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Article written for PsyWeb.com by Sherry Gaba, LCSW.
To many people the idea of a love addiction seems far fetched or something that is just made up to explain irrational behaviors. However, love addiction is not a new concept. Early literature and history are full of references to people, often very powerful and famous people, which allowed their dependence on another person to cause their downfall or even death. Why some people become so dependent on another is largely a factor of emotional needs that are not met through positive relationships but are somehow met through negative and destructive relationships.
When you are in love addiction you tend to put your partner (or ex-partner) on a pedestal and long for that person’s love and approval. Anytime you put someone on a pedestal you are not seeing what is. You are seeing what you hope is that person but not what is.
People don’t belong on pedestals. There is only one way down from a pedestal and that happens when the object of your obsession reveals their flawed humanity. In love addiction you see the flaws but put the person right back up on that pedestal. You see what you want to believe is possible and you don’t deal with what is. In that way you allow yourself to stay in abusive or unhealthy relationships, always believing the other person is finally going to change and keep their promises.
Love addiction is more than just an emotional need that isn't met, there is a potential for serious injury and even death because of this behavior. When a person continues in a relationship that is abusive, either physically or mentally, there is a very real danger. Women and men are abused in relationships, and unfortunately death by an intimate partner is a very real concern in today's society. Knowing when love has become an addiction starts by asking the following questions:
Answering these questions honestly is the first step in determining if you may have an addiction to love that is potentially harmful or dangerous. Most people need help with this very serious issue and greatly benefit from talking with a therapist or counselor that specializes in addictions and addiction recovery.
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