Love addiction definition

What Is Love Addiction? | Psychology Today

Love is in the air; we are only a few days away from Valentine’s Day. I love this time of the year. In fact, I love love. And I love seeing people in love. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if intense romantic love lasted forever? But what if such a desire for love becomes excessive in some people? Could love become an addiction? In a paper, published in the January-March 2019 issue of European Journal of Psychiatry, researchers Sanches and John discuss love addiction and its treatment.1

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What is love addiction?

Love addiction (also known as pathological love) refers to a “pattern of behavior characterized by a maladaptive, pervasive and excessive interest towards one or more romantic partners, resulting in lack of control, the renounce of other interests and behavior, and other negative consequences” (p. 39). 1 In love addiction, immature love—love that is uncertain, external, blind, and beyond one’s control—permeates one’s life. 2

Prevalence of pathological love is 3-10%, but likely higher in certain populations (e.g., 25% in college students).1,2

Pathological love must be distinguished from other conditions, such as dependent personality disorder or borderline personality disorder; in these disorders, the pattern of dysfunctional behavior is not limited to romantic love.

Love addiction also differs from psychotic disorders, sex addiction, and erotomania—a delusional disorder characterized by the assumption that another (usually high-status) person is in love with the individual.1

What kind of disorder is love addiction?

There is no consensus on the diagnostic criteria for love addiction, nor agreements on what kind of disorder it is.

For instance, pathological love may be an impulse-control disorder—characterized by impulsivity and novelty-seeking.

Others believe pathological love is a mood disorder. Presumably, people with love addiction experience mood states (e. g., hypomania and elation) similar to those who are falling in love or are in the early stages of intense romantic love.

Another possibility is that love addiction belongs to the obsessive-compulsive spectrum; like people with obsessions, those with love addiction might experience repetitive and intrusive thoughts—except that their obsessions will be related to the person they love and not, say, health or cleanliness concerns.

Other researchers have proposed love addiction might be best understood as a biaxial continuum—with the vertical axis representing attachment-related behaviors, and the horizontal axis indicating reward-seeking and impulsivity. For instance, in some individuals, high impulsivity and reward-seeking behavior would co-occur with high levels of attachment behavior, resulting in obsessive or dependent kind of love; in others, high reward-seeking and impulsivity would co-occur with attachment deficits, resulting in high sexual interest and having multiple sex partners.

Due to the compulsive nature of love addiction, some have wondered: Could pathological love be an addiction? Obviously some researchers believe it is—hence the name, love addiction. Nevertheless, addictions appear to be very different from preoccupation with love: They involve ingestion of a chemical substance, craving, tolerance, withdrawal, desire to stop using but not being able to, and impairment in daily functioning.

If pathological love is an addiction, then it must be a behavioral addiction. Behavioral addictions (like gambling addiction) do not require the consumption of a psychoactive substance, but they share other characteristics with substance addictions. For instance, like a person in early stages of drug use, people addicted to love might at first experience intense pleasure, satisfaction, and euphoria. Then they become preoccupied with these experiences, showing signs of dependence like “increased amounts of the behavior to achieve the desired emotional effect”—in this case, “increased time spent love-seeking.2

Other signs of addiction to love would include “urges to continue engaging in the behavior despite trying to stop,” such as feeling alone and desperate when no longer in a relationship; and “persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control the behavior,” such as deciding to never fall in love again, yet replacing “ended relationships immediately.”2

Source: Mediamodifier/Pixabay (modifications: Arash Emamzadeh)

Treatment for pathological love

In their review, John and Sanches found few research studies on treating love addiction—none on pharmacological treatments, and only one on psychotherapeutic approaches.1

Use of self-help groups (e.g., “Women Who Love Too Much”) was the most common psychosocial intervention.

A study that examined psychodrama group therapy found it effective in encouraging healthier relationships. However, the study did not use a control group, so further research is needed.

Other forms of therapy likely to be helpful in treating pathological love are cognitive-behavioral therapy (through challenging distorted thoughts about love) and psychodynamic therapy (by addressing attachment difficulties).

Given the similarities between pathological love and disorders reviewed earlier—obsessive-compulsive disorder, impulse-control disorders, and mood disorders—John and Sanches believe pharmacological treatments (e.g., antidepressants, mood stabilizers) might prove beneficial in treating specific symptoms of pathological love, such as obsessions or mood instability.

Concluding thoughts on love addiction

There now appears to be “abundant behavioral, neurochemical, and neuroimaging evidence to support the claim that love is [or could be] an addiction, in much the same way that chronic drug-seeking behavior can ... signal an addiction.”3

As we have seen, love addiction (or pathological love) may be a behavioral addiction characterized by attempts to regain extremely pleasurable feelings associated with the state of being deeply in love. Addiction to love has been linked with reckless behavior and negative outcomes affecting one’s daily life (e.g., work difficulties). 2

Psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy may be helpful in treating certain symptoms of this condition, though research on treatments is limited.

Like other addictions, love addiction is associated with pleasure but also suffering. The authors end their review by capturing the pleasure and pain of addiction to love by paraphrasing Shakespeare thus: “If you love and get hurt, love more; if you love more and hurt more, love even more; if you love even more and get hurt even more, love some more until it hurts no more.”1

What It Really Means and How to Handle It

Being in love can bring on a rollercoaster of powerful, sometimes even overwhelming, emotions. The rush of excitement, joy, and other positive feelings love can spark may, for some people, kindle the desire to chase after that experience again and again.

Sometimes, this is referred to as a “love addiction.”

But this so-called “addiction” to love merely refers to a set of behaviors, according to licensed clinical psychologist and psychologist Anthony DeMaria, PhD.

There’s no clinical diagnosis of love addiction, DeMaria goes on to explain. This term usually refers to a preoccupation with the feeling of being in love, which might lead someone to seek out love in a way that causes unwanted consequences.

What’s wrong with calling this an addiction? Using “addiction” to describe this pattern is problematic for several reasons, explains Emily Simonian, a licensed marriage and family therapist with Thriveworks.

For one, addiction remains stigmatized in society as a whole. Not only that, but substance use disorders can be serious — even life-threatening. Overusing or inappropriately using the word “addiction” can erode the weight and meaning of a true addiction.

As such, Simonian suggests “emotional reliance” as a less problematic and more accurate way of describing it.

With all that in mind, read on to learn what exactly a reliance or fixation on love might entail, and what steps experts recommend for overcoming it.

Experts do recognize that certain patterns of behavior can become problematic, even addictive. To date, the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5)” recognizes gambling disorder and internet gaming disorder as behavioral addictions.

Yet since love addiction isn’t an official diagnosis, you won’t find it in the DSM-5. Experts also haven’t established any official criteria or symptoms that characterize this behavior pattern.

That said, a few key patterns in your relationship behavior might invite some deeper exploration. If you’ve noticed any of the signs below, it may be worth connecting with a mental health professional for support.

Intrusive thoughts

It’s typical to find your mind preoccupied with a love interest during the “honeymoon phase,” when you’re first falling for someone, explains Omar Ruiz, licensed therapist and founder of TalkThinkThrive.

But if pervasive thoughts about a particular person, or the idea of love in general, start to negatively affect your job, schoolwork, sleep, or any other areas of your life, that may pose some cause for concern.

Separation anxiety

Missing a partner is very common. But if you feel unbearable distress when they’re not around, Ruiz says that may signal what some call love addiction — an unhealthy fixation, in other words.

You may even find yourself avoiding circumstances that would separate you from your love interest, says Gail Saltz, MD, a psychiatrist and clinical associate professor of psychiatry at The NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

For example, you might:

  • skip work
  • ditch school
  • cancel plans with friends
  • avoid following through on family commitments

Serial monogamy

Do you move from relationship to relationship, not out of fear of being alone, but from an overwhelming or insatiable desire to feel loved? DeMaria says that may point to an unhealthy preoccupation.

Using love as a tool for avoidance

Maybe you find yourself spending a lot of time with the person you love, and you focus on thoughts of them when you can’t be together to avoid painful or unwanted thoughts and feelings.

Thinking about a love object as a way of avoiding negative emotions can be a red flag, Ruiz says.

Staying with someone, even when it’s unhealthy

Even when a relationship becomes potentially toxic or beyond repair, you may make frantic efforts to maintain it, DeMaria says. But these attempts to keep the relationship alive may prove self-defeating.

Not every relationship will work out, of course, and sometimes moving on is the best option for you and your continued well-being.

Only getting enjoyment out of love or a relationship

Do you mostly only feel positive emotions when in love or with a significant other? That could suggest an unhealthy behavior pattern, Simonian says.

Maybe you find yourself:

  • no longer enjoying hobbies or activities that used to excite you
  • centering on your partner or relationship as a reason to live
  • grappling with feelings of hopelessness when you aren’t with your partner

Although experts agree across the board that you can’t actually become addicted to relationships, or love in general, many relationship and post-breakup patterns can certainly resemble addiction.

This has a lot to do with your brain chemistry.

For instance, Saltz says you may become determined to get back together with an ex to re-experience those pleasurable feelings associated with love. This shares some similarities with the cravings experienced by people living with substance use disorders.

Research from 2016 suggested feelings of intense romantic love activate regions of the brain’s “reward system” — the same regions engaged with substance use disorders.

Since romantic love activates this system, people in love may experience many of the same behaviors associated with substance use disorders, including cravings and withdrawal.

But it’s essential to keep one important distinction in mind: A 2017 study suggested this effect on the brain lasts much longer in response to substance use than it does in response to love.

Addictive substances, including alcohol, nicotine, and many recreational drugs, trigger the release of a feel-good brain chemical called dopamine, and evidence suggests love can do the same.

Basically, dopamine tells your brain, “This feels great! Let’s do it again!” Saltz says.

Simonian explains the “love addiction” can leave someone unable to focus on anything except being with their partner and the accompanying romantic feelings, which disrupts day-to-day functioning.

“This interruption of functioning is what makes this behavior like an addiction,” Simonian says.

According to a 2021 study, certain stages of romantic love can cause an experience that resembles withdrawal.

Saltz notes that a breakup, in particular, may cause some of the same symptoms involved in withdrawal, including:

  • anxiety
  • trouble sleeping
  • changes in appetite
  • a low mood and feelings of depression

But again, since love “addiction” doesn’t represent an actual addiction, these symptoms can’t be compared to the experience of true withdrawal from a substance you physically depend on.

“The abrupt change in routine and loss of receiving affection, paired with decreased levels of dopamine in the brain, might feel like withdrawal,” Simonian says. “However, withdrawal from discontinuing drug or alcohol use can cause serious physical symptoms that don’t line up with the emotional intensity of a breakup.”

These withdrawal-like symptoms are usually rooted in grief, DeMaria says, since the end of a relationship can feel like a devastating loss.

Get tips to cope with a breakup here.

According to Simonian, a fixation or reliance on romantic relationships can often happen as a symptom of other concerns, like:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • low self-esteem
  • childhood trauma

According to Saltz, this preoccupation often stems from attachment issues. These potentially self-destructive patterns can develop as a result of how you were treated in the past, especially by caregivers.

“Past relationships, particularly ones formed during childhood, tend to set a template for your attachment patterns with others,” DeMaria explains. “People often attempt to replicate or resolve issues stemming from their early attachment patterns in their current relationships. This can lead to repeating painful emotional experiences in relationships that feel ‘familiar.’”

According to attachment theory, four main types of attachment describe how you view relationships and behave within them.

Anxious-insecure attachment, which seems to stem from inconsistent attention from caregivers, often involves:

  • strong cravings for intimacy
  • an overdependence on relationships
  • frequent relationship insecurity or anxiety
  • a fear of abandonment

Some of these tendencies may resemble an “addiction,” so to speak, because they lead you to fixate on someone else as a means of avoiding anxiety and other unwanted emotions.

Since one of the hallmarks of this fixation is persistent, even all-consuming thoughts of love and relationships, Simonian advises finding other interests that you can focus your energy on.

That could mean any number of possibilities, of course. Ideally, you’ll want to opt for activities that mentally engage you and help promote a sense of self-worth.

You can also try engaging in activities that increase those same “happy hormones” as love, including:

  • exercising
  • listening to music
  • getting a massage
  • watching a movie that makes you laugh

“It’s also helpful to find ways to self-soothe so you aren’t relying on others for your sense of emotional well-being,” Simonian says.

She suggests a few examples of self-soothing coping skills, including:

  • meditation
  • journaling
  • breathing exercises

Find more self-soothing techniques here.

If pursuing or maintaining relationships is disrupting your happiness, health, or ability to complete day-to-day responsibilities, Saltz recommends reaching out to a mental health professional.

How can therapy help?

According to DeMaria, a therapist can offer support with:

  • uncovering the underlying cause of your preoccupation with love
  • finding new ways to practice self-love and self-care
  • addressing unhelpful and unwanted behavior patterns
  • building up self-esteem, which can promote a healthier approach to future relationships

Your therapist might recommend different strategies or techniques, depending on what they determine lies behind these relationship behavior patterns.

That said, Saltz notes they might commonly use therapy approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).

CBT can help address persistent thought patterns driving compulsive behaviors, while DBT can help you learn new strategies for managing and coping with emotional distress instantly and more effectively regulating emotions in the future.

While you can’t actually be “addicted” to love, you can certainly become emotionally dependent on romantic relationships so much that it negatively affects your well-being.

If your preoccupation with pursuing or being in love starts to challenge your ability to work, maintain relationships with friends and family, or take care of yourself physically, a good next step involves connecting with a therapist.

A therapist can offer compassionate guidance with identifying the cause of these thought patterns and behaviors and developing helpful coping strategies.

Rebecca Strong is a Boston-based freelance writer covering health and wellness, fitness, food, lifestyle, and beauty. Her work has also appeared in Insider, Bustle, StyleCaster, Eat This Not That, AskMen, and Elite Daily.

Love addiction destroys personality - News - IQ Research and Education Portal - National Research University Higher School of Economics

Love addiction can be as dangerous as alcohol or drugs. A person in a dependent relationship makes up for a state of internal deficiency, but at the same time gradually brings himself to exhaustion. In many ways, love addiction can be attributed to a type of clinical disorder, getting rid of which requires professional psychological help, a graduate of the master's program of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Higher School of Economics found out in the course of a study Svetlana Skvortsova and Associate Professor of the Department of Personality Psychology, National Research University Higher School of Economics Vladimir Shumsky .

The phenomenon of dependent relationships in life is quite common. But in psychological research, the problem of addiction in close interpersonal relationships is practically not given attention, unlike alcohol, nicotine or drug addiction, write Svetlana Skvortsova and Vladimir Shumsky in an article published in the scientific journal of the International Society for Existential Analysis and Logotherapy (GLE -International) "Existential Analysis" (Existenznalyse).

In the course of the study, the authors developed a structural model of the dependence phenomenon in close interpersonal relationships between a man and a woman. It contains both general components that are present in all cases of addiction - for example, loss of freedom, narrowing of the horizon of values, an impersonal attitude towards a partner, and special ones that manifest themselves in different cases depending on the type of deficit experienced by a person in such a relationship. This is a lack of a sense of support, a sense of life or self-worth and self-respect.

The results showed that gender does not determine the nature of love addiction. Both men and women describe the same symptoms of its manifestation. The empirical basis of the study was the data of a series of in-depth interviews, which were processed through phenomenological analysis according to the method of A. Giorgi.

When boundaries are lost

Close interpersonal relationships always involve a certain degree of connection with a loved one, and hence dependence, the authors note. In relationships, partners correlate with each other's emotional state and adapt to the lifestyle, habits and tastes of a loved one. But adaptation is natural as long as a person remains himself, as long as everyone has their own personal space and opportunities for self-realization. “In fact, a person has to learn for a very long time how to become part of the “We” without destroying himself. First you learn to love yourself, then a person who is similar to you, and only after that do you have the courage to love someone who is different, the desire to be vulnerable, the desire to fight to be yourself and at the same time together with another, ”the authors quote the famous family psychotherapist K. Whitaker.

In the course of the study, a theoretical review of approaches to dependent relationships in different schools of psychology - psychoanalysis, gestalt psychology and transactional analysis was carried out. In these schools, the following characteristic signs of dependence in close interpersonal relationships are distinguished:

  • confusion and dissolution of personal boundaries;
  • loss of access to self;
  • the impossibility of equal partnerships (depending on one of the partners is dominant, the other is subordinate).

Skvortsova and Shumsky also point to the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-V Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It contains the diagnostic category "Dependent Personality Disorder", according to which the main characteristic of a dependent person is increased anxiety due to the inability to rely on oneself and independently cope with life's demands and challenges. This description, according to the authors, is in good agreement with the characteristic signs of relationship dependence identified in different areas of psychology. However, the need for support and care, as Skvortsova and Shumsky note, is not sufficient and not the only aspect that can be used to characterize dependent relationships, which was confirmed by the analysis of in-depth interviews.

The value is not in the partner, but in the relationship

The process by which researchers select respondents for interviews demonstrates how, in practice, one can distinguish dependent relationships from relationships that cannot be called dependent. Initially, 25 people took part in the screening study. These are men and women aged 24 to 40 who consider themselves dependent. However, for the final in-depth interviews, 10 respondents were selected from this number who are actually in dependent relationships. These are 6 women and 4 men, unmarried and in close relationships with members of the opposite sex from 1.5 to 7 years.

The criterion for differentiating "healthy" and "pathological" dependence, as the authors note, turned out to be quite simple: the presence of an internal consent or decision to be in a relationship. Falling in love and mutual love are accompanied by an experience of inner harmony. With unrequited or unrequited love, in most cases there is no sense of inner harmony, but there is a person’s decision to remain in this relationship. In the case of dependency, there is no internal agreement and no solution. The screening study showed that the criterion of the absence of a decision and internal consent to be in a relationship in relation to relationship dependence can be revealed as a specific ambivalence: “I feel that something is wrong in this relationship, something does not correspond to me, does not satisfy me , something goes wrong. I don't want to continue this relationship. But still, despite this, I can not resist my impulse to stay in them and I hope that they can still give me what I lack so much.

In such words, as the authors note, one can see the narrowing of the horizon of values, when the whole life of a person is concentrated around relationships, and everything else is perceived as an application. In addition, in the course of the analysis, it became clear that dependent relationships are impersonal in nature - we are talking, first of all, about relationships, and not about the partner with whom the dependent is in this relationship. The partner in itself loses value, what is valuable is what he can give, what deficits to compensate.

You can't go back

Narrowing the horizon of values ​​and an impersonal attitude towards a partner are just two of several factors that characterize addiction, which the authors identified in the list of common components. Other components are associated with the loss of freedom (a person does not determine his own behavior, he feels his own insignificance before being attracted to a partner) and the lack of meaning (when without relationships there is no meaning to life, but relationships, from the point of view of the future, are perceived as meaningless).

Dependent relationships are also a kind of "circle". The addict suffers when in a relationship, because, as a rule, he feels disrespect, injustice or even humiliation towards himself from the partner. But after a breakup, suffering intensifies, and a person is forced to once again renew relations. And this, to a certain extent, as the authors note, is akin to futile attempts to get rid of alcohol addiction.

Among other things, dependent relationships are also characterized by "emotional swings" - a sharp transition from euphoria to despair, from a feeling of being indispensable and chosen to a feeling of worthlessness and abandonment. This is a kind of "burning in the flame of feelings," the authors note. After the complete cessation of a relationship with a partner, it usually takes several years for the addict to “come to his senses”, recover from the circle of suffering and the emotional exhaustion caused by it.

One of the more interesting common components of addiction that the authors have identified in their analysis is spiritual experiences with peaks that are difficult to describe. These are the feelings that an addicted person experiences during those short periods when “everything is fine” in a relationship with a partner. Respondents in interviews give them a mystical coloring: “the unearthly bliss of dissolving in something greater”, “we seem to take off and go somewhere transcendent”. Or: “as if the doors to another dimension of being are opening”, “as if the truth about life is being revealed”, “it feels like now I can die in peace”, “this experience makes my whole life meaningful”.

“We believe that it is precisely these peak spiritual experiences that represent the value that an addicted person strives for in a relationship with a partner. The hope of experiencing these experiences again is probably what helps him endure the debilitating vicious cycle of suffering in a dependent relationship, the researchers explain. “In healthy interpersonal relationships, such peak experiences are associated mainly with the period of falling in love, and in stable relationships, experiences usually decrease in severity, but become deeper.”

Support, sense of life and self-worth

In addition to the general components of addiction, researchers have identified variant components that characterize what kind of deficit the addict fills in relations with a partner. Deficiency refers to the internal “voids” that the addict feels cannot be filled by himself, but must be compensated from the outside, by another person.

The results obtained are based on the theory of fundamental existential motivations (FM) by Alfried Lenglet. The typology of dependence is related to the deficiency of which of the motivations the dependent partner makes up for. It may be a lack of support, a sense of life, or self-respect and self-worth. The lack of meaning (4th FM) is present in all cases of addiction.

Respondents' words, indicating the presence of scarce states, look, for example, as follows:

  • lack of support - “After a quarrel with her, I had the feeling that if a strong wind blows, I will fall and will not get up again”;
  • lack of a sense of life - “It was enough for me to hear his voice on the phone for everything to change in me. I had energy. I seemed to be filled with blood and life”;
  • lack of self-worth - "I begin to represent something of myself only when he appreciates me. "

Table 1. Structural model of addiction in close interpersonal relationships

Source: article by Skvortsova and Shumsky in Existenzanalyze

because relationship addiction is akin to drug or alcohol addiction as described in the DSM-V Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

A way out of dependent relationships is possible, however, as Shumsky notes, qualified help from a psychologist or psychotherapist is needed, otherwise a person may get into other relationships that will also be dependent.

The results of the study, according to the authors, can help to make more accurate and effective work of a psychologist with clients who are in dependent relationships and set to get out of them.

See also:

The pursuit of success leads to burnout
The femme fatale phenomenon compensates for the disadvantages of feminism
Being in a crowd increases the risk of suicide
Residents of megacities consciously choose loneliness

Text author: Selina Marina Vladimirovna, January 30, 2015

All materials of the author

Psychology gender studies valuables

Love addiction - Psychologos

January 01, 2005, 19:04

Article in progress

Love addiction is a strong passion, dependence on a person. Love addiction is not a type of love. It is one of the types of codependence, the same as addiction to drugs, alcohol, virtual fortune-telling or slot machines.

Despite this, many people mistake addiction for love. And they sincerely believe that pain is a property of love, although in fact it is a property of dependence. Actually, this is one of the main difficulties in the treatment of love addiction: as long as a person perceives his mental pain as a manifestation of his love, he does not want to get rid of it. Because true love is worth suffering!

There are several forms of love addiction.

  • Loss of one's own individuality and the desire to maintain affection through the replacement of one's psychological territory with the territory of a partner. Often, the codependent gives up friends, interests, goals, and begins to live the life of a significant Other. "I `m nothing without you". The partner is placed in the position of the Parent, the co-dependent - in the role of the Child at an early stage of life, when he is completely dependent on the mother. "I am a part of you." Here masochistic tendencies can be realized.
  • Capturing the partner's individuality and his personal boundaries, his psychological territory. The Co-Dependent himself takes the position of the Parent and from this behavior is born, characterized by over-control. An example of such an addiction would be obsessive jealousy. The partner is not recognized the right to self-determination and personal choices. The codependent seeks to maintain attachment through the desire to realize the "ideal care", to become indispensable.
  • Aggressive destruction of partner's psychological territory . "You are just a part of me." Sadistic tendencies can be realized here. Through the destruction and total suppression of the partner's individuality, the codependent seeks to fill the emptiness of his Ego, to extend his boundaries beyond himself.

Co-dependent people have difficulty admitting that they are addicted and often prefer to hold on to their ideas of what love is. And they have it is equal to suffering.

We cling to these old feelings, even if they bring us suffering, in the same way that alcohol and drug addicts cling to drugs, realizing that they are destroying themselves. even if at the level of logic we realized that we should not try to return a partner, that these relationships do not bring happiness, this is not enough. Because at the emotional level, we still want to return to the previous relationship, despite the fact that the behavior of the partner clearly does not speak of respect and love for us. Thus, there is a bifurcation of a person: “I understand everything with my mind, but I can’t do anything with myself.”

Why can't I? Because I do not know how to control my feelings, I do not know how to control myself. More than once we have heard: "Trust your heart, it will not deceive you." But in fact, feelings are deceptive (read about this in the article Drunken Commander, or Where Feelings Lead Us). By the way, psychological dependence is more difficult for women, in particular, because women are more than men, subject to the influence of feelings, more inclined to surrender to them completely.

In addition, the former feelings for a partner who has left us are significantly reinforced by various kinds of fears. It would be more accurate to say that fears and overwhelming feelings mutually reinforce each other, this is a vicious circle. Fear of the future, fear of change, fear of loneliness, fear of the unknown and uncertainty...

Fears, including the fear of reality, are a type of obsessive thoughts. They prevent us from living and being happy. Therefore, it is important for us to separate ourselves from these thoughts, to realize that these fears, these reasonings are not mine. They come from outside, and we do not need to accept them at all. On the contrary, they must be fought. Read about this in the article Psychological and spiritual methods of overcoming obsessive thoughts.

Learn to constantly control feelings with the mind. Do not allow emotions to return to the former unhealthy and extremely biased attitude towards the situation, and when emotions are “attacked” by reason, return oneself to an already formed (see paragraphs 1 and 2) sober view of the state of affairs. To do this, it is necessary to fight obsessive thoughts, and often you will have to literally forcefully switch your attention to something more pleasant and “correct” (this is individual).

A very good means of controlling emotions by reason is a “conversation” between a rational person and a sensual person (meaning two people living in each of us). The intelligent asks questions to the sensible, which tries to answer. It may come as a surprise to us that there will most likely be nothing to answer - thus, an emotional person himself will be forced to admit defeat, that is, reason will prevail over emotions, and this is what we are trying to achieve.

Example: Why do I think that my departed spouse will return to me? Is there any logical justification for this? Answer: NO. Then why do I count on it and think about it 90% of the time? You can also keep a similar diary, write down your thoughts inspired by emotions in it, and consider them with a logical look.

Psychologist Mikhail Kamelev

Love is wonderful. But often they take a completely different feeling for her - love addiction. Unfortunately, it is just as common as, for example, alcohol. Only they don’t call for treatment from her, but compose songs about her and powder the brains of viewers of television talk shows. First, let's define the main difference between love and love addiction. Love does not paralyze a person's life, it is joy. This is the main symptom. Is there a loved one nearby or did he fly away to Antarctica for two years - he exists in the world, and that's already great. Love does not interfere with making a career and enjoying life. When a person loves, he becomes prettier, slimmer, younger, his hair curls, his eyes burn. He, of course, longs to see his beloved next to him. But he never ceases to want something else in life. Which is just typical for love addiction, when white light converges on the beloved / beloved: “I can’t live without him / her, I can’t do anything. In fact, this is the same as alcohol, drug or gambling addiction. Only instead of a drug - a living person. And if he is not around, write wasted. “In love” (you will soon understand why we put this word in quotation marks) is losing weight (or getting fat - whoever), looks haggard, starts to hurt. He has the most natural breaking. And he does everything like an alcoholic drug addict, only to see his “beloved”. Calls 50 times a day, guards at the entrance, writes letters, imposes himself. But the main symptom: love addiction is always pain and suffering, even when the "beloved" is nearby - it's still pain. This is a physical attraction to the object of passion, the desire to literally stick together with him and not let him go anywhere and never. By the way, if you carefully listen to songs about love, it turns out that all of them are not about love, but about ... right, about love addiction. And why? It's simple: in songs, the more passion, the better. Quiet, calm and joyful love against this background is simply boring. In it, as professionals say, "there is no theme for the song. " By the way, it is still possible to distinguish addiction from love by creativity. “Dependents” write about how bad and hard it is for them to live without a loved one, how they want to die from love, etc. Normal lovers write about how good it is for them that such a bright feeling has come into their lives.

Addiction flares up immediately and very brightly. The addict does not trust the loved one. He is afraid of being abandoned. All on nerves, on suffering. At the same time, the dependent evil to himself notices the shortcomings of a loved one. And generally a little angry with him. But he strives for it with all his might. To give it all. Ready to sacrifice himself, if only he appreciated and gave him a look. Love addiction, by the way, is also sometimes mutual: when both are dependent on each other. And one day they begin to hate each other for this lack of freedom.

Personal characteristics

There is a psychological "risk group" of people who are potentially susceptible to love addiction. These people are unable or unwilling to make decisions until they consult with others. It's hard for them to be alone. In relationships, they are often afraid of being abandoned. Overly sensitive to criticism, ready to obey other people and agree with them out of a desire to please. Because they are so afraid of rejection. They lack self-confidence, tend to downplay their strengths and obsess over their shortcomings. Most likely, they have some other dependence: alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, tobacco.

  • Addiction
  • Love
  • The difficulties of love

Comments (24):

Guest, August 30, 2012, 00:51

Thank you very much for this article. She clarified a lot for me. But the only thing to do if this dependence exists? And you try to switch from your subject to some other thing, like studying or something, but it doesn't work? What to do in this case???



Ksyu, July 27, 2015, 13:04

Go to a psychologist. .. all roots from childhood...

hedgehog, February 1, 2016, 11:55 am

Guest, March 15, 2020, 09:42 am

What should I do. I'm a girl and I'm addicted. Terrible. He tells me, ok, let's break up if you want. And I understand that he doesn't care. But I can't say "come on". There were attempts 3 times. Days pass terribly long and unbearably. Although I am also alone without him, as now. It immediately seems to me that he is no longer mine. And the terrible pain begins. I start smoking and drinking. Does not help. I want to write every second. She wrote like crazy, he already turned off the phone. It was already two years ago that the separation was harder, it seemed it would not be better. She left for 2 years. But now she has switched to another addiction. Just as hard as it was then. Terrible feeling. I don't know why I'm like this. But he doesn't.

Guest, January 22, 2014 4:53 PM

Oh, yes. It was like that for me. What a blessing that I understood this and now I live a free life, enjoy life and love myself.

Kristina, March 4, 2015, 11:37 AM

Thank you, I really liked the article on how to distinguish between addiction and love. I've always wondered how they differ.

Sveta, May 18, 2015, 00:36

The best thing I've read about love addiction.

Svetlana, February 1, 2016, 11:44 AM

And I had a "passionate love". But I didn’t have everything that the author describes in this article! There was mutual love, passion, jealousy, ego, and only then "addiction" when you try to break off relations with a person, but you can't. Thank God I got rid of her. Everyone is trying to drum us in that love is a bright feeling that brings only joy, such as love between a mother and a child, without jealousy or dependence on anyone, etc. But don’t we know examples when a mother who loves her son is jealous of his daughter-in-law, or a couple who has lived together for twenty years decides to leave because a third one appeared who destroyed their union and the injured party still feels love and dependence on his half. And there are many such examples. Love has different shades, and there is no single answer, what is love! Each person has their own. I have my own definition: "LOVE IS THE ONE WHO IS DEAR TO ME!" and you are afraid of losing them.



Guest, Dec 10, 2017 11:13 PM

The best answer.

Guest, June 08, 2019, 10:00 am

Everything is correct in the article. Imagine the moon, its light and dark sides. The light side is love, the dark side is addiction. And the terminator is a line, crossing which, you find yourself on one of these sides. Some manage to stay on this border without significant consequences. Perhaps you are one of these people, for you there are no extreme values.

Guest February 18, 2020 11:19 AM

Hello! How did you manage to get rid of the addiction in the end?

Guest, December 06, 2016, 00:58

Anyone who is close to the topic of love addiction, I highly recommend reading this book called "How to Get Rid of the MM Syndrome". The author knows firsthand what love addiction is, as the book is based on real events. The heroine of the novel, one of the few, manages to get rid of this disease. The story of the heroine confirms that it is still possible to change yourself. Change yourself to stop suffering and become happy and self-sufficient. Read, everything is written in the book, and step by step, how and what to do, but at the same time this is not a book on psychology, but a novel with an exciting plot. Read in one breath. Here is a link to the author's website of the book, where you can download it or read it online.

Guest, Dec 19, 2016 00:23 AM

If I fully fit into this group of potentially love addicts. What to do? How to overcome yourself, because this is really a very strong withdrawal. Because of this, people, like cockroaches, sort out from me in different directions, but it is extremely difficult to control myself, I break down. This is very hard emotionally. It is impossible to lead a normal life...



N.I. Kozlov, December 20, 2016, 07:01 AM





Guest, September 19, 2018, 08:20 am

I also had a strong dependence on a loved one, we decided to leave, we haven’t communicated for 1.5 months, but I notice that I come quietly into myself after long, long suffering and pain. We met for 2.5 years, from this relationship I got health problems, my hair fell out a lot, I didn’t control myself, now everything is fine, I wake up with a good mood in the morning. I hope I meet true love!



Guest, September 23, 2018, 10:23 AM

You are talking about addiction, and at the same time, after a month and a half after the cessation of communication, everything is fine with you and you are waiting for new feelings and true love. I am very happy for you, but I dare to assume that you did not have any addiction. But the fact that you are in health problems, hair loss and other things, you blame your ex-partner, here you are hardly right. Rather, these are your problems and your inability to see positive moments (of which, most likely, there were a lot) Wake up with a mood in the morning and wait for true love, good luck to you!



Guest, June 27, 2019, 00:45

If a person gradually comes to his senses, then this means independence? Why? And what should have been? It's not clear...

Guest, February 25, 2019, 01:26 AM

What should I do if I'm addicted? I don't want to leave, I don't want to go to a psychologist... I like being dependent on this person. I have absolutely all signs of addiction. Probably, for this reason, and dependence, that I do not recognize this in my relationship, and do not want to change anything.

Guest, March 31, 2019, 07:31

Yes, the article is good, but I did not find an answer to the question of what to do if both partners have this addiction and both would like to get rid of it, but it is very difficult. How to do it? We both want to return what was and are ready for it.

Guest, Jun 04, 2020 6:38 pm

Can't figure out if I'm crazy or a love addict. Help me to understand! There was a difficult period in my life and during this period I fell in love with my coach. She began to write him love SMS by phone and in instant messengers. He ignored all the messages, it was also impossible to talk live. I wrote daily, supposedly let's try a relationship. He ignored everything. It's been 6 years. I still write almost every day. I ignore real relationships, because it seems to me that I have already been given a lot of pain, why get to know each other again. I understand all the illogicality of behavior, no matter how good the guy is, you need to quit if he ignores or doesn’t like something. But I can't control thoughts or messages.



Guest, June 05, 2020, 08:03

Go see a psychologist already! 6 years!!!!!! "... I have already been given a lot of pain" - you yourself deliver this pain.



Guest, October 12, 2020, 04:50

Yes, of course, women are to blame, and men are saints, they are always right. And the fact that when meeting for 1 meeting or correspondence, they conclude that a woman is only suitable for sex, does this mean it is? Why, then, when a woman only needs money, is she again blamed, and not a man? The main thing, in any situation, is to find the guilty woman. Here they exalt men's suffering, condemn that she is his friend zone. And only women no one wants to understand, but only to blame.



Guest, December 13, 2021, 05:03 AM

It doesn't matter at all what gender the addict has. If this story is about a guy who writes messages to a girl for 6 years without reciprocity, as the object of his addiction, it would also be unhealthy. And it would be his own fault.

Guest, October 16, 2020, 04:42 AM

Thank you, very helpful post!!! Everything is clear and interesting.

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