Ever notice how few love songs are happy? Most of the time, love hurts. Occasionally, love stinks. Even the sprightly Turtles tune quoted above, “Happy Together,” is about longing for someone, not actually being together – blissful, miserable or (God forbid) just boringly okay. Most love songs are about love wished for or love lost. And your basic love addict is a sucker for songs like that. We have a tragic tendency to confuse love with pain. If it cuts like a knife, at least we can feel it.
A hallmark of addiction is tolerance. The junkie builds up a tolerance to heroin, requiring more and more to stave off withdrawal pains. You don’t have to be a junkie to grok withdrawal; anyone who has ever found themselves in a fetal position on the bed starting at an unringing phone knows what withdrawal is. Here’s what increasing tolerance looks like in a love addict:
Your affairs become ever more conspicuous and closer to home, until you find yourself banging the next door neighbor, or your girlfriend’s sister. Your bad-boy boyfriends get badder and badder, until you find yourself in the emergency room claiming that you got the black eye from the corner of the nightstand when you rolled out of bed. You fall desperately in love with people who are at first sort of taken, then sort of living in another country, then sort of… well, dead. (Come to think of it, I once had a steamy, doomed relationship with a guy who was both married and living in another country. Of course, he might not have been aware we were in said relationship…)
We know where it ends up. It ends up like Fatal Attraction, with a pet rabbit boiling in a spaghetti pot. Or like Anna Karenina or Madame Bovary or a hundred other literary heroines, with a glorious suicide. When a heroin addict overdoses and dies, few people sigh “Oh, that’s so romantic.” How come it’s sexy when a love addict bites the dust?
I have no doubt that John Wayne Bobbitt totally got off on the tempestuous adrenaline storm that was his marriage to the sexy spitfire Lorena. Right up until she cut his dick off.
Awww. Ain’t it romantic?