Is Love Addiction a Real Thing?

You’ve probably heard lots of songs, read lots of books, and seen lots of movies where people fall in love and say they’re “addicted” to love and being in love. It’s strong, effective language that gives us an idea of the intensity of a relationship. But it troubles me to see that painted as the ideal. Because love addiction is a real thing. Like other addictive behaviors, it can disrupt lives and damage relationships without proper treatment.

More Than Just Enjoying Feeling in Love

The reason people become addicted to love and being in love is because those feelings make us feel good. And just like an addiction to drugs or alcohol, people can become hooked on the feelings they get when they love someone intensely, to the point where that’s all they think about.

Love addiction goes beyond enjoying feeling in love or being happy with your partner. If you are love addicted, you feel controlled by the desire to be in a relationship, or with the person you’re in a relationship with.

  • You can’t stop thinking or talking about relationships or your partner.
  • You’re always anxious about whether you will be in a relationship or stay in a relationship. Your physical health is affected: you can’t eat or sleep, and you stop taking care of yourself adequately in favor of focusing on your relationship or your partner.
  • You start feeling afraid about being alone and feeling unloved, no matter what else is going on. It feels like you’re coming up with reasons a relationship may not work out.
  • There’s always something more you want from relationships.

Far from being a happy, carefree time, a relationship for someone with love addiction feels like you are never satisfied, always longing. You are always chasing the “high” that feeling loved gives you, but it’s never quite what you want or expect.

Love Addiction Damages Relationships

The truth is, I’ve seen love addiction damage relationships. It sets impossible expectations for your partner and leaves them feeling frustrated and drained. It leads to tension because, while you are focused on them, it is so that you can feel better, feel happier, or feel more loved. Your partner often feels like their needs are ignored, and that whatever they do, no matter how much they act out of love, it’s never good enough to keep you at peace and satisfied with the relationship.

Love addiction can erode trust if it’s left unaddressed long-term. It can also lead to relationship-hopping. If you’re not able to find the same “in love” feeling with someone for an extended period of time, you’ll likely end up leaving an otherwise healthy or stable relationship.

You Can Recover from Love Addiction

The good news is, love addiction can be treated, and healing can happen. I’ve seen plenty of people find truly happy and fulfilling relationships after beginning love addiction recovery. And better yet, I’ve seen people become more content with who they are, whether they’re in a relationship or not.

Love addiction treatment is similar to that of other addictive behaviors. There are 12-step programs and organizations that offer specialized support for people with love addiction. I encourage you to do some research - there are plenty of people who are ready and willing to help.

I also want to remind you that even when your struggles with love addiction seem the most difficult, there is always hope, and you are always loved. You are loved by God unconditionally, and He wants you to experience true joy and true fulfillment in all your relationships. He will give you the strength you need to engage in meaningful recovery.

And you’re already in a supportive place. TheHopeLine offers resources and online mentoring to aid in love addiction recovery. Talk to a HopeCoach today to get support for love addiction and begin your healing journey. We are here for you, and we’ll listen without judgment.

To break free from love addiction you have to own it. It is so hard to let our false beliefs go while admitting reality all at the same time. Find out more here.

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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