Love Junky

Ironically it is a term that is steeped in contradiction. Love Junkie refers to someone who gets off on the emotional high that comes along with being in love yet this individual is someone who is never able to truly be in love.

The love junkie is addicted to the blissful sensations associated with falling in love and this is the reason why he or she is never able to maintain a long term relationship. As soon as the relationship’s intense emotions begin to wane the love junkie moves on. A love junkie sincerely believes that once the intense rush of chemical messages begin to subside that there is no longer love in the relationship. 

Love is perhaps the greatest natural high that one can experience and the dizzying emotional experience that accompanies its onset can be confusing. It is a release of chemical messages within the brain that is to blame. Alike a morphine high these chemicals bring an intense emotional rush to the person experiencing their affects and the love junkie is hooked.

Mistakenly believing that this intense emotional high is what is to be expected throughout the duration of the relationship this lover is never able to move forward into the deeper more complex connection that is a  long term love.

When you fall in love there are a number of chemical reactions that occur within the brain. A small protein known as Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) rapidly increases in numbers. This sets off a chain reaction within the brain. Norepinephrine is released which in turn causes an increased production of adrenaline in the brain.

This causes the person in love to become more excited, edgy, and intense. While the release of a chemical known as phenylethalimine causes a feeling of bliss to flow throughout the body. Another feel good chemical released is dopamine. While oxytocin, which is the primary sexual arousal hormone, creates warm feelings of sexual attraction and attachment.

Once these chemicals are released they can remain in the brain for up to a year after the first initial assault. These combined chemicals give the person in love an emotional high which leaves them grinning and acting perfectly silly giddy with excitement. This chemical high is what a love junkie becomes addicted to.

Disappointed in the lack of intensity within the relationship the love junkie believes that the love has died and moves off in his or her never ending search for love.

Where as most individuals would at this point move into a deeper more caring relationship with their partner the love junkie believes that the deep emotional connection between the two has ended.  What this individual does not realize is that what he is searching for does not exist and if he is aware, then he simply does not care. Addicted to the intense chemical high that comes with each new love that is what this addict searches for.

Studies indicate that the youth of today may be becoming less empathetic and experiencing a lesser emotional connection to those around them. Perhaps this is true of most individuals in today's fast paced world. Work that is not personally rewarding, internet connections rather than direct social contact, exposure to over crowding, violent behavior, frustration, exposure to pornography and other unrealistic views of romance, and monetary stress may be pushing us into a desensitization of our natural emotional responses.

Add to this the fact that today there are many other factors in play which make it easier to feed a sexual or emotional addictive behavior. The stigma of divorce is less intense thus making relationships easier to leave. Internet options in dating makes relationships easier to find. It is a combination that makes it all too easy for a love junky to feed his or her addiction.

Unfortunately the love junkie appears to be becoming more common place. Is this an acceptable approach to love? 

Likely not in the viewpoint of those who are hurt in the wake of this form of destructive love. But to the love junkie it may be a very acceptable way to live. The time spent hurting from the pain of a break up may only last a month or two while the intense emotional feelings of falling in love can last approximately a year. 

The short term payoff may seem worth it but there are of course some negative aspects to his or her addiction and a long term love may remain forever elusive. To compensate for this loss there are the blissful highs of the short term relationships. These bursts of intense emotion make the hurtful aspects of the addiction more tolerable. 

By ignoring the past and the future repercussions of his or her actions the love junkie lives for the momentary high. The pleasure of the moment overshadows any long term negativity and isn’t that virtually the way in which every junkie accounts for their habit? 

At some point the longing for a forever love may set in. This is where acknowledging that the problem may lie within oneself may be the first step in recovery. For every junkie it is important to admit that there is a problem. From there it is a matter of learning and retraining to attain a more accurate picture of what really is expected within a long term relationship.

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