Warning Signs of Love Addiction

Every song, book, movie, and magazine promotes the fantasy of falling in love with that special person. The reality is the book is fiction, the movie is based on actors portraying loving couples, and the magazine’s stories are about as accurate as the airbrushed and photo shopped pictures that adorn them.

Now that I have your attention falling in love and being in love can be wonderful and healthy. Humans are social beings. It’s natural to want to share your life with that special person. But how do you know if you have a healthy outlook on love?

Possible warning signs of love addiction:

  • The idea of being in love consumes you.
  • When your entire life revolves around your relationship and it is the center of your universe.
  • You are obsessed with the idea of a perfect lover, companion, and relationship
  • You fall in love with the wrong person because you want to be in a relationship. For example,
    you chose someone you know is not healthy for you like an addict, or someone who has a history
    of being abusive or not being able to hold a job.
  • You have a pattern of being attracted to people who are unavailable (e.g., he or she may be involved in another relationship or married).
  • You put a lot of energy into a relationship that isn’t healthy or won’t go anywhere. You choose someone even when the warning signs tell you it is not a good idea.
  • You stay in a relationship even when you don’t really care or like the person because you feel that
    being in a relationship is better than not being in one at all.
  • You feel better about yourself when you are in a relationship. Low self-esteem and love addiction tend to go together.
  • Your partner becomes the center of your world and feels smothered and controlled by your attention
  • You continue in a relationship even when your partner does not show a lot of interest.
  • You make excuses for your partner when they don’t call or follow through on plans you have.
  • You may stay in a relationship even when you are being abused or ignored.
  • You fall in love too fast and too often. You chase that initial rush and newness of being in a relationship. Falling in love takes time and effort. You are more in love with love than another
    person.
  • The end of a relationship leaves you devastated and often unable to function
  • When you are attracted to someone, you spend a lot of time fantasizing about them even when there is no relationship.
  • Love for you is like a drug. You may feel a rush, excited, and/or energized and you spend a lot of time chasing that feeling like a drug addict chases a high.

Like other forms of addiction, love addiction can cause you to neglect your family, friends, work and other responsibilities.

Love addicts often are codependent and use techniques like enabling, caretaking, rescuing, and passive-aggressive behavior to cope with or control neglectful or abusive relationships hoping that their feelings will be reciprocated.

Love addicts suffer from anxiety and depression. When a relationship ends, anxiety and depression can become overwhelming, sometimes leading to an individual seeking counseling.

If you think you might be a love addict and you recognize yourself in these signs and symptoms, Al-Anon (http://www.alanon-maryland.org/) a self help group, as well as your Lawyer Assistance Program may be helpful.

This Tip Sheet has been written by Lisa Caplan. Lisa is a Licensed Certified Social Worker at the clinical level (LCSW-C) and a Certified Addictions Counselor (CAC). She has over 15 years experience in her field, and extensive experience working with lawyers and judges in the areas of mental health substance abuse and trauma.


For Assistance

Please contact the Lawyer Assistance Program for free, confidential assistance. Jim Quinn, Lawyer Assistance Director, 443.703.3041, jquinn@msba.org; Lisa Caplan, LCSW-C, CAC, Lawyer Assistance Counselor, 443.703.3042, lcaplan@msba.org. Toll free 800.492.1964

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