Remember the first time you fell in love or became infatuated with someone? Remember the “high” you experienced from this infatuation? Love addicts have developed an unhealthy dependency on attaining this high. Love addicts become hooked on immediate, superficial intimacy, and the idea of being in love. Like other addicts they fear real intimacy –a genuine exposing of themselves– and avoid it through the addiction. They become lost in the illusion of romance and can often have several “relationships” at one time. This pulls them further and further away from their real lives, relationships, and families. They will often hold tight onto these fantasy relationships even though these relationships are destructive. Love addicts often suffer from severe low self-esteem, self-loathing, and shame. As the initial “rush” and “buzz” of the relationship wears off they are left feeling depressed and anxious, filled with guilt and shame. This despair often triggers another love addiction cycle or other self-destructive behaviors.
This cycle can be broken through treatment. In therapy love addicts can develop an understanding about the deep roots of their shame and destructiveness. If love addicts invest themselves in a recovery, they can develop healthy, affirming, and truly loving relationships.
While not a diagnostic tool, the following questions may help you determine whether you suffer from love addiction.
Download the Love Addiction Self-Assessment PDF