What is love to a love addict? I never would have thought of myself as a love addict, but my mind changed when I took a look at my past a few years ago and realized that I had not been able to create a healthy relationship with a man, nor even sustain an unhealthy one.
I was a serial monogamist and thought of myself as a loving, caring, big hearted woman who had always been "done wrong" by her man. I'd loved and lost so many times I had come to expect it as inevitable. Men always left me - either physically or emotionally - they departed. Why? That was my lament. I had so many things to offer! All of my friends and family confirmed that they were as mystified as I was about why I couldn't find a "good" man. We assumed that all of the good men were taken - the common complaint of most singles.
I mixed and mingled at many different venues, searching for Mr Right - the man who would fix me once and for all. The man who would love me unconditionally. I created a long list of attributes and characteristics I wanted in my Mr Right. I listened to motivational tapes and relationship tapes and then watched love stories wishing and hoping I could have the kind of love they had. I cried my eyes out wondering where I'd gone wrong. I was angry, I was hurt, I was disappointed, I was resentful - they just didn't see the real me that was hidden inside all of the dysfunctional addictions and fat. Like the movies and books, Mr Right would recognize me for who I really was and fall in love with me. His love would coax me out and allow me to reveal my true identity - Mrs Right!
Meanwhile, I walked around like a huge magnet attracting men whom I referred to as "emotional fixer-uppers". They needed me to care for them in some way and I confused their need with love. Funny how I never realized my own stuff - everything that made me choose men who mistreated me - I didn't have any respect for myself, how could a "good" man have respect for me?
I don't mean to disparage men - there are millions of excellent men out there, but I was attracting men who were my mirror - they reflected back to me what I didn't want to see in myself. Who could make something like that work? Two people who needed to take a closer look at who they were and who they wanted to be and measure that gap. We were like two people who can't swim trying to save each other. The result is two drownings.
Funny how things work - once I became willing to take a look at myself and do some work on me, I started attracting people into my life that are loving, nurturing, smart, caring, funny, and I so appreciate them because they, too, are mirroring back to me the things I like about me. Oh, I still get plenty of opportunities to trip over my stuff and see something new that I can change, but now I have so many helpers - men and women who will lend me a helping hand and witness my growth. Maybe I can actually be Mrs Right and attract my Mr Right - only this time, it will be real - not a fantasy. He will be real and I will be real and we can be real together - REALLY!