It can be helpful to view romantic/sexual obsessions as a form of addiction. As the therapy community in NYC and beyond has learned in recent years, the addictive process is very similar no matter what the drug of choice is:
1. Craving a 'fix' from your drug of choice (person, alcohol, gambling, weed, food, pornography, shopping, etc.)—while feeling somewhat down/depressed or restless/jittery
2. Score the drug of choice and get 'high'
3. Experience the high for a while
4. As you come down from the high, you start feeling down/depressed or restless/jittery which triggers familiar cravings for your drug
5. Back to the beginning and repeat
As with all addiction it can feel highly compulsive—like a black hole sucking all your energy into a negative, self-defeating and chaotic space. If you find yourself in such a situation, you have fallen into an all-too-common pattern of turning another person into a 'drug'—and you have come to need a regular fix (i.e. contact, affirmation, sexual encounter) just to feel normal.
When things have gotten to this point, something as simple as not getting a returned text can ruin your day or your week. Failing to get your fix triggers withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, restlessness, depression, irritability, desperation and more.
Identifying that this is a risk or maybe even something you are currently experiencing is the first step. We treat this the same as with any addiction. I am starting a group for healthy dating and relationships. It is called I Love Me, I Love You and will be 10 weeks long starting in May 2016. Contact Jill Wu if you are interested.
Jill Wu, MBA,MA,CLC,CHt provides confidential, non-judgemental help for individuals and couples specializing in areas that include, but are not limited to: Couples Therapy, Marriage Counseling, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Stress Management, Sex Therapy, and Life Coaching.
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