Love Addict

Love Addict: Why All My Boyfriends have left me after all?

Ms. R came for therapy to get some help with her relationship. According to her, she has no problem getting along with her friends but she becomes obsessive when it comes to relationships with boyfriends. At first she thought nothing was wrong with wanting to know everything about her boyfriend, sharing everything in her life with him and wanting to be with him all the time. She thought that was what love was all about. All her boyfriends thought she was sweet at first, but later on they felt that she was smothering them. They all broke off with her.

Whenever she was abandoned by a boyfriend she wanted to share everything in her life with, she felt devastated and swore to herself that she would never fall in love again. Soon she found herself in a relationship repeating the same pattern with a new boyfriend. This time around she started dating someone she really liked, and she came for therapy in order not to make the same mistake again. It is natural to want to know more about the person you love and share more parts of your life with him or her when you are in love. However, it becomes problematic when you are obsessed with him or her. Whenever her boyfriend was not around, Ms. R was extremely worried that he might have already forgotten her, he might no longer love her, or he might be cheating on her. She called her boyfriend almost once every ten minutes to find out what he was doing and who he was meeting. She did not want her boyfriend to meet other women under any circumstances because she believed any woman could be the potential threat who would want to take her boyfriend away from her. Her obsessive behavior made her boyfriend lie to her from time to time to mitigate the situation, and sometimes he avoided answering her phone calls. This made her even more worried about losing him, and she became even more desperate and obsessive.

You might wonder what made her obsessed to that extent. When she was born, her family was struggling financially. Both of her parents had to work to pay the bills, and she had to stay at the day care while her parents were at work. Exhausted from working all day, they could not pay enough attention to her when they came back home. When she was five years old, her sister was born. Her parents could not afford to raise two children and decided to send her to her grandmother. Since then, she lived with her grandmother until she started elementary school. On the outside she is a congenial, outgoing person but deep down she has always been dealing with the fear of abandonment.

Behind her confident, outgoing facade she has been hiding the feeling that she has been a burden to her parents, and she could be sent away at any time by them. This upbringing had an adverse effect on her relationships, and she has been unconsciously looking for an ideal significant other who would love her unconditionally and never abandon her. She has been unconsciously testing out her boyfriends to find out whether they could be the ideal substitute of her parents. During her therapy sessions Ms. R understood why she was obsessed with her boyfriends in the past. Over the course of treatment, her fear of abandonment has diminished. Now she has come to accept the fact that her boyfriend could not be the substitute for her parents, and she wants to have a mature love relationship as an adult.

This column has been written by Dr.Hea-Kyung Kwon and published by Korea Daily Newpaper(JoongAng Ilbo USA).
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