What does it mean to be a “love addict”?
A “love addict” is someone who becomes dependent on, and enmeshed with, a relationship and the attention of another, to the extent that their life becomes unmanageable.
The love addict typically demands an exaggerated level of reassurance, and needs to know immediately that the love they experience with the other person is being reciprocated, otherwise intense feelings of panic and anxiety can become overwhelming.
Love addicts cling to the idea of being in a relationship as they truly believe they are incapable of living without the beloved.
They need to feel connected to someone to avoid loneliness, or being single, because being in a relationship signifies being loved and lovable.
Love addiction, therefore, keeps you powerless as you are afraid to be alone; afraid to change; afraid to say the wrong thing for fear that he or she will abandon you.
As a result, people will endure considerable pain and suffering rather than contemplate ending the relationship, as this involves as much panic and love addiction withdrawal as it would a drug addict considering quitting and going ‘cold turkey.’
Do any of the following symptoms resonate with you? – Love addiction withdrawal
- Clinging to an idealised relationship, despite a very different reality (falling in love is experienced “as if” you have found your soul mate, so you’re unable to let go)
- Returning time and again to an emotionally withholding, neglectful or abusive relationship
- Giving responsibility for your emotional well-being, or even survival, to the person of addiction
- Experiencing intense feelings of loss, grief, love addiction withdrawal and abandonment
- Craving your partners’ full attention. (If they fail to respond immediately, you become anxious, agitated and panicky)
- Exhibiting low self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth
- Falling in love with people online, dating agencies or in chat rooms before ever meeting that person
- Frequently falling in love, or having an intense crush on, or infatuation with, someone who does not reciprocate the emotional response you crave
- Feeling as though you simply can’t ‘survive’ without the person of addiction
- Continuously choosing unavailable partners (which then triggers the dynamic of hungry love, passion and longing often experienced as rejection and abandonment)
- Constantly seeking reassurance from your partner (which can threaten the early part of a relationship and subsequently hinder its natural growth)
If you recognise yourself, or someone you know, in the symptoms above there is help available.
I have spent the last 25 years helping individuals and couples. I believe that the way we love and how we love is often at the heart of a troubled relationship. I have created my “Surviving the Addictive Love Cycle” program specifically to help people suffering from love addiction. I also offer Skype based counselling sessions if you would like to speak with me personally.