Addicted to Love? – WOMEN in RECOVERY

Love addiction is a human behavior in which people become addicted to the feeling of being in love.

Love addicts can take on many different behaviors. Love addiction is common; however, most love addicts do not realize they are addicted to love.

Love addiction can be treated with various recovery techniques, most of which are similar to recovery from other addictions such as sex addiction which those that suffer from regularly enjoy or something similar. Visit to see what the fuss is all about and alcoholism, through group meetings and support groups or women only treatment centers.

Addictive love is an inclusive term in that it includes “addicts” and “co-addicts”, “co-dependents”, and “love avoidant”‘.

Like other addictions (drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, work, and the list goes on), the dependency to a person (their object- drug of choice) allows love addicts to feel alive- a sense of purpose- and to gain a sense of meaning and self worth in the world: they are driven by ‘a fantasy hope that the drug of choice – a person – will complete them’.

‘Most love addicts start out attempting to meet some known or unknown emotional need, then become dependent on the intoxicating feelings’ of being in love itself. Unfortunately, as in the case of drug addicts, “love addicts”, too, may become incapable of getting the desired satisfaction, which in turn increases their addiction’.

They often feel a burning, passionate love that gives and gives, destroying their sense of humanity when they lose the person they’ve given to, sometimes causing them to feel and act out in a vengeful way. The love addict suffers a lack of bonding as they did in childhood, including an inability to give and receive affection, self destructive behavior, problems with control, and lack of healthy long term relationships.

Love addicts commonly and repeatedly form an addictive relationship with emotionally unavailable Avoidant partners. The ‘Avoidant partner’ is compulsively counter-dependent – they fear being engulfed/drowned/smothered by their love addict partner.

Love addicts enter relationships with emotionally closed-off individuals who will let nothing and no one in, which makes intimate relationships impossible.

Behind their emotional walls, hides low self-esteem and feel if they become truly known (display emotional intimacy) – no one would ever love, accept, and value who they are.

Avoidants are attracted to people who have difficulty thinking for themselves, having healthy emotional boundaries, or taking care of themselves in healthy manners- the love addict.

Love addicts and Avoidants form relationships that inevitably lead to unhealthy patterns of dependency, distance, chaos, and often abuse.

Nevertheless, however unsatisfactory the relationship, ‘love addicts hang on and on, because it is what they know‘.

Each is attracted to the other specifically because of the familiar traits that the other exhibits, and although painful, come from childhood.

Familiarity is the central engine of their relationship.

This cycle encompasses a push-pull dance full of emotional highs and many lows where the one is on the chase (love addict) while the avoidant is on the run. They both engage in counterfeit emotional involvement. Healthy emotional intimacy is replaced with melodrama and negative intensity- ironically creating the illusion of true love, intimacy, and connection – usually on an unconscious level. As a result, their relationships, although seemingly dramatic in their intensity, are actually extremely shallow’.

Love withdrawal

With addiction comes inevitable negative consequences. In his book, Surviving Withdrawal: The Break Up Workbook for Love Addicts, author Jim Hall explains in detail the process of love withdrawal and how the negative consequences of love addiction can vary.

Depending on the level or extreme of ones love addiction, negative consequences can range from violence (to others or self) to increased feelings of shame, depression, impaired emotional growth, chronic emptiness, loneliness, loss of intimacy and enjoyment in life.

The consequences of addictive loving are most revealed as the love addict experiences withdrawal symptoms when a relationship ends, or when a relationship is perceived as falling apart. This is when withdrawal of being with one person is experienced at its most intense level.

When a break up occurs, an addictive lover longs for the attachment and apparent loving feelings of the lost relationship, as much as a heroin user craves heroin when the drug is no longer available. This longing may result in extreme debilitating pain, obsession, and otherwise avoidable destructive and/or self-destructive behaviors.


The normal process of falling into love addiction begins when a person begins to feel sympathy with another person after going through an initially innocent moment of attraction and automatically idealizes the other to the point of divinity.

The individual is then blindly attached to the other person, becoming incapable of making a realistic analysis of the situation; they may project all kinds of illusions onto the other person, believing them to be the only one that can bring happiness.

This process can be very quick.

There are, however, those who never go past this stage of blind love, and remain ‘addicted to people, sucking on them and gobbling them up…parasitism, not love’.

Obsession can be considered the primary symptom of any addiction. In love addiction, the individual’s insecurity gives rise to an obsessive attachment to the object of their affection. It typically manifests as an insatiable hunger that distorts the person’s perception of reality and often results in various unhealthy behaviors and suffering.


Love Addicts Anonymous

  • 40 Questions
  • To Help You Determine
  • If You Are a Love Addict

These are also considered “symptoms” or “addictive, bottom-line behaviors” as SLAA calls it.

If you can answer yes to more than a few of the following questions, you are probably a love addict.

  1. You are very needy when it comes to relationships.
  2. You fall in love very easily and too quickly.
  3. When you fall in love, you can’t stop fantasizing—even to do important things. You can’t help yourself.
  4. Sometimes, when you are lonely and looking for companionship, you lower your standards and settle for less than you want or deserve.
  5. When you are in a relationship, you tend to smother your partner.
  6. More than once, you have gotten involved with someone who is unable to commit—hoping he or she will change.
  7. Once you have bonded with someone, you can’t let go.
  8. When you are attracted to someone, you will ignore all the warning signs that this person is not good for you.
  9. Initial attraction is more important to you than anything else when it comes to falling in love and choosing a partner. Falling in love over time does not appeal to you and is not an option.
  10. When you are in love, you trust people who are not trustworthy. The rest of the time you have a hard time trusting people.
  11. When a relationship ends, you feel your life is over and more than once you have thought about suicide because of a failed relationship.
  12. You take on more than your share of responsibility for the survival of a relationship.
  13. Love and relationships are the only things that interest you.
  14. In some of your relationships you were the only one in love.
  15. You are overwhelmed with loneliness when you are not in love or in a relationship.
  16. You cannot stand being alone. You do not enjoy your own company.
  17. More than once, you have gotten involved with the wrong person to avoid being lonely.
  18. You are terrified of never finding someone to love.
  19. You feel inadequate if you are not in a relationship.
  20. You cannot say no when you are in love or if your partner threatens to leave you.
  21. You try very hard to be who your partner wants you to be. You will do anything to please him or her—even abandon yourself (sacrifice what you want, need and value).
  22. When you are in love, you only see what you want to see. You distort reality to quell anxiety and feed your fantasies.
  23. You have a high tolerance for suffering in relationships. You are willing to suffer neglect, depression, loneliness, dishonesty—even abuse—to avoid the pain of separation anxiety (what you feel when you are not with someone you have bonded with).
  24. More than once, you have carried a torch for someone and it was agonizing.
  25. You love romance. You have had more than one romantic interest at a time even when it involved dishonesty.
  26. You have stayed with an abusive person.
  27. Fantasies about someone you love, even if he or she is unavailable, are more important to you than meeting someone who is available.
  28. You are terrified of being abandoned. Even the slightest rejection feels like abandonment and it makes you feel horrible.
  29. You chase after people who have rejected you and try desperately to change their minds.
  30. When you are in love, you are overly possessive and jealous.
  31. More than once, you have neglected family or friends because of your relationship.
  32. You have no impulse control when you are in love.
  33. You feel an overwhelming need to check up on someone you are in love with.
  34. More than once, you have spied on someone you are in love with.
  35. You pursue someone you are in love with even if he or she is with another person.
  36. If you are part of a love triangle (three people), you believe all is fair in love and war. You do not walk away.
  37. Love is the most important thing in the world to you.
  38. Even if you are not in a relationship, you still fantasize about love all the time— either someone you once loved or the perfect person who is going to come into your life someday.
  39. As far back as you can remember, you have been preoccupied with love and romantic fantasies.
  40. You feel powerless when you fall in love—as if you are in some kind of trance or under a spell. You lose your ability to make wise choices.

Remember that love addiction comes in many forms, so even if you don’t answer yes to all of the questions you may still be a love addict.

The Pathology of Love By: Dr. Sam Vaknin

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