Addictive Love – Love Addiction and Codependency in a Relationship
by Jef Gazley, M.S., LMFT, DCC
Love addiction is even more extreme than codependency. We can actually become so addicted to love in our relationship that we allow ourselves to be treated poorly and start feeling we cannot live without the other person. While there is often real love between the two people, there is even a greater amount of dependency. Find more information about love addiction and relationships related topics in our free counseling articles.
Characteristics and psychology of Addictive Love:
- Consuming, all-pervasive need for the other person. This might only show up during a breakup where one partner or both feel incomplete without the other.
- Difficulty defining ego boundaries. This means the partners do not realize where one begins and one ends. A couple is still two separate people!
- Partners that exhibit sadomasochism. This does not necessarily mean whips and chains. It simply means they tend to either specialize or take turns playing abuser and victim.
- Each person being afraid to let themselves go and take risks either as individuals or as a part of the couple. They often tend to do the same things and do not try things that are different.
- Resisting and being fearful when a partner tries to grow personally. The other partner often views this as a threat.
- Not experiencing true intimacy in any sense – intellectually, spiritually, physically, or emotionally. Intensity takes the place of intimacy. Drama signifying nothing.
- Partners playing psychological games, as in one being the giver and one playing the victim.
- Addictive partners barter and keep score, rather than giving freely without expecting something in return.
- Partners attempting to change the other instead of dealing with their own problems or feelings.
- Partners requiring the other to feel complete.
- Seeking solutions for problems from their partners, instead of themselves.
- Demanding and expecting unconditional love. This type of love can only exist between a parent and a child. We don’t always like or approve of what our partners do. There are behaviors a partner cannot allow in the relationship and might well result in its termination
- Finding it hard to really commit to each other.
- Partners look to each other for affirmation and worth, rather than to themselves.
- Fearing abandonment when separated.
- A tendency to recreate old negative patterns with their present partners that occurred in childhood.
- Desiring, yet fearing closeness.
- Attempting to take care of others’ feelings (codependence).
- Playing power and psychology games.
The psychology of additive infatuation is characterized by caring so much for a relationship with another person that self-love and self-respect begin to suffer.