I recently had a client I'll call Sandy, who loved a man named Jeff with all her heart. Yet they had broken up at least three times during the two and a half years they'd been together.
While apart, an intense longing for the other would occur and they'd come back together celebrating a harmonious honeymoon truce with a lot of love and a lot of sex. But it wouldn't take long for the problems creating the break up to reappear.
Sandy didn't understand why love wasn't enough to work through the difficulties that always seemed to show up. She and Jeff were so different. Her friends couldn't understand why she was even with him. To them, she and Jeff didn't see life in the same way.
She was a Ritz kind of girl and he was a camping dude. She could get past all of this because she felt their heart connection would sustain them through thick and thin. It had up until then.
But she had tired of his habit of taking off on his little trips to explore the countryside without her. And she found trying to get a commitment from him just to go to dinner with friends was like pulling teeth.
She wanted more from him. She really wanted their relationship to go to the next level. He was a good man and even though they didn't have a lot in common, she could feel him in her heart all the time.
She even knew when he was thinking about her, making it feel like he was always with her even when he wasn't. And that brought her tremendous comfort.
So was Sandy really in love or was she addicted to Jeff? More than likely, it was the chemical addiction to Oxytocin that occurs when a woman bonds with a man.
What did I advise Sandy to do? And what can you do about it if you find yourself addicted to love?
1- Oxytocin creates a high for women that is often mistaken for love.
The longing for each other was actually the longing for the high Sandy felt around Jeff. The great sex after a breakup was the fix when Oxytocin was once again released for her.
It got released every time she thought of him. The high was the comfort she was feeling.
2- Ask yourself what you really love about a man you feel an intense connection with.
It's important to hone in on the qualities he brings to the table beyond sex and love that make you feel good being in a relationship with him.
3- Next, ask yourself what you don't love about him.
Sandy and Jeff continued breaking up for a reason. He wasn't committed, she needed more from him and he wasn't able to give it.
4- Then ask yourself whether what he brings to the table is enough for you and the relationship you desire with him.
When it's an Oxytocin addiction, there's usually not enough beyond sex, love and a heart connection. Almost everything else is annoying, irritating and feels unsolvable.
5- Get yourself busy.
The longing will come back, but with it you'll also feel a sense of freedom from being out from under a relationship that isn't working. An Oxytocin addiction can stay with you for years. To break it, start by acknowledging this is occurring.
Stop all contact with the man by phone, email, Facebook or in person. Otherwise the addiction will start all over again.
You can do it. As with any addiction, it takes time to recover. Be kind to yourself, especially when you're frustrated, feeling like it will never go away.
Plan activities you can do that make you feel good. Get some friends together to be your support group. You will feel like a freak at times but know you aren't alone.
This happens to normal people, and even to most of us at one time or another. The key is identifying the addiction so you can take the steps to overcome the Oxytocin high and move on.
Lisa Copeland is the dating coach who makes finding love after 50 fun and easy. Find out more at www.FindAQualityMan.com.