Men in Love Addiction: Yes, Male Love Addicts Are Common
By Jim Hall MS, Love Addiction Specialist
If you're a man- you're here for a reason. Maybe you're here because you're having relationship difficulties- or you are dealing with a relationship loss. And/or you identify yourself as having characteristics in love addiction- - YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Many mental health care professionals make a popular assumption that love addiction- is primarily a women's issue, while men are primarily the avoidant addicts (distant, unemotional, avoidant).
The assumption is women become love addicts because of the abandonment they experienced as children- and therefore, carry this to their adulthood and become love addicts- this is consistently stated.
In all do respect, I highly disagree- highly! There is absolutely no research statistics that show this fact. Although many women fall into love addiction, men also are just as likely to suffer from love addiction. Furthermore, women are just as likely to be Avoidants in relationships.
Men are just as likely to suffer from love addiction as women are.
I will give you an analogy about this gender factor of love addiction. It relates to depression research. In psychological research on depression- most studies conclude that women are 2 to 4 times more likely to have depression than men.
This is another fallacy.
In his book, "I Don't Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression" by Terrence Real- Terrence explains that male depression is expressed differently than depression in women and the research on depression doesn't consider this.
Men tend to hide their condition, thinking it unmanly and weak to show feelings of emotional distress and depression.
So when researchers are interviewing and doing research surveys on depression in men and women, women will express their emotions and feelings and are likely to be honest when answering the researcher's questions.
Men are much more likely to be honest because to do so would appear weak and "unmanly". Men deal with internal stress and suffering using certain behaviors as defenses- as men in love addiction do.
Men deal with internal stress and suffering using certain defenses- often different than women.
Women are much more likely to admit when they have problems or emotional issues.
Women tend to reach out for help easier when in crisis- they turn to close friends, family, or counselors/coaches for support; they will express and talk about their pain, thoughts, and feelings- and also will be more honest in answering researches (for example- in depression research).
Generally, this is what they have been taught to do in society since they were small children- they learned it is ok and acceptable to cry out for help and express their pain.
Men don't typically grow up with this message in our society- we grew up to be "men"- and being open to our feelings and pain is considered "weak". As a result, men are much less likely to open up when personal issues or life crises arise. If men do express their issues- pain, feelings, etc. - What is likely to happen?
My experience- they feel ashamed, embarrassed, or yes, weak. Men will often feel or say "come on- suck it up"- "get over it". If a male friend or family member is vulnerable or opens up emotionally, they will likely minimize their feelings and not have much to offer in terms of support. And the conversation would probably last 5 minutes. Men are left in isolation and on our own to deal with internal distress- and this, my friends, is very unhealthy.
Does this mean men don't have feelings, pain, suffering, longing for connection as women do? I don't think so. Of course not. We are human.
Given men's role in society- how do men usually cope if they don't express and reach out? Men cope with it the best they can without admitting what is really going on internally (i.e. pain, emotions) unfortunately. Often men cope in isolation.
When men who are susceptible to addictive relationships learn to hide their inner selves- not express their emotions in healthy ways- it will be dealt with some other way- usually in dysfunctional and self-sabotaging ways.
Let's take a brief look at a few examples of how men often with personal vulnerable emotions, distress or emotional pain:
The truth is- being a "real man", allowing ourselves to have our feelings, to not judge them as good or bad, to reach out when necessary & to be who we really are, Human - Is STRENGTH.
So often men don't reach out and get the help that will benefit their life. Women are much more likely to do so - much more likely to admit their depressed- express feelings, emotions- and express and reach out to get help in their love addiction.
Love addiction is like any other addiction. Men don't need to stuff their pain, feelings, and who we are as human beings any longer. Men can now choose to destroy the lie - And realize, denying the fear to be who we are- is what strength is all about.
The truth is, being a real man and being vulnerable to be who we are- is what strength is, it's what being a secure individual is all about. Hiding the authentic self is the real weakness and harms well-being.
Many men are finally starting to realize this and are reaching out to heal, recover, and reconnect with themselves.
Men are now beginning to choose to love who they are as human beings- they are choosing to end the abandonment and neglect of the "self"- and they are choosing a life of abundance.
If you are a man reading this... You can do the same.
Author: Jim Hall MS is a love addiction specialist and online recovery expert who helps those struggling with love addiction discover a healthy path to overcome obsessive dependency patterns, develop the skills, self-love, and self-assurance to have healthy, happy relationships. more about Jim - For a personal consultation- advice, and/or relationship and recovery support with Jim Hall -- go to Online Love Addiction Coaching.
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