What Is Obsessive Love Addiction?
Have you or someone you know obsessed over another person? Have you often experienced difficulty dealing with the effects of your romantic obsession on your personal and professional lives? If so, you may have a case of obsessive love addiction.
Almost every romantic relationship involves some degree of obsession and compulsion. In the early stages of the relationship, it is normal to think about the object of affection constantly, yearn for their presence, and structure your life around them.
But there are cases wherein these behaviors veer into obsession and begin to have a detrimental effect on your life. If you aren’t getting the satisfaction and fulfillment you would typically derive from a healthy relationship, you may be experiencing obsessive love addiction.
Obsessive Love Addiction Defined
What is obsessive love addiction exactly? In most cases, it is a behavioral disorder that shares many similarities with other types of addiction. It typically causes a deviation from usual behavior and routines and often involves difficulty with controlling impulses.
Like people with substance addictions, most love addicts cannot control their compulsions and obsessive behaviors even despite repeated attempts. They may also experience anxiety, depression, and feelings of despair over their condition.
One of the key indicators of obsessive love addiction is the inability to feel pleasure or satisfaction from their behavior. Positive emotions tend to be temporary, and they soon feel a distinct lack of lasting fulfillment or happiness.
Ironically, love addicts feel compelled to maintain the relationship despite the negative consequences or lack of satisfaction. For many, the relationship is reduced to a constant striving and yearning for happiness that never comes.
Signs Of Obsessive Love Addiction
Some signs of obsessive love addiction are pretty easy to detect. Others can be more difficult to identify. If you suspect that you or someone you know is obsessively addicted to love, you may notice the following symptoms:
- Feelings of overwhelming desire or attraction to another person
- Obsessing about another person for extended periods
- Neglecting personal and societal responsibilities due to the obsession
- Keeping obsessive behavior secret from close friends or family members
- Harboring an irrational belief that a relationship with the object of affection will ‘complete’ oneself
- Constantly failing to follow self-imposed rules of relationships
- Feeling an urge to “protect” the object of affection
- Possessive and excessively jealous thoughts and feelings
Possible Causes Of Obsessive Love Addiction
Many factors may contribute to obsessive love addiction. For most, the condition results from a complex mishmash of underlying personal and emotional issues. Many compulsive love addicts have experienced trauma during childhood or were abused, neglected, or abandoned. They may also have mental problems related to their inability to control their impulses.
A common denominator among many obsessive love addicts is low self-esteem. Some people may develop the condition due to the absence of positive role models while growing up, especially someone they could have learned from in dealing with romantic relationships. Consequently, they may develop unrealistic expectations of how healthy relationships work.
Dealing With Obsessive Love Addiction
Like many types of obsessive or addictive behavior, love addiction is primarily a mental health condition. It shares many similarities with substance dependence and often occurs concurrently with each other.
For this reason, treatment for love addiction often takes into consideration other forms of obsessive or addictive behavior that the individual may exhibit. When a love addict also has substance abuse issues, these will have to be addressed to make a full recovery possible. If one or the other issue remains untreated, there is a high likelihood of the individual relapsing and reverting to addictive behavior.
As with substance abuse issues, personalized, comprehensive treatment programs have proven to be effective for dealing with most cases of obsessive love addiction. Many such programs have been developed to address issues with the individual’s mental health while simultaneously ensuring their physical well-being.
The most effective treatment programs for obsessive love addiction combine activities and intensive therapy. Love addiction treatment methods are based on clinical research and are geared toward helping the individual achieve full recovery. These programs often include counseling and psychotherapy, as well as group support.
If you or a loved one is struggling with obsessive love addiction, know that there is a way out of it. With professional attention, therapy, and the support of your friends and family, it is possible to develop healthier relationships and live more fulfilling lives.