Love addiction isn’t as easy to recognize as addiction to substances or to gambling. When you are addicted to chemicals, you revolve your life around chasing the experience of getting high. Anything or anyone that gets in the way of that experience is quickly discarded. The whole purpose of your life is to get high and to escape from feelings that are unpleasant. When your drug of choice is love, you have a similar pattern. You live for the experience of euphoria that love brings to your life. Your relationships tend to begin and end quickly, or you may have long-term relationships with dramatic highs and lows. For love addicts, the experience of falling in love or having drama in your relationships becomes drug-like.
An Obsessive Approach to Love
If you are a love addict, your approach to love is obsessive. You are thinking about your partner almost constantly. You can’t wait to see him or her every day. You call or text your partner repeatedly. You may stalk your partner and drive around trying to find him or her when he or she is late coming home or doesn’t call when you were expecting a call. You are thrilled about every possible contact with the other person. You may be attracted to unavailable people. Even if you are not in a relationship, you are always thinking about love. You spend your time plotting how you are going to meet your next love interest. You get very excited about every possible opportunity to date or mingle with potential partners. The rest of life’s experiences pale in comparison to the passion you feel for the feeling of being in love.
Demanding and Suffocating
Like a drug addict, you are trying to draw a mind-altering experience from connectedness. You are continually trying to get a more exciting and elated experience from your relationships, which is why you may be continually starting new relationships. Some love addicts form attachments to more than one person at the same time just so that they can have more frequent opportunities for feeling excited by love. Before long, your relationships often feel disappointing. Your constant demands for affection and attention may drive your partners away. Those who get involved with you quickly figure out that you’re looking for something that a healthy relationship can’t survive. Your neediness and clinginess suffocates any spark that might have been there. Sometimes you get bored with relationships that seem too predictable.
Love That Lacks Intimacy
Your pattern of constantly trying to experience connection and euphoria from your relationships causes you to have relationships that lack real intimacy. Addiction is a disease of self-centeredness and love addiction is no exception. As you keep looking for others to make you feel better, your relationships can’t grow in any meaningful way. Your focus is really on your own feelings. A truly intimate relationship means that you and your partners share bad times as well as good times. It means that not every day is full of over-the-top stimulation. It means you can grow to be comfortable in each other’s presence without demanding excitement or exhilaration. It also means you can spend some time apart without feeling insecure or afraid of abandonment.
Healing to Experience True Love
True relationships consist of give and take between two people. When you are addicted to love, you are looking for a drug-like experience of being euphoric all the time. You are looking for another person to constantly meet your needs for attention. There is a big difference between being needy and demanding and actually being in love. Your pattern is to look outside yourself for something to make you feel better. Instead of reaching for chemicals, you constantly fall in love. But it isn’t likely you will be able to enjoy a truly fulfilling, loving relationship until you work to heal from love addiction. Look for a counselor who specializes in codependency and love addiction issues. Strive to become aware of your pattern of repeatedly falling in love and learn all you can about love addiction. When you stop using love as a drug, you may be able to eventually experience real love rather than addiction.