Might As Well Face It, I Was Addicted To Love. Here's How I Recovered

Written by Tracy Thomas, PhD

My name is Dr. Tracy, and I’m a recovering love-aholic. Love was my drug of choice, and I was like a junkie trying to get my fix. From the time I was 16 up until I was 35, I was always in a romantic relationship with a man. I was definitely on the hunt to feel whole, like I could be complete being understood and loved by this person. I was trying to exist through these men. I wanted to be seen.

But in the last few years, I’ve started to refer to that long and painful chapter as the time I was outsourcing love, even though I had it all along.

I work with many clients who also struggle in this way, and they're frustrated. They outsource their love, expecting to get the love they need from their partner. But it’s a painful and flawed strategy, because you’ve given someone else the power to shape your life experiences. And that’s a lot of power to hand over to someone.

Too often many of us become enamored with the idea of "The One," or that person who completes you. But I’m here to tell you that this idea doesn't do any justice to the person you truly are.

We have to keep in mind that we’re all humans learning to exist in a way that isn’t painful. And it’s true; almost everyone is dealing with some kind of pain. We all have some self-love work to do. So isn’t it interesting that we’re looking to someone else as the one who can “save” us by fulfilling our expectations?

That isn’t love.

It’s totally possible to have relationships where you aren’t starved for a connection because you’re already connected to yourself. You are whole and perfect; not half of someone or a fractured self or the “other half.” You’re fully expressed as a person and know how to meet your own needs.

It’s time to redefine exactly what love should be.

When you love who you are with fascination and compassion, you can show up as yourself and enjoy being with another person. You are present for the person you are and present for your partner. This is what I call being emotionally available, and being emotionally available to yourself and others brings you closer to your best life. Isn’t that what we all really want?

When I fully understood and loved myself, I began attracting people I could relate to and (ta da!) those who were emotionally available. They didn’t need to become this “other half” or make up the difference or give me a sense of self; I already knew who I was. We could share what we noticed about ourselves, have these parallel experiences with each other and completely be amazed by who we are as individuals.

All the things you could want from a relationship: feeling connected, being close, having a best friend, feeling sexy, being understood, feeling loved — it’s all possible, because you’ve connected to those things within yourself and share them with your partner.

It’s so liberating to be transparent about who you are as a person. There’s never an agenda, there’s no manipulation, there’s no attachment; you can just enjoy existing, and it’s fun!

Something this refreshing simply attracts what I consider authentic love into our lives. Isn’t it time we all indulge in something pure and true?

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