Do you have an overwhelming romantic desire for someone in your life? Do you constantly have fantasies and thoughts about this person? Does nothing else in life seem to matter accept for the person your “in love” with? If so you can be a love addict. To help understand what a love addict is and how someone can get help for their love addiction, I have interviewed psychotherapist Elana Clark-Faler.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Sex Addiction Therapist. I have a private practice in Los Angeles, California where I treat individuals and couples who struggle with love and sex addiction. I have extensive training and experience working with a full range of addictive sexual behavior and sexual problems. I have worked in numerous agencies providing comprehensive treatment in both Chicago and Los Angeles, such as the Sexual Recovery Institute Founded by Rob Weiss, LCSW, CSAT-S. In addition, I am a national speaker, educator, and consultant.”
What are some signs that someone is a love addict?
“Love addiction, also called relationship addiction, is characterized as being overwhelmed by desire for another person, to the detriment of other aspects of life (work, school, or family). Those who are love addicted become captivated with the feelings of romance, intensity and sexual desire that tend to develop in the beginning of a romance. Love addicted have difficulty moving through deeper levels of intimacy, and often leave a relationship after the ‘honeymoon stage.'”
“Those who struggle with love addiction have difficulty staying in committed relationships. They either become consumed in the relationship, which drives them to leave (jumping into a new relationship) or they want to completely consume their partner. Love addicted tend to project their fantasizes onto their partner and become frustrated when their partner doesn’t fulfill their expectations.”
“Love addicted may find themselves in relationships with unavailable partners (such as married individuals). This won’t stop someone who is love addicted. They experience a heighten sense of euphoria causing them to make decisions that will lead to negative consequences. Some extreme cases have even lead to stalking.”
“Additional signs are: Preoccupied with thoughts and fantasy. Has difficulty being alone. Using seduction or manipulation to hold onto a partner. Defining sexual experiences or romantic intensity as love. Lying to friends and family. Has an affair with different people. Sexualizes conversations. Stalking by checking email and internet resources excessively. Have destructive or failed relationships. Relationships are intoxicating.
Inability to set limits or respect other people’s limits.”
What type of impact can love addiction have on a person’s overall life?
“Love addition can ruin the lives of the individual and their families. Some have lost friendships and partners as a result of their actions. The love addict assigns their self worth by the actions or inactions of the individual who they obsess about. I have witnessed clients become depressed after obsessing about an individual leading to a desire to harm themselves and others.”
What can someone do to overcome his or her love addiction?
“I think it’s important to obtain support. You can’t do this alone. There are several options to chose from when it comes to 12 step support meetings: Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous and Love Addicts Anonymous. I think it’s important to get into individual therapy with a therapist who specializes in Love and Sex Addiction. You can visit the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health at www.sash.net. They have a directory of therapists who specialize in sex and love addiction.”
What last advice would you like to leave for someone who has a love addiction?
“Romance isn’t reality. Love is caring and supporting your partner, without losing yourself. It’s important to love yourself first and then learn to love those around you. Healthy partners want to have a partner who isn’t dependent on them for validation or self worth. It’s important to reach out and get help with a therapist if you feel you have any of the symptoms listed above. Don’t do this alone, because you’re not alone.”
Thank you Elana for the interview of being a love addict. If you would like more information on Elana Clark-Faler you can check out her website on http://www.recoveryhelpnow.com.
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