What could be more harmless than Valentine's Day, a day to celebrate romantic love? Well, according to love addiction expert Steve Sussman, the cynical promotion of products such as Valentine's Day cards, as well as romantic movies, novels, and pop songs, should come with a health warning.
"One may also consider policy actions that could serve a preventive effect. For example, warning statements might be placed on some media outlets (e.g., "This movie portrays fantasy material and does not reflect healthy real-life love relationships")," Sussman opines, in his article, "Love Addiction: Definition, Etiology, Treatment," published in the journal, Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity.
Sound ridiculous? I thought so too until I read about the harm caused by encouraging unhealthy forms of love, of which love addiction is just one, particularly among immature adolescents who are most at risk of developing unhealthy attachments that cause as much pain as they do pleasure.
And while love addiction is distinctly different from sex addiction, the two conditions can overlap in the same person, putting them and their partners at risk for a whole host of physical health risks such as STDs, and unplanned pregnancy, as well as the emotional consequences that go along with compulsive sexual behavior.
But Valentine's Day can serve a useful purpose in encouraging a healthy oppportunity to recommit to a long term relationship -- which, Sussman claims, is a necessary part of mature or healthy love. Contrary to the fairy tale promoted by the greeting card industry, mature love involves making a choice to remain romantic, mutually supportive companions even after the initial euphoria that accompanies the early stages of falling in love, has passed.