Romantic relationships are never a smooth journey. They are never perfect. They may appear perfect for a while, like when you’re in the honeymoon phase – that magical time when you’re deeply in love and you idealize your partner. But, this apparent perfection stops existing as conflicts, disappointment, dissatisfaction, and arguments occur more frequently in the relationship.
It appears that sometimes a loving relationship can easily become a love/hate relationship. Complete withdrawal of affection can then occur and love can very easily turn into feelings of hostility. Once this happens, the relationship begins to oscillate between the polarities of hate and “love” for a few months or even a few years. Many couples become addicted to these polarities since the intensity of the drama makes them feel alive.
However, as soon as the balance between the positive and negative polarities is disturbed and the destructive cycles happen more frequently, it won’t be long before the relationship falls apart.
You may think that if you could somehow eliminate the bad, destructive cycles, things between you and your partner would get better and the relationship would flourish, but that’s impossible. Because these polarities depend on each other. One can’t function without the other.
So, it’s obvious that I’m speaking here of what many commonly refer to as romantic or intimate relationships, not of genuine, everlasting love. Because this kind of love doesn’t have polarities. And it has nothing to do with neediness or addictive clinging.
Yes, “love,” (I’m using quotation marks here because I’m not referring to true love), can sometimes turn into neediness. Into addiction.
Are you wondering how this is possible?
Well, when you’re “in love” with your partner, you feel whole. You feel alive. Your life has all of a sudden become meaningful since someone wants you, needs you, and showers you with attention and affection, and you do the same for them. The relationship makes you feel emotionally fulfilled and complete. And this feeling can become so intense and powerful that the rest of the world appears unimportant to you.
This is how you become addicted to your partner. They act like a drug on you. You feel “high” when the drug is available for you to use, but even the thought that your partner might not be there for you anymore can lead to possessiveness, intense jealousy, and attempts at manipulation via accusing and emotional blackmail.
If your partner ends the relationship with you, this can bring about the deepest despair or the most bitter hostility. In the blink of an eye, your “love” and affection can turn into deep, inconsolable grief or vicious attack. So, where’s the love now? Or was it really love in the first place, or only neediness and addictive clinging?
What makes us become addicted to another person?
Many people tend to believe that romantic relationships offer liberation from a deeply rooted sense of incompleteness and need. They believe that relationships are what add value to our lives and that they’re the source from which everyone derives their sense of self.
They don’t care about the fact that they let their relationship status and the person they’re with define their identity. The only thing that appears to matter to them is that the feelings of unfulfillment and incompleteness aren’t there anymore. Or maybe they still exist hidden underneath the surface?
If you experience both “love” and disappointment or emotional violence in your relationship, this means you’re confusing love with neediness and attachment. Because you can’t love the person you’re in a relationship with one moment and hurt them the next. You can’t love your partner one moment and criticize them or even insult them the next because they behave in ways that don’t meet your needs.
Becoming addicted to your partner is always a result from you refusing to face and overcome your own pain. But, this addiction won’t do you good. It won’t help you move through your pain. Instead, it’ll only bring you more pain.
So, the question is: How can you change an addictive relationship into a healthy and loving one?
The answer is simple – you can do this by completely accepting your partner for who they are, without needing to change or judge them in any way. Because once you do this, all addictive clinging, attachment, and mind games will be over.