Love Addiction: A Guide to Understanding and Recovering from Codependent Relationships
Relationship Cycles for Love Addicts
Do you find yourself falling in love easily and intensely? Do you feel anxious and insecure when your partner is not around? Do you obsess over every detail of your relationship and neglect your own needs? Do you sabotage your relationship and end up feeling devastated?
Relationship Cycles for Love Addicts
If you answered yes to these questions, you might be suffering from love addiction. Love addiction is a condition that makes you addicted to the feeling of being in love. It causes you to repeat unhealthy relationship patterns that bring you pain and misery.
In this article, we will explain what love addiction is, what are the relationship cycles for love addicts, what causes love addiction, and how to break free from it. By understanding your patterns and taking steps to heal yourself, you can overcome love addiction and find true happiness.
What is Love Addiction?
Love addiction is a type of behavioral addiction that involves an obsessive and compulsive attachment to another person. It is not the same as healthy love, which is based on mutual respect, trust, and intimacy. Love addiction is based on fantasy, projection, and idealization.
People who suffer from love addiction often have the following symptoms:
They fall in love quickly and intensely, without knowing the other person well.
They have unrealistic expectations of their partner and the relationship.
They depend on their partner for their happiness and self-worth.
They feel anxious and insecure when their partner is not around or shows signs of disinterest.
They become obsessed with their partner and lose themselves in the relationship.
They ignore or tolerate red flags, such as abuse, neglect, or infidelity.
They sabotage their relationship by creating drama, picking fights, or cheating.
They suffer from withdrawal symptoms when the relationship ends, such as depression, anxiety, or insomnia.
They repeat the same cycle with different partners.
What are the Relationship Cycles for Love Addicts?
Love addicts tend to go through four phases in their relationships: attraction, anxiety, obsession, and destruction. These phases are similar to the stages of drug addiction: intoxication, withdrawal, craving, and relapse. Let's look at each phase in more detail.
This is the phase where love addicts fall in love quickly and intensely. They experience a rush of dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and other chemicals in their brain that make them feel euphoric, excited, and connected. They believe they have found their soulmate and their perfect match.
During this phase, love addicts tend to idealize their partner and the relationship. They focus on the positive aspects and ignore the negative ones. They project their fantasies and desires onto their partner and assume they share the same values, goals, and interests. They overlook any incompatibilities or warning signs that might indicate trouble ahead.
This is the phase where love addicts start to feel insecure and fearful in the relationship. They experience a drop in dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and other chemicals in their brain that make them feel anxious, depressed, and restless. They worry that their partner might leave them or lose interest in them.
During this phase, love addicts tend to cling to their partner and the relationship. They seek constant reassurance and validation from their partner. They become jealous, possessive, and controlling. They try to manipulate their partner into staying with them by using guilt, threats, or ultimatums. They also start to lose their sense of self and identity. They neglect their own needs, hobbies, friends, and family.
This is the phase where love addicts become obsessed with their partner and the relationship. They experience a surge of norepinephrine, adrenaline, cortisol, and other chemicals in their brain that make them feel alert, focused, and energized. They think about their partner all the time and can't concentrate on anything else.
During this phase, love addicts tend to isolate themselves from others and the world. They spend all their time and energy on their partner and the relationship. They monitor their partner's every move and communication. They check their phone, email, social media, etc. constantly. They also start to lose touch with reality. They rationalize or deny any problems or conflicts in the relationship. They believe that their partner is the only one who can make them happy.
This is the phase where love addicts sabotage the relationship and suffer from withdrawal. They experience a depletion of dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, norepinephrine, adrenaline, cortisol, and other chemicals in their brain that make them feel miserable, hopeless, and empty. They realize that their partner is not who they thought they were and that the relationship is not working.
During this phase, love addicts tend to end or ruin the relationship by creating drama, picking fights, or cheating. They may also be dumped or betrayed by their partner who can no longer tolerate their behavior. They feel devastated and abandoned by their partner. They suffer from withdrawal symptoms such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, etc. They may also engage in self-harm or substance abuse to cope with the pain.
What Causes Love Addiction?
Love addiction is not caused by one single factor but by a combination of psychological and biological factors. Some of the most common factors are:
Attachment styles are patterns of relating to others that we develop in early childhood based on our interactions with our primary caregivers. There are four main attachment styles: secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant, and fearful-avoidant.
People who suffer from love addiction often have an anxious-preoccupied attachment style. This means they have a negative view of themselves and a positive view of others. They crave closeness and intimacy but fear rejection and abandonment. They tend to be needy, clingy, and dependent on their partners for validation and approval.
Brain chemistry is the balance of neurotransmitters and hormones in our brain that affect our mood, behavior, and cognition. When we fall in love or experience pleasure, our brain releases dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, endorphins, etc. that make us feel good.
People who suffer from love addiction often have a dysregulated brain chemistry. This means they have low levels of these chemicals in their brain normally and rely on external sources to stimulate them. They use love as a drug to boost their mood and self-esteem. However, this also makes them more prone to addiction tolerance and withdrawal.
Self-esteem is the degree of confidence and respect we have for ourselves. It is influenced by our beliefs, values, experiences, etc. It affects how we think, feel, and act in various situations.
this also makes them more dependent and insecure in their relationships. They fear losing their partner and their source of happiness.
How to Break Free from Love Addiction?
Love addiction is a serious condition that can affect your physical, mental, and emotional health. It can also prevent you from having healthy and fulfilling relationships. However, it is not impossible to overcome love addiction. You can break free from it by following these steps:
Recognize Your Patterns
The first step to recover from love addiction is to recognize your patterns and triggers. You need to be honest with yourself and admit that you have a problem. You need to identify the signs and symptoms of love addiction in yourself and in your relationships. You also need to understand the underlying causes and motivations behind your behavior.
Some questions you can ask yourself are:
How do I feel when I'm in love? How do I feel when I'm not in love?
How do I choose my partners? What qualities do I look for in them?
How do I behave in my relationships? What do I expect from my partners?
How do I cope with stress, boredom, loneliness, etc.?
What are the triggers that make me fall in love or out of love?
What are the consequences of my love addiction on my health, career, finances, etc.?
Seek Professional Help
The second step to recover from love addiction is to seek professional help. You need to find a therapist or a support group that can help you deal with your issues and guide you through the recovery process. You need to be open and willing to change your behavior and mindset.
Some of the benefits of seeking professional help are:
You can get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan for your condition.
You can learn more about love addiction and how it affects you and others.
You can gain insight into your patterns and triggers and how to break them.
You can develop coping skills and strategies to manage your emotions and impulses.
You can get support and feedback from others who understand what you're going through.
The third step to recover from love addiction is to practice self-care. You need to take care of your physical, mental, and emotional health. You need to nurture yourself and your well-being. You need to love yourself before you can love others.
Some of the ways you can practice self-care are:
Eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water.
Exercise regularly and get enough sleep.
Avoid alcohol, drugs, caffeine, nicotine, etc.
Meditate, relax, breathe deeply, etc.
Pursue your hobbies, interests, passions, etc.
Spend time with your friends, family, pets, etc.
Acknowledge your strengths, achievements, qualities, etc.
Affirm yourself positively and compassionately.
Develop Healthy Relationships
The fourth step to recover from love addiction is to develop healthy relationships. You need to establish boundaries, communicate effectively, and trust yourself. You need to respect yourself and others. You need to find balance and harmony in your relationships.
Some of the tips for developing healthy relationships are:
Choose your partners wisely. Look for compatibility, not chemistry.
Take it slow. Don't rush into commitment or intimacy.
Be yourself. Don't pretend or change for anyone.
Be honest. Don't lie or hide anything from your partner.
Be respectful. Don't judge or criticize your partner.
Be supportive. Don't manipulate or control your partner.
Be independent. Don't depend on your partner for everything.
Be flexible. Don't expect perfection or certainty from your partner.
Love addiction is a condition that makes you addicted to the feeling of being in love. It causes you to repeat unhealthy relationship patterns that bring you pain and misery. It is caused by a combination of psychological and biological factors that affect your attachment style, brain chemistry, and self-esteem.
However, you can break free from love addiction by recognizing your patterns, seeking professional help, practicing self-care, and developing healthy relationships. By doing so, you can overcome your addiction and find true happiness.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions about love addiction:
What is the difference between love addiction and codependency?
Love addiction and codependency are related but not identical concepts. Love addiction is a type of behavioral addiction that involves an obsessive and compulsive attachment to another person. Codependency is a type of dysfunctional relationship that involves an excessive reliance on another person for emotional, physical, or psychological needs. Love addicts are usually codependent, but not all codependents are love addicts.
How common is love addiction?
There is no definitive answer to how common love addiction is, as it is not a formally recognized disorder in the DSM-5 or the ICD-10. However, some studies estimate that about 5% to 10% of the population may suffer from love addiction to some degree.
Is love addiction curable?
Love addiction is not a disease that can be cured with a pill or a surgery. It is a condition that can be managed and overcome with therapy, support, and self-help. Love addiction can be treated as a chronic condition that requires ongoing maintenance and care.
Can love addicts have healthy relationships?
Yes, love addicts can have healthy relationships if they work on their issues and recover from their addiction. They can learn to love themselves and others in a healthy and balanced way. They can find partners who are compatible, respectful, and supportive. They can enjoy intimacy, trust, and happiness in their relationships.
Where can I find more resources on love addiction?
There are many resources available online and offline for people who struggle with love addiction. Some of them are:
The Love Addicts Anonymous (LAA) website: https://loveaddicts.org/
The Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) website: https://slaafws.org/
The book Facing Love Addiction by Pia Mellody: https://www.amazon.com/Facing-Love-Addiction-Giving-Yourself/dp/0062506048
The book The Betrayal Bond by Patrick Carnes: https://www.amazon.com/Betrayal-Bond-Breaking-Exploitive-Relationships/dp/1558745262
The book Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller: https://www.amazon.com/Attached-Science-Adult-Attachment-YouFind/dp/1585429139