Love addiction, my sweet kittens, is no joke. It’s a very real thing, and, like any addiction, it can really screw up our fragile little lives.
But I’m also a hypochondriac who has convinced herself at least 17,000 times that she’s HIV positive and pregnant. (I know I’m a lesbian, but does being a lesbian make you immune to immaculate conception? I DON’T THINK SO.)
I’m also the kind of girl who, every single time she has a hangover, is convinced she has a drinking problem, and Googles the closest AA meeting. I’m not trying to make light of addictions; trust me. I have a real fear that I might, indeed, be an addict of some sort.
But that’s neither here nor there. The only thing this rant is really proving is that I’m self-obsessed and think any of you give a shit that some whiny Upper East Side lesbian princess thinks she’s an addict. Ugh. I hate me too sometimes.
Anyway, the other day I was walking to work in the 4 million degree Manhattan weather when I started to listen to my favorite podcast, the delicately titled “The Mental Illness Happy Hour” with comedian Paul Gilmartin.
Well let me tell you babes, I almost lost my shit when I realized that Dr. Lauren D. Costine, author of the book “Lesbian Love Addiction: Understanding the Urge to Merge,” was the guest, and they were going to discuss LESBIANS and our epidemic of U-Hauling (which is really just a lighthearted way of saying “moving in together after the third date,” or “love addiction.”)
Dr. Lauren D. Costine, a total femme babe lez who is in fact a psychologist (for once it’s not just me drawing from my haphazard, screwed up life), has struggled with love addiction her whole life. On the podcast, she candidly discussed why lesbians are at such effing high risk for it.
I knew it. I knew it. I knew it. I’m starting 12-step next week, I PROMISE.
Dr. Costine says women emit the feel-good chemicals oxytocin and dopamine when they fall in love. Men do not emit oxytocin the same way women do. So when two girl creatures fall in love and are both practically oozing oxytocin and are wasted off dopamine, it’s double the trouble. It’s what Dr. Costine calls an “oxyfest” and baby, it’s wildly intoxicating.
I remember the first time I fell in love with a girl, I felt literally high on drugs. At the time, I was partying way too much, basically treating my life like it was a game of Russian roulette because I was numb and disconnected after a sexual trauma.
But once I met this blonde-haired, wild-eyed bartender chick, my world changed over night. I didn’t even need to take the shot or snort the white powder because I already felt tanked from my feels for this girl. We both did. And being away from each other was a withdrawal like nothing I had ever experienced. It physically hurt.
In an interview in Psych Central, Dr. Costine also says (among MANY things),
Women are also wired to connect to others, because this improves our chances of surviving in hostile environments. In other words, we seek relationships because our brains are wired to need them. This explains, in part, why two women might be more inclined to connect more quickly than men traditionally do.
This insight helps us understand how, following directions from the brain, lesbians suffering from love addiction slip into merging behaviors that are destructive later on.
They commit to each other too quickly, move in too fast, and find themselves in relationships they didn’t expect once the honeymoon is over.
This has happened to me more times than I care to count on all ten of my polished nails. It happens to all my other dyke friends, too. We meet and we have an INSTANT connection, one that feels almost ~magnetic~.
It’s addictive to feel that kind BAM, CRASH, BOOM connection so quickly with another human being. And you feel oh-so-bonded oh-so-quickly that you drive that U-Haul to the second date, all high on oxytocin. The next thing you know, you’ve adopted four shelter pets and share a bed and clothes and are slowly merging into the same person and have lost your identity entirely. You even start to look alike.
Then, one dismal morning, you wake up and roll over to gaze at your sleeping partner, only to think, WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?!
You realize you don’t know the ins and outs of this person because you never gave yourself the chance DATE and get to know her SLOWLY. You just got caught up in the throes of the instant passion and connection, and have been living in one oxytocin fest.
Don’t you know you shouldn’t drive when intoxicated, especially a big ass U-Haul?
And now, you’ve burned through the oxytocin and you realize you made a mistake, except it’s SO hard to let go because the withdrawal is so painful.
It’s a tale as old as time. Which is why, my lovely, fellow lesbians, queer girls, bi girls, dykes, leather daddies, however you choose to identify, sister, it’s not really my business, we need to be wary of lesbian love addiction when we’re in new relationships.
We need to realize that while yes, the thrill of a new body and all the electric feels that come with a sparkling, fresh connection are amazing, they aren’t enough to sustain a long-term relationship.
Unfold into her slowly, girl. I promise you it’s so much sweeter that way. I’ve only recently started to take it slow, and let me tell you, the slow burn is much sexier than the rapid fire romance. Rapid fire burns until it scorches your skin raw and you’re left with nothing but a scar (that was poetic in an acne-ridden, gothy middle school way, wasn’t it, kittens?).
Slow burns get hotter and hotter every time. You ease into the fire. You end up falling in love with someone for their awesome integrity, incredible sexiness and unique humor. Qualities that are so solid they will be there once the rose colored fantasy wears off.
Zara Barrie is a senior writer for Elite Daily. She’s consumed by style, sexuality, women, words, fashion and feelings. She identifies as a “mascara lesbian.” She lives beyond her means on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.