After the infatuation is over, how can you tell if it is mature love or
addictive dependency? Ask yourself these questions (Peele, 1976):
Is each lover mature and confident of his/her own worth and
ability? Are they independent? Are they each comfortable
Are both continuously improved by the relationship?
Do both have outside interests and relationships?
Is the love relationship integrated into his and her life rather
than being an isolated part of life?
Is there no jealousy of the lover's success, growth, and new
Are the lovers also genuine, honest, close friends?
When our obsession with another person causes us to neglect our
own needs and priorities, to neglect our own life, you need to cure
your love addiction. Bireda (1990) addresses this problem directly.
Germaine Greer (1971) in The Female Eunuch points out that some
lovers like their partners to fail or to have a weakness because a
scared, inadequate person is more likely to stay dependent on them.
Likewise, making yourself indispensable to your partner, i.e. making
him or her dependent on you, may be harmful to the relationship in
the long run. She says the question to ask is: "Do I want my love to
be happy more than I want him/her to be with me?" If your answer is
yes, it's probably mature love. If it is no or "I'm not sure," watch out
for clinging dependency.
If your life centers almost entirely around your loved one, naturally
breaking up will be agonizing and take a long time. Of course, growing
and mature people often go different directions; parting will be
regretted and painful for them too, but not a long-lasting emotional
disaster. In those cases where love suddenly turns to hate, it suggests
that the person was thinking more of him/herself than the lover all
One of the fantastic experiences of life is being deeply in love--
obsessed with someone, thrilled by them, wanting to touch them all
the time. Maybe the desperate need for love can't be escaped. There is
a saying, "Love is nature's trick to insure the species." The deep
internal feelings of love are so similar all over the world, it isn't likely
we learn to love from the movies. Of course, we are often hoping for
more from love than a relationship and sex. So often we hope that
love and marriage will solve many or all of our anxieties and problems
(Gordon, 1976). As we will discuss later, traditional women have
wanted economic, social, and emotional satisfaction; traditional men
have wanted all the comforts of home, admiration, and emotional
support. (Non-traditional men and women expect less from their