Are You In Love or “Love” Addicted? Take the Quiz and Find Out

By Jed Diamond, Ph.D., LCSW

NABBW’s Male Menopause Expert

When I was young I spent many hours at the movies longing for the kind of love I saw on the screen-big, passionate, and lasting. I wanted Splendor in the Grass and believed that Love Was a Many Splendored Thing.

But as I got older and got married, became a therapist, and began working with men, women, and families, my views began to change. I found there was a difference between love and “love” and “love addiction.”

I wrote a book called Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Overcoming Romantic and Sexual Addictions and described 21 differences between true love and “love addiction.”

 

1. Healthy Love develops after we feel secure.
Addictive Love tries to create love even though we feel frightened and insecure.

2. Healthy Love comes from feeling full. We overflow with love.
Addictive Love is always trying to fill an inner void.

3. Healthy Love begins with self-love.
Addictive Love always seeks love “out there” from that “special someone.”

4. Healthy Love comes to us once we\’ve given up the search.
Addictive Love is compulsively sought after.

5. Healthy Love comes from inside. It wants to give.
Addictive Love comes from outside. It wants to take.

6. Healthy Love grows slowly, like a tree.
Addictive Love grows fast, as if by magic, like those children\’s animals that expand instantly when we add water.

7. Healthy Love thrives on time alone as well as time with our partner.
Addictive Love is frightened of being alone and afraid of being close.

8. Healthy Love is unique. There is no “ideal lover” that we seek.
Addictive Love is stereotyped. There is always a certain type that attracts us.

9. Healthy Love is gentle and comfortable.
Addictive Love is tense and combative.

10. Healthy Love is based on a deep knowing of ourselves and our lover.
Addictive Love is based on hiding from ourselves and falling in love with an ideal “image” not a person.

11. Healthy Love encourages us to be ourselves, to be honest from the beginning with who we are, including our faults.
Addictive Love encourages secrets. We want to look good and put on an attractive mask.

12. Healthy Love flows out.
Addictive Love caves in.

13. Healthy Love creates a deeper sense of ourselves the longer we are together.
Addictive Love creates a loss of self the longer we are together.

14. Healthy Love gets easier as time goes on.
Addictive Love requires more effort as time goes on.

15. Healthy Love is like rowing across a gentle lake.
Addictive Love is like being swept away down a raging river.

16. Healthy Love grows stronger as fear decreases.
Addictive Love expands as fear increases.

17. Healthy Love is satisfied with what we have.
Addictive Love is always looking for more or better.

18. Healthy Love encourages interests to expand in the world.
Addictive Love encourages outside interests to contract.

19. Healthy Love is based on the belief that we want to be together.
Addictive Love is based on the belief that we have to be together.

20. Healthy Love teaches that we can only make ourselves happy.
Addictive Love expects the other person to make us happy and demands that we try to make them happy.

21. Healthy Love creates life.
Addictive Love creates melodramas.

Here are some of the letters I\’ve recently received from women who are trying to figure out the difference between love and “love addiction.”

Dear Dr. Jed, I have been trying to get hold of your book Irritable Male Syndrome and it is totally sold out in Australia. I was lucky enough to get it on e-Bay from America. I am looking forward to reading it.

My partner and I were together for 11 years and actually had a really good relationship as well as being best friends. In March we bought a house together. He was so excited and had so many plans that he wanted to do to the garden. In April he turned 50. He became withdrawn, started drinking every night and would just sit in front of the TV. He would not talk to me at all. He spent a couple of weekends going out with mates, which is completely out of character for him and then he didn\’t come home during the week. When he did turn up after a couple of days he just exploded at me.

He was like a kettle that had lost its lid and all the steam needed to escape. This was completely out of character for him. He told me he hated me, did not want anything to do with me and couldn\’t stand the site of me. He said he was moving in with his adult son and his fiancé and never wanted to see me again.

It has now been five weeks. The only contact I have had is when he told me to take the house payments out of his bank account. I have always done all his paperwork and banking. He only took his clothes, everything else is still here. He will not answer my calls or messages. My problem is that I do not have closure. It is very frustrating as a woman not to have answers. My life is in limbo. I would just like to know what he is thinking or is unable to think. Please help.

Dear Dr. Jed, I love my husband very much and I am really struggling to understand the huge change in behavior – almost overnight. He is 49, just stopped smoking, and is concerned about his health. He just bought a very expensive sports car and blames me for most things that he is unhappy about.

I am sure it\’s male menopause. I don\’t want to lose him. He is my life and soul. I am trying really hard to support him. My friends are great. How long will this go on? It\’s so hard to deal with everything.

Dear Dr. Jed, I\’m a 47 year old woman who will probably lose her husband here for good in a short period of time. I don\’t want that to happen, but I don\’t know what to do. On February 1st we had a stupid argument over the VCR and the next thing that came out of my husband\’s mouth was that we were over and that he was moving out. I can\’t believe this is happening to me. I love my husband deeply and I don\’t want our marriage to end. What should I do?

Dear Dr. Jed, Tell me something about the male change of life, or as I affectionately refer to it as “man walking around with stick up his butt.” Sorry no disrespect intended. Question: What is it about men at mid-life that they can\’t seem to make up their minds? They say one thing and then say the opposite. They just are not able to think straight.

I am so ready for a relationship. I long for love, but wonder if it is really possible to have with a man. I have a new friend who says he wants a strong woman, one who speaks her mind and is strong willed and independent. That would be me.

But just when I think we\’re getting close, he withdraws. I think I scare men. Help me understand this male stuff. He is very special to me and I know he feels the same. But I can\’t get him to admit it or commit to a real relationship. He was in a bad relationship about 18 months ago. Shouldn\’t he be over that by now? And how do I get him to open up and let go already. Please help!

Dear Dr. Jed, My husband and I have 2 kids and have been married almost 14 years. He just turned 40. Since January we have been going through a crisis. He has had a woman “friend” who he has been sharing intimacies with over the phone and on the Internet. I found out in February when he seemed to be having a break down. So I did some investigating and found out about “her.” OK, that part is forgiven by me because I really LOVE my husband.

He has come to realize the pain he has put me, and the kids, through. He has been a wonderful “new” person for 5 weeks now. But, he is still very emotional and VERY depressed. He says he still thinks about moving out and just doesn\’t want to be married any more. I love this man and will do anything to keep him.

Do you think this marriage can be saved? I have hope. Does that help? What can I do? I\’m so lost and upset. I want my husband back! I know if he gets the help he needs things will turn around, but he\’s resistant to seeing anyone. What do I do?

What have your experiences been like? Come visit me at www.MenAlive.com and drop me a note.

Jed Diamond, Ph.D. has been a marriage and family counselor for the last 44 years. He is the author of 10 books, including Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places, Male Menopause, The Irritable Male Syndrome, and the forthcoming MenAlive: Stop Killer Stress With Simple Energy Healing Tools He offers counseling to men, women, and couples in his office in California or by phone with people throughout the U.S. and around the world. To receive a free subscription to Jed’s e-newsletter go to www.MenAlive.com. If you are looking for an expert counselor to help with relationship issues, write Jed@MenAlive.com.