love can be just as addictive as opiates

Obsession. Restlessness. Eagerness. Disappointment. Melancholy. The many symptoms of withdrawal when you’re caught up in someone and the love you’re so addicted to.

Whenever I was romantically involved in someone, they became my world. I would want to know what they were up to at all times, what they were thinking to what they had for breakfast and lunch. The end of every goodbye would require a “when will I be seeing you again”. I expected constant communication and had my phone glued to my hand. Even the buzz of my phone made my heart race. My world was no longer my world, it became an observation of someone else’s.

I would say and do things to try to make this other person want me more. Every moment we weren’t talking felt like time wasted for us to be together. So, my mood was constantly dependant on this other person. When they would take ages to respond, I would suddenly be caught in a hole of “What the fuck did I do to deserve this?” to “It’s fricken over. How could they treat me this way. They don’t deserve me.” Until they finally messaged me, then everything in the world would be okay again. Where did this scrutiny derive from?

I was 17 when I had my first mutually romantic partnership. It wasn’t a relationship by any means. It was a fling. We would say and do all these corny ass things because I wanted it to be just like the movies. He complied, somewhat reciprocated… and ate that shit up like an activist ending his hunger strike at an all-you-can-eat buffet. I grew conditioned to the belief that all of that romantic dramatic bullshit was the hallmark of a great relationship. I was so hooked to that feeling of being admired and lusted after that I tried so hard to mimic that same feeling for years.

After going through some pretty unfulfilling relationships and finally questioning my emotional state after being with someone lost in their own world, I came to my senses.

I was being an irrational cactus. Thriving off dependency, desperately clinging onto affection, causing discomfort as I squeezed my lovers into my thorns. My thirst was quenched by compliments and approval.. and I would replay the shit they would say in my head like a cactus rationing water. It was what got me through the day and made the high of love stay consistent.

Romantic movies are nice. But I don’t see myself deliberately wanting to watch them. It seems so far fetched now. I grew up falling in love time and time again because of these movies. Now, you know when you’re watching a really sad movie and it makes you cry? Then when something shitty happens in your life that causes deep emotional pain, do you ever feel the need to say “it’s just like the movies!” No? Well, I’m sure you hear this phrase tossed around constantly with new couples talking about love. Movies are the easiest realm into empathy. We put ourselves in the shoes of the lead character as we enter their world. Now, when it comes to being in love, movie magic is just an illusion, invoking feelings that would naturally occur inside of you already. So, there is no need in trying to mimic the movies. You’ll fall in love eventually, in the same way the movies would.

It’s hard reprogramming your beliefs when you’ve lived a certain way for so long, but being uncomfortable warrants change. I understand now that I craved romantic relationships for the high of approval and affection, something I feel like I’ve lacked growing up. I know that one day, I will no longer think this way if I continue to deal with (accept and not give into) the nagging impulses to check my phone. I will watch as my mind yearns to hear them speak, understanding where that desire stems from (a hope of them telling me how amazing I am). I am my own person, and they belong to themselves. Through any amount of time or distance, a real connection will remain tethered and untouched. My barbaric desires hold no real purpose other than wanting to feel high off of affection.

You’re an absolute marvel. You don’t need someone else to be your other half when you’re already whole.

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