Can you be addicted to love?
Photo by Jonathan Borba

Have you ever wondered if people can really be addicted to love?

Really, we all need love it is one of the fundamental needs of healthy survival. Becoming addicted to love, however, changes the healthy pursuit of finding that connection into a condition in which the lack of love leads to a cycle of pain and at times destructive behaviors. 

With love addiction, the inside job for happiness gets turned into an imaginary and often fairytale-like idea about what love is. Think about the endless search for true love. The tragedy in the life of someone addicted to love is that once the “high” is over the inside emptiness continues.

Signs of love addiction

The fundamental feeling of emptiness continuous on a dysfunctional path leading to behaviors that challenge an existing relationship, continuing of the chase, lack of ability to differentiate between love and attraction, and difficulty to make healthy decisions to enter, stay, or exit relationships. To be accepted and loved dictates the thoughts and behaviors of the love addict. 

The love addict is willing to minimize the cycle of compulsive seeking love, disappointment, pain, break-ups, abuse, and feelings of emptiness all in the name of finding or rescuing love. 

Love addicts are looking for the chase and the rush of romance while ignoring, or genuinely not recognizing, red flags. Love addiction can show up in different ways.

Indicators of love addiction include:

– Rushing into sexual and romantic relationships thought to be love

– Being consumed by finding the perfect partner

– After the chase is over, feelings of boredom, and concerns about not being enough and abandonment

– Inability to define self outside of relationship role

– Lack of Self-Esteem and loss of identity when not in a relationship

– Engaging in relationships with partners that are physically, emotionally, and verbally abusive

– Remaining in unhealthy relationships out of fear of being alone

What causes love addiction?

While there isn’t a single cause for love addiction, childhood attachment theory, childhood trauma, lack of positive role models, societal romanticizing of ideal relationship roles, and lack of self-esteem may all play a role. Because patterns of seeking and meeting the need for connection to receive nurturing are played early in childhood behaviors carry over into adulthood. Depending on the imprints of childhood individuals seek out connections that mimic early childhood attachment and familiar relationship patterns, as they are considered “normal.”  

Individuals faced with love addiction often have an instinctual feeling as well as real frustration that the way they are approaching relationships isn’t working. However, without understanding the underlying drivers of the addiction energy is poured into loving harder, people-pleasing, fixing the partner, blaming, shaming, and guilting others for the dysfunction in the relationship. 

Thinking that the fault is found in the other person then looks like: 

“I won’t date guys (certain people) anymore.” 

“I am done with relationships.” 

“I am taking a break from dating.”

“I am going to fight for this love.”

“All…(fill in the blanks) are…(fill in the blanks).”

Finding help for love Addiction

So while love addiction is very painful as the emotional needs remain unmet, finding help for love addiction can bring live-changing insight.

Breaking the pattern of love addiction takes time and healing. However once starting to gain insight into your underlying wounds that drive your behavior you can begin to heal and rediscover yourself and identify your needs. 

In therapy, you can find the help you need to address your addiction to love. Together we will work on uncovering your underlying triggers and resolve attachment wounds. I will provide individualized education around tools that will be useful to you to strengthen yourself and achieve fulfilling relationships. Read more about my individual approach to therapy here or contact me for a consultation here

PS: Also, while your situation and seeking of love are painful at the moment, people addicted to love are often the most lovable and caring individuals. Let me help you find yourself and the love you deserve. I am looking forward to connecting.