, justifications, & denial.
Another component that accompanies addiction, this one being no different, is distorted thinking. An example of this would be thinking that one’s value as a person results from romantic/sexual interest/attention from others. With an intimacy disorder, such as love addiction, comes a deep sense of loneliness, sometimes so deep that we deny it even exists because to feel it can be frightening. We as humans are wired to love & be loved but for some of us we then run from or sabotage such connection.
If this is something with which you struggle or can relate to, here are some suggestions to help you in those moments of feeling intense urgency, longing, & desire to reach out to a high risk person or spend hours on social media investigating their life, likes, comments, & down the rabbit hole we go…
- Become willing to get honest with yourself & identify the emotion, loneliness
- Find the message the emotion, loneliness is telling you, (ie. “he/she/they may be the one”; “I need closure so I’ll reach out this one last time”; “I will be happy once I’m in a relationship or have someone”, etc.)
- Tell the emotion, loneliness that you see & hear it; acknowledge its presence without judgement
- Tell the emotion that in order to keep you both safe you need to reach out to someone you know who you know is emotionally safe for you, such as a family member, accountability partner, sponsor, platonic friend, therapist, a higher power, etc., then actually reach out to them (that’s not always easy, I know)
As you can see, our emotions play a big part in fueling our addictions. Emotions are ok. They are real. They are valid. The messages & instructions they tell us however, are not always accurate or in our best interest. To share a metaphor I heard once, “emotions are like children; you don’t want to stuff them in the trunk but you don’t want them driving the car either”. To combat addiction one of the things we must do is learn to regulate our emotions in a healthy way. I encourage anyone struggling to take that courageous, difficult step to ask for help. There is healing, freedom, & authentic love waiting for you on the other side.
– Emily Glenn, NCC, LPC, CSAT
Emily is accepting new telehealth clients. She is a masters level clinician, a licensed professional counselor, and certified sex addiction therapist. Emily specializes in working with women struggling with intimacy disorders and addiction and/or various mental health issues. For more information on how to connect with our services or Emily personally please visit www.thebecomingcounseling.com or email her at email@example.com To book an appointment with her go to https://thebecoming.clientsecure.me/
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