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Warning Signs of Love Addiction

Love addiction isn’t just about an endless search for love. Some love addicts sabotage good relationships for fear of getting too close. Others are in unhealthy relationships but cannot let go. Love addiction can manifest in many different ways. Some common characteristics of love addicts include:

Destructive Relationship Patterns

  • Inability to stop seeing or dating someone even with the knowledge that it is destructive
  • Frequently attracting partners who are emotionally unavailable, untrustworthy or troubled
  • Difficulty sustaining relationships after the initial excitement wears off
  • Constantly searching for a newer, better relationship
  • Serial dating or having multiple affairs
  • Overlooking a partner’s faults to perpetuate the fantasy of a relationship
  • Having a hard time saying no when in a relationship

 

Feelings/Actions of Desperation Around Relationships

  • Feeling desperation or uneasiness when single or away from a romantic partner
  • Compromising financial stability or reputation by pursuing a romantic partner
  • Using any means necessary to attract or hold onto a love interest
  • Inability to set appropriate boundaries
  • Difficulty concentrating on other areas of life because thoughts are consumed by starting or maintaining a relationship
  • Feeling that life is unmanageable because of the search for love and relationships
  • Contemplating suicide when relationships end
  • Feeling the need for a relationship to make life bearable
  • Believing that someone can “fix” you

 

Unhealthy Sexual Behaviors

  • Engaging in sex or a relationship regardless of the consequences (e.g., abuse, the threat of being caught, or the risk of contracting an STD)
  • Having anonymous or unprotected sex
  • Confusing sex and romance with real love
  • Escaping feelings of loneliness or unhappiness through sex or relationships
  • Flirting with or sexualizing someone even if it wasn’t the intention
  • Having more than one romantic partner at a time, even if it is against your values
  • Trading sex for love, affection, money or power

Needing a Relationship to Feel Worthy

  • Believing that the problems in your love life result from continuing to remain with the “wrong” person or not finding the “right” person
  • Feeling that life would have no meaning without a romantic relationship
  • Changing hobbies, interests, needs and/or beliefs based on the person you are dating
  • Feeling unhappy or worthless when alone but scared or dissatisfied when in a relationship

Preoccupation With Relationships or Finding a Relationship

  • Checking up on or spying on a romantic interest
  • Fantasizing about finding the perfect person when you’re not in a relationship
  • Thinking that you could do more with your life if you were not so driven by romantic pursuits
  • Feeling like you’re under a spell or in a daze when in love
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, career or interests to focus on a romantic relationship
  • Having partners describe you as overly needy, desperate, smothering or jealous

Love addicts are plagued with desperation and seemingly unending fears. Terrified of rejection, pain, and unfamiliar experiences, and having little faith in their ability or right to inspire love, they wait, wish and hope for love, perhaps their least familiar experience.

Treatment for love addiction must address the deep emotional wounds that fuel this condition — wounds that usually stem from childhood and include trauma, enmeshment, emotional neglect, abuse and attachment issues. Co-occurring mental health disorders must also be diagnosed and treated for full recovery.

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