While everyone can benefit from being in a stable, loving relationship, people with love addiction form unhealthy fixations and attachments toward the people they care about most. A love addiction can arise out of a desire to please others and be the “perfect partner.” Other traits include codependency and enmeshment. These behavioral patterns can strain your mental well-being and even cause your relationship to fall apart.
Can You Be Addicted to Your Relationship?
In the early stages of a romantic relationship, it’s not unusual to become infatuated with your partner and want to spend every moment with them. However, the “high” of falling in love can be addictive to some people, and as a result, they might commit to a relationship before taking time to get to know whether the other person is a good fit for them.
An unwillingness to be alone is a defining characteristic of relationship addiction. As a result, you may jump quickly from one relationship to the next, regardless of how that fickleness affects you and the people you’re with. Or, perhaps you have stayed in a dysfunctional, one-sided relationship even though it is not making you happy or fulfilled.
Hallmarks of a love addiction can include:
- Frequent breakups and makeups
- Unrequited love and affection
- Using sex to “solve” problems
- Having no identity outside the relationship
- Putting your partner on a pedestal or willfully overlooking neglect, abuse or infidelity
- Ignoring other loved ones and friends
- Changing your habits and other aspects of your personality
- Feeling anxious, depressed, irritable, unlovable or insecure
- Using drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism
- Binge eating, gambling or other compulsive behavior
Root Causes of Love Addiction
Love addiction often stems from underlying problems like low self-esteem and unaddressed trauma. For example, your partner may be your only source of confidence if you don’t love yourself first. Additionally, if your childhood was abusive or the adults around you were emotionally unavailable, you may become addicted to relationships to fill that void.
If you are struggling with a mental health disorder like depression or anxiety, you may believe falling in love would bring more excitement and happiness to your life. Unfortunately, relying on someone else to be your sole source of joy puts a lot of pressure on them, which can be stressful and ultimately lead to resentment.
Eventually, nonexistent or poorly defined boundaries can be a problem for almost any relationship, especially if you always view your partner through rose-colored glasses or constantly seek their approval.
Healing From a Relationship Addiction
Is any aspect of your current relationship toxic, stressful or a significant source of conflict? Reflect on what’s best for you and what steps you need to take to be happy – which may include breaking up. If you are experiencing any form of abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE.
Please contact us at Canyon Crossing if your love addiction overlaps with issues like trauma, self-harm and a substance use disorder. We provide women’s-only transitional living, outpatient treatment and mental health therapy in Prescott, Arizona.