Have you ever felt that rush when you’re first getting to know someone and you can’t stop thinking about them? There is a surge of chemicals being released in our brains when we are initially falling for someone and pursuing them. After the chemicals calm down, you really start to get to know a person and this is where a long term relationship can start to form now. Unfortunately for some people, once that “crash” happens and they come down from that surge of chemicals, they tend to move on or seek something else that causes that burst of serotonin all over again. Chasing the high of falling in love is one way of describing love addiction.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with falling in love. In fact, it’s amazing! The problem happens when a person loses interest in their partner because that initial rush of endorphins died down and they leave looking for a new partner to experience those with. They’re chasing the feelings they felt and it can be difficult to think or consider the other person. In addiction, the mind takes over and self-control, or self-will, cannot stop it.
With this addition, you’ll notice a lot of impulsivity and reward-seeking behavior. And for those struggling with this addiction, it can be a whirlwind for the addict and anyone close to them.
What is obsessive love addiction
Obsessive love addiction, also called obsessive love disorder (OLD) is when someone has obsessive, intrusive thoughts about someone or something that can cause areas of their life to be unmanageable. Someone experiencing this is usually pretty consumed with thoughts about someone else, to the point where they will forget or just disregard their own self-care and health. Their mind is on a constant loop and stuck on the person and not at the moment.
This can come out in extreme jealousy. Not being able to let their partner talk to other people without feeling like they are going to cheat or be unfaithful in any way. It can also trigger in them a feeling of needing to protect their partner and possessive thoughts. Thinking that a person is theirs.
This is also something where people struggling with this do not take rejection well and are in constant need of reassurance. Attempting to monitor and control the person of their interests’ actions and not able to maintain their relationships with their friends and family because their focus is really only on the object of their affection. They struggle with understanding chemistry. Or struggle with understanding lust vs love.
Typically when it is this extreme, there are other mental health issues happening as well such as borderline personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. If you feel like you might be struggling with this, talk to a therapist. There is a help to manage it and take control back with your life.
What Is Love Addiction 5 Symptoms:
#1 Wanting to leave a relationship when the “new” feeling has worn off.
If you find yourself leaving a relationship about every 4-6 weeks and entering into a new one, you might have a problem with love addiction. Some love addicts chase the high of relationships and that feeling of falling in love. Once that feeling is over and the chemicals are no longer surging through their brains, they have a “bored” feeling and leave the relationship. Most times love addicts will pick emotionally unavailable or abusive partners so that they can blame the relationship not working out on the other person. It’s a subconscious way of not seeing the real problem.
#2 Constantly looking for a romantic relationship.
With this day and age of being able to swipe on apps to find your next ex soul mate, it’s a field day for some love addicts. Constantly looking for a relationship and even doing that while currently in one, is a trait of a love addict. The hunt of the chase and the adrenaline of looking keeps a love addict hooked. Focusing on other people and who the next person in their life will be can take away the real-life issues and emotions that the love addict might be avoiding.
#3 Using sex or seduction to keep someone.
This can come from maladaptive behaviors and growing up in a dysfunctional childhood home. Some people might not have been taught how to cope with emotions or might have been taught early on that they are not good enough and only good enough for sex, so they use this as a tool to keep someone. Sex will also be used as a way to escape or to seek validation from their partner. If their partner can show that they are still attracted to them sexually and they can get them to have sex, then the love addict can feel a sense of relief. However this is typically followed by a sense of shame and guilt because the real emotions have not been dealt with, only pushed down, and it will cause the addict to continue the spiral.
#4 Feeling desperate and alone and unable to stay single for large periods of time.
Constantly being in a relationship or jumping from one person to the next without periods of time of being alone is a big sign of love addiction. This is mainly because being alone is a time of reflection and hopefully healing, dealing with emotions, and this can be too painful and overwhelming for a love addict. Love addiction is similar to other addictions in that it is a way to escape and not feel the way that you feel. So if you find yourself unable to be single for long and are continuously looking for someone else to be with, you might be in the love addiction category.
#5 Giving up beliefs, hobbies, time with friends and family to be with your partner more.
Not being able to maintain your own individuality because there is a fear of losing the person you are involved with and wanting to please them is an indicator of love addiction. This is the feeling of intensity in the beginning but for some love addicts can be something that is prominent through the relationship and can err on the side of obsessive love addiction. The significant other or object of affection can become an “end all be all” to a love addict where they will place them above everything, even their own needs, and this can be extremely unhealthy and damaging. Having a sense of interdependence and personal time spent alone or with family and friends is crucial to maintaining longevity in a relationship. Essentially, you don’t want to smother or be smothered. That can burn out that beginning of a new relationship flame quickly.
Love Addiction: 3 Ways To Tell This Is Happening To You!
If you constantly feel like you are in an emotional roller coaster and going back to relationships that are not healthy or good for you. You might be dealing with love addiction and might need to really take a step back and look at your intentions and motivations. Are you constantly feeling like you are overwhelmed and in fear? Do you feel like you need someone in order to be happy? Does it make you uncomfortable to be alone and sit with yourself? These are some signs that you can tell if this is happening to you.
#1 Constantly breaking up and getting back together with someone.
Love addiction can turn into something that is very emotionally unhealthy. Because it can be something that stems from childhood and a lack of emotional care being met, a lot of love addicts will repeat their childhood in their partners and significant others or even people they put into authority figures for themselves. Needing to go back to that person, even after the relationship is done, as a way to seek validation or make yourself feel better, is a sign of addiction.
#2 Needing intensity in a relationship in order to feel great.
Steady, easy-going, a feeling of peace would be the opposite of what is typically felt in a love addiction relationship before treatment. Most addicts are seeking the rush of endorphins, serotonin and dopamine and chasing a “high” which can make the relationship feel extremely intense. The more intense the relationship, the higher the person can feel. If you find yourself chasing that feeling of your heart racing in a relationship without regard to the person that you are involved with, you might be suffering from love addiction.
#3 Needing to be with someone in order to feel okay.
Being alone can cause severe depression and extreme feelings of anxiety. This can trigger a lot of emotions and make the love addict feel as though they are “missing something”. Feeling like you need to be with someone in order to feel okay, or feeling as though you have to make someone fall in love with you and constantly validate your life, who you are or anything you are experiencing, could be a large indicator that you are struggling with love addiction.
3 Ways to Manage Being a Love Addict
If you’ve found out you’re dealing with love addiction, don’t worry. There are tools at your disposal and things you can do! This is not the end of the world and there are so many people dealing with varying degrees of love addiction. Here are some tips that can help you manage.
#1 Seek help.
There are plenty of self-help groups in this day and age. Also professional help works, guys! Getting outside help can unmask destructive patterns from your past and childhood and can help you uncover self-love and self-respect so that you can take a step back and make healthier choices.
#2 Go 6 months no dating no apps.
This is a tough one but if you are not currently in a relationship, go 6 months without dating anyone or swiping on apps. You also might want to tie this time in with seeking outside help, but this will help you with falling in love with yourself first so that you can have more boundaries for yourself and for what you are willing or not willing to tolerate in relationships.
#3 Go through your history and find the patterns.
Write out the history of your relationships, including the one with your parents and the relationship they had together. See if you can spot a pattern. How were your needs met and how were your needs not met in each relationship. Start to only surround yourself with people who are compassionate and kind towards you. This is going to offset those needs that were not met previously.
What Is The Cause Of Love Addiction
A lot of love addiction can stem from abandonment issues and problems from childhood. This can be brought on by parental or guardian figures leaving or not being around. So feeling like they need someone to attach to in order to have their needs met is a big factor of love addiction.
It is an obsession of the mind similar to any addiction and does not really have to do with “love”. For a love addict, it is mostly about escaping and using people like a drug. The person becomes the drug and the link to not dealing with personal issues or problems.
For love addicts, their emotional needs might not have been met during the crucial growing years of childhood and adolescence. This causes them to attach to people or even authority figures and intrusive thoughts can come in disrupting their life and causing life to be unmanageable.
Love addiction can be caused by one thing or multiple things. It is similar to other addictions, some people say that is is something they are born with and others say that it was created in them. Things like childhood trauma, having addicts as parents, being chemically imbalanced, or going through abusive relationships in the early years of adolescence can all impact someone to become a love addict.
If you feel like you or someone you love is suffering from this addiction, seek professional help and reach out to someone. There are also 12 step programs designed to help such as SLAA Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous and can be a tremendous help with making life more manageable.
Your Coach In Love Addictions,