For many people the concept of a love addiction seems more like a “made up diagnosis” to attempt to make excuses for bad choices and bad behavior. After all there is no chemical dependency or no physical signs of the addiction. But, if you stop and think about it, this is no different than many other recognized addictions.
There are no physical or medical issues in a gambling or a porn addiction, so why is love addiction considered such a “made up” diagnosis? And, more specifically, what is a love addiction and can it be used to mask willful and intentional choice to engage in sexual behavior?
Love addiction isn’t the same as a porn addiction or a sex addiction, which is a common mistake that people make. There are actually lots of these misunderstandings about addictions, a point that I cover in “The Law of Sobriety” in great detail.
A love addiction is the need to constantly be “in love” with someone. The addict feels incomplete and unfulfilled when they are not in love. To get this feeling they will do whatever it takes to keep their partner happy, including literally transforming themselves into what the partner wants. However, often the people that they choose are avoidant personalities that find this love and smothering type of behavior just drives them away. In turn the love addict pursues harder and creates a vicious cycle.
A love addict will do whatever it takes to keep that romance alive. Unfortunately all romance changes over time and the addict is constantly chasing that initial relationship “high”. Three key signs that a person you are in a relationship with may be a love addict include:
1. Obsessive/Possessive Behaviors – the love addict cannot spend time away from the object of his or her affection. This means that they are constantly in the partner’s presence or calling, texting or checking in on their Facebook page when they aren’t.
2. The Relationship Is Their World – everything they talk about, write about and think about has to do with maintaining the relationship. They have no life outside of you and are actually amazed that you don’t feel the same way. They are offended and hurt if you want to do something with your friends as this is, from their perspective, time not spent loving them.
3. There Is NO Breaking Up – love addicts don’t get mad and leave, they continue to take whatever their partner gives them. They do not blame the partner for cheating or treating them abusively, they blame themselves. They also don’t want to end the relationship because their need for the feeling of love is completely gone if the relationship fails. This means they are not going to leave voluntarily and some can engage in very disturbing behaviors including stalking and acts of violence if a breakup is attempted.
Love addiction is real and is not just being a difficult partner. If you suspect your partner is addicted to your relationship, professional help is your best option.
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