Love Addiction Explained

17 Signs You Might be a Love Addict

Sharing is caring

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I feel totally powerless to leave this person, even though I know they are extremely bad for my well-being. I’ve tried to leave many times, but always end going back and starting the crazy cycle all over again. It’s like I’m addicted to a drug!”

If this sounds like you, you could be a love addict.

Love addiction is a common condition in victims of narcissistic abuse, yet many people are not aware that love addiction is a thing.  More commonly, people who are in toxic love relationships with narcissists or other emotionally unavailable individuals are considered codependents.  While they both share common origins (fear of abandonment) and there are many overlapping symptoms, the major difference between the two is that codependency is a coping mechanism which can sometimes be managed with changes in behavior.  Love addiction is a bona fide dependency on another person, or at least, an addiction to dysfunctional relationship dynamics and the fantasy of “true love”.

love addiction explained

Love addicts are inclined to express their love to their partners in compulsive and self-defeating ways.  Due to the biochemical processes that happen during toxic relationships, i.e., the Silent Treatment followed by the ‘Return and Rescue’ cycle, love addicts typically enter relationships with individuals who are Narcissistic, Love Avoidant, or Dismissive, thus perpetuating their feelings of being unlovable, unworthy, and less than.  Love Addiction, like any other addiction, is an obsessive-compulsive process used to relieve or numb painful reality through the use of dysfunctional and self-sabotaging behaviors.

If you can answer yes to more than a few of the following questions, you might be a love addict. Please note that this list isn’t comprehensive, but should give you an idea of whether you meet the general criteria of being addicted to toxic love relationships:

Signs you might be a Love Addict

A Love Addict –

1 – Has little or no boundaries, shares personal and sensitive information too quickly, becomes attached to others without knowing them well.

2 – Desperately wants someone to rescue them from being so alone, to make them matter.

3 –  Is consumed or obsessed with finding love when not in a relationship.

4 – Is in frequent need of emotional comfort from a partner, especially a toxic partner.

5 – Tries to create situations with the purpose of running into a partner.

6 – Tries to make their partner jealous by pretending someone else is interested in them.

7 – Plays games such as being distant to entice a partner to make contact.

8 – Has difficulty letting go of a romantic relationship as they feel they cannot survive without it.

9 – Is inclined to pursue a partner’s interests, putting aside their own.

10 – Will do anything and tolerate anything to avoid being alone, including verbal or physical abuse and infidelity.

11 – Doesn’t feel satisfied with normal relationships which don’t include constant drama.  Perceives healthy relationships as boring and pointless.

12 – Feels an intense need to reconnect when a partner seems to be pulling away.

13 – Tends to minimize or ignore obvious “red flags” of narcissistic or abusive behaviors, while focusing on small acts of perceived kindness or seeming vulnerability in their partner.

14 – May willingly or unwillingly neglect their own children due to being entirely consumed with their chaotic relationship.

15 – Maintains a constant hope that the relationship will improve, despite unswerving evidence that it will not.

16 – Conducts an inordinate amount of research on the behaviors and personality profiles of toxic individuals, continuing the release of “victim peptides” after the end of a toxic relationship.

17 – Engages in various forms of denial to protect the fantasy that their love partner is the perfect mate for them.  Refuses to accept consistent signs that point to the opposing truth.

If you meet a few or more of the above criteria, you might be a love addict.  And, as with any other addiction, if left untreated love addiction can lead to loss of income due to a decline in job performance, leading to the loss of one’s primary residence.  Further, it can lead to the loss of custody of children and other important relationships. 

Love Addicts often become so overwhelmed when their relationship ends that they go into withdrawal or jump to the next point in the cycle – obsession – which is a subconscious process designed to keep the toxic relationship alive.  They often develop debilitating bodily symptoms due to resisting the truth, which can lead to conditions and diseases, including chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and certain types of cancer.  They may become pathologically obsessed to the point of wanting to harm themselves and/or their love partners.  It’s a serious ailment that requires a serious approach to treatment.

What you can do…

acts of self careJust as with any other addiction, love addiction doesn’t have to be a life sentence.  Recovery is possible with the right approach.  However, if you are in a toxic relationship, feel you are helpless to leave, and believe you might be a love addict, it’s important to realize that recovery from love addiction is not possible while still with a toxic partner, just as a person who’s addicted to drugs cannot recover until they stop using.  In fact, for a love addict, leaving the person they’re addicted to is often more difficult than a typical withdrawal from substances due to the emotional elements involved and giving up the fantasy of “true love”.  This is precisely why I advocate the No Contact or Extreme Modified Contact approach to leaving toxic relationships. 

While a codependent might be able to implement boundaries while in a difficult relationship (though it may be improbable and depends on the situation), love addicts will only continue the destructive, addictive cycle if they remain in relationships with narcissistic and other toxic individuals.  Following are three things you can do today to start breaking your love addiction and move forward towards healing your life and relationships:

1 – Find a CoDA (Codependents Anonymous) group in your area.  12-step programs are essential in the recovery of any addiction or compulsive behavior and love addiction is no different.  

2 – Find a therapist who specializes in love addiction and/or recovery from childhood emotional trauma.

3 – Enroll in the therapist-approved Break Free Program.  It’s a home-study course which helps you plan out detaching from love that hurts, guides you in planning your daily routines to avoid contacting a toxic ex, and offers ways to begin healing on an emotional and core level.  Includes a private Facebook group and course bonuses.

Click here to review the curriculum:  The Break Free Program

Breaking free from toxic love addiction is a process which requires commitment and discipline.  Recovery simply cannot happen on its own without a specific course of action, self-care, and stick-to-it-iveness.  Changing the relationship you have with yourself is the only way to ensure you develop the ability to implement healthy boundaries and avoid toxic relationships in the future.

Copyright 2017-2023 – Meeks Fire Media, LLC

Sharing is caring

Leave a Comment:

Anonymous says August 26, 2017

This comes across too much like victim shaming /blaming. Many of the questions that are asked to determine if you are a “Love addict”will be answered yes by anytime who had been abused by sometime with NPD. That doesn’t make them a love addict. You’re adding salt to their wounds. NPD abuse is insidious and the victim doesn’t even realize she is being conditioned, groomed. That doesn’t make her a love addict. It makes her a victim of an evil person. And that person has targeted weaknesses he discovers in her…her inner childhood wounds, lack of family support, even teen & adult traumas. Calling it love addiction also doesn’t take into account the beliefs she was raised with…parents who taught her to only see the best in people, always try to see what’s behind the bad behavior & never stop giving the person more chances, that’s what a ” good Christian” does, that she took her vows seriously, ….Add that in to the inner childhood wounds, the insidious intermittent reinforcement and other NPD classic behaviors. That doesn’t make a
” Love addict”; it makes a victim. And the cycle is almost impossible to break because a victim doesn’t know what she doesn’t understand and won’t / can’t break free until it’s forced on her
( Discard) or she learns about NPD abuse, then recognizes it in her own life, and has the courage to get out. And what if noone believes her…what if she has been isolated from her family, friends and community which so often happens in NPD abuse? She’s a victim and doesn’t need to see articles like this that blames/shamesher. If she’s out and getting help, she’s already learning about codependency and the inner childhood wounds that shaped her to become an NPD’S target. Don’t call her a love addict. Don’t write articles like this that overlap with the signs of NPD abuse. This is so disappointing to see especially on a site for victims who are trying to survive and move onto thriving.

    Kim Saeed says August 26, 2017

    I’m sorry you feel that way, Anon. Being a love addict is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, learning about love addiction was the final step for me in my own recovery and I’ve had many followers and clients who had the same experience.

    The truth is, the experience of narcissistic abuse MAKES us love addicts. There is a very real biochemical addiction that happens when we’ve been the target of narcissistic abuse. Sure, there’s co-dependency and trauma-bonding, but love addiction is part of the puzzle for many of us and to leave that part out would hamper the healing process for many people.

    If not for learning about love addiction and how to overcome it, I and countless others would never have been able to complete the healing process. There’s no need to feel blamed or shamed.

    To address your comment about the way we were raised, that’s what this whole experience is about and it’s why I do the work I do…so we can break out of old paradigms and understand we don’t have to keep perpetuating those old, false beliefs.

    Linda says March 24, 2018

    I’ve often wondered how could I ever be satisfied with a normal healthy relationship after the intensity of a toxic relationship? The highs are euphoric and with such intense highs come intense lows. So, what is there to do in even keel relationships? How do you even know if you’re in love? How do you avoid boredom?

    This is the reason for calling it love addiction. I crave that euphoria that the hot-cold treatment reinforces.

    So addicted am I that when someone I’ve only known as being a nice friend expresses a slight bit of annoyance, immediately I lose my head and start obsessing about what it would be like to be romantically involved with this person. I feel like a person for whom even one swallow of liquor causes them to drink all the rest of the alcohol on the premises. Does this mean that I can never entertain even the thought of another relationship? Is there a permanent cure?

      Kim Saeed says March 26, 2018

      There’s definitely a cure, but it takes lots of inner work.

      Kim XoXo

Valentin says May 15, 2017

What’s Going down i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It positively helpful
and it has aided me out loads. I hope to give a contribution &
assist different customers like its helped me.
Great job.

Are You Trauma-Bonded or Addicted to Toxic Love? - Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed says May 13, 2017

[…] Love addiction, however, manifests slightly differently. Here are some common signs: […]

Jodyv says May 9, 2017

I completely agree with you regarding so much information available on the internet about narcisstic abuse, codependancy, love addiction, etc etc focusing on the problem and not on a solution.

I want solutions!!!! I’ve been a victim long enough and I want suggestions as to how to move forward now that I’ve recognised what was wrong.

I honestly think that you focus more on the solution than on the problem and I am grateful that I discovered your site and youtube channel.

I personally also apply the 12 step programme together with many other sources to help me recover from this malignant relationship which almost cost me my life.

Monika says May 4, 2017

Wow this is…well I have no words. I basically just realized this is me. Now I feel like I’m the issue and I’m and always was the problem. The father of two of my boys is a Malignant Narcissist and I want to go no contact but can’t because of the kids. I also don’t want him to be alone with them because he has already started to mentally abuse our 5 year old son. I’ve been meeting him with the boys. Now I will let my mom be the one to supervise the visitation and I will step back. I think I’m going to hand all communication off to her after reading this. I’ve been single since he discarded me for the simple fact that I knew I wasn’t right mentally and I’ve been trying to figure out my shit as well as his next move. He’s always playing games with me and his other baby momma and just moved in with his new supply. Ugh I’m sick to my stomach.

    Kim Saeed says May 5, 2017

    Hi Monika,

    Thank you for reading my article…but please don’t take it to mean that he problems in the relationship were all you. I am a recovering love addict myself, and all it means is that we’ve been wounded and we often engage in self-defeating behaviors. BUT, it doesn’t mean we are responsible for a narcissist’s behaviors, manipulations, lies, cheating, etc. It only means we should stop brushing those things aside and romanticizing a person who, in all truth, is extremely bad for us.

    It’s good that you see some behaviors that you may want to work on that don’t serve you, but don’t beat yourself up over it. Hopefully, you will now be able to discern if and when someone is manipulating you and your inner wounding.


    Kim XoXo

Tracy says May 2, 2017

I feel exactly like this…but he won’t leave. He packed all his things and took them to his mom’s and then came back for his beloved XBox One and won’t leave. He has one change of clothes only. He even has his kids staying here for days at a time. The nastiness grows with every day. I’m a wreck, but like always smiling and doing what has to be done. I know you’re going to say, “Leave!” But…I can’t. He has destroyed my credit and lied about paying rent so that now there is an eviction on my record (even though I paid the rent and we were never evicted. I pay for everything while he plays XBox.) And so…here I am… and here he is…and I guess here we’ll stay.

Kim says May 2, 2017

It’s exactly how I feel, but I initiated limited contact today. I have to tell myself every morning, and most nights, that I need/ want something better. That I deserve it. I have been married to the same man for almost 28 years. I was so stressed out that I would have seizures every night (and I’m not epileptic). It was time to stop being his “supplier”

Loleitha says May 2, 2017

Everybody deal with it totally different. I have learned praying and meditating and getting out and doing things that you love to do. Sometime I get out and go to the beach and just look at the wave and put my foot in the water tht bring peace of my mind. I truly believe you’ll get over it takes currently 4 to 5 years to be completely over a person. Love is so powerful that when one person destroy the action of your heart you become disrupt but in reality it was you all along causing your own misery. I have learned no one did anything but yourself . when you realize that in ur self who you are as a person. that mean that you truly have found love within yourself no one can take your power unless you give it away. Just keep praying God would give u the strength.
P.s. read a lot of inspiration that also help to Google+

Debbie says May 2, 2017

Eye-opening information

Add Your Reply