When love becomes addiction

When love becomes addiction

When a person fails to free themselves from a romantic relationship that causes harm and damages their physical and mental health, the relationship becomes an obsession.


  • 1 Love and obsession
  • 2 A type of toxic relationship
  • 3 The addictive relationship is progressive
  • 4 Overcome the obsession

Love and obsession

The person is not happy with or without the partner, because he has entered a vicious circle similar to that entered by those addicted to alcohol, drugs, play or others. Just as those need and tolerate more and more toxic to function, the person "addicted to love" endures incredible amounts of suffering in the relationship he has established.

These individuals who, for one reason or another, tend to handle their problems through the manipulation and control of others, "engage" in a romantic relationship with inappropriate people who are usually unable to emotionally engage in the relationship. The individual perceives it helpless, needy or that requires some transformation and stands as responsible for their "salvation" or their transformation, thus creating a codependence or addiction.

Based on this false premise, he has the belief that with the "power of his love" he will be able to retain the couple, satisfy their shortcomings or achieve their transformation and look for any pretext to maintain the relationship, despite the abuse and rejection he receives. They fear facing reality and the consequences that a change in attitude or behavior would produce in their lives.

A type of toxic relationship

Relationships of this type are characterized by being dramatic, chaotic, full of excitement, suffering and a high degree of eroticism and sexuality.

Usually, seduction and sexuality define the relationship. There is a supposed "good sexuality in a bad relationship." The effort to please focuses particularly on this area, which is probably used as a "disguise" to hide affective deficiencies and the need to be embraced, protected, loved. For this reason sexual encounters, especially at the beginning of the relationship or after distancing or when there is no formality in the relationship (lovers), are often distinguished by charm, romanticism, eroticism and sensuality.

In the dynamics of "love addiction", attempts to retain and / or change the other, linked to management and control, becomes a continuous struggle in which one is the one that “supports” being hurt, humiliated, violent, while the other despises, mistreats, becomes depressed, cries, pleads or causes greater emotional withdrawal. Many remain together but distant, without totally breaking the relationship, causing greater dependence and addiction.

The addictive relationship is progressive

The attempt to control and direct the transformation of the couple, is gradually making it at the mercy of the couple. The controller becomes controlled, while abandoning his personal interests.

In this state, he feels anger, anger, helplessness, frustration. Your thoughts become obsessive, with irrational jealousy, ideas of revenge, imaginary plans to submit the couple or get their attention, you can even perform actions that cause or are aimed at the attention or approach of the couple. He fails to manage his emotions or resolve his conflicts and presents physical and psychological symptoms of stress. Lower your self-esteem, lose your self-confidence, repress your emotions, fail to set limits, be less assertive, fail to communicate what they think and feel. He loses control of his life and works around the decisions and will of the other.

If the couple distances themselves or breaks the relationship, the “withdrawal syndrome” similar to any addict can occur, with a physical and mental state of deep pain, a feeling of emptiness, insomnia, crying, anguish, guilt, humiliation, created by the fear of loneliness, abandonment, to be rejected and ignored. Self-esteem is seriously injured, health deteriorated, while the dependence is becoming more and more harmful.

Overcome the obsession

Recovering or preventing this addiction is possible with will and effort. In general, we point out some steps to follow:

  • Accept that you have a problem and that you should look for the solution ...
  • Face the reality of the situation with honesty, without fantasies, deceptions or lies.
  • Process and resolve the pain you have inside.
  • Get rid of the burden you have inside, talking about your feelings and emotions with someone you trust. Seek professional help if necessary.
  • Analyze your behavior patterns and have the willingness and courage to change those behaviors that harm you and harm others.
  • Always keep in mind that each person is responsible for themselves and does not need to change or control others to feel good, because to feel good we just need to control ourselves and change ourselves.
  • We must live life fully and let others live freely, with respect, taking care of ourselves and loving ourselves first in order to have the ability to love others.

Alejandra Palacios Banchero
Clinical and Community Psychologist