Love addicts are hooked on the same type of fantasy — driven emotional intensity as sex addicts, and they are usually just as detached from the reality of their situation. The main difference between love addicts and sex addicts is that love addicts are typically focused on one person or relationship at a time, whereas sex addicts tend to seek a revolving supply of imagery or partners. Like sex addicts — who give up time, health, self-esteem and more in their pursuit of a sexual high — love addicts seeking or involved in a new relationship neglect their families, jobs, physical and emotional well being, and personal interests so they can devote ever-increasing amounts of time and energy to an idealized partnership.
With love addiction, romance and sexuality are typically beset with painful emotional highs and lows rather than any sort of lasting intimacy. Essentially, love addicts long for that special someone, the one person that will make them feel complete, and they constantly worry that they’ll never find that individual or that they’ll find that person but then be deemed unworthy. Sadly, most love addicts repeatedly bypass opportunities for the truly intimate connection that they think they want. This is because they are much more strongly attracted to the intense experience of dating, falling in love, fixing their partner and riding the highs and lows of the problem relationship than to peaceful intimacy.
When dating someone who is safe, stable and appropriate, love addicts tend to become dissatisfied and anxious, usually ending the relationship to pursue another intense experience. Or, conversely, because they are terrified of abandonment, they will stay in an unworkable and unmanageable relationship long after it has ceased to be a source of genuine affection or warmth.
Is It Love Addiction?
Typical signs of love addiction include:
- Mistaking romantic intensity and newness for love
- Searching endlessly for a romantic relationship
- Feeling desperate to please a partner even if it means sacrificing personal values
- Feeling distressed and alone when not in a relationship and compulsively using sex and fantasy to fill the void
- Losing interest in a relationship once the newness wears off
- Choosing partners who are abusive or emotionally unavailable, or who require a great deal of attention but do not reciprocate
- Forfeiting pastimes, priorities, beliefs or friendships to please a romantic partner
- Using seduction or manipulation to hold on to a partner
- Using porn, anonymous sex or compulsive masturbation to avoid “needing” someone
- Repeatedly returning to unhealthy relationships despite promises not to do so
All romantic relationships may display some of the above signs occasionally. Love addiction is different. With love addiction there is a pattern of one or more of the signs, which results in ongoing negative consequences.
Those with compulsive relationship patterns like those described above often require treatment to achieve lasting recovery. That assistance is available at State of Mind Counseling and Neurofeedback Center. With this help, love addicts can grow beyond their search for the perfect partner to find long-term emotional health and intimacy. To schedule a confidential consultation with Lynda, Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) call 208.939.3999.