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Is it love, or addiction?
September 14, 2005
7:14 pm
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shyshy
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How do you know when you are in love with someone or if your just plain addicted to them? What does it feel like to be addicted and what does it feel like to be "in love"?

September 14, 2005
7:52 pm
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Rasputin
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Shy, I honestly think and from my own experience that if things work out eventually between 2 people, this is true love.

On the other hand, if they are playing games, or do not have the same principles - the man is commitment phobia, he's just after sex, and she is serious and commited, there is pit for a failed relationship.

Before, I had obssession on man who was just after sex, when I was passionately in love with him. We did not even date, yet I was thinking about him 24/7. I was really addicted to him, more codep and not realizing it. I was not healthy then.

Right now, I have feelings for someone. The guy seems to be working on himself and I am keeping him in my prayers. Yet, I still am not sure if he's the right one for me. I told him my boundaries and he is aware of them. If he abides by them, there is hope, if not I really do not want to spend the rest of my life miserable.

So, the bottom line Shy is when someone loves us, he has the same boundaries, principles as us. And no matter what baggage he has, ultimately, he contacts us and shows us his feelings toward us and vice versa.

~Love, Ras~

September 14, 2005
8:44 pm
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lollipop3
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Hi Shyshy,

Although I do not know the "technical" differences between the two, I can offer my opinion.

I believe that when you love someone, you WANT them in your life. When you are addicted....you NEED them.

When you love someone, you have interests separate from theirs. When you are addicted....their interests are your interests.

When you love someone, you can be away from them without worry. When you are addicted...time away from them is consumed by fear and anxiety.

etc. etc......of course this is just my opinion.

My b/f and I were having problems a few months ago and when I saw my therapist, she suggested that I get away for the weekend by myself. So I made plans with my girlfriend to go away for Memorial Day weekend. We left on Fri. and came back on Mon. Although we did talk about him from time to time.....it didn't consume me and we actually had a really good time.

When I went to my next appt. she told me that the reason she told me to go away was that she was "testing" me. I asked "how so"...she said...."I wanted to make sure you were not addicted.....and now I know that you are not." I asked how she knew and she replyed..."you never would have gone if you were addicted. You would have sat home all weekend full of anxiety, waiting for him to call."

I hope this helped.

Love,
Lolli

September 14, 2005
11:07 pm
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Amazed
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I think it can be answered this way. If you find yourself giving up or willing to give up your basic core values just to be with the person you are addicted. Each of us have a base line of values or beliefs. What we live each day with and drive ourselves with. Sometimes a loved one will challenge those things. I'm not talking the day to day stuff but the very core of your values.

I also believe that if you are willing to second guess yourself on these beliefs it could lead to dependancy or addiction.

What does it feel like to be in love? Oh it's probably one of the best feelings you will ever have. To have someone to hold and care for and who does the same back. But anyone challenging you or trying to mold you could be challenging you to an addiction. You will know the difference the minute you start to feel uncomfortable with love.

Most of us are old enough to understand what our core values are and have spent plenty of time developing them. Kids are learning those values and young people (16 through 25 depending on maturity) challenge them and harden them. After that a strong person can use them as tools for driving daily life. Those who are weak will allow them to be changed or manipulated. If you become so addicted to a person you could see your values challenged and even changed. That is when it's time to look elsewhere or at least raise the flags.

I'm not sure about the "need" aspect. Personally I think it depends on how you interpret need. To me I like to be needed - in a loving caring way. When a husband/wife wants to come home and see the family after a long day. It could be a need - a need to relax and enjoy. Sometimes I "need" a vacation. Not that I have to have one right now or I will die, but I can feel that I need a vacation to bring myself back in line. I work with a lot of people who say they need me. Does that mean that if I don't talk to them today they won't make it until tomorrow. No. It's just our way of saying that I'm important to them. Gosh that makes me feel great. I have friends that I need and they need me (or at least they tell me so). Does that mean that I can't wake tomorrow because they won't be there. NO. It means that I know they are there, I love to call or write them and talk - yes EVERY day and they "need" to do the same with me, although when we don't it's not the end of the world.

What worries me about the word "need" is so many people make it into a bad thing. Sure saying I "need" someone or something to make another move would be an addiction. But Shyshy I really wonder if you are feeling that unless you talk to that person you cannot move. I'd bet most of us could not say that. A handicapped person NEEDS a wheelchair, or needs assistance. That is very different.

I have worked a long time with love and friendship and I think this is one that is very misunderstood. I have had friends who I needed very much. They were there for me when I had surgery or was down. Yes I needed them. But honestly if they didn't show I wouldn't have died. What I find is that along the way I have found friends that match my "needs". People just like me who enjoy daily conversation or interaction - I've also had some friends who don't like the daily e-mail or call with me. Eventually I have found that they too enjoy a daily chat or e-mail but maybe not from me - they told me they don't need a daily thing but yet do have them with another person. So I've learned that although they are still a friend they are not as close. That's ok and it's actually better for me too.

Wow long winded. I've been thinking about this one so maybe this is my soap box. I feel totally fine about saying I need my friends and family. I find those that say that they don't "need" a friend or family usually do with someone else or they have some issues to deal with. In my sense of the work "need".

Now if you have to say that "need" means absolute then you are right. That isn't good and yes could mean addiction - but I'd be willing to bet that we are not really talking absolute in a majority of cases.

I think loving someone very very much is a great feeling as long as you don't give up on your own beliefs or values. Stick to your guns. That last line of defense is your inner self.

September 14, 2005
11:29 pm
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Neshema
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Lolli-

What you describe could be my parents or christopher and Dana Reeve. I think it could be a healthy loving relationship, unless I am misunderstanding something. I think when you are addicted to something or someone, it is UNHEALTHY/HARMFUL yet you keep wanting or going back for more. You think you need it, but it is not good for you. It is like a drug. You think it feels good, but then you go through periods of intense pain and withdrawal. You want more and more of it, and it makes you sicker and sicker. You can't free yourself, because the good part or high seems better than quitting.

September 15, 2005
8:41 am
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shyshy
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Boy, thanks for all the responses!

I was asking because I'm confused about what it is I feel about my bf. I don't know if I love him or if I'm addicted to him. I think it may be a little bit of both.

I care about what happens to him but I'm not "in love" with him. Our relationship has not been healthy but yet I stick with it. I have compromised some of my values to have him around but not the real big ones.

For instance, he's a substance abuser and that is not something I am comfortable with but I'm still with him, although I've started to set some boundries when he's high or drunk if I wasn't compromising my own beliefs then I wouldn't be with him at all.

Also, I have no problem going away without him but still worry about what he may be up to while I'm gone.

September 15, 2005
8:54 am
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shyshy
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I meant I am NOT comfortable with his subtance abuse issues.

September 15, 2005
10:09 am
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Amazed
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Well I hate labels and I really hate to sit here and say you are something or another. Personally I think each of us have traits of all kinds. Here you might indicate that you are kind of codependant. Again I hate to label but you might want to read up on some of it. Gosh I'm going against my grain.

The point for me is that you able to say you don't love him but you worry about him. You have compromised your own values - you might not agree with the drug abuse today but who know that you won't or he won't challenge your values and you make a change. This might be to the extreme but could you imagine yourself agreeing with drug abuse or at least accepting it. I couldn't but it happens.

Love and caring about people is probably the strongest emotions we go through. Look at the hurricane stuff. People who'd never take an animal are adopting. People who don't have a dime are giving what they can. We care. I always laugh at those who say they don't care. Oh I don't care about my ex or my boyfriend yet they spend months on this site talking about them.

But unfortunaly sometimes the best care you can give is to wake that person up. Are you doing him/her any favor by staying by their side and keep propping them up? Do you do yourself or them any favor by questioning the values you have taken so long to set only so you can keep them happy, support them or have them continue to need you?

Along the way I have learned that sometimes walking away from a great person who has let themselves slip into issues is the best help you can give. There are a few people I have fallen in love with, with all my heart. And damn if it doesn't hurt to walk away - at times I was an emotional mess for quite a while. But really the hardest time is when you make the choice. After that time heals and believe it or not that person either learns from it and maybe the relationship can be healed or they move on to someone else who they can control. BUT at this point it's about them and you still have yourself, your sanity and love to move on.

Consider the alternatives. Stay with this person provide the support and spend a lifetime accepting what they have to offer - the good and the bad. Or be strong enough to admit it's going to be painful, and walk away. I would NEVER say that this is the best choice unless you have exhausted all other althernatives. You have talked with them, you have held their hand through tough times, you have had their back - but they continue to accept all you are willing to give them without any change. Then it's time to move on.

You have to be strong for yourself always first.

September 15, 2005
10:40 am
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shyshy
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Thanks amazed, and yes, I am codependent. I found out about it when I was still with my ex husband years ago and we were at an ex-gay conference where they talked about it.

I really don't know what will become of this relationship. Aside from all my insecurities, things really are ok for now. when the shit hits the fan, as it sometimes does, then it will be a different story!

September 15, 2005
10:45 am
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taj64
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I believe I was addicted to my last BF which is how and why I found this site. It has been about a month yet I still think I am addicted. I have decided to move on. I am not going back. What I am wondering, to those of you who are knowledgeable on this love addiction topic, can you really get over it? I know it takes time. I have been married, had boyfriends, lot of dates but never did I expect to become addicted. I am curious as to those who have recovered from this addiction, what ways to help you overcome it, time it takes to get ideas. I realize now that reading some of the posts and this one that I too, suffered with this. Right now I am been going through anger and find myself disgusted with my ex. I get the luxury of never having to deal with him or see again yet I keep going over everything and see the bad much more than the good. It is like a puzzle finally put together, and I just want to get rid of these resentful feelings I had for him that were once what I thought was love. I am reading books on forgiveness. Im not read I do not think. I am thinking it will take a few more months before I can ease up with my feelings. 3 or 4 months?

September 15, 2005
11:59 am
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shyshy
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Taj: I think it may take a little longer than three or four months. Maybe more like 6 months to a year?

I could be wrong but when I separated from my ex husband I was going nuts for the first two months till I started dating my current bf. I think that was really the only thing that helped me to get over him.

Now when I think of my ex husband and being with him I can't even see it!!

September 15, 2005
12:00 pm
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shyshy
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Anyway, what I forgot to add was that whenever I was having problems with my bf I would start to think about my ex husband again.

It's been 2 years and that doesn't happen anymore.

September 15, 2005
12:02 pm
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taj64
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You're right. I was underestimating the time. 6 months to a year. I cant imagine being with my ex husband either. When i think of this, I think that someday I will feel the same way about my ex boyfriend who hurt me. I am making progress though and this is better than sliding.

September 15, 2005
1:36 pm
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shyshy
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It's like I heard someone say one when I asked how they were. They responding with "treading water". It's a daily thing. Just keep your head up!

September 15, 2005
2:32 pm
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Amazed
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I think its harder to do when you don't have someone to replace them with. In other words if you dump your boyfriend/girlfriend and don't have anyone then you have plenty of time to think about them. Same with being dumped. You sit there and think of why and get all upset.

The best policy is to keep your mind working. The more you are not able to think of them the better off you are. The hard times for me are going to bed or waking up. Sometimes even just driving or taking a shower. Any time where my mind is wandering.

To me that is why I love my friends to death and I "NEED" them. They are the ones who take my mind away. They all know not to dwell on my problem but rather to keep me moving. We go to movies, drive places, shop, all kinds of things and we do it for each other. They help me not call that person or need to talk with them. My friends take up the time. To me that is what true friendship is all about.

September 15, 2005
3:01 pm
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SassyAlex
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I believe it's addiction not love when it follows the "rules" of addiction. Meaning that you know it's bad for you, but you keep going back to it. Sometimes you are sick of being hurt by it, you swear you will not go to it again, but the craving kicks in. It becomes unbearable. You can't eat, you can't sleep, you can't think about anything else. You are in actual physical pain, withdrawals. And the pain and discomfort is so great that you are willing to go against the fact you know it's so bad for you just to get that fix. And you're willing to do anything, including sacrificing your self respect, to get it. Then, when you are in his or her arms for that day, those hours, those minutes, it takes that pain away. Nothing else matters at that moment because you, as a "love junkie" (for lack of a better term), have gotten your fix. But it's never enough, and eventually the horror of the situation will show itself again and you will be left hurt and ripped apart...So you swear never again, once again. And the process starts all over. Only each time it gets harder. And you get more and more hurt. And it goes on and on. And you sink deeper and deeper.

Until you have to make a choice, just like people who recover from alcohol, drugs, gambling, anything. I myself have been addicted to love and men, and although I understand it better, I have not fixed it completely.

Like food addiction, it's difficult to get over because you cannot give up food forever (like, say, heroin) and you realistically cannot give up relationships. I mean, I guess you could, but it's not realistic.

September 15, 2005
3:02 pm
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painfullyinlove
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from what lollipop3 has said i am now able to put a "label" onto my problem... i am addicted to my bf... the anxiety and fears, yep, all there when i am away from him. i had the chnace to spend at week in D.C with my cousin but i chose to head back to the small town i'm in not because he was there but because i wanted to be there once he got back from his weekend.

September 15, 2005
5:32 pm
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lollipop3
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Hi Painfully,

Have your read the books...Women Who Love Too Much....by Robin Norwood or Co-Dependent No More by Melody Beattie?

Both of those books were very helpful to me when I first began my recovery from codependence.

Also, another thing that was very helpful to me was when my therapist told me to start having "lollipop" nights. One night a week that I spent all by myself. No b/f, no friends, no phone, etc.

At first it felt really uncomfortable and I actually felt stupid. My b/f lives downstairs so I felt kind of foolish saying..."ok, I'm going upstairs for my "lollipop" night....I'll see you tomorrow." Not to mention that in the beginning I would just sit on my couch, bored out of my tits....thinking "this is f$#%ing stupid!

But, after a while I actually began to enjoy my nights alone. I would take bubble baths, read, watch movies I've wanted to see, eat junk food, etc.

I've found that she suggested I do this because it really is important to learn that we can be okay by ourselves.

Good luck,
Lolli

September 16, 2005
8:11 am
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shyshy
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lollipop nights sound good. I guess in my case they would be called shyshy nights? Anyway, I think at the beginning I was really addicted to my bf because everything sassy said fit. But not so much anymore.

Things are very different now so I can't say really that being with him is bad for me. He's taking care of my house for me and keeping me company on the weekends. There also has been no drama like we used to have.

I'm sure it's only a matter of time though when we will be out at a party or something and he will get high enough to start acting really stupid. You know, the kind of stupid that no matter what I say or not say I'm doomed?

I tried that once, not saying anything in response to his stupid behavior and it wasn't any better because then I got the "you think your so cool" speach. Then if I argued back it was a fighting match that eventually ended up ugly. that particular night when I said nothing it ended up ugly too because after all his ranting and raving, when we finally made it to his house he said "and if you want to go home, then go home" So of course, I got back in the car and got ready to leave when he came running toward the car to grab me and I quickly rolled up my window but because it's electric it wasn't fast enough so he stuck his hand in and pulled on it and broke it. I just drove off and left him laying on the ground on his ass. (He fell when he pulled it).

It was pouring cats and dogs that night and I had to drive home without a window on my door!! To make matters worse I had to go back to pick up my pocketbook because it had all my child support money in it that I had gotten from my ex that night.

I called him and told him I was picking it up so when I got there he was already outside with it in his hand and he came to the car and shoved it in my face and told me to never ever call him again.

Nice huh? the next day he was calling me! Apologized for his behavior...... That was about four months ago.

He hasn't been that high and drunk since then and that's why things are good right now. But, he still does it so I know it's just a matter of time before it all goes to shit again!

September 16, 2005
12:42 pm
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kathygy
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This is the way I see addiction vs. love. When you are addicted to a person you need to see them to feel O.K. You won't leave a relationship that is destructive to you or where you are not valued and loved. Your whole sense of self depends on how the person views you and treats you. You gladly accept crumbs and try to make them into more than they are.

In real love, you want what is best for the other person. You want what they want for themselves. You are two whole people. Your sense of well being comes from inside not from your partner. They enrich your life not make it or break it.

September 16, 2005
1:13 pm
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painfullyinlove
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<<>>
it is becoming more and more apparent to me that i am facing a real problam and i am glad that i am at least aware of that. lollipop nights sound good and i should probably think of days/nights when i'm not with him as MY days/and nights and not days/nights without HIM. hope i'm making sense...

September 16, 2005
1:47 pm
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shyshy
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Yes Painfully, you are making sense. How you look at it makes a big difference.

Kathy: you are right. That was me at the beginning of the relationship. I would go crazy if I couldn't see him and nearly drove myself mad during the time he had his ex living with him. It was so painful!! It changed from that to I liked my days alone during the week but would miss him on mondays and by Wednesday I was craving him again and couldn't wait till the weekend.

From that it changed to "it's the weekend already?" to now, there are times when I don't want to even see him on Fridays. Especially if he's high!!

Maybe it will get to the point where I won't want to see him at all?? that would be nice!!

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