Love addiction is a term many people are not familiar with. Although it is not a diagnosable condition according to many experts, there is evidence that some people become addicted to the feeling of being in love and to being around the person they love. Some would call this a behavioral addition, while others call it an attachment disorder. Whatever you choose to call it, being addicted to love can be just as devastating as any other kind of addiction.
What Is Love Addiction?
Some might confuse love addiction with sex addiction. They are not the same. For a sex addict, physical, sexual acts are the obsession. For love addicts, the obsession is a particular partner and the idea of love. A love addict obsesses over the idea of love and typically cannot stand to be alone or single. Most love addicts are constantly in a relationship, even when the relationship is not healthy or the partner is not right for the addict. Love addicts become addicted to the objects of their affection and often value that person more than themselves. This usually leads to neglecting oneself in favor of giving time and attention to the needs of the partner. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between deep, intense—yet normal and healthy—love and a love addiction. There are two main criteria that determine when normal love has crossed the line: staying in relationship in spite of harm or danger, and being unusually upset and pining for a lost love long after a relationship is over.
Love Addiction or Attachment Disorder?
Some researchers are interested in the idea of love addiction and how it could be categorized and diagnosed. Some estimates suggest that up to 3 percent of the population experiences some symptoms of what could be termed a love addiction and yet there is no conclusive definition of it as a mental health or addiction disorder. In some people, love addiction behavior could be a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder or sex addiction, or it could be an attachment disorder. Attachment disorders have their roots in infancy. When a baby is upset, her caregiver (typically her mother) soothes her. This consistent action and bond with her mother allows the child to grow into an adult who is capable of self-soothing. In other words, she can cope with her own emotions. When an infant is not soothed properly by a caregiver, she may grow into an adult who is not able to self-soothe. It is not uncommon for these adults to look for soothing from other sources: drugs, alcohol, sex or the love of a partner. Attachment, or lack of attachment, to the primary caregiver as an infant impacts a person for life.
3Breaking the Cycle of Attachment and Love Addiction
The good news about attachment, self-soothing and love addiction is that the patterns of behavior can be changed. If you feel that you are obsessive toward your partner, or that you are obsessed with the idea of love, you may want to turn to a professional therapist for help. A therapist can help you work through your feelings and your behaviors to help you learn why you feel this way about love. A therapist can also guide you through making the appropriate changes. Be honest with yourself about your relationship and your feelings about love. When you do, you can finally begin to get the help you need and look forward to a healthier relationship in your future.