What Is Love Addiction? Unlike the healthy person seeking partnership and sex as a complement to their life, the Love Addict searches for something outside of themselves (a person, relationship or experience) which will provide them with the emotional and life stability that they themselves lack. Similar to a drug addict or alcoholic, love addicts use their arousing romantic experiences in an attempt to “fix” themselves and remain emotionally stable.
When love is used as a way to cope, rather than a way to grow and share, relationships become skewed and dependent. Compatibility becomes based on “whether or not you will leave me”, “how intense our sex life is” or “how I can hook you into staying”, rather than on whether you might truly become a peer, friend and companion.
Addictive relationships are characterized over time by unhealthy dependency, guilt and abuse. Convinced of their lack of worth and not feeling truly lovable, Love Addicts will use seduction, control, guilt and manipulation to attract and hold onto romantic partners. At times, despairing of this cycle of unhappy affairs, broken relationships and sexual liaisons, some Love Addicts may have “swearing off” periods (like the bulimic/anorexic cycles of overeaters). The addict believes that just “not being in the game” will solve the problem; only to later find the same issues reappearing when they re-engage in any type of potential intimacy.
Signs/Characteristics Of Love Addiction:
- Lack of nurturing and attention when young
- Feeling isolated, detached from parents and family
- Compartmentalization of relationships from other areas of life
- Outer facade of “having it all together” to hide internal disintegration
- Mistake intensity for intimacy (drama driven relationships)
- Hidden Pain
- Seek to avoid rejection and abandonment at any cost
- Afraid to trust anyone in a relationship
- Inner rage over lack of nurturing, early abandonment
- Highly manipulative and controlling of others
- Perceive attraction, attachment, and sex as basic human needs, on a par with food and water
- Sense of worthlessness without a relationship or partner
- Feelings that a relationship makes one whole, or more of a man or woman
- Escalating tolerance for high-risk behavior
- Intense need to control self, others, circumstances
- Presence of other addictive or compulsive problems
- Insatiable appetite in area of difficulty (sex, love or attachment / need.)
- Using others, sex & relationships to alter mood or relieve emotional pain
- Continual questioning of values and lifestyle
- Driven, desperate, frantic personality
- Confusion of sexual attraction with love.
- Tendency to trade sexual activity for “love” or attachment
- Existence of a secret “double life”
- Refusal to acknowledge existence of problem
- Defining out-of-control behavior as normal
- Defining “wants” as “needs”
- Tendency to leave one relationship for another.
- Attempts to replace lost relationships with a new one immediately
Many of these symptoms are also elements of codependency and intimacy dsyfunctions resulting from childhood abandonment, emotional and / or sexual abuse. For this reason treatment and therapy for Love Addiction often includes trauma recovery work.
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“If we have not peace within ourselves, it is in vain to seek it from outward sources.”