Most people are familiar with the whirlwind of feelings that come with falling in love. You may make rash decisions, want to be with the person all the time, and deprioritize other things in your life during this stage of a relationship. But what about when the need to feel like you’re falling in love is overwhelming? Is love addiction a real thing? And if it is, how can you tell if it is happening to you?
This post clarifies what love addiction is, including explaining:
- Signs of love addiction
- How it relates to mental illness
- Symptoms of love addiction withdrawal
- How to access help if you think you’re struggling
Signs of Love Addiction
Love addiction is when a person feels like they always need to have the feeling of falling in love — that sense of euphoria that comes with an intense connection with another person. It can show up in short or long-term relationships. It can feel like an addiction to a substance, with cravings for love and attention. If things don’t work out in the relationship, a person could go through a withdrawal experience.
People who are experiencing love addiction may:
- Feel the need to always be in a relationship
- Feel the need to constantly have someone who likes them
- Become dependent on their partner
- Chase the “high” of the honeymoon phase of a relationship
- Seek validation and rely on another’s love and approval for their well-being
Love addiction can cause a lot of turbulence in a person’s daily life and the most dangerous part is when the object of love is no longer present. Much like drug and alcohol withdrawals, a person can experience withdrawals from love addiction.
Causes of Love Addiction
Mental health professionals have not pinpointed an exact cause of love addiction, but research points to some connection to experiences in relationships with attachment issues. Attachment issues are problems that result from a person’s earliest relationships — the ones with their caregivers. Inconsistent care of an infant, such as sometimes doting and overwhelming attention, other times not being responded to when in distress, can lead to an anxious attachment style.
People with an anxious attachment style may experience:
- Fear of abandonment
- Need for constant attention
- High sensitivity to criticism
- Difficulty trusting others
- Difficulty in relationships
While it’s not certain that people who experience inconsistent care as children will have trouble in relationships as adults, it’s one possible factor.
Symptoms of Love Addiction Withdrawal
Love addiction withdrawal is when the source of love or attention is removed, resulting in a break in the pattern of what caused the addiction. It could be a breakup or separation. For people who experience love addiction, this withdrawal may bring overwhelming feelings. They may feel like they need to jump into another relationship, or they may feel intensely saddened and unable to cope.
Other signs of love addiction withdrawal include:
- Distorted thinking or irrational thoughts
- Exhaustion or insomnia
- Unexplained weight loss
- Other physical ailments
Relationships don’t work out for various reasons, and breakups or separations can be difficult for anyone. But breakups can seem impossible for people with attachment issues or those who experience love addiction.
Managing Through the Withdrawal
Coping with love addiction withdrawal may look different depending on each individual’s experiences. The following are some general tips that can help someone dealing with the difficulties involved with this form of withdrawal.
- Stay the Course of Letting Go – You may feel like the separation is too difficult and you should attempt to reunite with the person with whom you experienced love addiction. Separating can be damaging mentally as well as physically exhausting. It’s best to try and make the separation a clean break.
- Set Boundaries – If the person you’re addicted to is still involved in your life, set secure boundaries with them. Boundaries ensure your mental health and well-being stay intact.
- Reach Out For Help – Consider explaining your situation to your loved ones, like friends and family, so they can support you during the difficult times and celebrate with you when you accomplish goals.
- Avoid Distorted and Obsessive Thoughts – Obsessive thoughts about the relationship only contribute to a higher level of distress. Seek support from people you trust so they can help you manage unhelpful thoughts about the relationship, such as “I should get back with them” or “No one will ever love me again.”
- Note Your Feelings – Remind yourself that you shouldn’t ignore or suppress your feelings. Rather, try writing them down or speaking to a close friend or mental health professional about them. It’s essential to the healing process that you feel your feelings.
- Give Yourself Time to Heal – Instead of jumping into a new relationship, give yourself time to work on healing. This healing includes mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional care of yourself.
- Use Healthy Activities for Coping – Coping mechanisms are vital for dealing with challenging emotions and situations. Remember what you like doing and engage in some of those activities. Grab a friend and take a dance class, work on fun projects, read a new book, or take up meditation. Whatever works for you and makes you feel good about yourself contributes to your healing process.
- Avoid Self-Pity – Engaging in activities you enjoy, spending time with friends and family, and remembering that you are your own person outside of a relationship can build your confidence and self-esteem.
- Seek Professional Help – A therapist can help you cope healthily with withdrawal. Counseling can assist you in processing your emotions, goal-setting, gaining self-confidence, and developing coping mechanisms that work for you.
How All Counseling Can Help
Coping with love addiction withdrawal may seem like a daunting process. All Counseling wants to validate your experience by providing you with an easy-to-use directory of counselors that you can browse to find what works for you. Search by location, insurance accepted, gender, specialty, and more. All Counseling is ready to help you search for a mental health professional who specializes in addiction, so you can focus on your healing process.