Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Love: It’s Just Another Addiction?

Love by Austrian painter and illustrator Gustav Klimt

Romantic love is not only an emotion, it's a basic mating drive, and it's stronger than the sex drive. ~ Anthropologist Helen Fisher, author of Why We Love : The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love

After all of the hoopla leading up to and through Valentine’s Day, I was flabbergasted to read in my CNN news summary this morning the article Love is the drug.

Well, maybe not. I have been in love enough, counseled people in love, and officiated a couple of hundred weddings to realize that being in love is addictive. It feels good to be in love—very good. I much prefer to be in love than not to be in love.

Of course, I also desire that the person with whom I am in love also love me. Otherwise, being in love is not pleasant—not pleasant al all. Still, the need to love and the need to be loved is so strong that it can produce strange behaviors. For example, I know therapists who seldom if ever use the term “in love”. Rather, they talk about “being obsessed.”

I agree. Love is an obsession. The CNN article about Fisher doesn’t use that word; however, I know—and so do you—that people in love are obsessed, even driven. I know that I am. And I know that I am also a much happier and better functioning person when I’m in love.

For example, I have gained a tremendous amount of weight when I am not in love. Or, should I say, “when I don’t feel loved.” I have also lost a tremendous amount of weight when I am in love. Put more broadly, I take much better care of myself when I am in love than when I am not. At least, I think I do!

Throughout my life I have thought of myself as a romantic person because I was born on Saint Valentine’s Day. Now I learn that being romantic—being in love—is nothing more than an addiction!

But enough subjectivity on my part. Read the CNN article. Read Fisher’s book. Tell me how you interpret being “in love.”


  1. Love is an addiction and I am an addict.

  2. I wonder if someone can decide not to be addicted to love?

  3. "Perhaps the feelings that we experience when we are in love represent a normal state. Being in love shows a person who he should be." (Anton Chekhov)

  4. So Robert Plant was right!

  5. Nick, you are always in love, but you have always fallen in love with women who don't love you. Use you, yes. But using you isn't loving you.

  6. Catt—I suppose I am an addict, too. However, with me I seem to feel pain more that euphoria.

    Abby—I wonder, too. Freud was convinced there is an addictive personality. I’m not sure what that means.

    Anonymous 1—Perhaps Chekhov is right. I’m not sure.

    Anonymous 2—Which of Palmer’s songs were you thinking of?

    Best Man—Yes, you are right. But…am I wrong?