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Those who are addicted to love have a continuous longing for the perfect romantic relationship. When a love addict does not find the kind of perfection they want in one romantic partner, they usually end the relationship quickly. Soon after, they typically find a new partner and continue the pattern. While in a relationship, love addicts become very dependent on their partners, even obsessed. People with a love addiction can also confuse love with lust, and become addicted to sex.
In some cases, people become addicted to love as a result of external factors. These factors can include emotional abuse, specifically in the form of neglect. Those who experience stress in their personal or professional life might also turn to love as a coping mechanism.
Many people who seek the ideal romantic relationship seek to control every aspect of their relationships. While they might think it is an effort to achieve a perfect relationship, it could also be a subconscious fear of being emotionally hurt. This fear is often coupled with a fear of rejection; often love addicts want to leave a relationship before someone leaves them.
Preoccupation can be an early sign of someone being addicted to love. The person might spend a considerable amount of time each day fantasizing about the ideal romantic partner and perfect romantic situations. This fantasizing can often lead to increased sexual arousal and frustration. In an effort to alleviate this frustration, the person might start requiring his or her lover to role play these fantasies.
Over time, people who are addicted to love might want to stop their actions, but feel powerless. This behavior can fuel anxiety as to whether or not they will ever be able to maintain a long-term relationship. Dependency on drugs or alcohol can also be a contributing factor.
Generally, a person who is addicted to love needs to figure out what he or she can realistically expect in a partner. A period of sexual abstinence is also sometimes recommended to enable the person to successfully separate feelings of love from sexual desire. The recovery process for people who realize that they're addicted to love often has to do with them gaining a true understanding that romantic perfection is usually unattainable. Various therapists and support groups can help with this realization, so that love addicts can start building healthy relationships.
I've known some people I'd say were definitely addicted to love. Every week they'd come into the office and start talking non-stop about a new person they just met online or at a party. It was always a magical experience or God brought them together or whatever. About three weeks later, they'd come in and look absolutely miserable. The relationship didn't work out and now life was unbearable.
Sometimes I'd try to cheer them up by saying the usual things like "You'll find someone else" or "there are plenty of fish in the sea", but they'd still stay depressed for days. Then suddenly, the cycle would start all over again and they'd be happy about meeting someone new. It can really be an addiction, like trying to swear off alcohol and then going back to the bar scene a week later. It drives me crazy.