Love & relationship addiction is identified when a romantic relationship isn’t about love. It’s about fear of being alone or achieving validation because of a relationship, and it tolerates damaging behaviors without resolution. As a person addicted to romantic relationships, we may know the relationship is wrong, but we can’t walk away. The painful cycle includes attraction, bonding, rejection, panic, reconciliation, and the cycle starting over.
Patterns of addiction to “Love” are:
- Love at first sight
- Going quickly into the relationship without time to establish common values, goals, or to build trust
- Neglecting ourselves or loved ones in order to be with this person
- Feeling isolated and detached from family and friends
- Feeling overwhelmed by daily living and see their only way to survive is to attach themselves to someone else
- Mistake intensity for intimacy
- Romanticizing about the object of affection
- Attracted to needy people
- Seek to avoid rejection and abandonment at all cost
- Afraid to trust anyone in a relationship
- Using others alters mood or relieves pain
- Highly manipulative and controlling of others, self & circumstances
- Desperation to have peace in a relationship is defined by a cycle of begging and pleading to win the favor of a partner regardless of previous mistreatment
- Escalating tolerance for high-risk behavior
- Partner comes back with demands that the addict changes, but is not looking for a healthy relationship
- Cycle continues of the partner leaving and the addict panicking
The Cause of Addictive Relationships
The beginning of an addictive relationship often starts in childhood where relationships with parents were absent, abusive, or neglectful. We seek to heal what has been broken. As children our emotional needs were not met when we faced rejection and/or abandonment. We came to believe we were not worthy of love. The cycle continues as we seek validation from a person like the parent we were missing the affection from.
The Process of Recovery
Recovery from love and relationship addiction is possible. The first step is to admit our need for a healthy change. Here are some possible steps:
- Recovery begins with admitting the relationship is addictive
- It’s necessary to recognize and desire change in ourselves
- Realize that obsession is not the same thing as love.
- Using relationship to prove you have worthiness is a warning sign
- Understand your emotional triggers. Being alone can trigger feelings of unworthiness. Believing that you are only worthy in a relationship can also be a trigger.
- Connect your emotions to your childhood and recognize that your feelings and emotions are valid. Also realize that they are not an excuse to stay in a destructive cycle.
- If you feel immediate bonding and a sense of complete dependence in a romantic relationship, pull back as this is a sign your relationship addiction has been triggered.
- Get a support team to help you seek out healthy relationships. Possibly consider counseling to help heal childhood issues.
We start the process of recovery and working through the 12 steps to heal and start living the life God has planned for us. Recovery isn’t about ending a particular romantic relationship. It is about healing and growth in several areas of our life within relationship. The foundation is spiritual healing. Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” It’s also about finding healing physically, socially, mentally, and emotionally. Romantic relationships have played a domineering and oppressive role in our life. The goal of recovery is about finding their healthy place in our lives and to build healthy relationships with God, self, and others.
Celebrate Recovery is a 12-Step Support Group designed to bring healing to all of our hurts, habits, and hangups, including Love and Relationship Addiction. It can be a great place to begin your recovery today!