Love addiction is compulsively seeking relationships or romance despite negative social, emotional, financial, or physical consequences. Love addicts are sometimes called “serial monogamists” or “relationship addicts.” Love addicts use love, or the pursuit of love, as a way of distracting themselves from uncomfortable feelings or emotions. Love addicts tend to have unrealistic expectations for giving and receiving love.
You may suffer from love addiction if:
Some love addicts tend to love people who are unavailable. Other love addicts cannot let go of past partners who have let them go. According to Pia Mellody, author of Facing Love Addiction, “a love addict is someone who is dependent on, enmeshed with, and compulsively focused on another person.” In love addiction, there is an overwhelming fixation on love or the pursuit of a romantic partner. Often, once the object of desire has been attained, they are never good enough, and never seem to live up to the love addict’s expectations.
When a love addict realizes their partner is not perfect, the chase may continue for validation and attention outside the relationship. Seeking validation outside of the relationship may lead to emotional or physical affairs. Love addicts are slow to leave a toxic relationship due to feelings of low self worth. A love addict becomes fixated on his or her partner and tries to control the partner. A love addict will use sex in an effort to receive what they really crave: emotional intimacy.
Some love addicts get caught in toxic relationships and become codependent. Love addiction and codependency often go hand-in-hand as love addicts will do anything to take care of their partners. Toxic care-taking can be in the form of enabling immature behaviors or “rescuing” in hopes that they will not be abandoned. Love addicts allocate an unbalanced amount of time, attention and value to the person that they are addicted to (i.e., their “qualifier”), and this focus usually has an obsessive quality. It is not uncommon for love addicts to neglect themselves “in service to the relationship.” Self neglect usually leads to resentment and anger, rather than intimacy and harmony.
Love addiction is deeply rooted in a constant need for attention, validation, nurturing, and connection. Love addiction therapy can lead to a deeper awareness regarding the underlying causes of the obsessive needs. Learning about codependent patterns leads to a better understanding of oneself which can lead to improved self esteem and healthier love connections. With a commitment to change, and help from a professional with expertise in treating love addiction, recovery from love addiction is possible.