Category Archives: Love Addiction

You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide (From Your Own Self-Love Deficit Disorder)

YOU CAN RUN, BUT YOU CAN’T HIDE, by Ross Rosenberg

Breaking up, quitting or divorcing, will not, by itself, solve your narcissistic abuse problems.  Because the problem is within, not around you, there is no escape.  Therefore, when you separate from your harmful narcissist, run far away, but to where can protect that hurt wounded little child inside of you, who knows nothing about being alone and happy at the same time.  Without healing the core shame that creates your unbearable loneliness, your apparent victory will last only until your next soulmate’s mask falls off.  This is precisely when you will be reminded that there is no running away from the Human Magnet Syndrome.

I wrote this in response to a Facebook friend’s elated comments about breaking up with her harmfull narcissistic boyfriend.  The point of the meme is that Self-Love Deficit Disorder (codependency), is not a result from bad choices or habits, but because of deeper unconscious forces that commander your relationship choices.  The pyramid graphic underneath the meme demonstrates my theoretical position on the matter, and the basis for most of my “Codependency Cure/Self-Love Deficit Disorder/Self-Love Recovery” material.




©Ross Rosenberg, 2017

The 2nd Edition of the Human Magnet Syndrome, which is completely re-written with over 100 pages of new content will be available on Amazon on 12/30/17  and sold on Amazon and at

Clinical Care Consultants Owner
Self Love Recovery Institute
Psychotherapist, Author & Professional Trainer
Author of The 
Human Magnet Syndrome

Creator of “The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder” seminar

SELF LOVE RECOVERY INSTITUTE                         

Dream house

Building Your Dream Home – The Importance of Self-Love

Building Your Dream Home – The Importance of Self-Love

By Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT

“And the day came
when the risk to remain tight in a bud
was more painful
than the risk it took to blossom.”
~ Anaïs Nin

in a metaphorically dilapidated and dangerous home that fools us into believing it protects us from the risk of harm and danger.  As much as we may want to blame another person for building the house, making us stay inside it, or inoculating us with fear for wanting to move out of it, we must face the fact that we are also responsible. Since we are not chained inside of the house, the captor needs the captured to believe they belong in such a house.  Believe it or not, the locks on the outside doors were installed by both partners.  The challenge is to realize that you always carry the keys for the deadbolt locks and the password for the security alarms.

In reality, this “safe house” of ours has always constricted our growth potential by not allowing us to believe it’s safe to go “outside”; to realize we can, in actuality, weather being soaked by spring’s torrential rainfalls, buried by winter’s knee-deep snow, or burnt by summer’s scalding heat.  We have been manipulated into believing the locked doors and security systems of our dysfunctional dwelling protect us from all of these things.  The fortified steel bolt locks that we agreed to, or were talked into installing, never actually protected us.  On the contrary, they trapped us in a home imbued with the absence of self-love, where every wall, floor, and ceiling is stained with fear, negativity, and pessimism.

It is time to ask ourselves about the truth and validity of the frightening and dangerous nature of the world that lies one step beyond the entrance of our home.  Have we been force-fed a version of reality that was meant to keep us frightened and cocooned in our home?  Or did we concoct our own scary story of the outside world to protect our wounded, sensitive and vulnerable hearts?  The truth be told: the walls we believe protected us also entrapped us…stopped us from healing the wounds responsible for our beliefs of being permanently homebound and an emotional invalid.

Do we mistakenly believe the risk to venture out into the seemingly unsafe community of unknowns and potential perpetrators is far less risky than staying put in our slowly shrinking and suffocating home?   Similarly, have we lulled ourselves into believing the dangers of being vulnerable and hurt on the outside are worse than the inescapable ongoing trauma of being imprisoned within the seemingly protective confines of our own home?   If so, we may have been tricked into believing the value of supposed protection and safety, over the potential for personal, relational and emotional freedom and self-love.

It is time to take an honest inventory of what is missing in your life and what you are longing for and have spent a lifetime dreaming of.  Honestly and courageously calculate the real differences between what would be both lost and gained by living in your home, or venturing outside of it.  You will be surprised at how you were manipulated into believing your small and increasingly dangerous home was never safe.

Now is the time to imagine a home that is big enough for you to move freely and without restriction; one that speaks to your bright future, not the lurid and frightening memories of your past.  You can have that dream house, the one you always wanted, but mistakenly believed you never deserved.   But before you start thinking about a new home, it is crucial that you realize the home you need to build and then move into is already inside of you.

Wrap your arms around the idea of knowing you deserve such a home.  Sit with this new-found knowledge and marinate in the idea that your future dream home can actually be acquired.  Also, if possible, come to terms with the restricting and freezing nature of your fears and doubts, which have been instilled inside of you since you were a child.  Life will open up so many possibilities once you understand and accept your insecure and fear-based beliefs about the past, present and future were purposely forced upon you in order for you to believe in your dependency, weakness and lack of personal power and control over your own life.

Deciding to move and then actually making plans might be exciting at first, but you will get scared and doubt yourself.  Be prepared to feel scared and insecure.  Take your time, don’t panic and stay present.  And whatever you do, DO NOT waver in your commitment to build your inner foundation of self-love, self-respect, and self-caring.  Moving into a home before your own personal foundation is solid is a dangerous proposition!  If there are cracks, then your “house” will be reduced to “rubble” if bad weather should come your way.  Building your home (self-love) inside of yourself before rushing (escaping) into another dwelling, will ensure a long-term and safe home, fit to carry you brightly and self-lovingly into the future.

When you get to the point where you know deep in your heart that you are ready to move, don’t rush to pack up and hire movers!  In addition, before throwing away or donating any of your old and dingy material possessions, work first on fortifying your new foundation of courage and resiliency, while establishing mutually loving, respectful and caring relationships outside of your current, soon-to-be former home.  Then, you will be ready to start looking for your dream house!

When you do find your new home, make sure its foundation matches your own.  A home that has both a solid infrastructure and rock-solid foundation will bring you joy and happiness that you once could not have imagined and, once experienced, will protect you with every bit of the self-love you so courageously have built up over time.  Despite the rainstorms, blizzards and heatwaves, you will be safe from harm and live in an environment of peace, happiness and potential.

Now is the time to imagine, build, move into, maintain and cherish your future home, in which the foundation and every brick are made from self-love!

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT © 2016
Clinical Care Consultants Owner
Advanced Clinical Trainers Owner
Psychotherapist, Author & Professional Trainer
Author of The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us


Why Internet Dating Apps Have It All Wrong. The Truth Behind “Chemistry”

Why Internet Dating Apps Have It All Wrong

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Ross Rosenberg reveals the hidden truth behind relationship chemistry

Have you been working on your online dating profile? Posing for the perfect selfie? Finding the exact right words to describe your wonderful self? Sadly, and unfortunately, all of the effort in choosing the best photographs, writing one’s personal biography, and positioning oneself in the most appealing personality and lifestyle categories is all for naught; it simply doesn’t matter. Adding insult to injury, it is futile to base your hopes for a happy relationship on the careful reading and interpreting of a potential love interest’s profile, while scanning every pixel of their pics with a magnifying glass looking for potential clues or red flags. Why? Because dating chemistry is not based on your prospective match’s face or body type, musical interests, favorite foods, political leanings, education, religion, or other criteria. Dating chemistry is based on “The Human Magnet Syndrome!”

The Human Magnet Syndrome accounts for one of the most common couplings we see—the pairing of caretaking, empathetic, and altruistic codependents with selfish, arrogant, controlling, and harmful narcissists, who simultaneously fall head over heels in in love while remaining tied together in a long-term dysfunctional relationship.

What we call chemistry between two lovers is the unconscious matching of perfectly balanced opposite personality types. I describe this phenomenon in detail in my book, The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us. The Human Magnet Syndrome accounts for one of the most common couplings we see—the pairing of caretaking, empathetic, and altruistic codependents with selfish, arrogant, controlling, and harmful narcissists, who simultaneously fall head over heels in in love while remaining tied together in a long-term dysfunctional relationship.

When a caretaking woman feels the chemistry bliss over her narcissistic romantic man (or vice versa), it is not because of any similarities she shares with him. Rather it is due to the activation of unconscious psychological attraction mechanisms that recognize a perfect “dancing partner” who makes her heart skip a beat or two. His boldness, charisma, self-confidence, and charm create the illusion that he is the man about whom she has always dreamt. Little does she know that she, a codependent, has chosen, yet again, another in a long list of narcissists.

Human Magnet Syndrome chemistry, of course, goes both ways. Mr. Perfect’s unconscious chemistry machinery has also been activated. His heart is aflutter over this perfect angel of a woman who listens to him, cries for him, and validates all of the “unfair treatment” he has received from his ex-wives who demand child support, the IRS who is auditing him, and the long line of jobs from which he was terminated for “knowing the job better than (his) bosses.” So of course, Mr. Perfect, a.k.a. the narcissist, has also hit the (dysfunctional) relationship jackpot.  At the end of the day, the codependent’s dreams of a soul mate invariably dissolve into a “cellmate” reality.


Self-orientation is divided into two categories: those who are comfortable with giving away and not receiving LRC, and those who are more comfortable taking LRC while not reciprocating.

The multi-billion-dollar Internet dating industry doesn’t realize it, but despite all those algorithms, all that matching, and all that swiping, they are selling the Human Magnet Syndrome. When two romantic hopefuls meet, whether by chance or the result of an Internet dating site’s heralded selection technologies, they will instantly feel comfortable, familiar, and safe when their self-orientations match up. What, you ask, is a self-orientation? A self-orientation is defined as the manner in which a person distributes or takes love, respect, and caring (LRC) in relationship. Self-orientation is divided into two categories: those who are comfortable with giving away and not receiving LRC, and those who are more comfortable taking LRC while not reciprocating.

Like a dancing partnership, the caretaking and others-oriented person will naturally feel comfortable and instinctively familiar with a “dance partner” who is in need of caretaking and who focuses on his (or her) needs more than their own. The same intuitive feeling of familiarity and comfort is experienced by the other “dance partner.” Like opposite sides of a magnet, these two “human magnets” are unconsciously drawn to each other because of the way their self-orientations match up, not because of the compatibility of their Internet dating profiles or the allure of their attractive photos. It’s simple chemistry at work!

This magnetic love connection predictably begins like a fairy-tale, but quickly morphs into a painful “seesaw” of love and hate and hope and disappointment.  The Human Magnet Syndrome Chemistry phenomenon is almost always this way.  Just ask your friends, think about your own family, or analyze your own dating history. You will discover that chemistry, or that intuitive feeling of relational and romantic perfection, exists because of the connection of opposite self-orientations, not because of a well thought out list of similarities, likes, and dislikes.

Consider your own chance encounters and skillfully matched dating setups, which seemed perfect “on paper” but wouldn’t elicit the smallest of romantic sparks or chemistry.

Consider your own chance encounters and skillfully matched dating setups, which seemed perfect “on paper” but wouldn’t elicit the smallest of romantic sparks or chemistry. You will likely conclude that, when self-orientations are similar, shared feelings of disappointment and frustration are experienced, especially if there are areas of conscious compatibility. To illustrate, the smoldering sexy man with six-pack abs and the drop-dead gorgeous woman who sports a perfect set of lips and long beautiful legs just might not be a good match. If these seemingly well-matched romantic hopefuls have a similar self-orientation, then Mr. Smoldering will never connect with Ms. Gorgeous. Or, if entranced by lust, the lack of chemistry will surely be the bucket of cold water that tears these two apart.

It’s my theory that the folks at the helm of the big Internet dating companies either don’t know about the Human Magnet Syndrome, or shy away from negative and complicated “blame your parents” psychological explanations. I am sure the promise of the perfect match or soulmate sells more subscriptions than the uncomfortable truth: the bonding of similarly lonely and unhappy personality types—codependents and narcissists. It is difficult to imagine, eHarmony, or Tinder embracing the Human Magnet Syndrome explanation over their multi-million-dollar marketing and advertising campaigns that offer the promise of finding a soulmate through patented scientific matching algorithms.

Everything in my life, both personally and professionally as therapist, confirms the causal connection between The Human Magnet Syndrome and romantic chemistry. Moreover, my clinical work, personal dating, and relationship experiences along with the thousands of testaments from clients, readers, social network connections, and YouTube subscribers, all validate the codependent/narcissistic chemistry connection.

So here’s the bottom line: the romantic relationship that is brought together by an interminably strong magnetic force will survive the test of time as it adheres to the human instinct to find and stay with a partner who is uniquely compatible and familiar. According to the continuum of self theory, compatible romantic partners tend to stay true to their uniquely opposite relationship orientation. The same applies to the human magnet syndrome: We are attracted to and maintain relationships with individuals whose “magnetic polarity” differs and, therefore, is compatible with our own.

Does all this mean you should stop swiping or inputting your interests on your dating profile? No. It means you should start thinking so you can understand the underlying basis of attraction as you try to find lasting harmony with a romantic partner.

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT © 2016
Clinical Care Consultants Owner
Advanced Clinical Trainers Owner
Psychotherapist, Author & Professional Trainer
Author of The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us








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Articles Written by Author Ross Rosenberg

 Articles Written by Author Ross Rosenberg  


Moods Magazine

Ezine Articles

Articles for Which I was Interviewed

Chicago Tribune by Jen Weigel:  Are You A Magnet for DisasterHelper, Don’t Forget to Help Yourself Too.        Letting Go Of Toxic Relationships,       Online Infidelity: Identifying, and Dealing with, Cyber Affairs

Huffington Post:  11 Signs You Might Be Dating A Sociopath      Why You Can’t Stand To Be Alone — And How To Learn To Love It     When Divorcing a Narcissist, Prepare for the Rage

PsychcentralWhy You Can’t Stand To Be Alone — And How To Learn To Love Yourself       Tips on Setting Boundaries in Enmeshed Relationships,       Coping With Loneliness During the Holidays Is Your Facebook Creeping a Sign of Something Worse? Seasonal Survival Skills (Holiday Blues Survival Kit) Self Love Deficit Disorder: Where Do You Fall on the Continuum of Self?              How the gray area between codependency and narcissism is defining your relationships.


Ross Rosenberg,
3325 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Ste 400B
Arlington Heights, IL  60004
(847) 749-0514 ext 12

Dysfunctional Relationship Glue Recipe

Dysf Glue



Ross Rosenberg,
3325 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Ste 400B
Arlington Heights, IL  60004
(847) 749-0514 ext 12

Tinder and Human Nature: How & Why Tinder Works

Tinder and Human Nature: Understanding How Tinder Works

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT Candidate

Posted: Updated: 

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“Chemistry” is not just the inexplicable adrenaline-charged sensation when two would-be lovers meet. It is “the igniter, the catalyst (K. Newman 2014)” for all forms of intense, exhilarating, and desirous relationships. I propose that there are two types of chemistry, romantic and platonic. Although lacking the one-two punch of romantic chemistry, platonic chemistry is a similarly powerful relational phenomenon. As the “little sister” of romantic chemistry, it lacks the “can’t breathe, sleep, eat or concentrate” feelings. Nevertheless, it still can make someone’s facial muscles ache from smiling too long, mouth feel parched from nonstop chatting, and create simultaneous feelings of serendipity and familiarity.

Although both “big” and “little” chemistries start with a bang, the latter is inherently more stable and usually less volatile (and doesn’t result in babies!). Both can strike without warning almost anywhere: at school, at work, in a yoga class, in church, or even in a library. For me, “little chemistry” struck today at the Taco Joint (yes, that is its real name) in Chicago with an esteemed colleague named Bela Gandhi. Bela and I seemed to be magnetically drawn to each other because of like-minded ideas and experiences about romance, dating, and, of all subjects, chemistry! The irony of this situation did not escape me!


Bela is a jewel of a person who is fun, energetic, smart, and brimming with passion for what she believes in and what she does. She hones her infectious, creative and effervescent energy into her company, Smart Dating Academy, which is one of the nation’s top-ranked date coaching services. Her notoriety is international, as she is a regular TV personality, author, speaker and coach extraordinaire. She was aptly referred to by the Huffington Post as “the fairy godmother of dating.”

It wasn’t just her contagious smile or her charming and bubbly personality that caught my attention; it was also her remarkably cogent and creative explanations about forever love and how to get people to find and keep it. In our own synergistic “little chemistry” moment, we found ourselves effortlessly sharing ideas and explanations about romantic chemistry. If ideas were truly light bulbs going on above someone’s head, we, and the other inhabitants of the restaurant, would have needed sunglasses!

Bela, as a love and dating guru, and me, a codependency/relationship specialist, trainer, psychotherapist and author, found ourselves intensely engaged in our shared attempts to explain the seemingly mysterious, alluring and deeply irresistible nature of Tinder – the newest and hottest Internet dating service. According to Tinder founder and CEO Sean Rad, as of February 2014, Tinder is responsible for 750 million swipes and 10 million matches per day. It also boasts that 450 million profiles are rated every day and membership is growing by 15% eacj week (T. Chamorro-Premuzic, 2014).


Tinder ingeniously combines the power of your smart phone’s GPS and Facebook data to find your romantic dream date. Using this data, it matches potential lovers by age, sex, and location. Unlike the mainstream Internet dating services, what you see initially is just a few photos, interests (according to their FB profile) and one tagline. It gives you the option to swipe right if you find them attractive and desirable, and left if you don’t. If, on the other end, someone finds your photo “attractive,” then you are immediately rewarded with a rush-inducing message that you two are a match. From that point, you can chat, swap numbers and even meet up.

Bela and I agreed that Tinder’s success is related to a deeper, more primitive process. Almost in unison, we referred to the ground-breaking work of Helen Fischer, the renowned anthropologist and human behavior specialist, who revolutionized our understanding of the neurochemical basis of love. As Fischer explained in her book, “Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love, (2004)”, when we gaze upon a photo of someone with whom we are attracted, i.e., a Tinder pic, our brain’s neurochemical networks are triggered.


Gazing upon a photo of someone with whom you are smitten, e.g. a Tinder photos, activates the brain’s pleasure center (tagmental ventral area), where copious amounts of dopamine, the brain’s “pleasure chemical,” is released to travel down the brain’s neural “love circuit.” Once it reaches the pleasure centers in the brain, primarily in the nucleus accumben, we feel a rush of desire, which then travels at lightning speed to the thinking and action parts of our brain: the prefrontal cortex. This is where we decide to swipe right or left. The little dopamine hit is the swipe, the bigger and more intoxicating one is with a match! And with a match, one experiences the full breadth of the dopamine-induced fireworks show!

Turning a conversational corner, Bela and I also hypothesized that Tinder’s hypnotic allure borrows from the same psychological process that addictively draws people to play slot machines. According to Natasha Dow Schüll, the author of Addiction by Design (2012), “The particular addictiveness of modern slots has to do with the solitary, continuous, rapid wagering they enable. It is possible to complete a game every three to four seconds, with no delay between one game and the next. Some machine gamblers become so caught up in the rhythm of play that it dampens their awareness of space, time and monetary value.” I suspect that a similar process occurs with Tinder.


The trance caused by the slot machine’s whirling wheels, flashy lights, loud sounds, and triumphant siren blast of the lucky bastard next to you who just won a jackpot, keeps you transfixed and glued to your one-armed bandit – at least until all of your money is gone. Although Tinder doesn’t deplete your savings account, it is certainly capable of depleting your limited reserves of hope, wonder, and self-esteem. Business psychology professor, T. Chamorrow-Premuzic (2014) believes that Tinder is capable of damaging one’s self-esteem and confidence, while aggravating or even causing anxiety and depression (check reference). He further asserted that the problem with Tinder-like dating apps is that they can be more arousing than the actual hook-up.


Both Tinder and slot machines similarly draw us in because of the potential for instant gratification, the amazing visuals and the trance caused by the expectation for an explosion of pleasure. Sadly, it often leaves the hopeful soul mates depleted and, sometimes, emotionally and/or financially drained.

Unlike profile-powered sites like Match and EHarmony, Tinder taps into a superficial element of our human nature. Ironically, the swipe like or dislike method seems to be working better than the heavily engineered methods of traditional online dating sites. Ironically, the superficial looks-based design is the recipe for Tinder’s enormous success. According to Bela, “Tinder is trying to better replicate how we connect in the real world. Two people walk into a room, meet eyes, smile, start chatting, and the sparklers start to go off.”

Dr. Chamorro-Premuzic (2013) explained, “This has been an important lesson for data enthusiasts who have tried to sterilize the game of love by injecting rigorous decision-making and psychometric algorithms into the process. It turns out that people are a lot more superficial than psychologists thought. They would rather judge 50 pictures in two minutes than spend 50 minutes assessing one potential partner. So, just like the social dynamics at a bar, Tindering comprises a series of simple and intuitive steps. First, you assess the picture, then you gauge interest and only then do you decide to start a (rudimentary) conversation.”


According to my book, The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us (2013), romantic hopefuls are magnetically and irresistibly drawn into romantic relationships, not so much by what they see, feel and think, but more by an invisible (unconscious) and irresistible love force. The function of this love force or chemistry is to create intense psychological and visceral interest with a potential romantic interest who feels intuitively right.

This chemistry connection is a direct result of what I call a “self-orientation” match. I define self-orientation as the interactional preference to be more focused on loving, respecting and caring (LRC) for others versus the same needs for one’s self. Those who are completely oriented toward the LRC needs of others are considered codependent. Conversely, those who are completely oriented toward the fulfillment of their own LRC needs are considered pathologically narcissistic.

The Human Magnet Syndrome explains why caregivers, or people prone to giving more than they take, are invariably attracted to or experience “big chemistry” with care needers, or people prone to taking more than they give. Chemistry, according to my theory, is a function of the perfect matching of opposite self-orientations. Much like two magnets with opposite polarity, the two romantic hopefuls (“human magnets”) are irresistibly attracted to each other – coming together with euphoric anticipation.


I hypothesize that a person’s positive reaction to a Tinder photo is purely neuro/bio-chemical and instinctual. However, it is the Human Magnet Syndrome that seals the deal – making sure these two Tinder hopefuls experience a flood of excitement, wonder and feelings of relational perfection – fulfilling their long awaited dream for a soul mate. Sadly, the “big chemistry” does not last forever, as the fantasies and intense highs are invariably replaced by the mere reality of who these star-crossed lovers really are.

By the end of our lunch conversation, Bela and I unexpectedly made a dent in our own understanding of chemistry and the alluring and stimulating nature of Tinder. More than that, we experienced firsthand the enigmatic experience of “little chemistry.” As such, even before we exchanged our goodbyes, we had initiated another plan to meet. I anticipate that our next meeting of minds and hearts will result in yet another experience of professional synergy and “little chemistry.” I certainly hope so…

Follow Ross A. Rosenberg on Twitter: or at



Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC

Author of the Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us

For the love addict and codependent, Internet dating sites are the crack cocaine of romantic exploration.  Although the love addict consciously wants true and everlasting love, they are drawn to the exhilarating rush of new love, like a moth is drawn to a flame.  Their dream of being forever in love with a fated soul mate is inexplicably foiled by reasons that never quite make sense to them.  Love addicts rarely make it past the 30-day mark in any new relationship.  It is as if they have a fuel tank that supplies the gasoline to a racecar engine…but it only has a one-gallon capacity!

Here is the story of a 37-year old love addict named Jake and a 35-year old codependent named Melissa.  Melissa and Jake, like so many codependent / love addict relationships, were oblivious to their psychological afflictions.  They felt like “regular” people who just wanted the all-American dream of true love.  They were blind to their revolving door dating pattern, which they simply dismissed as a phenomenon of the modern Internet age of romance.  To the Jake’s and Melissa’s of this world, Internet dating is like a virtual candy store with the most tantalizing choices of yummy treats.  With so many types of candy and so many opportunities to try them all, who could stop at just one?  Analogous to the fantasy candy store, the Internet dating sites – thousands of them – guaranteeing perfectly harmonious everlasting love, combined with steamy Hollywood romance.  Love addicts hungrily rely on them to actualize their made-for-TV dream of true love.

About three months ago, Melissa met Jake on, one of the many free Internet dating sites.  Not only did their profiles match up perfectly, but the photos they shared with each other sparked deep waves of anticipation and excitement.  After exchanging a string of emails, each getting longer and more personally revealing than the last, Melissa and Jake moved “offline” and began speaking on the phone.  These were not just regular phone calls, but marathon calls that lasted for hours.  The more they talked, the more the waves of excitement and anticipation built.

Melissa felt in her soul that Jake was the perfect man; the man she had been looking for her whole life.  Jake’s masculine and bold voice soothed her.  His edgy and commanding nature made her melt inside.   She imagined Jake to be a brave and confident man who could light up any room with his charisma and charm.  Jake seemed to know exactly what he wanted, and had a story about how he always got what he wanted – or, as he would say, “grab any bull by the horns and make his life happen.”  His apparent strength and dominant personality sent shivers up Melissa’s spine.

It didn’t take long before they exhausted the exquisitely detailed telling of their life stories.  Almost every topic took on a romantic and mildly sexual tone.  Although they never talked directly about sex, the roundabout seductive nature of their discussion opened a flood gate of wanton anticipation.  It was as if they were strongly charged magnets whose opposite compelling attraction was building up by the hour.  Although neither tried to fight this irresistible magnetic force, they knew if they tried, it would have been futile; no different than a guppy swimming up a raging river trying to mimic its salmon cousins.

Melissa and Jake met at a local Olive Garden.  When they met, the electric charge of their shared chemistry sent a palpable shock though them both.  Almost instantly, they lost control of their facial muscles.  Neither could stop smiling nor their deep soul-seeking gaze into each other’s eyes.  Both were blessed with beautiful faces upon which their eyes could feast.  When they would break eye contact, they found their eyes roving in the direction of the other’s much appreciated body contours.

The emotional excitement of the date ran so high that neither had much of an appetite. Their thirst for wine went unimpeded. After the last bite of dessert was finished, Jake reached for Melissa’s hand.  As soon as their fingers touched, a shock of sensual energy pulsed through their bodies.  Almost in unison, they summoned their waiter for the check.  As Jake was paying the waiter, Melissa reminded herself that she was a good girl and would not sleep with Jake on their first date – no matter how she felt about him.

Jake walked Melissa to her car, where he initiated a deep kiss that seemed to have no beginning or end.  This kiss was the natural precursor to an evening at Jake’s apartment filled with uncontrollable sexual abandon.   Afterwards, they fell asleep in each other’s arms, thanking God for delivering the soul mate of their dreams.

Melissa woke up first, looking at Jake and wondering how she got so lucky to find a man of such inner and outer strength and beauty.  She could have looked at him all morning!  Sensing that Melissa was staring at him, Jake woke up feeling startled by her deep and smothering gaze.  All of a sudden, he felt a pang of panic.  On the bed, where he lay naked, he felt exposed and vulnerable in a way that no sheet could cover.  He asked himself, who was this woman who looked at him with such intense love?  His chest got tight and his breathing became labored.  As Melissa wrapped her arms around him, Jake reflexively arched his back, as if she might hurt him.

Melissa sensed his anxiety and asked if he was ok.  Jake denied there was anything wrong, explaining he was just distracted about a personal obligation he needed to attend to.  He got out of bed, started dressing, all the time never looking in her direction. He gave her a light and almost perfunctory kiss on the mouth followed by a statement about how much he enjoyed the night they spent together.  But Melissa noticed that his words didn’t match his facial expression.  He looked scared and awkward.  This was when she knew this would be the last time she ever saw Jake.  And it was.  He quickly walked to the door, closing it without a backward glance.

For Melissa, the disconnection was palpable; like someone had violently pulled a cord out from an electrical socket.  She felt bewildered and utterly ashamed.  What had she done?  Why did she have sex with him?  She should have waited…been a “good girl?”  She was so sure that she had screwed up yet another relationship.

Both Melissa and Jake spent the rest of the day feeling ashamed of their reckless behavior – promising themselves that they would take their time – the next time.  But as a codependent and love addict, their perpetual flurry of infatuation, lust, regret and shame would ultimately repeat itself.


Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC
Psychotherapist & National Seminar Trainer

Owner of Clinical Care Consultants
Co-Owner of Advanced Clinical Trainers
Author of the Human Magnet Syndrome

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