We've all heard of drug addicts, alcoholics and even sex addicts, but now there's an explanation for another form of a continuous self-destructive pattern: love addiction.
So what exactly does it mean to stand up in a focus group and declare that you are struggling with an addiction to love? My explanation (through my own understanding and talking to such addicts) is that it is someone who is continuously looking for love from another/others to fill their own lack of self-love.
Let's look at a few signs that indicate you might be addicted to love:
1. You hate being single
For a love addict, being single conjures up all sorts of fear -- fear of loneliness, rejection and not ever experiencing love the way they yearn to. It can also represent failure to find a partner or be in a relationship. Being single makes a love addict think there is something wrong with them, or that they need to change in order to have someone stay with them.
A solo life can pose its struggles, but before we can attract the right person for us, we first must be a whole and happy individual. Waiting for someone else's presence in your life to complete your happiness is like wishing for a pot to fill with water when it has a hole in the bottom; in short, it's an empty promise.
The important thing to remember when you are single is that you are still an incredible person with a lot to give, and that your worth should never be determined by your marital status.
2. You date people who mistreat you and can't commit
If you are a love addict, chances are you are dating the same type of person over and over again and have a recurring pattern that leaves you feeling emotionally bankrupt. Because you are craving attention and company so much, you naturally tend to lower your standards just so you can fill the position.
Love addicts give everything up too fast and easily instead of setting boundaries and making the other person work for it, which basically means that you are the giver and they are the taker.
When you have a healthy understanding of love, you will start to attract the right partner who gives and takes equally, respects you and your boundaries and actually wants to commit and build something with you.
3. You have low self-value
This is evident in the way you let partners, friends and other people treat you. Once again, a love addict will try to change to fit in with everyone else and have lowered their standards just so they can have someone in their life to give them that emotional high.
Being a love addict means that you will keep going back to the same person over and over again, even if that person is openly abusing you and your ability to give. You may have lost your boundaries or forgotten your true worth because you are too focused on feeling wanted. You need to remember that the most important thing is to first love yourself in a healthy way.
4. Your relationships aren't lasting
If you are a love addict, chances are you have started to develop patterns in your relationships -- they are either inconsistent or they just aren't lasting the distance. This is usually because you have let down all boundaries and are giving all your pearls away before you've had a chance to learn about your new partner's true character.
On the other hand, you might be in the same relationship which has been through countless breakups and make-ups for years, yet nothing ever changes. When you are addicted to love, it usually means that even negative attention is better than no attention at all, and to you it fills a void. A healthy relationship starts with a healthy self-love which understands what is acceptable and what is not, no matter the emotional attachment.
5. You confuse sex with love
A big indication that you might be a love addict is that you sleep easily and readily with any person who gives you attention. When someone is physically intimate with you, it plugs that hole in your heart and makes you feel 'loved' and wanted, if just for a few moments.
However, it can leave you with the sensation of emptiness after they have left (with no commitment or promise of their feelings). You know that if you give them sex, chances are they will stay a little longer and it will give you that intimacy you are craving.
Sex and love are two very different things and both can be incredibly fulfilling when used together, but this isn't possible until you have a clear understanding of the difference between the two.