Falling in love can be an intoxicating experience, and this euphoric feeling is the subject of countless songs, movies and novels. But if you struggle with love addiction, you are compelled to chase this feeling repeatedly and obsessively. A love addict chases the surge of brain chemicals that happens when falling in love like a drug addict chases their next high.
It’s part of the human experience to want to be in a loving relationship, so looking for love is something most people do at some point in their lives. But if chasing the euphoric feeling that comes with falling in love is an obsession, there might be more going on than a desire for a partnership. The initial rush that you feel very early in a relationship isn’t actually love. And when you constantly chase that feeling, you are chasing a form of getting high that is very similar to drug addiction.
Telltale Signs of Love Addiction
How do you know if you are addicted to love? There are several telltale signs of this disorder.
- You feel very uncomfortable and not quite whole when you are not in a relationship
- You are constantly seeking a new and exciting relationship to fill your inner void
- You fall in love quickly and frequently
- You participate in activities that don’t interest you just to stay close to another person
- You stay in bad relationships to avoid being alone
- You are often drawn to emotionally unavailable people
- In relationships, you are clingy and smothering
- When relationships end, it feels like it’s the end of the world and you may consider suicide
- Your friends and family try to tell you that your obsessive behavior is abnormal
If you are a love addict, you are obsessively focused on others. Like a drug addict, you believe that something outside yourself can make you feel better. In your case, you believe that the feeling of being in love will relieve the pain of being human. You are desperately afraid of abandonment and can’t imagine anything more painful than being alone.
Overcoming Addiction to Love
Recognizing that you have a problem with being addicted to love is the first step toward changing your behavior. A counselor who specializes in codependency or love addiction can help you understand your addiction and guide you in working toward healthier relationships.
Attending 12-step programs such as Co-Dependents Anonymous or Love Addicts Anonymous can give you a structured path toward recovery, as well as providing peer support. By participating in these support groups, you will realize that you are not alone with your struggles, and others will help you to recognize your triggers and make a plan for how to handle them.
Overcoming love addiction requires recognizing that you have been treating love like a drug. Recovery involves learning to love yourself and acknowledging that someone outside yourself isn’t responsible for your happiness. In time, you will grow to have a healthier relationship with yourself, which lays the groundwork for eventually experiencing real love rather than addictive love.
National Institute on Drug Abuse: Characteristics of Drug Dependent People
Co-Dependents Anonymous: Patterns and Characteristics of Codependence