What is love addiction? These signs of addictive relationships will help if you’re wondering if you’re in an addictive relationship. They’ll help you figure out if you’re in an unhealthy relationship — and if you should leave your partner…
Before the tips, a quip:
“Sometimes you have to get to know someone really well to realize you’re really strangers.” ~ Mary Tyler Moore.
At the beginning of a relationship, you may not realize that you don’t have much in common – but you’re too swept up in love and excitement to notice! And, some psychologists say that if you grew up in a dysfunctional home, your chances of being in a dysfunctional or addictive relationship are higher. You feel like you’re not worthy of being loved so you settle for a partner who treats you badly. This could be obvious physical, emotional, or other mistreatment… or the less obvious love addiction.
To learn more about addictive love and relationships, read The Addictive Personality: Understanding the Addictive Process and Compulsive Behavior.
And, here are the seven signs of addictive relationships…
Love Addiction – Obsession With Another Person
According to Terence Gorski in Why Do I Keep Doing That? Why Do I Keep Doing That?: Breaking the Negative Patterns in Your Life, addictive relationships involve one person who is self-centered and extremely independent. This partner (let’s call him Selfish Sam – but it could just as easily be Selfish Sally) believes he’s entitled to whatever he wants whenever he wants it. He surrounds himself with people who support his opinions of himself — and he’s one half of an unhealthy controlling relationship.
Addictive relationships include the other partner (we’ll call her Dependant Debbie but it could be Dependent Darren) who is dependent and other-centered. Debbie is willing to mirror whatever the first partner wants. She’s simply a reflection of him…and this is the other half of a controlling relationship.
“[Addictive love relationships] work until the other-centered person runs out of steam one night and doesn’t have enough energy to mirror back what is needed,” writes Gorski. “The relationship is going to blow up. Addictive relationships do not necessarily have to have self-centered and other-centered partners, but it’s the norm.”
Am I in an Addictive Relationship? 7 Signs of Love Addiction
1. Dishonesty and lying. Neither Sam nor Debbie talks about who they are or what’s really bothering them. They lie about what they want — neither partner can honestly communicate what he or she needs and wants. This may not be deliberate; sometimes people act without realizing what they’re doing, or why they’re doing it.
2. Unrealistic expectations from a love relationship. Both Sam and Debbie think their partner will solve their self-esteem, body image, family, and life problems. They believe the right love relationship will make everything better. Even if they realize they’re not being realistic, they can’t break from from their love addiction.
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3. Instant gratification. Sam expects Debbie to be there for him whenever he needs her; he needs her to make him happy immediately. He’s using her to make him feel good, and isn’t relating to her as a partner or even a human being. She’s an obsession — which is what addictive relationships are about.
4. Compulsive control. Debbie has to act a certain way, or Sam will threaten to leave her. This is part of a controlling relationship — part of their love addiction. Both feel pressure to stay in the relationship; neither feel like they’re together voluntarily. Neither can stand the thought of letting go of someone they think they love.
5. Lack of trust. Neither partner trusts the other to be there when the chips are down. They don’t believe the other really loves them, and they don’t believe genuine caring or liking exists. At some level they know they’re not in a healthy relationship — but they may not know anything about love addiction.
6. Social isolation. Nobody else is invited into their relationship – not friends, family, or work acquaintances. People in addictive relationships want to be left alone, in an unhealthy way.
7. Cycle of pain. Sam and Debbie are trapped in a cycle of pleasure, pain, disillusionment, blaming, and reconnection. The cycle repeats itself until one partner breaks free of the addictive relationship.
Are you ready to break free from love addiction? Read Controlling Relationships and Addictive Love – How to Walk Away.
And, if you have any questions or thoughts about addictive relationships or obsessive love, please comment below.
Are you unhappy in your relationship? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage and FREE relationship advice from Mort Fertel, founder of the Marriage Fitness Program.