“You got me stuck inside your love cycle”
Love Cycle by Toosi and Summer Walker
Love cycle. The worst thing about toxic relationships is the back and forth dance, the ferris wheel of emotional abuse, and the sex. Let’s not forget about the sex that literally drives you crazy. The anytime, any place sex. The “I know I shouldn’t be doing this” sex. The “I don’t know why I keep doing this, because you ain’t shit…but I love you so much” sex. I guess chemistry isn’t the only place to learn forward and reverse reactions. Because invisible boundaries, dopamine, trauma bonds, and good d is a recipe for combustion. Mishaps. Popups. Angry texts. Tears. And turmoil. Toxic from the start, a broken heart in three, and you know what’s even worse after leaving? Being so used to red flags, you don’t even know what green ones look like, and most importantly…realizing you liked all of that shit.
With that being said…Hi. My name’s Adia, and I’m an addict. At least…I was.
Love Addiction. These fancy ass therapists we pay these days will tell you it’s a “pattern of behavior characterized by a maladaptive, pervasive and excessive interest towards one or more romantic partners, resulting in lack of control, the renounce of other interests and behavior, and other negative consequences.” What they don’t detail is that these patterns look like seeing your boyfriend kiss another girl at the high school bus loop and you letting him lie to your face. And eventually, one girl turns to two. Two turns into twenty, and before you know it…years have passed you in the throes of not one relationship but two very chaotic, yet similar dynamics. On the surface, the drug looks like charm, dates that are always paid for, and meeting the family. The stereochemistry of the drug though, looks like being called a “bitch”, staring the devil in his face, crying on bathroom floors, accepting monsters, declining kings, and fantasizing about the love you really want, yet so frightened of actually getting it.
“I read your love bible.”
You take one look at me, and the assumptions and questions are as clear as crystal stairs. It’s always “Why did you stay?”, as it is with every other survivor of any type of abuse. If I may though, I think the better question is, “How was I supposed to leave?”
When we speak on relationship goals, love, and shaming women in unhealthy relationships, more than detangling emotional dashboards of trauma, rewiring nervous systems, and affirmations, the state of addiction seems easier than aloneness. Reading verses in love bibles and trying to mold someone to fit at least in half of a box of some kind of relationship fantasy satisfies a version of you that wasn’t nurtured elsewhere. That was ignored, neglected, and/or abandoned. The truth about love addiction? It’s survival. It’s that good shit you lace a blunt with. It’s chasing a high you don’t want to come down from, because you’ve never been so high before. So, when you’re in the throes of love and answering “Whose is it?”, it’s never really about submission. Giving claim was more about feeling whole and seen, when all you’ve ever felt was lonely and like you simply…existed.
I used to look back on my own love cycles and cringe with disgust at who that version of Adia was and questioned myself on why I stayed. Why didn’t I recognize signs of narcissists in the beginning? Why didn’t I have the courage to love the good ones back instead of breaking them? But, as I’ve grown in therapy, in reflection, in writing, in reading, and in my own delicious daydreams of love, I don’t frown upon that girl anymore. Because I now know her motives. I no longer question whether it was really love, because it was. I now know longer questioned if my previous partners loved me. They did. And although messy, destructive, and disorderly…it was what a underdeveloped teenager, trauma, anxiety, and then twenty-something could give. And the ill lines between sex, abuse, emotions, and drama? That’s what I thought I could accept. That is what I thought was love. It’s what excited me and gave me warmth, smiles, long phone calls, tantrums, and validation from surrogate father figures. It’s what made me. And I no longer fear the opportunity to address that any longer, greet that wrinkle in time, or confess that sometimes…the craving for my next high is still there. It lingers like the tale of the boogeyman under our beds, waiting to be awaken again. Ready to feed. Only this time, I feel more in control of her hunger…and what she chooses to eat.
I currently reside on the outskirts of the ghettos of my previous relationships and hopeful while I’m dating again. Excited to meet new people and forge new connections, I also look forward to all the new secrets I unlock about myself along the way. But my biggest fear? It’d be remiss of me if I didn’t say…it’s choosing WRONG again. What after all this time, all this growth, and how far I’ve come…I still make the same mistake…AGAIN? And does that then mean I didn’t travel a road less taken? In fact, wouldn’t it mean I didn’t travel very far in my growth at all?
I don’t know, and I don’t have the answers. But until I do. Until this one crazy ride of a journey is over…all I can do is stay caught up and write into my own love cycle- filled with reflection, mistakes, trials, triumphs, and…worthiness.
From me to you,
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” – 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 (ESV)