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LOVE ADDICTION ~ Loving Yourself Enough To Stop The Pain

Relationships as a "Drug of Choice"

It is fairly easy to understand and visibly see a person who is addicted to alcohol, food, drugs, money, or nicotine as these are all concrete substances. But an addiction to love is not easily visible.

Love addiction is something that affects many people. It is not easily recognized or understood as an addiction. Yet it is disabling to those of us who use love relationships as our “drug of choice.”

Many years ago I came upon a book called “Woman Who Love Too Much” by Robin Norwood. As I read and read, my entire body was stiff but weak. Pieces of my own soul kept oozing from every page.

What is Love Addiction?

Love addiction is defined as “loving too much, when being in love means being in pain, when our relationship jeopardizes our emotional well-being and perhaps our physical health and safety, when we become so obsessed with our partner and our relationship that we are unable to function.”


My Drug of Choice

When I first read the list of characteristics describing someone who loves too much, I was shocked because I related to each and every one of them. I couldn’t believe how addicted I was ~ to love.

For example, “terrified of abandonment, we will do anything to keep relationships from dissolving.” And “by being drawn to people with problems that need fixing, or by being enmeshed in situations that are chaotic, uncertain, and emotionally painful, we avoid focusing on our responsibility to ourselves.”

I found my life entangled throughout the pages of this book. The characteristics really made me take a look at myself. They validated that I was in a lot of pain and that I wasn’t alone.


LOVE ADDICTION comes in many forms: Click HERE to view 40 questions to help determine if you are a Love Addict.

You Could Count on Me

I’ve always been a very nice, kindhearted person. I was a person you could count on. I don’t really have any enemies. Most people like people like me. I was the person who was always there for everyone, yet I was never really there for myself. I thought I could “fix” everyone that came into my life.

The few significant long-term relationships I’ve been in all had the same patterns. My partners were alcoholics and/or drug addicts, emotionally unavailable to me. I worked very hard on a relationship and my partner wasn’t mentally there. I lived in a fantasy of how it could be. I had critically low self esteem and did not know how to set boundaries with others. I thrived on chaos. The more crazy the relationship got, the more energized I was.


When I Was a Little Girl

I watched my mother tolerate my father’s drinking, verbal abuse and emotional abuse. No matter how bad it got, Mom stayed with him “for better or for worse.”

Being the oldest of three girls, I was the daughter who always tried to keep peace. But whatever I tried never worked. One minute we would be having fun and the next we were afraid because we were being too loud. One minute my parents were screaming “I want a divorce” and my mother was kicking my father out of the house. One half hour later, mom was fixing dad dinner. Total confusion. Nothing was ever stable. Nothing was easy to understand.




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Although it is possible to be both, sex addicts are addicted to the sexual experience and typically, emotional intimacy is not important.

The many forms that love addiction can take are all different from sex addiction. Some love addicts carry a torch for unavailable people. Others become obsessed when they fall in love. Some love addicts are addicted to the euphoric effects of romance. Others cannot let go of a toxic relationship even if they are lonely, neglected, unhappy, depressed or in physical danger. Unlike sex addicts, love addicts crave an emotional connection and will avoid separation anxiety and loneliness at any cost.

As An Adult

Once I had what I thought was a relationship, that was all I cared about. I would do anything to make it last. I thought that if I did enough and loved enough, then my partner would change. But the craziness just got worse. What started out as small conflicts turned into verbally and physically abusive rages. My self esteem was so low that I took the abuse as if I somehow deserved it.

I hung in there for better or worse because that is what I learned growing up. The farther my partners went away emotionally and mentally, the faster I ran after them. Every time I was lied to, cheated on and manipulated, the harder I worked on the relationship. I would fantasize that this could change into the perfect fairy tale romance.

In the midst of all this chaotic uncertainty in my relationships, I forgot about my family and all my friends. Nothing else mattered. I made my partner my higher power. I literally thought I would die if the relationship would end. But I was really dying while I was in it.


When My Love Addicted Relationships Would End

I would be totally disabled. Everything became so quiet. I missed the intensity. I would cry all the time. I lived in a fog. I drove myself crazy. Every thought in my head was about the relationship and what went wrong. I couldn’t believe it was over . . . I worked SO hard.

I’d do obsessive things like calling my ex, driving by, making sure I still had that connection. I’d play games to try to re-kindle the fire. What I didn’t realize was that I was playing with dynamite. Every time the line was thrown to me, I’d get hooked and reeled in. One little glimpse of caring about me gave me hope and the whole viscous cycle would start again.


When the Intensity Finally Lessened

As time would pass and the intensity of obsessing about a past relationship would lessen, my addiction would change to “workaholism.” I’d work my butt off on the job trying to be the perfect employee in place of the perfect lover.

I always had something going to keep my life intense. Nothing I did was in moderation. I didn’t know how to get off this crazy ride.

It's like living on a merry-go-round that never stops.

It's like living on a merry-go-round that never stops.

Hitting Bottom

I was mentally, physically and emotionally drained. I couldn’t take the pain much longer. My body was giving me all kinds of signs that I was hitting bottom with two choices; sink or swim.

I Decided to Swim

Recovering from loving too much has been a continuous journey. I’ve had to reach out for help which isn’t easy. Many people didn’t even know I was in so much pain because I hid it so well.

I remember when I first read the characteristics of RECOVERING from loving too much in Robin Norwood's book. I thought to myself, I never feel that way . . . what do I have to do to feel that way?

For example "When a relationship is destructive, we are able to let go of it without experiencing disabling depression."

And this was a tough one "We value our own serenity above all else. All the struggles, drama, and chaos of the past have lost their appeal. We are protective of ourselves, our health and well-being."



          12-STEP PROGRAM

A fellowship of men and woman whose common purpose is to recover from unhealthy dependency on love.

Click HERE to view the LAA website.

Recovery and a Happier Life

When I first began learning about love addiction, I was thrilled to be able to put a name on what I was feeling. Initially, I was hoping for a quick fix ~ yet that never happened.

Recovering from love addiction is a lifelong process. I’ve had to let go of things in my life that weren’t healthy for me. I worked hard on changing my addictive behavior. I found things in my life that would build my self esteem. I reached out and asked for help. I've read many books on the subject and also used my creative writing as a healthy outlet. I attended group meetings and individual therapy. And I've found closure with many painful things from my past.

I realize that my parents did the best they could in raising their children. I don’t blame them for my troubles. I share with my family what I have learned in hopes that the cycle has been broken.

Love addiction is a difficult subject to write about for me. It's quite personal. Yet I am doing so in hopes that I may help others understand and get the help they so deserve.

One of my favorite sayings is Love Yourself Enough To Stop The Pain. I have that choice. You do too.

This is Sharyn's Slant


All four books are available on Amazon below.

Addiction to Love: Overcoming Obsession and Dependency in Relationships

by Susan Peabody

Facing Love Addiction: Giving Yourself The Power To Change The Way You Love

by Pia Melody

Is It LOVE or Is It Addiction?

by Brenda Schaeffer

Woman Who Love Too Much

by Robin Norwood

Here's a poem I wrote while driving on the freeway: expressing my feelings of wanting to connect with my "addiction," staying strong and knowing that it would be a mistake


Thoughts are spinning

Which way should I go

I may take the exit

If I go too slow.

Maybe stop or drive by

For what, don’t know why

Would I scream, would I cry?

Whatever would be said

It would all be a lie

We may end up in bed . . . then again

. . . I could end up dead.

Sweaty palms, clenching the wheel

Keep going forward

Just follow the bright moon

Close my eyes for a moment

It will all be over soon.

The intensity rose

Forcing the peddle to the floor

I kept going past the ramp

Won’t take the pain any more.

Fu _ _ ing jerk ~ I hate you

Do you see what you’ve done

If I keep going

I’ll know that I’ve won.

The desire, the connection

Oh, so strong

Regain my power, just keep driving

It won’t be long.

Passing sights, memories

That force me to recall

Pain, evil, deception

That’s all.

Now I can see

My eyes open again

And I remember when

I promised myself

I’d make it through

As long as I stay away from you.

The exit will remain

No choice in the matter

But it’s my decision

I choose not to be battered.



Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on February 02, 2013:

Hi Luna ~ I am so glad that you stopped by and this information was useful to you. Love addiction is not an easy thing to change. I personally do understand about going back and feeling like you are in the same place again. But it is obvious that you are aware of things that happened and why you've made certain decisions. Just that alone means you really are not in the same place. You've learned and have grown. It all takes time. Please take care of yourself and keep healing. I wish you the best.


luna1008 on February 01, 2013:

Hi, I was glad to read your article. I haven't read all the comments. None actually. I just wanted to respond. I've gone through a similar experience with my parents. My family still wonders why I am single, really single. I don't understand didn't they have the same experience. Perhaps not. I was a small child, the oldest one. I saw my father be abusive to my mother. It traumatized me. I now as an adult have to seek healers and guides all the time, but still I am not in a healthy relationship. After many years of education, I'm in the same place I was 15 years ago. Back to my first relationship with my ex-boyfriend where we were also very unhealthy. It was like I wanted him to play the role of my father, pushing him to the brink of insanity. I know this now. I am beginning a new phase in my life. Perhaps recovery and healing. I pray. Thank you.

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on September 14, 2012:

Hi Cyndi ~ Great feedback. For me, my biggest tendency is to "choose people that need fixing." Not so much about going from one relationship to the other, but being extremely engrossed in the chaos when I am in a relationship. It is not a good thing and can cause a lot of heartache.

It sounds like you have pinpointed love addiction traits in friends that you know. I believe that one of the hardest things that those looking in from the outside go through is not really being able to make their friends see what they are doing. When you are in the middle of a "love addicted" situation, you can't really hear what people are telling you. You have a very narrow focus. It's amazing when you finally get out of the situation - the things you realize are astonishing. Thank you so much for your feedback.


Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on September 13, 2012:

Hi krillco ~ I hear what you are saying but I cannot say that I agree. If what you say is true, that would mean other addictions such as gambling - is not an addiction. Yes, accurate treatment depends on a proper diagnosis, I agree.

According to, addiction is "the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma." That would include love addiction.

According to medical-dictionary online, addiction is defined as "a persistent, compulsive dependence on a behavior or substance. The term has been partially replaced by the word dependence for substance abuse. Addiction has been extended, however, to include mood-altering behaviors or activities." That would include love addiction.

I can tell you from personal experience that love addiction can have extreme physical effects as well as psychological. It is an addiction that can be properly diagnosed. And with hard work, recovery is possible.

Thank you for stopping by. I very much appreciate and respect your feedback.


Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on September 12, 2012:

Hi Keith ~ YAY! I'm so glad you "decided to swim." You are young and sounds to me like you have a lot of wisdom for your age. Good for you. I appreciate you stopping by.


Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on September 12, 2012:

Hi Kelley ~ I love the word you used "battle" because that's what it truly is. Thank you for passing this along to your friend. I hope in some way it helps her. I appreciate your feedback.


Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on September 12, 2012:

Powerful, powerful hub. I didn't know about this until just now, but it explains what I've seen in a lot of friends of mine. I had a really close friend marry a guy who was an alcoholic before the marriage even started. Oh my goodness - she sooo has this! She always has to be in a relationship AND the guy generally has various problems. Right after divorcing the first guy, she was in a relationship with another. She ended up moving back to New Zealand (where she's from) and immediately started another relationship where I know she's losing herself. Ack! I always thought that too many women got involved in relationships wanting to "fix" the guy, but I never had any idea of how dangerous or all-consuming this was. Thank you so much for sharing this. I know this hub will help a lot of people.

William E Krill Jr from Hollidaysburg, PA on September 12, 2012:

What is described, I believe, is not real love. Perhaps it is a matter of language, but what is described sounds more like a psychological diagnosis called 'dependent personality disorder'. True 'addiction' is to a chemical that comes from outside the body and taken into the body. While this all may be just semantics, accuracy is important, because treatment is so important. And accurate treatment depends on diagnosis.

KDuBarry03 on September 12, 2012:

I remember being "codependent" on someone my first semester at school because I was caught in a devastating situation and you could say I got addicted to their love. Needless to say, I decided to swim like you, Sharyn. Great Hub!

kelleyward on September 12, 2012:

Love this article Sharyn. I have a friend who battles this. I'll share this article with her now. Voted up, useful, and shared. Kelley

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on May 11, 2012:

Hi Denise ~ I was thrilled to be your 1,000 follower, it is my pleasure! And yes, I absolutely do recognize signs of love addiction in other people. Gosh, I was to scream "you must do this, not do that, you are not alone." But I also know that it can be extremely overwhelming and trying to help someone must be done gently. Plus you need to be aware that they might not "get it" at that point. At least until they are able to step back and look at their situation from a different view.

I do hope you write more about your story. I have found that sharing this has been beneficial to many (including myself). I wish you the best always! Thank you for stopping by again!


Denise Handlon from North Carolina on May 10, 2012:

Thank you for being my 1,000 follower, Sharyn. I had to revisit this one. I just read your love addiction compilation of poetry hub which was powerful.

I started thinking of how easily it is for me to receive a female patient who is love addicted and recognize the signs immediately. I see it in public, as well, as I am sure you do also. The media focuses on the celebreties who are 'love addicted' and everyone around thinks it's cute until it goes too far. In daily life I see it in stores or other public places. It hits home when you've been there...

Thanks for sharing this important hub. Maybe one day, if I get the courage, I will also share my story.

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on May 10, 2012:

Hi Denise ~ thank you so much for your insightful and open comment. WOW, you get it. You understand what I felt for so long. I totally understand how you felt reading Robin Norwood's book. It IS a wonderful book, even now that it is quite old, it is still an awesome and revealing read. The dynamics involved in love addicted relationships are incredibly strong and it truly is a tough journey to get to a point where we are able to let go and, of course, take better care of ourselves.

Your comments mean so much to me, thank you! I will find the time to check out the hubs you mentioned. Take care,


Denise Handlon from North Carolina on May 07, 2012:

I stood in a Berkeley, CA bookstore one afternoon with a friend when a small, pocket sized book literally dropped off the top shelf at my feet. It wasn't the first time I had that experience. As I retrieved the book from the floor I read the title and an electric shock went through me. "I'm taking this on the plane with me when I leave for Michigan" I told my friend. It was just the right size to fit nicely into my purse.

The five hour flight from San Francisco to Detroit was enough time to almost complete Robin Norwood's "Women who love too much". I was sickened with the reality of what I read. Stuck on the plane with no obvious escape I could only pause, periodically, to take a breath. The curtain of truth that had been waving in my face was finally pulled open. Ouch! I cried buckets of tears for the relationships that had been damaged by my addiction. The two that meant the most to me: my daughters. I knew enough about the 12 step programs to know that on this, seemingly friendly, family vacation, I would be approaching each of them individually for a discussion about my behavior and its effects on them. In my hub: Gratitude and Blessings, I briefly mention this.

I was, and still am, forever grateful for divine intervention and Robin's insightful, well written, book. I have read and reread this over the course of the last 7 years time and again. It was my saving grace. It is my recovery, my bible, my 12 step program.

Five months after reading it I entered a support group for those recovering from a relationship with a sex addict. It was one more step towards the help and health I needed to take. I would receive, and take, phone calls from the man I had left in CA and feel the pull, like a Siren's song. Knowing that it was about me and my illness that prompted me to listen I would call my therapist and discuss the effects he had on me still, so many miles away. I wrote another hub: 'Silence, a meditation experience' mentioning this pull. I engaged in therapy with a woman who specialized in this type of relationship and she was my third step up the ladder towards strength and love for myself. She helped me to understand the dynamics involved, the childhood traumas, and the desperate search for love outside of one's own self.

It was, and is, an amazing and grace filled journey of recovery. I am always grateful, humbled, and vigilant. My life has become so enriched now that I am at peace. I am aware of the flare ups-the 'chase' for the emotional reward that you speak of, but I am kind and compassionate to myself.

Thank you for this wonderfully candid and insightful hub, Sharyn. I truly enjoyed it and most definitely, I can relate. Many blessings to you.

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on May 05, 2012:

Hello davenstan ~ When I read the book "Woman Who Love Too Much" - it truly changed my life too. It is all a lifelong process, yet the book started me on the proper road. I am glad you found the book and also my article here. I do hope that it helps many people in similar situations. Thank you so much for your feedback!


Katina Davenport on May 05, 2012:

I read that book about 4 years ago. It literally changed my life and changed the way I see relationships. I had a problem with loving too much and trying to fix everyone. This is a great hub! People can learn from it.

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on May 05, 2012:

Rahul ~ thank you so much for your awesome compliment. It certainly made my morning :) Have a great weekend!


Jessee R from Gurgaon, India on May 05, 2012:

One of the best I have ever read!

Great work ma'am...

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on May 04, 2012:

Wow Michael, what can I say? Thank you so much for your compliments. It is awesome that you recognize dysfunctions in your childhood and are trying to break the cycle with your immediate family and future generations as well. I'm assuming that your mom was quite young when she died and I am so sorry to hear that. My mom died at 68 years old which was way too young as far as I am concerned. I wanted her here forever! Thank you so much for your kind words and great feedback ~ very much appreciated!


Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on May 04, 2012:

Hi Raci ~ I agree that it is so important to love ourselves unconditionally. I know for me that my lack of high self esteem has led me to some bad decisions. I appreciate your feedback, thank you so much!


Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on May 04, 2012:

Hi Charlotte ~ Thank you, it did take a little courage to actually publish this piece. I am so glad you found it helpful. It feels great to know that sharing my story has helped others. Take care,


Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on May 04, 2012:

Hi Vicki ~ Thank you for your sweet comment. When I write things like this that are quite personal to me, my only intent is to help others know that they are not alone. Thank you for stopping by!


Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on May 04, 2012:

Hi Mark ~ Thank you so much for sharing your story here. The hardest thing is to let go and take care of yourself. I understand depression and feeling lost. I understand being unemployed and close to homelessness too. It's so important during these difficult times to truly take a minute at a time. (I say, forget the "day at a time" if need be because it can be too overwhelming.)

I'm glad you found this writing of mine and hope it helps you not feel alone. When we are in painful situations like this, there seems to be a fog that coats everything around us. Please be gentle with yourself and take little steps to make sure you are taking care of yourself. The fog will eventually lift and being able to see clearer will be amazing. I wish you the best always! Thank you for stopping by,


Mike Pugh from New York City on May 04, 2012:

As a child growing up my Mom was put through a great deal of emotional stress by my step-dad, and I absorbed a great of the drama. As you have stated here Sharon about your own parents, its not really my parents fault for being the way they were, I discovered from my mom that they both picked it up from their parents. I always wished my mom would leave him, but to no avail he remained all the way till she had passed away with breast cancer back in 2006.

This memory will forever be etched into my mind and memory banks, which is that of all the lost love I was jolted into receiving as a child, for some reason as an adult I been learning to cope with those repressed feelings, and love addiction hasn't done much harm to me over the years, but like I said its all repressed feelings.

I hope me and my wife can manage to break this cycle of poorly managed love emotions as you've addressed here that you've dealt with in your life. With hubs like this people can come to terms with their own emotional issues or instabilities, and possibly seek counseling if they notice they've had similar issues themselves in their life.

Awesome hub voted and and I'm going the extra mile to share this one, because its well worth sharing. Hub love hub coming right up. I will prepare a cool hub for ya Sharon, and I hope you enjoy it because your due one for sure. Just give me a day or two for editing and prep, this one is going to take some deep thought indeed, until then have a wonderful day. "I love your writing" The Title shall be inspiring for sure, and well representative of your overall presence on hubpages.

raciniwa from Talisay City, Cebu on May 04, 2012:

if a person's narcissistic needs were not met when she has young would have the tendency to succumb to dependency or addiction...loving oneself unconditionally,is the best way to overcome it...

great hub...

Charlotte B Plum on May 04, 2012:

Dear Sharyn,

Thank you for sharing your story here, it must have taken a lot of courage. But reading this hub has been really helpful to me and I know many (judging by the comments too) have gain from reading it. =)

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on May 03, 2012:

Sharyn--You are so wonderful to share your story. Perhaps it will help others and give them courage. Well done. Many votes!

Curiad on May 03, 2012:

"I thought that if I did enough and loved enough, then my partner would change. But the craziness just got worse."

Amazing Sharyn, I had a woman that I felt that about. She left over a month ago and still calls and ask for favors. I need to leave the state and change everything, but I an unemployed due to illness and one step from homelessness here. The depression is the biggest disability.

Your Hub is so awesome, open and honest. Voted Up!

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on April 22, 2012:

Hiya Martie ~ You are so sweet. Thank you for the birthday wishes and the share. I agree that when we learn to love ourselves more, we are less likely to feel the need from others. That is exactly what is happening with me as I get older and continue to learn. Thank you again for stopping by!


Martie Coetser from South Africa on April 22, 2012:

Sharon, what a fantastic hub! In spite of the fact that my parents were wonderful, I was addicted to love. I am still; I just can't live without it. Lol!

Fortunately I also learned how to love myself. So I don't need so much from others any more.

Happy birthday my dear friend. I hope you are having a lovely day :)

I am sharing this hub of yours with all members of 'Let's just talk music and cinema' :)

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on March 29, 2012:

Hi Anamika ~ From my experience, it is more of staying in a relationship and working really hard on it, even if it was toxic. But I do understand what you are saying about jumping from one relationship to another. I really appreciate your feedback and votes. Thank YOU!


Anamika S Jain from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India on March 29, 2012:

You have clearly expressed the feelings of a love addict. I have never been in such a situation but have seen many people in the situation. Love addiction can affect the ability of a person to be in lasting relationship. Some people jump from one relationship to another in a speed which could surprise us. They just can't survive without being in a relationship. Hub voted useful and liked.

iamaudraleigh on March 06, 2012:

You are welcome Sharyn! Always a pleasure to follow you!

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on March 05, 2012:

Hi Audra ~ thank you for the compliments. "Loving too much" is definitely an addiction, yet many people do not look at it that way. If gone too far, it can be devastating. I really appreciate your comments. Thanks again,


iamaudraleigh on March 05, 2012:

I am quite impressed with ypur hub,,,well done!! I never thought of loving to much as an addiction. I thoroughly understand and know people that had that addiction, now that I think about it some more. Wow!

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on February 07, 2012:

Hi Kelley,

Thanks for your great comment. I often think that when people hear the term "love addiction", they think 1) it's not a big deal and 2) they think of the song by Robert Palmer. The truth is, it is a powerful addiction. And one that can be very devastating if you do not do something to change. I really appreciate your stopping by. Thank you,


kelleyward on February 07, 2012:

Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I listen to Steven Arterburn on New Life Live and they often speak about love addiction. It's a powerful addiction that can be as detrimental to a person as other known addictions. Very useful hub!

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on January 22, 2012:


Thank you so much, I believe I felt the hug :)

Your thoughtful, heartfelt comments mean so much to me. It's funny because when I run into others who I can tell are love addicts, I hurt because I know the pain that this type of addiction can cause. And I know that there were people in my life that kept trying to warn me about my choices and actions over the years. But I didn't listen to them until I was ready - which took a very long time. And I'm still learning.

Thank you my dear friend, I hope you enjoyed your nap!


Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on January 22, 2012:

Hi Brian,

I agree that many people can relate to at least pieces of love addiction. Or at least understand parts of it. Yet, true love addiction is very serious, can be quite devastating and require some sort of intervention for proper change to occur. It's like a vicious cycle, a merry-go-round that is difficult to stop and get off. Thank you so much for your support!


Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on January 22, 2012:


I agree. I do think there is something to be said about "facing your pain" and then moving on. If we hold on to things, the anger just builds up. I really appreciate your feedback and insight! Thank you,


Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on January 22, 2012:

Hello pedrn,

I was very open in this piece in hopes that it helps others as well. Thank you so much for your feedback and wishes.


Suzie from Carson City on January 22, 2012: friend! W O W !! I am dizzy. This hub took my breath away. Seriously. You're writing is beyond superb, my dear lady. I was fixed to every word. I felt your every emotion. Maybe you couldn't feel it, but I reached in and hugged you. Beautiful, touching, revealing, inspirational.......I've run out of words. I'm printing this up to hand to every young woman who finds herself where you once were. Years ago...before I became a wise old sage....Your tale would have spurred me on to do something meaningful! Now, at my age, I think I'll just take a nap and have sweet dreams! hahahahah....Oh, you'll get there me.

BRIAN SLATER on January 22, 2012:

Wow Sharyn this is a truly an "open your heart" type hub. I suppose in some way we can all relate in some to this. Well done for writing such an inspiring hub, There will be plenty of people who gain solace from your writing Sharyn, voted up-awesome :)

Audrey Howitt from California on January 22, 2012:

Congratulations to you. What an empowering story. M. Scott Peck has a wonderful theory that I subscribe to. The avoidance of pain in our lives creates much pain for ourselves and others. And while I think you must be very careful about how you couch this issue of "love addiction," at bottom is the need to face our pain from our initial caregivers--I loved the book--A General Theory of Love by Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini and Richard Lanin--it is a wonderful illustration of how our early blueprint affects our lives as adults---

Best to you Sharyn---

Sandi from Greenfield, Wisconsin on January 22, 2012:

Thank you for sharing such a personal struggle. I'm sure you have helped many people with your honesty and insight.I wish you the best in your recovery. Voted Up!

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on January 22, 2012:

Hi Sunshine,

Thank you so much for your feedback. I'm glad, my friend, that you have never experienced love addiction. I'm sure many people do not even realize what it is and how it can make life quite difficult. Thank you for your support!


Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on January 21, 2012:

Excellent hub SS! I'm so glad I'm not an addictive person! LOL I've had crushes, been in and out of love but never had a love addiction. I'm impressed with your article! Voted UP!!:)

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on June 12, 2011:

Hello Sassy,

It is so great to meet you. Thank you so much for the fan mail and your awesome comments. Love addiction can truly be disabling. I'm happy for you that you have not looked back . . . take care,


Karen Anne Harris from Jacksonville, FL on June 12, 2011:

Wow....that was so about me. I also had a love addiction. It almost drove me insane. I was in a real bad relationship. It was so bad that I couldn't look at another man without being accused of cheating. I stayed with this person for 10 years. I lived my life to try to please him and live for him. I realized what I was doing to myself. I left him and never looked back. Great hub! Vote up! Vote up!

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on May 01, 2011:

Hello Prasetio,

Thank you so much for stopping by to read and comment. You are right. Only we can stop what hurts us. Thank you my friend.

Hugs back at you :)


prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on May 01, 2011:

I try to love my self. Love is too complicated, Sharyn. I know it hurt when somebody leave us, but I believe only us who can cure and stop the pain. Very inspiring hub. I "love" you so much, as a friend of course. I hope our friendship never end. Rated up!

Blessing and hugs,

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on May 01, 2011:

Good Morning Sunnie,

I do agree that many people can relate as there are different levels. In its severest form, it is truly devastating. From my experience, love addiction is just like any other addiction and possibly requires intervention from outside sources to turn your life around to a point where you are able to take part in healthy relationships. And to a point where you take care of yourself first.

I'm saying all this because there are people who might feel that they can relate to a characteristic or two, etc. For those that feel the true affects of love addiction, it is important to me that they know they are not alone and that there is help available.

As always, thank you for your support. Have a happy Sunday Sunnie!



Sunnie Day on May 01, 2011:

Dear Sharyn,

A really great hub for sure..I think it is one we can all relate to at different levels..Thank you for sharing such wonderful insight. You can sure pat yourself on the back for making it through, and helping others. Up awesome.

Have a great day,


Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on April 30, 2011:

Hello CountryBunny,

It's great to meet you. Welcome to HubPages. Thank you for your comments and saying that you can relate. You are definitely NOT alone:)

Things are looking better and I hope the same for you.

Take care!


CountryBunny on April 30, 2011:

~Thank you so very much for the Hub. I can completely relate to this more than I would care to say. It was hard to read this at times because it's almost as if I had written it myself. Our experiences through childhood & adulthood are extremely similar. It is comforting to know that I am not the only one out there & there are people who can understand. Thank you also for posting some helpful books on the topic, I will be purchasing them as soon as I get a chance. Thank you again, I hope things are looking better for you.~

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on April 28, 2011:


Thank YOU for saying that you relate. It's a topic not easily discussed. I so appreciate you reading and commenting. And before I forget, thank you so much for the fan mail too! Have a great day!


Mrs. J. B. from Southern California on April 28, 2011:

Wow!!! Food for thought. I do not want to discuss all the details but I related in many ways and then some.. Very good topic which was well written....

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on April 28, 2011:

Hello Sue,

Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. Have a great day!


suejanet on April 28, 2011:

Very good hub.

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on April 28, 2011:

Hello Juvy,

Thank you for such wonderful comments. I really appreciate them. Have a beautiful day!


Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on April 28, 2011:

Good Morning AH,

Yes, I'm sure everyone has something that they possibly "do too much of." And learning the hard way is sometimes the only way. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Have a great day!


juvylene from Puerto Princesa, Palawan on April 28, 2011:

This hub is good, really, really good! Useful, awesome and beautiful!!!

attemptedhumour from Australia on April 28, 2011:

It's pretty brave of you to open up but we are all capable of being way to much of one thing or another. Love is certainly no different and like everything, we usually learn the hard way. We have to learn to dance to a different tune, difficult but more rewarding. Cheers.

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on April 27, 2011:

Hey TTW,

Thank you for reading, commenting and for your vote. This wasn't a fun, easy write. But hopefully it may help others in similar situations to make changes and take better care of themselves. I appreciate your support always! Have a great day!


Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on April 27, 2011:

Hi Mar,

Thanks for your wonderful comments. Yes, we must continue the support ~ it is priceless! A little while ago, I just finished reading and commenting on your last hub before I saw your note here. Great things are found in junk drawers! Thank you for your support!


tumblintumblweed on April 27, 2011:

Very useful and informative hub, Sharyn,and voted Up! Thanks for sharing.



Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on April 27, 2011:


You continue to share yourself so beautifully with us in a manner that we can apply to ourselves as well... you are very inspirational. Let us both continue supporting each other in "fixing ourselves" first and foremost!!

I used your name (and junk drawer) ~~ but not in vain... in my last article... thank you again for that one!


Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on April 26, 2011:

Hey Diana,

Thank you for being so open in your comments. I agree that most people can at least relate to some of this one way or another. I'm glad you finally "grew a brain." Sorry, that comment did make me laugh :)

Thank you for your support and understanding.


Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on April 26, 2011:

Hi Kathy,

Thanks so much for your understanding comments. We must absolutely love ourselves first in order for anything else to fall into place. I always appreciate your support ! thank you!


Diana Owens from My Little Hole In The Wall, HubPages, USA on April 26, 2011:


I have but one word for you: BRAVO!

Great Hub! Fantastic writing. I can relate to the growing up part with the "conflicting parental emotional rollercoaster ride thing." Man, what a mess. I can also relate to some of the rest of the Hub too. That's why I stayed in an abusive and violent relationship for 4 years with my first husband. Well...and I didn't believe in divorce at the time either, until I grew a brain and wised up, that is!

The second (and LAST) marriage I'm in now is pretty good. Not much affection or talking though. No emotional availability whatsoever on his part. But ya know, it's better than being hit and raped by your first husband, know what I mean?

Thank you for sharing such a painful and honest view into your life with the rest of us. Most of us can relate one way or another! You are NOT alone, sister.

Much love to you, Share.

peace in your heart...always,


Kathy from California on April 25, 2011:

Sharyn- I absolutely can relate! And I have been there more than once. It is amazing what we put ourselves through because we are so afraid to be alone, even though intellectually we know better and know what we need to do to save ourselves! We stay because we need that fix of love and will not get it from anyone else, we must love ourselves first! Yeah, easier said than done. The fact that you wrote this poem says that you are growing - independently and are on your way.

Give yourself credit for that! Good job!!!

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on April 25, 2011:

Ah, good ole wisdom, Mar. It takes time to accumulate but can be quite powerful in taking better care of ourselves. Thank you too for your wishes :)


Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on April 25, 2011:

Hello Annaw,

Thank you for stopping by to read and comment. Definitely we need to be careful not to "cheat" ourselves. In a toxic relationship, that's exactly what we are doing. Great point!

And I believe that sometimes people feel that they are "all out of love." They have no more to give. But I also think that with time and healing that feelings of love can be rejuvenated too. And at that point, hopefully it will be a healthy love. Thank YOU so much for your comments.


Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on April 25, 2011:

Hi Susan,

I really appreciate your thoughtful comments. I am so thrilled that I have found others that can relate ~ and feel that this information will be helpful others. When having problems with any kind of addiction, first we must realize and admit that it's a problem. Then, it's important to know that others understand and that we are not alone. Thank you for your votes and again, your wonderful comments.


marellen on April 25, 2011:

You are so right Sharyn, I need to take care of myself first and I do notice that I'm not easily fooled anymore. Stand strong....and wishing you the best too.

Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on April 25, 2011:

Dear Angie,

I'm glad you found this hub inspiring ~ that means a lot to me. I do believe that age and confidence helps lessen the affects of love addiction. As we get older and gain more wisdom, we have a better understanding of taking care of ourselves first and not tolerating any "crap."

Regarding my parents, I do believe they did the best they could. I have no doubt that they both loved their three girls more than anything in this world. Both my mother and father have been heartbroken at times when they saw things that I was going through. That was not their intent. My being hurt in relationships hurt them too. I don't blame them because I know what their upbringing was also. It was all too familiar. My hope is simply that the cycle is broken.

Your thoughts and comments are very much appreciated Angie! Thank you,


Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on April 25, 2011:

Lucky Cats,

Your comments mean SO much to me! And thank you for saying that you can relate. I do believe that my parents gave out conflicting messages. "Go away, come here." "I hate you, I love you." And I did get the message that chaos and uncertainty was "normal." And this definitely causes inner conflicts as an adult.

Thank you again, take care,


Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on April 25, 2011:

Dear Flying Fish,

Thank you for your insight. I understand. It isn't so much the fact that we "love TOO much" as it is (as you say) the "euphoric, gratifying sensations associated with *being* loved." I believe when the term "love too much" is used, it is referring to an overwhelming willingness and desire to do anything to keep a relationship from dissolving. We go above and beyond what is reasonable "loving" (we love or do too much) to make a relationship work ~ a relationship that isn't working and maybe never worked and probably will never work ~ but a love addict doesn't see it and keeps trying harder.

I very much appreciate your wonderful comments. Thank you,


Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on April 25, 2011:

Dear Marellen,

I truly do not believe that daydreaming about "happily ever after" is a bad thing. Everyone deserves to be happy. Answering yes to some of the questions could simply be a reminder to take good care of YOU first and to not let a relationship be more important than your own well being.

And I'm ok with "getting you thinking" in hopes that it leads to happier relationships in the future. Again, you deserve to be happy. Wishing you the best always!


Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on April 25, 2011:

Dear D.A.M.,

Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. This is not something that is easy to talk about. I do hope that it helps others who find themselves in a similar situation. Thank you for your votes and for simply being a wonderful new friend!


Sharon Smith (author) from Northeast Ohio USA on April 25, 2011:

Hello Hyphenbird,

Thanks so much for commenting. There are times I wished I had the option to move out of state to help end an unhealthy relationship. I totally understand the feeling of not being able to be apart and yet not being able to be together. It's painful either way. I am glad to hear you are feeling a different kind of love today. I hope that you never feel that pain and loneliness again. Thank you for sharing this part of you. Best wishes,


annaw from North Texas on April 25, 2011:

Good Hub. The bottom line for me is Not Cheating myself. giving more than you are getting is definitely cheating yourself. I have been divorced since the river was a ditch and plan to keep it that way. I am fresh out of love, I don't even date.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on April 25, 2011:

Wow what a fantastic hub you have written. It hit home with me. I once was in a one sided relationship for many years. Could probably write a hub about it. So glad that you were able to share your experiences with us and hopefully your hub will help others.

Up awesome beautiful and useful I wish there were more buttons to push here.

Angie Jardine from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... on April 25, 2011:

Sharyn - a truly sensitive and inspiring hub. I too read this book a long time ago and recognised many aspects of myself at that time. Though I have never had therapy for it, age, and the confidence it has brought me, seems to have come to my rescue. Whilst I am still a 'soft touch' where my men are concerned there does come a point now when I say, 'Don't push it buster!' It's a very liberating feeling. But I disagree with you on one thing.

You don't blame your parents for the way you are. Well, I do. I understand they did the best they could according to their lights but ... the way they reacted to their situation etc. was absorbed by you unconsciously and I'm sure has coloured the way you live your life. Again you are maybe being somewhat kind and generous.

Luckily you are a smart cookie and will definitely overcome this problem ... as soon as you recognised you had it, you were on the mend.

Much love ... up/awesome

Kathy from Independence, Kansas on April 25, 2011:

Amazing hub, and so honest, Sharyn. Absolutely honest. I have been there...I do know the feeling. It's difficult to imagine how some people AREN'T like this! I solved it for myself, though....your poem describes the breaking away from a particular addictive relationship so well! I believe your parents gave you conflicting messages throughout your childhood which always made it seem as if there was the possibility of "getting better," "fixing it." This is an amazingly good description of the inner conflicts which are always present when we find ourselves in destructive relationships and repetitive patterns. Great one, SS!!!

flying_fish from GTA on April 24, 2011:

Personally, I draw what I feel is an important distinction between striving for the gratification we allow to masquerade as love, and love itself. Maybe I'm just picking nits here, but "loving too much" is impossible, if *actual* love is what we're talking about...

But here's the thing - love doesn't carry expectation, it doesn't seek any sort of return. What "love-addicts" are addicted to, (and I'm speaking not only from experience in fundamentally dysfunctional love-relationships, but from a great deal of experience overcoming this and other addictions with the 12-steps and other spiritual "pursuits") is the euphoric, gratifying sensations associated with *being* loved - and it's the great mistake of insisting that "loving" MUST bring a return of love that too often leaves people pursuing unavailable people.

Besides that one little nit, I must say this was a superbly impressive hub! It does take a certain amount of courage to really open up about deeply sensitive things - and I'm sure you're familiar with how freeing and relieving it is too. Thanks so much for this Sharyn!

marellen on April 24, 2011:

Don't know if I like this hub or not because now you got me thinking that maybe I fall into this category. Have never seen or heard of this before and I answered yes to several of the questions....My relationships have been horrible, no physical abuse but the trust has always been broken. So, my solution is too stay away from relationships because I always get hurt in the process. I'm to nice instead of standing up for myself. But you know something...I'm always daydreaming about the happily ever after and this can't be good.

Great hub me thinking...thanks

dearabbysmom from Indiana on April 24, 2011:

Sharyn every time an intelligent and accomplished person comes forward and shares a personal struggle, they change lives. Thank you for being willing to talk to openly about this, and give readers resources for help. You may never know how many you helped. Your excellent writing is the icing on the cake. Up, Useful, Awesome, Beautiful,

Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 24, 2011:

I was addicted to loving a man. He loved me too but was not as brave (or stupid) as me. I finally moved out of the state. We could not stay apart or be together. It was the most emotional time of my life. Only knowing Jesus as my Saviour has brought me more love. Seriously. It was amazingly painful and lovely.

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