Defining "Love Addiction"
What does it mean to be addicted to love?
We all love things in life. We love ourselves, others, friends, family, pets, and life. Do you ever wonder if you love too much? Have you wondered if you can be addicted to love? What does that look like? The late Jon Marsh of Recovery Nation taught a lot about love addiction and what to look for in your relationships concerning this topic.
What is Love Addiction?
Love addiction is like sexual addiction. That is because love addiction is also nothing more than a unique way of regulating emotions in the context of relationships. Like a sex addiction, the consequences of being addicted to love can have an absolutely devastating effect to those suffering from this type of behavioral pattern. At its fundamental level of understanding, there is actually very little that can be added to love addiction that hasn't already been stated above. Next, we just need to talk about and define the behaviors frequently associated with controlling emotions through love (a.k.a love addiction).
A love addiction usually involves a pattern of frequent intimate relationships. These relationships often begin with intense passion and end relatively quickly. You might even think of them as short, longer-term hookups. A variation of this relationship cycle is involvement in longer-term relationships with dramatic highs and lows. The emotional swings simulate a similar range of emotions as that found in the short-term relationship cycle.
The Pattern of Love Addiction
Usually, the relationships found in a love addiction cycle are staggered in series. They can also take the form of multiple, simultaneous relationships taking place at different budding stages within the unique, relational pattern created by the love addicted person. As the pattern continues, associated negative impacts that the "low cycles" have on love addicted person's esteem become increasingly greater. This causes a need for the "high cycles" to be even higher to balance the lows.
The negative impact caused by the love addiction causes a well-defined need for a new relationship (or new commitment to an ongoing relationship). Then the love addict goes looking for love again.
I Love You Forever Sometimes
People addicted to love and involved in a pattern of love addiction do not continue such a pattern knowingly or willfully. It is their utmost belief that the current person they are in a relationship with is their perfect person. They are convinced that that person is one that was meant for them. They also usually hold on to the idea that they will be together forever for the rest of their lives.
In fact, it is in this same thought process that provides so much comfort and relief in the life of the love addict. In its most extreme form, love addiction can lead to harassment, stalking, and violence. These are more extreme cases of what these romantic delusions can incite. Many news-worthy 20/20 cases and love triangles showcase these characteristics.
Suicide and self-mutilation can also be extreme features of love addiction in rare cases. This is because the inflicted pain also be an outlet for emotional relief for a short time. Love addicts tend to have low self-esteem, find social situations uncomfortable, and rarely achieve success at their jobs or maintain successful careers. These are all common characteristics of love addiction.
Love Distress Syndrome
However with love addiction, there are exceptions. One exception to the common traits listed above is the successful professional person who suffers from romantic distress delusions. These ideas usually involve the idea that someone needs to be rescued from the distress they are facing, and they are the person to do it out of love.
In these scenarios, love addicts will frequently fantasize about saving the love of their life who will be forever grateful to them. They will live happily ever after. These fantasies may involve meeting someone of a lower economic class or culture who needs them. The love addict will picture the two of them having a whirlwind romance and falling deeper and deeper in love as they meet their needs and love them all the more for it. The love the feeling of saving their "perfect" person.
Identifying Love Addictions
Love addiction is hard to identify. In fact, it is one of the more difficult addictions to understand the what and why of it. This is because it is easily masked and glossed over in today's society. Short-term relationships are common. Hookups are common. Commitment in relationships can be a rarer quality to find (depending on where you look for it).
Additionally, the behaviors and motives associated with love addiction are not easily identified and the consequences are often hidden. This is usually not the case with other addictions like substance, gambling, and sex addictions.
With love addiction, the self-perceptions, reasons, and destructive behaviors are often kept hidden in the mind of the love addict. They are not necessarily displayed in the addict's outward behavior.
Learn About Sex Addicts & Being Addicted to Sex
Do you enjoy sex and intimacy? Do you seek after it more than you think you should? You may be addicted to sex. Learn about what sex addicts are and the associated traits and tendencies.
Need Help with Love Addiction?
Looking for love addiction help? Recovery Nation supports love addicts through their programs and workshops. Learn about the health-based recovery solutions.