Who are you when you’re not chasing after love?
For many of us, it’s a question we would likely never stop to consider; our lives are simply too busy. Crammed with deadlines and to-do lists, maybe we’d even go so far as to shelve romance as a “luxury”. Yet, with the rising popularity of dating apps – which promise happiness and lifelong fulfillment just a quick swipe away – is it possible that we’ve unknowingly become addicted to the idea of love itself? According to successful author, relationship coach, and podcast host, Aleah Ava, the answer is a resounding “yes!”
For Aleah this realization came after the conclusion of 15 years of failed relationships, heartbreak, and discontent. Deciding once and for all it was high time to do some soul searching, she set out to figure exactly what was going wrong. After all, wasn’t love supposed to be about connection and trust? And if so, why then did she feel battered and bruised for her efforts? Was she just unlovable?
Over the course of two years of intensive therapy, Aleah came to realize that she was a recovering love addict. Addicted to both the comfort of another person, and the fear of never finding anything better, she bounced from one toxic relationship to another.
Of course, Aleah isn’t alone in this phenomenon.
How many of us could say we haven’t done the same? Chasing after a new love interest before the wounds of our past relationship have even healed. Admittedly, there’s a certain satisfaction, and even a thrill, in both the highs and lows of each new roller coaster relationship. The feeling of falling in love again, the promises we make ourselves that this time it’s “real”…it can be quite a heady concoction.
“We so often believe that it’s love, when actually it’s dependency or an addiction to the feeling of falling in love. Most people never combine these words though, and so it goes unnoticed.”
What Aleah realized, however, was that while she thought she had been chasing after love and “Mr. Right” this whole time, she had only been denying and evading her own feelings. She talks about this in her new book available for preorder, Are You Sure It’s Love?
“When I overcame my addiction I was not impressed by what I found – I was this standard girl who had no clue what I wanted, what I stood for, or what I believed in.”
Chastened with her new insight, Ava began to notice that she wasn’t the only one who had forgotten to take the love blinders off somewhere along the way. If you looked closely enough, you could see that most people are actually a series of accumulated traumas – both big and small. According to Ava, these traumas cause them both to act out in unhealthy ways as a means of avoiding unpleasant or undesirable feelings.
“People act out all the time, in their relationships, in their jobs, you name it. So now I ask my clients, if you didn’t have to act out, what would you have to feel instead?”
Building on this foundation, Aleah decided to the make the most of her experiences by helping others confront and overcome their own issues with the big “L” word – love. Her podcast, Addicted To Love, tackles tough questions like, what is love? Why are we addicted it to it? And more importantly, how do we overcome this addiction?
She goes on to say, “The very nature of love addiction is denial…I don’t think we ever really work on ourselves unless there’s a necessity, a sense of urgency. All the people that listen to my show are experiencing pain in some form or another.”
More than just another dating advice column, Ava gets into the nitty gritty of love addiction, sharing experiences from her own past and those of her clients. “At its core, the podcast is about empowerment. I used to only focus on women, but now I get so much feedback from men telling me, ‘Hey we have the same problem’, that I’ve realized it’s a human being thing and not gender specific at all.”
For new audience members, Ava recommends starting from the very beginning. In the first twenty episodes, she chronicles everything you need to know about love addiction, and the ways in which it can manifest in your day-to day life. After that she says, “People should feel free to pick whatever episodes they are interested in, whether it be how to have better sex or build more meaningful communication with their partners, you can find it there. But it’s essential to start with a proper foundation.”
When asked about why podcasting specifically as her medium of choice, Aleah told us that it was a personal decision:
“I sing and write songs. So for me voice is really important. Podcasting is all about voice. It’s about building trust.”
Of the lessons she learned along the way, in regards to podcasting that is, Ava had three pieces of advice to share with anyone just getting started:
1) Preparation is Key
Ava readily admits that she, “didn’t spend enough time thinking about who my ideal client was and what sort of language they would want to hear.” As with any major project, a solid foundation is the first and most important step towards a successful outcome. Sitting down and taking stock of exactly who you are trying to reach as an audience and how you’re going to tailor your message will undoubtedly save you time in the long run.
2) Take It Slow
Once the podcast is off the ground and has legs of its own, it can sometimes feel difficult to keep up. By planning your content strategy 2-3 months out (e.g. knowing what creative choices you are going to make, what topics you want to cover and when, etc.) you can effectively eliminate unnecessary stressors in your life.
Plain and simple: “Outsource whatever you don’t know how to do. They are such great and affordable services out there that can help you do what you need to get done without breaking your budget or having to invest tons of time into learning new skill sets.”
If you have any questions about love addiction yourself, or would just like to get in touch with Ava, visit her Ask Aleah Page…it might just be the topic of her next episode!