The Torchbearer: Unrequited Love

By susanpeabody 05/17/18

There are different types of Torchbearers. Some worship movie stars from afar. Some obsess about someone they were once in happy relationship with. Some fantasize about the man or woman that they will someday meet. Some fantasize about someone they were attracted to and then projected on to them all their fantasies about living happily ever after. Most Torchbearers just fall in love with an unavailable person and pine away for years and years.

It is all about projection. I saw a video about a love addict who was stalking his high school sweetheart for 20 years on the internet. She had him arrested and in court he saw her for the first time since high school. He said, "that is not the woman I am stalking. Then he took a picture out of his wallet and said this was the woman he love. It was a picture of the woman when she was in high school.

Projection is very powerful. I obsessed about a boy named David in high school and then for 20 after our graduation. At the high school reunion I kept looking for him. Someone pointed him out. He had gained 200 lbs, was bald, in a wheel chair and drunk. All I saw was the boy I had loved for so long. We dated for 6 months until the projection wore off and I could see how drunk he was. I was new in recovery so I asked him to stop drinking. When he refused I left. This was my first victory in recovery.

Most torchbearers are also fantasy addicts and can easily be identified by the longevity of their infatuation: 10, 20, 30, 40 years.

Torchbearers, often ambivalent love addicts, obsess about someone from afar who is unavailable. This can be done without acting out (suffering in silence) or by pursuing the person they are in love with. Some torch bearers are more addicted than others. This kind of addiction feeds on fantasies and illusions.

In Love and Limerence by Dorothy Tennov, she says limerence either disappears after consummation (romance addicts) or through starvation and transference. A torchbearer is someone who can only move on when they fall in love again.

Torchbearers are by nature both imaginative and romantic. They need to learn how to not project this on to real, unavailable people. We do this to distract ourselves from negative emotions like anger, fear and depression.

For the most part, Torchbearers are addicted to unrequited love which is characterized as an individual who both deeply craves love, intimacy, commitment and unconditional love, while at the same time experiencing fears of emotional intimacy---relating deeply to another person. Such people end up consciously or unconsciously pushing AVAILABLE love away or holding it at a distance.

The solution to this is to reach our for help with someone who understand love addiction. Then make the decision to change how you think about love. Then ask yourself is unavailable love enough for me? Am I really happy loving someone who does not love me. Finally, follow the instructions of the person you have chosen to help you. Take action. There are books written about how to stop loving the wrong person like: "How to Fall Out of Love," by Deborah Phillips.

Finally learn to love yourself enough to give up your obsession for the wrong person. Channel this need to be loved into your spiritual life. Let God love you. God is available day and night and his/her love is unconditional. If I could do it so can you. I was a Torchbearer for 32 years before I found recovery in a twelve-step program. That was in 1982. Today, I have been in remission for longer than I was a love addict. God is good . . .

From Addiction to Love by Susan Peabody

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