NORMA JEAN: Love Junkie

One of my favorite questions about love is the one stated in the title. Is it real love... or is it sex addiction? Does anyone know how to have a healthy relationship? Is there any such thing? Is the high that comes from being obsessed and addicted good enough, no matter what the cost?The "perfect partner" does not solve all of our problems -- no way, no how. In addictive relationships, partners truly believe they have found the one who will make them happy. The irony of this high, and the sexual intensity connected to it, is that, at some level, the partners end up torturing each other with doubts, fears, jealousies, insecurities and resultant psycho-dramas. These couples are more glued to an addictive script from the past (like trying to make right, or heal a relationship with a parent) than to a more genuine bond to each other. Addictive love is like manic depression: euphoria one moment, despair the next, sleepless nights, difÞ culty eating, mood swings, spacey feelings, a drug-like intensity of aliveness -- or deadness -- depending on what' s happening with the loved one.Let' s face it -- falling in love is an altered state of consciousness only partially grounded in reality. Wonderful, warm, sexy feelings are not based on real knowledge of the other person, but rather on what one projects onto them. And, my god, we know all about the 50 ways to deify someone during those Þrst few weeks and months of a new relationship. Every woman I know who falls into lust, or fantasy, puts his last name after hers, just to try it out, usually before dessert is served.on the first date. Embarrassing yet true...eh?Dependency and sex addiction are funky feelings. It's totally depressing to feel you are incomplete without the "other" who is your source of life or pleasure. To constantly fear the loss of a person who becomes your "only" is to feel utterly dependent on that person for survival. I' ve been there; we all have, and we must admit that with dependency comes rage or depression, and a feeling of out-of-controlness.A big love affair can actually give way to losing oneself. Instead of intimacy, one experiences loneliness, a kind of barrenness instead of creativity and inspiration. Like any drug, love/sex addiction eventually turns on the user, taking much more than it gives.And so it unfolds like this sometimes:"I' ll get you for pushing me around and making me miserable...I' m sick of living for a few crumbs of affection, after all I' ve given to you! I' ll go and screw someone else...maybe a friend of yours...or maybe wreck the car and see if you really care, or...(Þll in the blank)."Sometimes, overt ßirting, public abuse, hurtful comments -- anything to get back at someone for being your lifeblood -- can create the illusion that now the ball is in your court and you' ve gotten some power back. Misusing sex is popular for creating feelings of personal power, or a high, or the sensation of being loved. It is endemic in relationships and creates a chasm that separates us from what we all say we want -- an internal power, security and capacity to love.All you "clean living" types who boast of no chemical dependency and a healthy lifestyle, (ND' s, NS' s, NDU' s): I simply ask you to look a little deeper. How far into "recovery" are you when it comes to sex and romance?Sorry 'bout this,Norma Jean

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