How to know the difference between love addiction and a crush

love addiction
Photo by Mandy von Stahl on Unsplash

Have you heard of love addiction? It’s different from sex addiction and affects women more than men. The most common reason for this behavior is childhood emotional neglect and abuse.

Due to a poor sense of self, the love addict looks to someone else to “complete” them. They believe this person will solve all their problems and make life worth living. Here are 5 signs you suffer from love addiction:

1. Love addiction makes you elevate the other person.

You cater to the other person’s needs more than your own. You’ll abandon yourself to keep the interest of this person.

You try to fit yourself into the relationship, rather than asking if he’s right for you. You may even use sex to get or keep his interest when that’s not what you really want.

2. You obsess over the object of your affection.

You think about the person continually to the detriment of other activities. You feel unfocused at work, for example, as you daydream about him or check for his texts.

Your obsession makes you compromise other relationships. For example, you decline invitations or stand up friends because you want to make yourself available to him.

3. You have fantasy relationships.

You create a fantasy relationship because it’s easier than facing painful reality. You ignore all the red flags that tell you this person is unsafe and wrong for you.

That means you create a relationship in your mind that’s nothing like the real one. You have big plans for the future, including marriage. But the object of your affection shows no signs the relationship is going anywhere.

4. You believe a relationship will rescue you.

Even if someone all but ignores you, you believe he is the one who can solve all your problems. You believe he will make your life perfect if only you can uncover the “real” him.

You believe that once he sees the light he’ll understand you were meant for each other and you can finally feel complete.

5. Love addiction makes you recreate trauma.

You’re attracted to partners who hurt you the same way your parents did in childhood. You reenact this desperate need to win their love by becoming clingy and desperate.

You're attracted to partners who hurt you the same way your parents did in childhood. Click To Tweet

This activates the person’s fear of intimacy and they pull away. This only makes you work harder to win their affection.

As in childhood, you carry the erroneous belief that if you do more and need less, you’ll eventually win them over.

How to recover from love addiction

Time alone for self care

Love addicts often go from one relationship to another without time in between to assess what went wrong or how to grow from the experience.

Take time alone to date yourself for a while. Taking care of your needs will help you value yourself more. As your self-worth increases, you’ll feel less needy and desperate for someone else to fulfill you.

Establish values

During this time, establish your core values. These will help you get to know yourself better and decide what you will and won’t tolerate. Your values give you a clearer view of the type of partner that will add to your life.

Understand love addiction

Read Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood and Addiction to Love by Susan Peabody to help you understand your obsessive compulsion. You’ll see you’re not alone and there is hope for recovery.

Love addicts often have another addiction that needs to be dealt with before the love addiction can be overcome. Find a support group if needed.

Popular culture makes falling in love look like mental illness. So, it’s hard to realize that love should not be crazy-making. But it is possible to have a love relationship without abandoning yourself.

Popular culture makes falling in love look like mental illness. So, it's hard to realize that love should not be crazy-making. Click To Tweet

Most importantly, you’ll learn that no one person can fulfill all your needs or make your life worth living. Only you can do that.

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