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In light of valentine’s day I am inspired to discuss this topic…  What is love addiction?

Love addiction is when people become addicted to the feeling of being in love. They generally have unfulfilled emotional needs that they seek to satisfy with romance or relationships

love addiction

Being in love, for them, can resemble an addiction. The source of an addiction is found within the person, not in the substance itself. Some people can use a drug, including alcohol, and not become addicted. Similarly, some people can enjoy the high of being in love as a positive life experience without any indication of addiction. Other people, depending on their needs, their abilities, or their backgrounds, use the euphoric feelings that come from an outside source of gratification (drugs, relationships … or gambling, videogames – the list is endless) to create a false sense of fulfilment in their lives. They have difficulty looking   within to find a way to achieve contentment, so they   look outside of themselves for a way to soothe their internal feelings. Everyone does this to a degree. But   when it takes on a compulsive quality that inhibits more positive life experiences and leads to negative consequences, it can be called an addiction.

People who are addicted to love spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the person they love. They want to be with that person as much as possible, go out of their way to do things for that person, and often value their love above even themselves. When the focus becomes obsessive or a person is devoting more and more of themselves to their love, the interest is likely to have become an addiction.  If you find that you’re neglecting yourself in some way or giving up things that are important to you in order to show affection for your love, you may be facing a problem. If the connection to your love interest becomes more necessary than meeting your own needs, this is a major indication of love addiction.

Love addicts live in a chaotic world of desperate need and emotional despair. Fearful of being alone or rejected, love addicts endlessly search for that special someone – the person that will make the addict feel whole.  For individuals who are truly seeking a long-term relationship, healthy romantic intensity – the “rush” of first love – is the catalyst that brings about the bonding necessary to sustain an intimate attachment. Love addicts, however, are addicted to the rush of first romance, and because of that their relationships never develop beyond this initial, emotionally elevated state.

They are 8 types of love addicts…

(1)Co-dependent love addicts: they are addicted to using co-dependency behaviours in relationships which are… a deep-seated need to rescue, help, care for, and fix his or her partner exhibiting bad behaviour this includes enabling, rescuing, caretaking, passive-aggressive controlling, and accepting neglect or abuse. In general,  they will do anything to “take care” of their partners in the hope that they will not leave—or that someday they will reciprocate they try  desperately to hold on to the people they are addicted to using co-dependent  behaviour. There is no balance in the relationship it is usually 90/10… no give and take….

(2) Relationship Addict and Co-dependent Relationship Addict: If the Love Addict is not in love anymore, but is just hanging in there for the companionship, they are a Relationship Addict. If they are also co-dependent they are a Co-dependent Relationship Addict. Usually, these kinds of love addicts are unhappy, and the relationship is affecting their health, spirit and emotional wellbeing, but they cannot move on. Even if their partner batters them, and they are in danger, CRA’s cannot let go. They are afraid of being alone. They are afraid of change. They do not want to hurt or abandon their partners. I describe this kind of addiction as “I hate you don’t leave me.”

People in long-term unhappy marriages are likely to be Co-dependent Relationship Addicts. They want desperately to move on but can’t face their fears. It is common for a CRA to overlap relationships. They find a replacement before they let go, so they don’t have to experience withdrawal (separation anxiety). Even if someone is not waiting in the wings, within days of a breakup they enter into another dysfunctional relationship. They never learn that self-esteem blossoms in solitude. They are true love addicts, but it’s the relationship they are addicted to.

 

(3)Narcissistic Love Addicts: NLAs use dominance, seduction and withholding to control their partners. Unlike co-dependents, who accept a lot of discomfort, narcissists won’t put up with anything that interferes with their happiness. They are self-absorbed and their low self-esteem is masked by their grandiosity. Furthermore, rather than seeming to obsess about the relationship, NLAs appear aloof and unconcerned. They do not appear to be addicted at all. Rarely do you even know that NLAs are hooked until you try to leave them. Then they will no longer be aloof and uncaring. They will panic and use anything at their disposal to hold on to the relationship—including violence

 (4)Ambivalent Love Addicts:  they from avoidant personality disorder. They don’t have a hard time letting go, they have a hard time moving forward. They desperately crave love, but at the same time they are terrified of intimacy.

(5)Torch Bearers:  are those who obsess about someone who is unavailable  e.g. married men, players, exes, ideals…

This can be done without acting out (suffering in silence) or by pursuing the person they are in love with. Some Torch Bearers are more addicted than others. This kind of love addiction feeds on fantasies and illusions. It is also known as unrequited love.  Some love addicts can only fall in love with the person of their dreams. Since no such person really exists, they project their fantasies onto someone and then see in that person only what they want to see. These completely unavailable people are a good target for this kind of projection because the love addict never really gets to know them. Torchbearers often believe that their infatuation is reciprocated when it is not

Example

Sometimes Torch Bearers are so used to getting a ‘high’ off of feelings of fear and obsession that being in a normal relationship where love is reciprocated may not feel challenging enough. The love addict may feel like they lack passion for the other person. The end result continues to be the avoidance of a real intimate attachment that is capable of providing true love, security and protection.

For example, men that have loads of mistresses they keep taking mistress after mistress and get bored very quickly and are done with them.

(6)Saboteurs and seductive withholders:  destroy relationships when they start to get serious or at whatever point their fear of intimacy comes up. This can be anytime—before the first date, after the first date, after sex, after the subject of commitment comes up—whenever. Seductive With holders  on to you when they want sex or companionship. When they become frightened, or feel unsafe, they begin withholding companionship, sex, affection—anything that makes them feel anxious. If they leave the relationship when they become frightened, they are just Saboteurs. If they keep repeating the pattern of being available/unavailable, they are seductive with holders.

(7) Romance Addicts: they who are addicted to multiple partners. Romance addicts are often confused with sex addicts. However, unlike sex addicts, who are trying to avoid bonding altogether, romance addicts bond with each of their partners—to one degree or another— even if the romantic liaisons are short-lived or happening simultaneously. By “romance” I mean sexual passion and pseudo-emotional intimacy. Please note that while romance addicts bond with each of their partners to a degree, their goal (besides getting high off of romance and drama) is to avoid commitment or bonding on a deeper level with one partner.

(8) Combinations: Not everyone fits into just one box they might have more than one type of love addiction  Many of these types overlap and combine with other behavioural problems. For instance, they may be a co-dependent, alcoholic love addict. Or a love/relationship addict.

Example

Ade was a love addict, relationship addict and romance addict. He was married but did not want to divorce his wife of twenty years even though he was not in love with her (relationship addiction). He had affairs with several other women simultaneously without his wife finding out. He really cared about each of these women (romance addict). One day he met Bunmi and fell in love with her. It did not take long before he was obsessed with her. She did not want to be with him because he was married, so he began stalking and harassing her (love addict).

Food for thought

Love addicts are searching for something outside of themselves – a person, relationship, or experience – to provide them with the emotional and life stability they lack. In other words, love addicts use their intensely stimulating romantic experiences to (temporarily) fix themselves and feel emotionally stable.

next week i will discuss the causes of love addiction

 

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