Does it seem like the same thing keeps happening to you in all your relationships? Does your heart get repeatedly broken? When you are a love addict, your relationship is almost always the most important thing in your life. When it’s good, it feels really good. But frequently your relationships are unfulfilling, disappointing and maybe even painful. You might think of yourself as the unluckiest person on the planet. Somehow you keep being attracted to people who appear to be everything you’re looking for at first, but in the end you never seem to get back as much as you give. This isn’t really because of bad luck. You have patterns in your relationships that continually repeat themselves. It’s important for you to recognize your part in these patterns.
Falling in Love Too Fast
Here’s an example. You have recently ended a relationship and are heartbroken. In a very short amount of time, you meet someone else. The encounter may be a random meeting, or it may be that you sought out a new partner through online dating sites or other means. Without allowing yourself time to heal from a breakup, you are immediately looking for a new partner. Once you meet someone new, you fall head over heels in love. This is your soul mate, you are sure of it. Family and friends urge you not to rush in so fast, but you repeatedly fall deeply in love with people you haven’t known very long, and you get completely carried away with each new relationship.
Missing the Signs of an Inappropriate Partner
There are a lot of reasons why someone you meet may not be right for you. Some are more serious reasons than others. Inappropriate partners usually give off signs that you should pay attention to early on in a dating relationship. He or she may let you know that drinking is the most important thing in life or that he or she has been unable to hold a job for longer than a few months. Your new partner may need someone to lie for him or her or to be bailed out of trouble. Because you are so desperate to be connected, you disregard red flags that should stop you in your tracks. Your pattern is to miss the subtle hints that your date isn’t mentally healthy or is unavailable to have a committed relationship. The signs are there, and you will recognize them as long as your head is in charge rather than your needy, vulnerable side.
Giving More Than You Get
Your partners are typically self-centered and emotionally unavailable. They may have a problem with alcohol or drugs. They may be married. But you try to win them over anyway. Your pattern is to give a lot more than you get. You call more often. You may contribute more than your partner on a financial level. You’re quick to be available when your loved one needs you, but you find that when you need someone to be there for you, he or she may not always come through. You wonder why you can’t seem to get back all the love you are giving.
Hanging On When It’s Not Working
When love causes more pain than joy, most people recognize that it’s time to end the relationship. The pattern of a love addict is to keep hanging on long after others would have given up. You keep hoping that the other person will change and that he or she will be all that you’re looking for. You look for reasons to blame yourself for whatever has gone wrong and you are continually trying different strategies to make the other person love you as much as you love him or her. This is a sign that you probably have a very deep-rooted fear of abandonment. To you, love is like a drug that you can’t live without. Do you recognize your recurring patterns in your relationships? Once you realize that there are patterns and that you are participating in this self-destructive dance, there is hope that you can heal. You can learn to get past patterns of love addiction by working with a counselor or attending meetings of Co-Dependents Anonymous. Recovery starts with recognition of your patterns.