The Painful Reality of Love Addiction - Uncovering the Signs in Part 1

Are you in love with the person or addicted to them? Determining the difference between the two is essential because addicted type love almost always ends in disaster.

Sometimes it can be challenging to figure out the difference between, am I in love or addicted? When you're love addicted, it can confuse, mix up feelings, and occasionally cause terrible decision-making. So let's clearly define each, so you'll know which category your situation falls under.

One of the reasons why it's so difficult to figure out the difference between the two is that we tend to use the word love so broadly and cover so many different things or types of love that it needs to be clarified. So, for example, there's romantic love. There's the way you love your best friend. There's the way you love your parents, and there's the way you love your child. All of those are entirely different kinds of love. Wouldn't you agree?

The other reason why this can get messy, confusing, and complicated is the way our culture represents love is more like addiction and less like love, which leads a lot of people who are actually in love to think that they're not in love or they're with the wrong person because they're not in an addicted state. And it leads many people in an addicted state to convince themselves that they are in love.

One of the easiest, fastest, and most helpful ways to differentiate the two is to think of it as addiction or addictive love as a feeling and to think about true love more as a behavior when we're addicted to something; it's not something that we're after, it's the way that something makes us feel inside. That's the thing that we're longing for.

When you're addicted to something, you spend much of your time in a desperate state. There's this desperation to hang on to whatever you are addicted to. Addiction is a lot more of a thought process.

For example, if you are an alcoholic, the addiction is the obsession with alcohol. Not everyone who drinks alcohol is obsessed with it. And just like someone can be a social drinker with alcohol, sometimes they consume a lot of alcohol but are not addicted to it.

You can have that being in love feeling without that desperate, obsessive; it's taken over your whole life kind of thing. When that happens, you're really in an addicted state.

What does it look and feel like to be addicted to love?

You can be the kind of person that's addicted to love in general, and that means it happens to you all the time over and over with different people. Or you can be the kind of person who's addicted to one specific person, just like you can be the kind of person who's addicted to any drug they ever put in their body. Or you can be the kind of person who's only addicted to one thing. Still, whether you're addicted to one person or just addicted to the idea and the feeling of love in general, these are the symptoms:

The most important and number one symptom of addictive love is an obsession. It's the amount of time, energy, and space you spend thinking about the person because there's something about how that person makes you feel that you crave and long for. That creates an obsession, a constant need for it; I'm sure you've heard that when people are addicted to something, sometimes they fill some hole inside.
Same thing with love. It's like you have this gap inside. You feel like this is the only way to meet the need and become obsessive about it, but here's a critical key factor; It's not the person. It's this fantasy you've built about that person or the relationship.

What happens when you're in this addicted love state is you develop this whole fantasy world. You are not in reality. Just like when you're addicted to heroin or abusing alcohol. When you are addicted to love and actively engaging in that addiction, you go into this fantasy state, separate from reality. Then you become very reliant on that, creating desperation, which leads to a fear of losing that person because you feel like you can't live without it. The same way as an alcoholic feels like they can't live without alcohol. You become reliant on it to fix everything for you. You become reliant on it to meet all of your needs.
You start losing interest in other things in your life. You might even give up hobbies, interests, and activities because you're obsessed with this person. So you're spending all your time with them, thinking about them, or not engaging in a fantasy relationship with that person.

You go into this immediate withdrawal state, leading you to pursue that feeling more. Even the thought of not having that person in your life will put you in a withdrawal, crazed, desperate state, leading you to do desperate things.

The action associated with love addiction is stalking.

And stalking incorporates a lot of different behaviors. Some are how you typically think about stalking, like following someone around. But this stalking-type behavior can manifest in a lot of different ways. (I cover this in part 2 of this "love" series)

You know that the way you feel about this person, the desperation you feel deep down inside, you know that there's something wrong with that. It might be hard to admit out loud, but when you dig deep, you feel ashamed about some of the behaviors you will engage in because of the addiction.

Like any other addiction, you will do things when you are addicted to heroin that you wouldn't normally do. 

When you genuinely love a person, it's more about that other person versus when you're addicted to a person. It's about a feeling you are chasing inside of you, and you falsely think that person can give to you.

Amber Hollingsworth

Watch part two of this series, where we will explore how addicted love works when you are not in a relationship with that person.

Is Someone Else Sabotaging Your Efforts To Help Your Addicted Loved One?


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