I Was a Love Addict
What’s love got to do with it?
Is love really going to get us anywhere? As hearts break, passion fades, and obsessive tendencies kick in, I question why this is such a coveted state of being. After all, as Tina Turner so cleverly sung in her throaty voice, “What’s love but a second-hand emotion?”
When I was 14, long before I knew about the perils of dating in a metropolitan city, I thought that love was the single greatest thing that could happen to a person. And when it did, it never faltered, it never left, and it was worth risking everything for. I had the movie, The Princess Bride memorized and practiced saying “As you wish” in the mirror hoping for a story like that to happen to me.
About ten years later it did. But after an intense period of passion and romance, the flame fizzled, the poetry puckered, and my heart shattered into a million pieces. After months of sobbing on my bedroom floor, I realized that, well, perhaps it’s best not to hang your hat on that one “sweet old-fashioned notion.”
A few years post breakup my mother sent me an article from National Geographic on love. The article went on to say that love, or at least that passionate weak-kneed feeling that we all yearn for, is nothing more than a chemical reaction gone awry. In fact, the article stated that passion stirs up behaviors akin to obsessive compulsive disorder. (Ahem, maybe I did hire a detective to track down my ex … ). And even worse, our first feelings of attraction release the same chemical as cocaine.
All these years I had been a love cokehead.
And as a true ‘cokehead’ I gave everything else up in my life to pursue it. Who had time to exercise when I could spend my evenings arranging our “us” photo album? And why should we hang out with friends when we could slow dance to Marvin Gaye? And who needed to be on time for work when I could stay longer at home to stare lovingly at the man as he finished his bowl of Wheaties. Geesh … I was pathetic. Where was love rehab when I needed it?
Since then I vowed to not let love overtake my life. My other relationships were stable, but also short lived. Instead of risking it all for love, it seemed better to focus my energy on my career, my friends, and new marathon times. However, a co-worker just blasted Nat King Cole in the office and I feel a love addiction relapse coming. I wonder, should I fall into temptation and give love another chance or are emotion-free relationships the only safe way to go? I ask those closest to me:
Heather (the eternal stoic): I say look for a documentary, not a soap opera. You want stability. I am dating someone that is about as emotional as a rock. There is no passionate love drama … but that’s not always a bad thing. I have not felt this sane dating someone in years. No arguments, no tears, and no jealousy. I could care less if he spends weekends with his guys for I have my own life going on! Although I do miss doodling someone’s name on my napkins …
Alexis (the champion of love): No, screw unemotional stability! Look for love. Look for the weak-kneed feeling! The passion, the drama, the make-up sex! And, they don’t all end poorly if you are truly right for each other. I am giddy with being in love. I do not know why anyone would try to deter it from happening. I cannot wait to see Adam tonight to get my next fix…
Nadia (ever cautious): Look for someone you can love as a friend. In India we have arranged marriages … we become committed partners first, and then gradually fall in love. But it is not the exciting whirlwind love you see in Hollywood. It’s calm and steady. But it works.
My mother (who just wants the best for us all): You have to have chemistry. Even if it’s the same type that cokeheads have. But you must have more than that too: respect, kindness, compassion, and the ability to maintain your own life. The initial passion may fade, but then it will turn into something else, also beautiful.
Yes, I am 31 and still following my mother’s advice. But she IS a chemist. So perhaps I’ll try to keep an open mind and hopefully find someone in-between a swoon-inducing Don Juan and a large rock. And if all fails and I once again find myself wearing a straight jacket in love rehab, I’ll just hope that they’ll have cute male nurses to dole out the medicine. So sappy co-workers, turn up that Nat King Cole!
Read Heidi’s last blog: The Commitment of Marriage