Love is a great blessing, but when you try to meet your desire or need for love in unhealthy ways, you are at risk of love addiction. Recognizing the signs and breaking free of these harmful patterns is possible with the right support.
Love Addiction and Its Symptoms
Love addiction is a type of behavioral addiction triggered by the feeling of being “in love”. The intense physical feelings of euphoria you have when you’re in love produce effects similar to using addictive substances. Infatuation creates a high, which can crash or dissipate quickly. Someone addicted to love becomes fixated on chasing that feeling, so they develop an unhealthy focus on the object of their affection.
Have you experienced these symptoms of love addiction?
- You think about the person you love constantly. You force yourself to think about them when you should be thinking about or doing something else. You feel desperate for their time, attention, and approval.
- You have an intense fear of neglect or abandonment, which you feel can only be satisfied by thinking about or being with this person.
- You are focused exclusively on them – what they’re doing, how they’re feeling, where they are, how you can think about them again, when you can see them again, and so on.
- You crave the feeling that you get when you think about them or spend time with them, with an intensity that you can feel physically, like hunger or thirst.
- You forget or minimize the importance of self-care or neglect to take care of your own basic needs.
- Not being with someone you love, or not being in love with someone, makes you feel physically ill or emotionally distraught.
While romantic love addiction is most common, you can still have intense cravings for attention and affection from familial or friend relationships. However it affects you, It is important to treat love addiction to avoid developing unhealthy relationship patterns.
The Consequences of Love Addiction
Love addiction is unhealthy because intense, passionate feelings of love naturally diminish and change to feelings of comfort and contentment as a relationship matures over time. Because a person with love addiction may interpret such natural changes as falling out of love, it may be difficult to stay in one relationship for long. This creates a cycle of highs and lows (euphoric love, decline of intense feelings, breakup, attempting to satisfy breakup grief with a new relationship, and repeating the cycle) that develops the addictive behavior.
Untreated addictions in relationships lead to unhealthy dependence on one another, which can develop into cycles of abuse or mistreatment, especially since the love addicted partner is exclusively focused on what the other person wants.
You can also develop multiple addictions if a given addiction is not acknowledged or treated. Depending on your relationship, you might run the risk of sex addiction, or becoming addicted to other substances or harmful behaviors.
Treating and Healing from Love Addiction
Love addiction treatment options are similar to treatment for other addictive behaviors:
- Seeking out a support group or 12-Step-Program (such as Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous)
- Seeing a therapist or counselor who is trained to treat love addiction.
- Pursuing healthy friendships and activities, and distancing yourself from people or environments who encourage your addictive behavior.
TheHopeLine offers mentorship and live chat to help you find healing and begin love addiction recovery. Reach out to us any time for support without judgement, and begin your journey to freedom, peace, and true connection.