I had done it again...
She said to me, "Mastin, you're a great guy, but I don't think we should keep seeing each other." I knew this was coming, I even felt the same way, but I couldn't help but feel the anxiety of rejection in the pit of my stomach.
I was at the end of another hot and heavy relationship, if you could call our two or three week journey a "relationship".
I knew this person wasn't good for me, yet a major part of me thought, "Heck this one will do, she's nice, she's pretty, and she has a photo of Audrey Hepburn on her wall. She's hip, cool and my kind of girl." Yet, I couldn't be fully myself around her. I felt like I was giving up something to be with this person, yet I still wanted to be with her. The thought of her affection and attention was so soothing to me that it didn't really matter if I was ignoring a part of myself to be with her.
I gave it my all, too. I followed the principles I promised myself, Pat Allen and a whole crowd at one of her seminars. I promised to not have sex until I was in a committed relationship. So what went wrong? Well, as I would soon learn, I was assigning my power to someone else, not living authentically and settling for less than my soul knew I was capable of being.
Now, settling for less isn't about being with someone who is "less" than you, no ... Settling for less is simply choosing to be with someone who can't be yourself around because there is a pay off. For me, the pay off was affection and seeming "validation." But deep down, I knew (and so did she) that this wasn't going to work out.
It didn't and I ended up feeling the same way I had many times before. But this time something was different, I had an awareness that it was basically ridiculous to be sad that I had just been broken up with by someone whom I really didn't want to be with anyways.
So after this valiant try to get it right I decided that I would just have fun until I met a real woman that I wanted to be in a relationship with. Luckily for me, I had a friend who told me just having fun and going for women who I did not have an authentic relationship with was taking me away from my authentic self.
So, at the suggestion of my wise friend, instead of taking the easy road and "having fun", I threw myself into the study of "love addiction." I was at the beginning of taking the higher road and in for a lot of quick and sudden change.
In her book "Facing Love Addiction: Giving Yourself Power to Change the Way You Love", Pia Mellody says that, "A love addict is someone who is dependent on, enmeshed with, and compulsively focused on taking care of another person." If I add on to that the definition I've given Love Addiction in Part 1: "A compulsive need for and use of an object of attachment, devotion or admiration", I could start to see a little more clearly what's going on here.
Basically, love addiction boils down to making someone else (and your emotional dependency upon them) more important than your authentic connection with yourself. Love addiction, like any addiction, is a way to distract yourself from what you are really feeling.
The "love addict" needs the validation and approval of another and gets a "hit" from another's affection which temporarily fills the void within. According to Mellody the "love addict" is attracted to the "love avoidant" (A person who tries to avoid intimate relationships).
This answers the question I posed to my friend in Part 1 "Why do I always go for the ones that don't want me?"
This was an "AH HA" moment.
I soon found out that what I was calling "following my heart", "free love" or being a "free spirit" was nothing more than a regular outsourcing of my power to another for a temporary hit of their "love". But it wasn't love. In fact, love addiction has nothing to do with real love.
As I well knew true love begins within. So, instead of continuing with a bad habit, I decided to do something about it. Just like the alcoholic goes cold turkey from the sauce, I went cold turkey from my emotional dependency on others.
For 30 days -- no dating, no sex of any kind, no flirting and no contact with former business partners.
So much came up for me over the next thirty days. I realized I was flirting with almost everyone I met (men and women) to get some form of validation from them. I saw that part of me believed that I HAD to go for the first person who liked me (even if I didn't like them) because deep down I incorrectly thought they were the ONLY person who would ever like me.
I realized that for most of my life I had failed to see the awesome-ness and capabilities of myself and had created personal and professional relationships based on a disbelief in myself.
The most profound realization I had was clearly seeing why my former love and business partnerships had not worked. That why is simple: I was looking to them to fill me with what I should be giving to myself.
Talk about a wakeup call. It was hard, but necessary, to see these things about myself. By the end of my cleanse I felt like a whole different person. What I had seen and the habits I had developed over the thirty days had given me the clarity to understand how to stay in authentic power and not give away my power to another person.
I felt emotionally "sober" for the first time in my life. It was literally like Neo waking up from the Matrix.
There are some tools I've learned and habits I've cultivated to help keep me emotionally "sober" that I will share with you in the final part of the "Addicted to Love" blog.
I welcome your thoughts and responses thus far, please feel free to email me TheDailyLove(at)TheDailyLove.com.
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more