Life Advice



Single File: Love Addiction

Susan Dietz on

DEAR SUSAN: You write about love addiction as if it's a bad thing to be in love. What is it, and is it so very bad?

DEAR BLOGGER: Being in love is wonderful: exalting, mellowing, shifting one's entire outlook on life into Upbeat and Forgiving. How could something that good be bad? The thing is, though, I'm not talking about love when I put the words "love" and "addiction" side by side. (And I hope it never infects you!) No, this malady is insidious -- creeping into a relationship and destroying it from the inside. Its core is something we politely call jealousy. But it's more than that, a lot more, a possessiveness often mistaken for intense love. At first it's a bit bothersome but also flattering in a way. To be wanted so deeply must be a good thing, we tell ourselves. But it grows from there and deepens into ownership. And no one wants to be a piece of property. Pretty soon outsiders are discouraged from entering the twosome, made to feel unwelcome. The couple get the message pretty soon. But still, it feels good to be wanted so badly that the whole world is shut out. Right? So very wrong! Soon one of the duo realizes he/she feels like a shut-in, caged-like-a-pet possession, only this cage is terminal and unloving. Both partners -- can't call them lovers -- sink into the mire of exclusiveness gone wrong. Ownership. Relationship made ill. Oh, how wrong this addiction makes life. Where the partners in a healthy relationship stand back to back, facing out into the world, this travesty keeps the world far away. Here's to healthy love that welcomes the world beyond its borders.

DEAR SUSAN: I see men with women and wonder why the men chose the women instead of me. Case in point: I went with friends to a bar some months ago and saw a lot of men with blah women and wondered what they have that I don't. I spent the entire evening getting admiring glances -- but nothing else -- and left with not a man asking for my number. Friends say I'm above average in looks and a wonderful person. But I guess in love that doesn't matter.

DEAR BLOGGER: Sorry, dear one, but you've been misinformed. (That's the polite way of saying, "Wow! You've got it all wrong!") Actually, you are so wrong it's dangerous. From all I know, men consider the exterior of a female important -- up to a point. It's not their greatest must-have. What is? The woman with a sense of humor, willingness to laugh and enjoy their company. Not the woman with above-average looks (ahem) who is totally consumed with herself and why she isn't in the company of a man. You must have been a pleasant sight to behold perched on a barstool, but so what? Is that enough for a man with a nice-but-blah woman (!) to get up from his table and ask for your phone number? Obviously not. So you went home alone, taking your above-average looks with you. Hey, friend. How about getting real and involving yourself in something real, substantive, interesting? Something that puts you with like-minded people who like your looks but are drawn to your charm, your enthusiasm, your lack of artifice? Get real, dear friend. Get into the world. It's a lot bigger and more exciting than sitting on a barstool, gazing at other ladies' blahness. Get another interest besides the other sex. It will make you much more interesting, I guarantee.



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