Love addiction affects dopamine, oxytocin, vasopressin, and serotonin. These are neurotransmitters involved with your brain’s pleasure and reward systems.
This might not seem like a bad thing — until you realize that these effects are similar to addictive substances like alcohol, cocaine, or heroin.
How do you realize that you’re caught in a bad cycle so that you can get out of it?
First, you must learn these nine telltale signs of love addiction.
1. One Of The Biggest Signs Of Love Addiction: You Can’t Function Without A Relationship
It’s one thing to function better with your partner. It’s another thing to function worse without them.
If you find that you can’t be happy, productive, or focused without being in love, you may be suffering from love addiction.
2. You Feel Empty Or Lost Without Love
On a similar note, if you feel empty, lost, or directionless without your partner, there’s a problem.
There’s an old saying about drinking that goes, “you shouldn’t drink to feel better — you should drink to feel even better.”
This quote isn’t meant to tell you to drink, or to do anything really.
Rather, the idea behind it is that you shouldn’t rely on something outside of yourself for happiness or stability. If you do, you’re involved in a codependent relationship.
Signs of codependency include denial, obsession, and poor communication. Check out this article to learn more about it.
3. You Know Your Relationship Isn’t Good for You
When something isn’t good for you, it makes sense that you shouldn’t do it.
This is especially true when it comes to love. If you know your partner isn’t treating you right or isn’t making you feel good, you shouldn’t be with them.
If you make excuses for continuous bad communication or mistreatment to yourself or your friends, you may be experiencing love addiction.
4. You Can’t End Bad Relationships
The previous sign blends into this one.
It’s not healthy if you know you’re in a bad relationship yet you can’t break up with your partner.
Ignoring risk factors is a big indicator of addiction.
Part of the definition of addiction includes the inability to resist the want or need to partake in a behavior, such as pursuing love, despite negative consequences.
It should be easy to do things that are beneficial, healthy, and productive for yourself. This includes ending a relationship when it isn’t working.
5. You Have A Fear Of Abandonment
You might always be in a relationship and can’t end bad ones due to a fear of abandonment.
A fear of abandonment, or fear of being alone, often stems from childhood or adulthood trauma. It isn’t the person’s fault, yet it affects the relationships they have with themselves and others.
When a person fears abandonment, they will do what it takes to keep a relationship going so that they don’t have to be alone. This may mean continuing a bad relationship or going above and beyond to avoid separation.
6. You Have A Low Self-Esteem
Another component of love addiction is low self-esteem. This isn’t to say that if you have low self-esteem, you’ll become a love addict.
Rather, low self-esteem and poor self-worth tend to be present in love addicts. This explains why they don’t pursue better partners or operate well on their own — it’s due to a lack of self-love and confidence.
In a healthy relationship, self-worth allows you to set boundaries and standards. It keeps you from continuing unhealthy or codependent relationships.
7. You Think About Your Partner All The Time
Constantly thinking about love might seem normal in the “honeymoon” or beginning phases of a relationship.
Passion (and lust) can feel all-consuming when it starts. We won’t comment on if this is healthy or not, but we will say that if this continues, it’s unhealthy.
If you’re thinking about your partner all the time, you aren’t thinking about yourself. You’re prioritizing their needs, wants, and activities over yours.
8. You Don’t Have A Life Outside Of The Relationship
Thinking about love all the time leads to you living your life revolved around other people.
This is a common denominator in love addicts. Due to being uncontrollably addicted to their partners, they deny other parts of their lives.
This may mean connecting with friends and family, participating in enjoyable hobbies and activities, and even taking care of one’s self.
For a healthy relationship to function, each person should have time, interests, and relationships outside of the love. Otherwise, codependency occurs and addiction to the relationship sets in.
9. You’ve Stopped Taking Care Of Yourself
Love addiction manifests as an obsession. A person’s time and attention focus on love and only love.
This results in not having a life outside of the relationship, as we said, a halt in self-care.
Love addiction may cause a person to lose sight of their purpose or goals in life. Their individual self seems not to matter, so long as a relationship is flourishing.
It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way
If you’ve identified with any of these signs of love addiction, we want to tell you a few things: it’s not your fault, you’re not alone, and it doesn’t have to continue.
You’ve taken the first step just by reading this article and by considering your relationship with love.
Let’s continue this reflection and processing together. Contact us today so we can help you become a healthier, happier version of yourself.