Normally, most people would agree that falling in love is not a bad thing, but you can become addicted to being in love, which can trigger certain unhealthy and compulsive behaviors. If you find yourself craving romantic affection and serious relationships with potentially abusive partners, then you might addicted to love. This addiction can start affecting many important aspects of your life, so you want to make sure you get treatment before your addiction to love starts causing too many problems.
What is love?
Falling in love involves complex alterations in your body’s hormones and neurotransmitters. These changes cause you to feel affection, lust, and attraction. You then start to idealize your partner. As the relationship grows and changes, so should your love and, eventually, love often involves mutual respect. Evolutionarily, many mammals can become addicted to romantic love because the desire to fall in love is a good survival mechanism. It allows mammals to spend time and energy searching for a mate to ensure procreation of the species. However, any addictive feeling can lead to unhealthy cravings and compulsive behaviors.
What does it mean to be addicted to falling in love?
Love addiction is when you develop a sense of purpose by staying in the initial stages of falling in love. Therefore, your love never grows or changes with your relationship. Once you become addicted to falling in love, you can then develop a dependency. This dependency usually causes you to become dependent on your romantic partner. Your life can start revolving around your partner and you can develop a fear of being abandoned.
What are some things that can cause love addiction?
When you first fall in love, you release certain neurotransmitters and chemicals into your brain that triggers excitement and feelings of reward. The feeling is usually a good one, which means you might try find ways of getting more of that feeling. If you continuously feel the need to seek out methods of feeling this way, you can develop an addiction to this feeling. You might also start feeling the need to find new and risky ways of achieving this feeling. Additionally, if you had a caregiver as a child who did not show sufficient emotions for you, then you might be more likely to develop cravings for emotion and affection in response to these childhood experiences. This childhood neglect can cause you feel insecure, but constantly finding love can be an effective way of replacing these feelings of insecurity with more positive and pleasurable feelings. Therefore, you end up feeling incredibly rewarded by falling in love. This reward can lead to addictions and cravings for more love.
What are some common signs and symptoms of love addiction?
People who are addicted to love tend to exhibit a certain pattern of behaviors. Different people will display different behaviors, but common behaviors include constantly searching for a new partner, difficulty with spending time by yourself, regularly deciding to use sex to keep a partner from leaving you, ending up with abusive partners, gravitating towards emotionally unavailable partners, regularly avoiding social commitments for the sake of a romantic relationship, confusing sex with love, feelings of desperation when single, and difficulty leaving negative relationships.
How is it diagnosed?
Love addiction is not included in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V). Therefore, addiction to love is an official diagnosis. However, most experts agree that being addicted to love can be considered a disorder associated with compulsive behaviors and impulse control. If you or someone you know seems to exhibit behaviors that suggests a possible love addiction, then you can definitely reach out to a healthcare provider and plenty of resources will be available.
What are some problems with being addicted to love?
Since people addicted to love are afraid of abandonment, they usually gravitate towards partners who are also afraid of abandonment. However, most other people who fear abandonment are actually avoidant of affection and emotions, which is not good for love addicts because love addicts usually crave affection. Love addicts also tend to display risky sexual behaviors in order to prevent a partner from leaving them. When they do experience a breakup or divorce, love addicts can develop certain unhealthy habits, including other addictions to addictive substances and behaviors including unsafe sex, drugs, and alcohol. Some studies show men who are addicted to love sometimes also experience physical pain for no reason. Additionally, love addiction can have a negative impact on areas of your life unrelated to your relationship. You can become more hostile with friends and family and men are especially likely to act aggressively with friends and family who try to point out that you are exhibiting unhealthy relationship behaviors.
What type of treatments exist for love addiction?
Since love addiction is like other addiction, treatment will be similar. However, no formal inpatient or outpatient programs exist because love addiction is not currently a formal diagnoses. Still, you can seek out help from a healthcare provider. Therapies involving Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a popular approach. It involves understanding your problem and trying to find ways to engaging in healthier behaviors. Your therapist will also help you cope with triggers and cravings in a healthy manner. Family or couples therapy might also be a beneficial way to deal with certain issues that may have come up due to your addiction.
Many people find excitement in falling in love at the beginning of relationship and many people often have trouble maintaining healthy and stable relationships. However, if you feel you are engaging in problematic relationship behaviors frequently, then there is a chance that you might be addicted to falling in love. This addiction can lead to many issues in your life and in your relationships, so you definitely want to consider finding ways to engage in healthier behaviors. You can always seek out assistance from a therapist who can help you to better recognize and manage your risky behaviors.