Men in Love Addiction
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 researchers 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. They reach out for help when in crisis- they turn to close friends, family, or counselors/coaches for support; will express and talk about their pain, thoughts, and feelings- and also will be more honest in answering researches (for example- in depression research). 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 grow up with this message- we grew up to be "men"- and being open to our feelings and pain is considered "weak". So- Men are much less likely to open up when issues and crises arise. If men do express their issues- pain, feelings, etc. - What is likely to happen? My experience- men simply say "come on- suck it up- it's not bad"- "you'll get over it"- or they will avoid the man opening up to him. And the conversation would probably last 5 minutes. We are left in isolation and on our own to deal with internal distress- and this, my friends, is very unhealthy.
Does this mean we men don't have feelings, pain, suffering, longing for connection as women do? I don't think so. 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. So 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. Like oil leaking from an engine, the internal distress comes out- there's no way around it.
Let's take a brief look in how it is dealt with: Suicide (8th leading cause of death in men; 4x more likely than women); Alcoholics (3x alcoholic rate in men than women)- Porn, gambling, sex, work, you name the addiction?all have much higher rates in men- Murder, domestic violence- physical, emotional, & psychological abuse; violence, disease- much higher in men. This is the oil leak in the engine. The message men receive in society- to be "men"- we pay a high price for.
The truth is- being a "real man", allowing ourselves to reach out when necessary & to be who we really are - Is STRENGTH
Hiding from the Self is the real Weakness & is Self Destructive.
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. Hiding the authentic self, is the real weakness.
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. You can do the same.