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valuing a person above yourself, the focus on the beloved is often obsessive

Love addiction is a preoccupation with a person, a relationship, or the concept of romance. Another way of saying this is that the love addict is drawn to the intensity of a relationship, similar to what is experienced when one first “falls in love.” It’s a magical, intense period of time, where the other person is the sole preoccupation of the beholder.

When the “newness” of the relationship begins to wear down, the love addict begins to search for a new “love interest.” It’s not uncommon for love addicts to be in multiple relationships at the same time. As one ends, they already have another to go to.

Although sex is often part of a love addiction, it is different from sex addiction, in that love addiction involves a pattern of dramatic highs and lows in a relationship, or a pattern of frequent, short-lived relationships. Some symptoms include constantly searching for a new romance or significant other (even while in a relationship); mistaking sex and romance for intimate love; being alone is almost unbearable; and attracting troubled, abusive, or emotionally unavailable partners.

Love addiction is another method of avoiding emotions (such as underlying hurt and pain) and avoiding true intimacy. Healing can begin when an individual is willing to accept help and support. They may then begin to look at their behaviors, feelings, and possible childhood wounds or traumas, and begin the healing journey of recovery.

For all addictions, it is necessary to address distorted, irrational thinking and break down denial systems in order to recognize the need for change. Clients are guided through the process of making lifestyle changes that will help them begin making healthier behavioral choices. Spouses, significant others, family members, and friends are encouraged to participate in their own individual and/or group counseling, as well as attending 12-step meetings. Couples and family counseling sessions are helpful to address specific relationship problems. Everyone involved in an addictive system benefits from learning more about addiction and the progression of the disease. New Leaf Center provides all of these specialized counseling services.

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