Moving From Relationship To Relationship
Similarly, people who swiftly move from relationship to relationship may need to question their motives. A person who is suffering from love addiction has a pattern of jumping into intense relationships, says Robinson They often exhibit signs of obsessiveness and then detachment after the thrill of a relationship has fizzled.
Put simply, if you tire of relationships once the fireworks have burned out, that could be a sign of love addiction. You may find that youre forever chasing that initial surge of emotion that you feel when a new person comes into your life. While the honeymoon phase of a relationship can be exciting, long-term commitments take work.
Seeking Relationships With Unavailable Partners
If you continually find yourself in situations where your partner is either married or emotionally unavailable, its important to look at that pattern. Some people who struggle with love addiction subconsciously seek out people who can never fully return their love or be there for them in a full romantic relationship as a way to protect themselves. Although this seems counterintuitive because its actually setting them up for pain, the love addict doesnt see it and is often driven by a subconscious, self-destructive drive. Just as alcoholics will still drink too much even when they know the horrific consequences, love addicts will engage in self-destructive behaviours that they cant seem to stop without help. Psychology Today says that love addicts need to learn self-soothing techniques as well as how to stand alone.
You Continue Craving Someone Who Doesnt Feel The Same Way
With all addictions or comfort-seeking behaviors, an obsessive type of focus can begin to take over, Stringer says.
Maybe you struggle to let go of a relationship after it ends. Or you might fixate on the person you love, even if they no longer return your feelings. Even after they ask for space, you might feel compelled to keep seeing them, trying to convince them to give the relationship another chance.
This overwhelming need for your partner can also happen within a relationship when you crave their company so much you neglect work, school, and other important parts of your life in order to spend time together.
Recommended Reading: How Long Does It Take To Get Over An Addiction
Finding Happiness Only In A Partner
If you only feel happiness or a sense of feeling high on life when you are with your romantic partner, thats a red flag. Psychotherapist John Sovec points out that there is neurobiology to falling in love. When a person starts to fall in love with someone, their body and brain get stimulated and start to release huge amounts of oxytocin and dopamine. These chemicals, known as the feel-good chemicals, make us see a partner as perfect and the source of personal happiness. These chemicals can overwhelm our common sense and make the person of fascination a stimulus for chemical response and, thus, addiction energy.
Psychology Today also reports that being separated from a romantic lover can decrease dopamine in the brain. Although no studies have concluded whether there are more of these neurochemicals present in the minds of love addicts, the things that cause a person to have an addictive personality may also make them vulnerable to reacting strongly to these feelings. If they then start relying solely on their partner to feel boosts of happiness, that can cause severe short-term and long-term problems in a relationship. Did you know that being single for a while can actually make you a better partner in the long run?
What Is Sex Addiction
The concept of sex addiction has been thought of in a variety of ways. A sexual addiction does share many of the hallmarks of clinical addiction. One of these hallmarks is that the person will be unable to control their behavior even if the negative consequences are clear .
As opposed to someone with a healthy sex drive, a person with a sex addiction will spend a disproportionate amount of time seeking or engaging in sex while keeping the activity secret from others.
People with a sex addiction will be unable to stop the behavior unless there is some sort of intervening event. As a result, personal and professional relationships may suffer. There may even be an increased risk of sexually transmitted infection, including HIV, if a person is unable to rein in their sexual impulses.
Don’t Miss: Why Is Nasal Spray Addictive
Giving Up Beliefs Hobbies Time With Friends And Family To Be With Your Partner More
Not being able to maintain your own individuality because there is a fear of losing the person you are involved with and wanting to please them is an indicator of love addiction. This is the feeling of intensity in the beginning but for some love addicts, it can be something that is prominent through the relationship and can err on the side of obsessive love addiction.
The significant other or object of affection can become an end all be all to a love addict where they will place them above everything, even their own needs, and this can be extremely unhealthy and damaging. Having a sense of interdependence and personal time spent alone or with family and friends is crucial to maintaining longevity in a relationship. Essentially, you dont want to smother or be smothered. That can burn out that beginning of a new relationship flame quickly.
How Does Love Addiction Start
Early childhood relationship patterns are the first place to look when working to break the bonds of love addiction.
Working with clients, I see that issues in adult relationships relate to childhood experiences. Youre drawn to whats familiar, regardless of how good it is for you. It is what you know.
Addiction or attachment disorder becomes a survival pattern. They happen because you are trying to fill the hole of an abandonment wound from childhood.
If youve experienced any of the following and have not taken the time to heal your wounds, then you are likely to be susceptible to love addiction:
- Your parents got divorced
- One or both of your parents were alcoholic
- You were adopted
- You lost a sibling or parent at a young age
- You were abused
- Your parents were emotionally unavailable
- You were neglected
Also Check: How To Get Help With Addiction Without Insurance
Tips For Overcoming It
If youre working to address compulsive love or relationship behaviors, awareness of how these behaviors affect you is an essential first step.
But, Stringer emphasizes, awareness usually isnt enough. Learning new skills and tools for coping are both necessary parts of behavior change, she explains.
These tips can help you begin creating that change.
Falling In Love Too Fast
Falling in love is a rush. One minute youre casually crushing on a new person, the next thing you know, they are all you think about from dusk to dawn. To say its a whirlwind of emotions is an understatement. However, if youre in the pattern of falling in and out of love quickly, that could be a red flag.
“People who have a love addiction tend to fall fast and hardboth into love and out of love. And they mistakenly assume that the other person is on their same timeline, says Cohan. So they are likely to come off strong which could have the initial effect for the other person of making them feel special, yet it is also likely it could be off-putting and even a little scary. It can feel like someone is taking over your life.
Recommended Reading: How To Beat Drug Addiction On Your Own
Idealizing Love And Believing It Can Overcome Anything
You may be in trouble if you are in an unrequited love situation, especially if you just cant let go because you think things will somehow work out in your favor. People experiencing love addition generally subscribe to a belief that their love can overcome anything, says psychotherapist Judi Cinéas, PhD. They believe in the power of love to a degree that would allow the person to also believe that they can have their desired results with the other person. The person also experiences some joy in the process itself they get a sense of pleasure in the contemplation of what could be. Thinking about the other person is pleasing, although these emotional highs can lead to negative feelings or actions when they are reminded that the other person is not interested in taking that emotional journey with them.
Characteristics Of A Sex Addict:
Engaging with multiple sexual partners
- Needing more sexual activity or more extreme forms to feel the same pleasure
- Engaging in risky sexual behaviour
- Trying to stop but being unable to
- Neglecting personal and financial responsibilities in favour of sexual activity
- Obsessively thinking about sex
- Being unable to be intimate with a partner because it does not produce the desired level of pleasure or induces feelings of guilt
- Continuing to engage in sexual activity despite it causing problems at home or in other areas of the sufferers life.
Characteristics of a love addict:
- Feeling a constant need to be in a relationship
- Committing to and falling in love with a partner without really knowing them
- Constantly moving from one relationship to another in search of love
- Never feeling satisfied within a relationship
- Becoming obsessed with and overly reliant on a partner
- Staying in an abusive relationship for the sake of being in a relationship
- Suffering from severe depression and destructive behaviours after breaking up with a partner
- Making personal sacrifices in order to please a partner
- Neglecting their own needs and needs of family in order to be with a partner
- Isolating from friends, neglecting personal responsibilities and finances when with a partner
- Being jealous and possessive when a partner talks to, or spends time with other people.
Recommended Reading: What Is The 12 Step Program For Addiction
What Kind Of Disorder Is Love Addiction
There is no consensus on the diagnostic criteria for love addiction, nor agreements on what kind of disorder it is.
For instance, pathological love may be an impulse-control disordercharacterized by impulsivity and novelty-seeking.
Others believe pathological love is a mood disorder. Presumably, people with love addiction experience mood states similar to those who are falling in love or are in the early stages of intense romantic love.
Another possibility is that love addiction belongs to the obsessive-compulsive spectrum like people with obsessions, those with love addiction might experience repetitive and intrusive thoughtsexcept that their obsessions will be related to the person they love and not, say, health or cleanliness concerns.
Other researchers have proposed love addiction might be best understood as a biaxial continuumwith the vertical axis representing attachment-related behaviors, and the horizontal axis indicating reward-seeking and impulsivity. For instance, in some individuals, high impulsivity and reward-seeking behavior would co-occur with high levels of attachment behavior, resulting in obsessive or dependent kind of love in others, high reward-seeking and impulsivity would co-occur with attachment deficits, resulting in high sexual interest and having multiple sex partners.
Understanding Addiction As A Complex Behavior
Other signs of addiction to love would include urges to continue engaging in the behavior despite trying to stop, such as feeling alone and desperate when no longer in a relationship and persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control the behavior, such as deciding to never fall in love again, yet replacing ended relationships immediately.2
You May Like: How To Withdraw From Tramadol Addiction
Treatment Of Love Addiction
During treatment, love addicts are asked to abstain from romantic or sexual relationships for a specified time period of the treatment. This break allows them to focus on the underlying issues and helps finding in the causes of the problem. Any other co-occurring problems such as drug or alcohol addiction, depression, anxiety and eating disorders are also found out and this helps in the complete cure of the patient. Trauma work can be an integral part of the treatment plan as mostly love addiction often stems from childhood abuse or abandonment. The goals of the treatment include building healthy relationships for the patients, setting appropriate boundaries in relationships, and achieving genuine intimacy. The treatment helps love addicts learn to move beyond the obsession they have with romance and embrace the realities of mature, authentic love.
Where Does Withdrawal Come In
In terms of substance use, withdrawal can happen when you stop using a substance after using it for some time. Regular use can alter brain and body processes, so quitting suddenly can lead tovarying physical and emotional symptoms, depending on the substance.
But can you experience withdrawal symptoms from a person or relationship?
It may be possible. Some research suggests romantic love could involve a withdrawal-like experience.
This love addiction withdrawal might involve:
- persistent crying or tearfulness
- lack of energy and fatigue
- sleeping very little or much more than usual
- changes in appetite
- a deep desire, or craving, to connect with the person you love
- frustration, worry, or tension when youre apart
- intense feelings of grief or loss
- irritability, anxiety, and other changes in mood
Of course, if you cant actually become addicted to love, it stands to reason you also cant go through withdrawal from love addiction.
Consider, though, that love involves risks: rejection, unrequited love, and heartbreak, among others. Most people eventually face some distress as a natural consequence of falling in love.
Rather than describing the pain you feel as withdrawal from a person, it might help to frame it in terms of grief, suggests Dr. Patrick Cheatham, a psychologist in Portland, Oregon.
Some losses, he adds, may feel too immense to ever fully comprehend. When coming to terms with loss or failed love proves challenging, this distress might linger.
You May Like: How To Get Over Drug Addiction
What Is Obsessive Love Addiction
Obsessive love addiction, also called obsessive love disorder is when someone has obsessive, intrusive thoughts about someone or something that can cause areas of their life to be unmanageable. Someone experiencing this is usually pretty consumed with thoughts about someone else, to the point where they will forget or just disregard their own self-care and health. Their mind is on a constant loop and stuck on the person and not at the moment.
This can come out in extreme jealousy. Not being able to let their partner talk to other people without feeling like they are going to cheat or be unfaithful in any way. It can also trigger in them a feeling of needing to protect their partner and possessive thoughts. Thinking that a person is theirs.
This is also something where people struggling with this do not take rejection well and are in constant need of reassurance. Attempting to monitor and control the person of their interests actions and not able to maintain their relationships with their friends and family because their focus is really only on the object of their affection. They struggle with understanding chemistry. Or struggle with understanding lust vs love.
Typically when it is this extreme, there are other mental health issues happening as well such as borderline personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. If you feel like you might be struggling with this, talk to a therapist. There is a help to manage it and take control back with your life.
How To Spot A Love Addict
Experts question whether we can describe a toxic relationship the way we talk about gambling or alcohol. But some have found that framework to be a helpful step in the road to freedom.
- Read in app
Tara Blair Ball, a relationship coach in Memphis, met her ex on Match.com. They instantly clicked.
He felt like my soulmate. It was the little things we both talked about the differences in the old Spider-Man movie with Tobey Maguire and the comic book. A lot of people didnt know about these details, and it just felt like this bonding experience.
On their first phone call, they talked for eight hours so long that Ms. Ball came late to work and was fired from her job at Target. I took that as a sign that I was supposed to be connected to him, she said, laughing.
When the red flags started to appear, Ms. Ball brushed them aside. He started acting jealous and wanted to know where I was, what I was doing, who I was talking to, how long I was going to be there and when I was going to be back. Instead of seeing warning signs, Ms. Ball interpreted his actions as affection.
We were quickly talking about marriage and moving in together. I felt like I couldnt be away from him for very long Id be in withdrawal.
If the situation seems to contain some of the track marks of an addiction, its because it does. And like many addicts, Ms. Ball took a long time to recognize and admit she was experiencing what some call love addiction.
You May Like: How To Fight Marijuana Addiction
Signs Someone You Love May Be An Alcoholic
Not seeing excessive drinking, which may cause psychological distress, as a significant problem in performing tasks of daily life. Denial of a drinking problem because of a lack of severe consequences, such as missing days or showing up late for school or work. self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with an alcohol use disorder . The evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are intended to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of an AUD. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result. Outpatient programs make it possible for you to get treatment during the day and still live at home.
- The Hope House is a luxury rehab dedicated to providing the best personalized care to achieve long-term recovery.
- Still, she battled all along with an addiction to alcohol and painkillers.
- Regardless of whether or not they can function, the alcoholic is still damaging their body.
- High-functioning alcoholics crave alcohol, develop tolerance to it over time, and experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking.