Falling in love feels amazing. The racing of the heartbeat and the urge to be around your partner are some of the signs of how truly and madly you are in love. But does it always feel like that? Is it normal to want to cling to your partner, care for them and protect them all the time?
Unfortunately, love can soon turn into a disorder if your feelings are left unchecked, often termed love addiction.
What Is Love Addiction?
Human beings are social creatures. They seek love and expect the same in return. So to say, love can be an addictive feeling.
So, is love an addiction? Well, when it spins out of control, love becomes perilous.
Also known as pathological love, love addiction is an uncontrollable urge in the partner or the relationship. It is a pattern of behavior that creates compulsions towards love leading to emotional highs, intense passions, and impulsiveness.
According to research, love addiction means,
“Love addiction is considered a process addiction; that is, it pertains to a pattern of recurrent behavior that at ﬁrst results in reports of pleasurable feelings and obsessive thinking. These pleasurable feelings and obsessive thoughts may be subjectively described as craving for continued union with a love object.”
Characteristics Of Love Addiction
Do you have a problem identifying addictive love vs. healthy love? Love addicts remain in an emotionally elevated state. There are some love addiction signs and symptoms that help you with the problem of, “Is it love or is it an addiction?
Here are a few signs of pathological love:
Feelings of jealousy
A love addict will feel jealous anytime your partner talks to their friends. They would not want anyone around them because they live in fear of abandonment which engenders feelings and acts of jealousy.
Just like jealousy, love addicts will also feel extreme possessiveness for their partner. They would always want them to be around, to a level that it gets uncomfortable and stifling.
Depression and anxiety after breakup
It is natural to feel depressed after the breakup. But if they happen to become anxious and it meddles with your brain functioning, their decision-making, and daily activities, this is one of the signs of love addiction.
Losing interest in friends or personal hobbies
As one of the important signs of love addiction, they will show no interest in your friends, your interests, or even yourself. They will want to take excessive care of their partner to the point that everything else in life loses balance and display addictive behavior in relationships.
Constant urge of being in love
Simply put, a love addict will have a hard time staying out of love. They will quickly hop from one relationship to another. They always look out for love as they feel their life’s worth depends on their partner.
Obsession with partner
Can you be addicted to a person? Yes!
A love addict is always obsessed with their partner, and this is one of the signs of love addiction that leads to unhealthy patterns in the relationship. Due to this, a love addict is always in a weaker position.
Dissatisfaction with the relationship after some time
A love addict likes the rush of emotions. They are addicted to falling in love. They like the dating and wooing phase of the relationship, and once it dies, their inconsistency becomes more and more prominent in the relationship, and they eventually walk off.
Sacrificing way too much for the partner
They put their partner on a high pedestal. A sign of love addiction is when a partner is ready to do anything for their partner to the extent that it will harm their personal time and space.
Hopping from one relationship to another
As discussed, a love addict will leave a relationship as soon as the excitement dies down. They are more addicted to the Merge or the honeymoon stage of the relationship, which is the first stage rather than a long-term commitment.
Getting into a relationship without knowing the person well enough
Oftentimes they will get into a relationship despite the fact that they do not know their partner. This is because they will hardly stick for the long term. They are impulsive and do not give any thought to keeping the relationship intact.
The relationships follow a similar pattern
The type of partners they choose, the way the relationship turns out to be, and the way of break up; all are almost similar in all their relationships.
Types Of Love Addiction
Love addiction is a disorder. As with other forms of addiction, love or relationship addiction can also vary from person to person. It will affect different people differently depending on their choice of relationships, personality, environment, and past.
In that context, here are 4 types of love addicts:
1. Codependent love addicts
This is one of the most common types of love addicts.
Such love addicts lose their sense of self-esteem and worth and always tend to seek their partner’s validation. They are people pleasers and practice the same with their partner only to keep them happy so that their partner remains positive about them.
Such people enable unhealthy relationship patterns from their partners as they put them over their own happiness and wellbeing and tolerate negative behavior.
The relationship makes a good start if the partner is codependent too. However, after some time, resentment creeps into the relationship leading to its breakdown.
2. Ambivalent love addicts
Such types of love addicts suffer from an avoidant personality disorder, which means they have a fear of rejection or feel insufficient.
Ambivalent or avoidant love addicts avoid intimacy with their partners. They show inconsistent behaviors and often sabotage their relationships. They live in the illusion of love, and despite the fact that they crave love, they hold onto the past and remain on and off in the relationship.
3. Obsessed/obsessive love addicts
These type of love addicts consider their partner as their possession and display immense obsession. They feel the need to love, protect and care for their partners so much so that if the partner begins to grow emotionally distant, they have a hard time letting go.
In such addictive relationships, they try to fix the situation or accept their fate rather than severing the ties for the sake of their worth and self-respect.
4. Narcissistic love addicts
Narcissists are self-obsessed. The role of their partner in the relationship is to fuel their self-worth so that they keep feeling they have a position of power in the relationship. They do not tolerate if their partner gets in the way of their happiness.
While they remain aloof and concerned, they make their partners shower all the love and attention. Such people do not behave like addicts at all unless their partner tries to leave them. In such a scenario, they will do anything and everything to hold on to the relationship, including violence.
Causes Of Love Addiction
Any problem is derived from the environment we remain in. So, the first place to look out for in terms of love addiction causes is the childhood experience. Any kind of addiction becomes a support system for the victim that requires immediate attention.
But in order to treat the problem of addiction to love better, it is important o understand the root cause of it. Let’s have a look:
- Separation of parents
- Abusive childhood
- Alcoholic parents/ friends
- Low self-esteem
- Neglect during childhood
- Emotionally absent parents
- Fear of abandonment
- Neuro-chemical addiction
- Absence of the right role model
- Other addictions like drugs, alcohol, and nicotine
- Childhood trauma. Eg., Losing someone close early in life
- Absence of validation from the guardian
Effects Of Love Addiction
Unsurprisingly, there are various risk factors of love addiction that can take a toll on not just a person’s subsequent relationships but their own personality.
Here are some consequences of love addiction:
- Relationship breakup
- Sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia, syphilis, or herpes
- Compulsive behaviors
- Anxiety and depression
- Losing friends and family
- Worsening of emotional health
- Increased medical/ psychological problems
- Domestic abuse
How To Recover From Love Addiction
Love and relationship addiction can be troublesome, and if unattended, it can lead to more severe psychological problems. Once you begin to notice the signs of the addiction, here’s what you need to do to get over sex and love addiction. Check out these tips for overcoming love addiction:
Pause and check your activities. What is your behavior? What are you doing? Make an honest remark of your behavioral patterns and if possible, note them down. This will make it easier for you to sift the good from the bad.
Recognize your feelings
Don’t avoid your feelings. Don’t discard them assuming they are petty or just because you are scared to be vulnerable. You must accept there’s an issue and then feel your emotions. Once you are thorough with what you feel, you will be able to fight against them.
Own your power
Love addicts have a tendency to give away their [ower to their partners and invite an imbalance in the relationship. Know what your strengths are and own them. You might feel a fear of losing your partner, but keep yourself in as much a strong position as your partner anyway.
You can’t go in the face of a problem and hope to recover from it. So, take a break from the relationships and focus on yourself. You need to break the pattern and develop feelings of emotional security and safety for yourself.
Check out the video below where the therapist, Alan Robarge discusses how you can stop being on and off in the relationship:
Keep a check on the triggers
Addiction is triggered by a certain feeling or an environmental drive. Check them all and stay away from them as much as possible.
Self-care arises from self-love. Once you begin to accept yourself the way you are, love yourself, and keep your self-esteem intact, you will understand the importance of self-care and how it leads to positive and healthy relationships.
Plan your day
In order to avoid any deviations or temptations, plan your day in advance and stick to it. Once you have clarity of what you have to do throughout the day, you will be busy with positive activities and have less time to mess up.
See a therapist
A therapist or a counselor will help you with the therapies for love addiction. A therapist will get into the root cause of the love and addiction, advise for certain changes in your day-to-day activities, connect you to support groups related to love addiction recovery to help you overcome love addiction.
Addictive love is like a drug that and you cannot get enough of it. The fear is if you are facing love addiction, it will definitely engulf you. However, if it is recognized on time, with the right approach and love addiction treatment, a happier and healthier life is not far away.