Carrie Bradshaw — the poster girl for modern love — once talked of the zsa zsa zus. For the uninitiated, the zsa zsa zus, as she says are the “butterflies-in- your-stomach when you not only love the person, but you gotta have them!” Pop psychology? Not really.
A 2010 Stanford study went on to prove that the butterflies are real. The study found that the euphoric ‘high’ of early days of love affects the brain in the same way drugs like cocaine or pain relievers do. And it seems people have found their go-to fix.
LOVE AS A BAD MEDICINE
Relationship addiction is on a high, pun unintended. The guiding principles are the same as any other addiction. Love addicts have a chronic and compulsive craving for romantic love to get a sense of security and self-worth. They flit from relationship-to- relationship, or stay in an emotionally — sometimes physically — abusive relationship because they feel a need for it.
Not being in a relationship makes them jittery and restless. Psychologist Dr Rachna K Singh, is seeing more people under-30 with a history of 6-7 relationships. She says, “The practice of rebounds is going up. There’s no mourning period or a cool down before jumping into a new alliance.” Love addicts need admiration. Relationship counsellor Dr Geetanjali Sharma says, “The reason they jump ship when one relationship sinks is because there’s a need to prove to themselves that there’s nothing wrong with them – they can find partners easily.”
ADDICT VS EXPERIMENTER
But not everyone who’s experimenting with love is an addict. There are some who don’t get hit by the emotional baggage of multiple relationships. People with low self-esteem, family history of abuse or neglect, coming from unhappy homes, or with bad experiences in a serious relationship are more likely to get caught in this love spiral.
Each time they get into a new relationship, they say, “This one will work.” Or, in case they get back with the same abusive partner, “This time will be different.” Marriage counsellor Dr Nisha Khanna says that love addicts have a low emotional quotient (EQ). “Psychologically, we talk a lot about depression, conversations on EQ need to start,” she says. What’s needed is “a look within”. As Sex and The City wisdom states: What do you call zsa zsa zu gone bad? Zsa zsa ew.
– Do you think that if only someone loved you you’d be happy?
– Looking for love as shown in movies or music?
– Ever tried to talk yourself into loving someone you weren’t really into because you needed the love?
– Felt the need to make up rather than end it?
– Stayed in a bad relationship because you can’t be alone?
– In a committed relationship, do you doubt your choice or think about an ex?
– Ever not been in a relationship?
– Do you take time out after a break up?
– Expect your lover to make you feel loved all the time?
– Think in your head someone is ‘yours’ even if they aren’t?
VERDICT: If most of your answers are yes, you are a love addict.