Love is a drug? Maybe.

It is possible to be addicted to love as much as it is any other drug. But there is a difference.

Usually, we start using drugs or alcohol because we are in pain, and we want to kill that pain. Sometimes it starts at an early age, when we have little self-control. Once we grow older, we realize that this cessation of pain is temporary, and we need to work on the source of the pain rather than glossing over it by deadening it and numbing ourselves. Some people don’t realize this, or realize it and don’t care, so they continue to take various drugs or alcohol because it’s what they are used to. The point is that the pain happens first, and the drugs and/or alcohol comes afterwards.

Drugs are also one-sided. We take them, and they make us feel good, but they have no expectations and we don’t have to return anything. We gain the temporary benefit, and we know we can get that benefit again.

I should probably say “benefit”, with the quotes.

The difference with love is that pain doesn’t have to be there at all. We can fall in love out of nowhere, with nothing coming before, blindsided as it were. That’s not the only difference. When we’re in love, sometimes the act of being in love itself is what causes pain, particularly when we have kept it to ourselves, it is incomplete, or it is unrequited. Other addictions make sense – they feel good, however fleetingly, so we maintain them, even though we know they are bad for us.

But love? Why do we keep falling in love, or keep perpetuating the feeling of being in love, when there are no benefits but obvious side effects? Love is too heavy for one person to lift. It takes two.  We often have expectations and feel obligations. Even if we don’t have expectations, we still have hopes that can be dashed, or mild and vague beginnings that can be snuffed out before they start. Our feelings of love can come on like ocean waves, only to be dashed on the rocks and broken apart, returning to the sea. We may feel a temporary benefit, but we have no idea if that benefit will come again, or where to get it.

I should probably say “benefit”, with the quotes.