Is Love Addiction a Thing?

It might be said that we are all addicted to love in that we all need it. We require attachment to survive.  We crave social connection, especially romantic connection. We want it, seek it, and feel like a failure without it. When we are in love, we feel an overwhelmingly strong attraction to another person. It can be thrilling, but also frightening, and perhaps even deadly.

There is sufficient evidence to support the claim that love can be an addiction, similar to substance abuse addiction. A short definition of addiction is the inability to stop once started, and ongoing use despite negative consequences. Love relationships that are difficult to end, although there are obvious harmful effects, can be said to have addictive traits. Pathological love can be seen as a pattern of excessive interest towards romantic partners, resulting in a lack of control, loss of other interests, poor functioning, and other negative outcomes. 

Where does it come from? Some people believe love addiction is an impulse-control disorder, a mood disorder, an obsessive-compulsive disorder, or an attachment disorder, such as having a history of abandonment from primary caregivers.

Love addiction comes in many forms as described at

Co-Dependent love addicts live in fear that their partner will leave them, and do anything they can to try and prevent it from happening.

Obsessed love addicts cannot let go of their partner, even if their relationship is highly toxic.

Narcissistic love addicts attempt to exert complete control over their partner, through dominance, seduction, violence or other means.

Relationship addicts have separated from their partner but feel unable to live without them.

Ambivalent love addicts desperately crave love but are terrified of intimacy. They often sabotage relationships, make themselves sexually unavailable, or obsess over someone who is unavailable.

Romance addicts often have multiple partners but move on once the initial ‘flame’ has died down.

Love Addicts Anonymous (LAA) defines recovery as a state in which you are able to love yourself as much as you love others. Romantic love enhances your life but does not determine your self-worth. Healthy love is one in which you seek love and compatibility with someone who can reciprocate.

If you find that your love relationship is clearly harmful and needs to dissolve, but you are unable to end it, help is advised. 

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