Escape from intimacy: the pseudo-relationship addictions: untangling the "love" addictions, sex, romance, relationships. Responsibility: Anne Wilson Schaef. When society becomes an addict. San Francisco: Harper & Row. Schaef, A. W. ( ). Escape from intimacy: The pseudo-relationship addictions. The idea that sex can be an addiction is new to many people The term . Escape from Intimacy: The Pseudo-Relationship Addictions, by Anne Wilson Schaef.
Euphoria, Obsession, Risky Behavior Men and women in the early stage of intense passionate romantic love express many of the basic traits associated with all addiction Tennov, ; Liebowitz, ; Hatfield and Sprecher, ; Harris, ; Lewis et al. Like all addicts, they focus on their beloved salience ; and they yearn for the beloved craving. As their relationship builds, the lover seeks to interact with the beloved more and more frequently tolerance. If the beloved breaks off the relationship, the lover experiences the common signs of drug withdrawal, too, including protest, crying spells, lethargy, anxiety, insomnia, or hypersomnia, loss of appetite or binge eating, irritability and chronic loneliness.
Like most addicts, rejected lovers also often go to extremes, even sometimes doing degrading or physically dangerous things to win back the beloved Meloy, ; Lewis et al. Romantic partners are willing to sacrifice, even die for the other. Lovers also relapse the way drug addicts do: Passionate lovers also express strong sexual desire for the beloved; yet their yearning for emotional union tends to overshadow their craving for sexual union with him or her Tennov, Most characteristic, the lover thinks obsessively about the beloved intrusive thinking.
Besotted lovers may also compulsively follow, incessantly call, write or unexpectedly appear, all in an effort to be with their beloved day and night Tennov, ; Lewis et al. Paramount to this experience is intense motivation to win him or her. All these behaviors are common to those with substance addictions. However, not everyone exhibits these types of behaviors after a breakup, just as not everyone who uses a substance exhibits dependency and withdrawal effects e.
The Brain Systems Associated with Romantic Love Neuroimaging studies of intense, passionate romantic love reveal the physiological underpinnings of this universal or near-universal human experience, and they all show activation of the VTA Fisher et al. In our first experiment Fisher et al.
Participants alternately viewed a photograph of their sweetheart and a photograph of a familiar individual, interspersed with a distraction-attention task. These regions of the reward system are directly associated with addiction in many studies of drugs of abuse Breiter et al.
These data from several studies indicate that individuals who are happily in the early stages of passionate love express activity in neural regions associated with drug and some behavioral addictions.
Craving, Relapse and Destructive Behavior Cross-culturally, few men or women avoid suffering from romantic rejection at some point across their lives. Romantic rejection can cause a profound sense of loss and negative affect although this is not always the case e.
Some broken-hearted lovers even die from heart attacks or strokes caused by their depression Rosenthal, The suite of negative phenomena associated with rejection in love, including protest, the stress response, frustration attraction, abandonment rage, and jealousy, in conjunction with craving and withdrawal symptoms, most likely also contribute to the high worldwide incidence of crimes of passion see Meloy, ; Meloy and Fisher, One pathology is also regularly associated with romantic love, stalking.
There are two common types of stalkers: In both cases, the stalker exhibits several of the characteristic components of all addictions, including focused attention on the love object, increased energy, following behaviors, and obsessive thinking about and impulsivity directed toward the victim, suggesting that stalking also activates aspects of the reward system in the brain Meloy and Fisher, and may be akin to addiction.
But because this syndrome has no direct association with reward system activity and may be a form of paranoid schizophrenia or other delusional disorder Jordan and Howe, ; Kopelman et al.
It appears, however, as if evolution has overdone the negative response to romantic abandonment. But romantically rejected individuals have wasted precious courtship time and metabolic energy; they have lost essential economic and financial resources; their social alliances have been jeopardized; their daily rituals and habits have been altered; they may have lost property; and they have most likely experienced damage to their personal happiness, self-esteem and reputation see Leary, ; Fisher, Most important, rejected lovers of reproductive age are likely to have lost breeding opportunities or a parenting partner for the offspring they have already produced—forms of reduced future genetic viability Fisher, Thus, romantic rejection can have severe social, psychological, economic, and reproductive consequences.
All scored high on the Passionate Love Scale Hatfield and Sprecher, ; all reported that they spent most of their waking hours thinking about the person who rejected them; and all yearned for their abandoning partner to return to the relationship. Participants alternately viewed a photograph of their rejecting partner and a photograph of a familiar, emotionally neutral individual, interspersed with a distraction-attention task.
Their responses while looking at their rejecter in the scanner included feelings of romantic passion, despair, joyous, and painful memories, rumination about why this had happened, and mental assessments of their gains and losses from the experience.
Activity in several of these brain regions has been correlated with craving for cocaine and other drugs of abuse Melis et al. That is, approach behavior and desired interaction with a person or a substance may or may not involve actual pleasurable experiences.
A distinction between hedonic impact and incentive salience has been explored in animal studies Berridge et al. We also found that looking at the partners face activated the right VTA while left VTA activation correlated with the attractiveness of faces in the study Aron et al. Attachment For those who stay in a relationship beyond the early stage, intense romantic phase, an important second constellation of feelings sets in, associated with attachment Acevedo et al. In our studies of individuals who are happily in love Fisher et al.
Thus, with time, feelings of attachment begin to accompany feelings of passionate romantic love Fisher, ; Acevedo et al. Working in conjunction, these two basic neural systems for romantic love and attachment may constitute the biological foundation of human pair-bonding—and provide the context for the evolution of love addictions Insel, ; Burkett and Young, ; Fisher, Evolution of Romantic Love and Attachment It has been proposed that the neural systems associated with feelings of intense romantic love and partner attachment evolved in conjunction with the evolution of the human predisposition for pair-bonding, serving as mechanisms to stimulate mate choice and motivating individuals to remain with a mate long enough to breed and rear their offspring through infancy as a team Fisher, ; Fisher et al.
This hypothesis suggests that the neural systems for romantic love and attachment are survival systems with evolutionary roots Frascella et al. Pair-bonding is a hallmark of humanity. Data from the Demographic Yearbooks of the United Nations on 97 societies canvassed in the s indicate that approximately Cross-culturally, most individuals are monogamous; they form a sexual and socially sanctioned partnership with one person at a time.
Moreover, because polygyny in humans is regularly associated with rank and wealth, monogamy i. Data suggest that the human predisposition for pair-bonding often preceded by romantic attraction also has a biological basis. The investigation of human attachment began with Bowlbyand Ainsworth et al. Since these early studies, extensive research has been done on the behaviors, feelings and neural mechanisms associated with this attachment system in adult humans and other animals Fraley and Shaver, ; Eisenberger et al.
Currently, researchers believe that this biologically based attachment system remains active throughout the human life course, serving as the foundation for attachment between pair-bonded partners for the purpose of raising offspring Hazan and Shaver, ; Hazan and Diamond, Pair-bonding could have evolved at any point in hominin evolution; and with it, various love addictions Fisher, Ardipithecus ramidus, currently dated at 4.
Anthropologists have also re-measured Australopithecus afarensis fossils for skeletal variations; and they report that by 3. The emergence of bipedalism may have been a primary factor in the evolution of the neural circuitry for hominin pair-bonding Fisher, and the concomitant evolution of romantic love and possibly attachment addiction.
But a male could defend and provision a single female with her infant as they walked near one another, within the vicinity of the larger community. And along with the evolution of pair-bonding and the neural system for attachment may have emerged the brain system for intense positive romantic addiction—serving to motivate males and females to focus their mating energy on a single partner and remain together long enough to trigger feelings of attachment necessary to initiate and complete their co-parenting duties of highly altricial young Fisher, Human Romantic Love as a Developed Form of a Mammalian Courtship Mechanism Considerable data suggest that the human brain system for romantic love arose from mammalian antecedents.
Like humans, all birds and mammals exhibit mate preferences; they focus their courtship energy on favored potential mates and disregard or avoid others Fisher, ; Fisher et al.
The brain system for human romantic love shows biological similarities with mammalian neural systems for courtship attraction.
When a dopamine antagonist is injected into the nucleus accumbens, the female no longer prefers this partner; and when a female is injected with a dopamine agonist, she begins to prefer the conspecific who is present at the time of the infusion, even if she has not mated with this male Wang et al. An increase in the activities of central dopamine is also associated with courtship attraction in female sheep Fabre-Nys et al.
D.O.W.N.L.O.A.D [P.D.F] Escape from Intimacy: The Pseudo-Relationship Addictions : Untangling the
In male rats, increased striatal dopamine release has also been shown in response to the presence of a receptive female rat Robinson et al. Because human romantic love shares many behavioral and biological characteristics with mammalian courtship attraction, it is likely that human romantic love is a developed form of this mammalian neural courtship mechanism Fisher,; Fisher et al.
However, in most species courtship attraction is brief, lasting only minutes, hours, days, or weeks; while in humans, intense, early stage romantic love can last 12—18 months Marazziti et al. So in early hominin prehistory, activity in this mammalian neural system for courtship attraction may have become intensified and prolonged as pair-bonding evolved, eventually becoming the positive or negative romantic addictions experienced by men and women cross-culturally today.
Romantic Love May Act As A Reward Replacement for Other Addictions High quality social relationships including romantic relationships can be extremely beneficial to those recovering from an addiction e.
One potential mechanism for this benefit comes from the therapeutic approach to drug addiction of reward replacement.
That is, when quitting one addictive substance or behavior, the addicted individual replaces this addiction with another form of rewarding behavior, often without prompting from an outside source, such as a clinician Donovan, ; Marks, ; DiNardo and Lemieux, ; Haylett et al.
Because of this, clinicians who treat addictions are known to effectively engage patients in new reinforcers see Bickel et al.
Could early stage romance provide a replacement reward for those engaged in substance abuse or a behavioral addiction? To explore this question, Xu et al. These men and women looked at side-by-side photos, one of a hand holding either a lighted cigarette cue or a pencil control and one of their newly beloved or a familiar acquaintance non-smokers so they were not cigarette-cues.
Among those who were moderately addicted to nicotine, when the cigarette cue was presented next to the image of the beloved compared to the acquaintanceless activation was observed in regions associated with cigarette cue-reactivity.
These preliminary data provide more evidence that romantic love could be considered a powerful and primordial natural addiction because it can, under some circumstances, modify brain activations associated with a more contemporary addiction, nicotine. They propose that rapid self-expansion occurs during early stage romance. This self-expansion, which is rooted in approach motivation see Mattingly et al.
Self-expansion in the context of romantic love has been shown to attenuate perceptions of physical pain Younger et al.
Understanding Fear of Intimacy
Further, self-expansion may also be beneficial in the context of quitting any addiction because it facilitates self-concept change e. In addition to providing distraction, replacement and redirection, engaging in self-expanding i. Indeed, three studies have directly investigating self-expansion in the context of nicotine addiction, each finding quite positive results. Ex-smokers reported that significantly more self-expanding experiences had occurred directly before they successfully quit smoking than did current smokers who reported on their unsuccessful attempts to quit Xu et al.
Even among the current smokers who relapsed, the number of self-expanding experiences occurring directly before their quit attempt was significantly positively correlated with how long they were able to abstain from smoking Xu et al. In order to overcome our fear of intimacy, we must challenge our negative attitudes toward ourselves and not push our loved ones away.
It is possible to challenge our core resistance to love. We can confront our negative self-image and grow our tolerance for a loving relationship. We can overcome our fears of intimacy and enjoy more loving and more intimate relationships. The experience of real love often threatens our self-defenses and raises our anxiety as we become vulnerable and open ourselves up to another person.
This leads to a fear of intimacy. Falling in love not only brings excitement and fulfillment; it also creates anxiety and fears of rejection and potential loss. For this reason many people shy away from loving relationships. Fear of intimacy begins to develop early in life. We learn not to rely on others as a coping mechanism.
Escape from Intimacy: Untangling the ``Love'' Addictions: Sex, Romance, Relationships
After being hurt in our earliest relationships, we fear being hurt again. We are reluctant to take another chance on being loved. Therefore, when someone is loving and reacts positively toward us, we experience a conflict within ourselves. Our capacity to accept love and enjoy loving relationships can also be negatively affected by existential issues. This can lead us to feel more pain about the thought of death. When we push our partner away emotionally or retreat from their affection, we are acting on this fear of intimacy.
These distancing behaviors may reduce our anxiety about being too close to someone, but they come at a great cost.