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Leaf Image Love Addiction

Love addiction is often perceived to be "less serious" than other process addictions i.e. compulsive sexual addictions, eating disorders or self-harm / mutilation addictions. Perhaps because it sounds "softer." 

In reality it is extremely painful and can be very dangerous to both the addict and their partners.  Many suicides, murders, stalkings, rapes and other crimes of passion have their roots in this addiction. 

Our culture has traditionally glorified romantic love with the notion that we fall in love and live "happily ever after." This ignores the groundwork and boundaries that healthy relationships require. Many love relationships depicted in the media are really love addicted relationships. (See Romeo and Juliet as an example - not a very happy ending, huh?)  

There is a 12 step fellowship for those struggling with love and sexual addictions - SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous.) The St Augustine Fellowship (SLAA) can be contacted online for meeting locations etc.

Signs and Characteristics of Love Addiction:

  • Lack of nurturing and attention when young
  • Feeling isolated, detached from parents and family
  • Compartmentalization of relationships from other areas of life
  • Outer facade of "having it all together" to hide internal disintegration
  • Mistake intensity for intimacy (drama driven relationships)
  • Hidden Pain
  • Seek to avoid rejection and abandonment at any cost
  • Afraid to trust anyone in a relationship
  • Inner rage over lack of nurturing, early abandonment
  • Depressed
  • Highly manipulative and controlling of others
  • Perceive attraction, attachment, and sex as basic human needs, on a par with food and water
  • Sense of worthlessness without a relationship or partner
  • Feelings that a relationship makes one whole, or more of a man or woman
  • Escalating tolerance for high-risk behavior
  • Intense need to control self, others, circumstances
  • Presence of other addictive or compulsive problems 
  • Insatiable appetite in area of difficulty (sex, love or attachment / need.)
  • Using others, sex & relationships to alter mood or relieve emotional pain
  • Continual questioning of values and lifestyle
  • Driven, desperate, frantic personality
  • Confusion of sexual attraction with love ("Love" at first sight.)
  • Tendency to trade sexual activity for "love" or attachment  
  • Existence of a secret "double life"
  • Refusal to acknowledge existence of problem
  • Defining out-of-control behavior as normal
  • Defining "wants" as "needs"
  • Tendency to leave one relationship for another. (Inability to be without a relationship.)
  • Attempts to replace lost relationships with a new one immediately  

Many of these symptoms are also elements of codependency and intimacy dysfunctions resulting from childhood abandonment, emotional and / or sexual abuse.   For this reason treatment and therapy for Love Addiction often includes trauma recovery work.   Read what others have to say about love addiction.

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If the things in the list above sound familiar to you I highly recommend Pia Melody's book .

Love addiction responds to treatment and / or therapy with a practitioner knowledgeable in its effects and origins. Several treatment centers now offer Love Addiction treatment.  A 12 step program called SLAA () can also be helpful.

Another book to try is John Moore's - . 

Love addiction is frequently a component for both partners in abusive relationships. 

* This is also a core component of sexual addiction.

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Note on Authorship: this website was created by a recovering addict and survivor; I am not a chemical dependency therapist or mental health professional. Except as otherwise cited, opinions offered here are the result of my own life experience and a great deal of reading in the Recovery and Mental Health fields.  You may cite this site for academic reference, however in keeping with twelve step traditions regarding anonymity I request you identify the author as "Will H. - Webmaster" 

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