them, you genuinely like, enjoy, and respect each other as friends (if it
is love and not just infatuation).
Peele and Brodsky (1976) liken love to an addiction. If you feel
someone is necessary to make your life bearable, you are addicted to
that person. As they say, "The ever-present danger of withdrawal
creates an ever-present craving." Certainly the thought of losing our
loved one would traumatize many of us. What is the difference
between healthy love and addictive love? Consider your answers to
these questions: Is each person his/her own person, i.e. equal and
independent? Are both improved by the relationship? Is one dedicated
to serving, improving, or "saving" the other? Do both have outside
interests, including other friendships? Do they foster or resent the
other's growth? Are the lovers also good friends? Refer to the
discussion of codependency in chapter 8. And, see Bireda (1992) and
Forward & Buck (1990) for advice about obsessive love.
As there are as many minds as there are heads, so there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.
-Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Beliefs and myths about love
There is limited research and very little truly usable knowledge
about love. However, there are many beliefs--often contradictory or
paradoxical--about love. Examples:
Love grows after marriage--or--Love leaves after the marriage
People in love are crazy--or--A wise person marries for love.
You know within minutes or hours if you can love a person--or-
-Love may develop after you have known each other for
months or years.
Love solves most of life's problems; it's the way to find
happiness--or--You can't live with a man/women and you can't
live without them.
Love is nature's trick to insure the species--or--Love and sex
are two different things.
Love is the only thing needed for a good marriage; love
conquers all--or--Constant work and many coping skills are
needed to maintain a marriage.
Love is blind; it is an addiction--or--Marriages are made in
People in love shouldn't have sex until they are married--or--
Sex is the most intense and noble expression of love.