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“You are my life”: Distinguishing love addiction from true love

05.03.2019 Author: psiholog pavel horoshutin

We all dream of personal happiness, true love and having our loved ones by our side. However, sometimes what we consider true love is not really the genuine feeling. For example, love addiction. It is not that much different from an addiction to alcohol, drugs or gambling, and it can destroy us as easily. If you are stuck in a relationship that does not make you happy, or have lost interest towards anything but your lover, then you probably have it. Let’s learn more about the signs of love addiction and about escaping unhealthy relationship.

Contents:

  1. Dangers of love addiction
  2. Why people end up in dependent relationship
  3. Difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships
  4. Test: love or addiction
  5. Getting rid of love addiction

Dangers of love addiction

love addiction

Love addiction is the state characterized by strong passion and emotional fixation on a significant one. Co-dependence can be a feature of any kind of relationship, but it appears most often between lovers.

Love addiction has nothing to do with true love. True love brings us happiness and makes our life more bright and fulfilling, while addiction only destroys both partners and leads to personal degradation. An addict loses their individuality and independence. They stop caring about themselves and start expecting their partner to fulfill their needs. Their relationship becomes the center of their world, while other parts of their lives are left unattended.

If they break up with their partner, they may feel that their whole life breaks apart. An addict will try to do anything to attract their significant other, appear successful to them, become popular and prove them that they should be together again. Some may even start stalking their significant other.

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If a person fails to rebuild their previous relationship, they enter a new one, which is likely to be a dependent one again.

True intimacy is impossible in dependent relationship. On a conscious level, a person in such relationship is afraid to be left alone, but on a subconscious level they avoid intimacy and close interactions, they cannot handle it. Such subconscious attitude will make a person choose themselves a partner that would eventually leave them or keep their distance. This is a vicious circle, which is extremely hard to break. [1]

Why people end up in dependent relationship

love addiction signs

People with low self-esteem, insecurities, infantility and fear of making decisions are usually susceptible to this addiction. General disposition to addictions also plays its part. People often have another bad habit in addition to obsessive love.

Psychological causes of love addiction stem from dysfunctional mindset imposed on us first by parents and then by society. This mindset becomes the foundation for unhealthy behavior patterns. Let’s see how people form such mindset.

Troubled relationship with parents during childhood

A common trait of addicted people is the lack of love for themselves. It often develops as a consequence of troubled childhood experiences devoid of parental love. If the parents neglected their child, suppressed the child’s feelings or forced them to act as a parents, “switching places”, such child will be desperate for love after reaching adulthood. This need will become the crux of their life, and they will do anything in their power to achieve it. Strict parental control may result in infantility and inability to solve personal problems independently. A person will constantly seek approval from other people and push their troubles on them. [3]

Influence of pop culture

Russian culture in particular has a great influence on developing an unhealthy mindset. Russian literature, songs and contemporary movies are filled with the following detrimental ideas: “beating your wife is a sign of love”, “I will do anything for my love”, “I will love you forever”, “you are my life” etc. Each piece of art is always based on a certain conflict, internal or external one. We need emotions, we need drama. It is very hard to write a good song or make a good movie about normal and healthy relationship, as they can look dull and uneventful to the audience.

From the very childhood we learn from our art and culture that drama and unrequited love are normal. As the result, we begin to think that true love looks exactly like that: hard, emotional and selfless. Healthy relationship seems boring, while people, especially creative ones, require strong emotions. It becomes very difficult to escape love addiction with such mindset.

Gender stereotypes

These stereotypes appear in all parts of our lives, more so in relationships. Tradition tells us that a person, especially a woman, needs a soulmate, their “other half”. Such conviction becomes the core of love addiction. However, it is incompatible with healthy behavior patterns, which is why it is so important to change this mindset to solve relationship problems.

Women are being told since their childhood that their goal in life is to become a wife, subservient to her husband. Meanwhile, men are taught the concept of ideal masculinity, their role as the head of the family, unilaterally responsible for making all decisions.

All these ideas lead to dependent relationships. Women get convinced that they must have a man in their lives, so they dread being left alone. Men, on the other hand, may subconsciously treat their wife as an object, oblivious to her individuality as a human being. Both sides suffer from such toxic mindset.

Difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships

how to overcome love addiction

The most important feature of the true love is that it makes a person happy. When we experience true love, the very fact of our loved one’s existence brings us happiness.

A person in healthy relationship experiences only positive emotions:

  • joy, abundance of life;
  • gratitude for such encounter;
  • an intent to give rather than take;
  • respect towards a loved one and their choices;
  • eagerness to let them go if it makes them feel better;
  • genuine desire to make them happy;
  • self-confidence and sense of personal worth.

Healthy relationship does not interfere with career, social life, personal time and growth. However, an unhealthy love is known for completely different emotional expression. Rejection of one’s individuality is the first sign of love addiction. A significant other becomes the center of a person’s whole life, while all other things become irrelevant.

An addicted person dreads being left alone. If a partner leaves them for even a little while, a person becomes worked up and feels pain. Their mood completely depends on their partner’s behavior. Addicts are willing to humiliate themselves in order to avoid break-up. Women display these signs of love addiction particularly strong.

This addiction can, of course, be accompanied by obsessive jealousy, possessiveness, prohibition and control. These can be seen particularly often in men.

Test: love or addiction

There is a fine line between true love and addiction. Take our test to find out if your relationship is healthy. Here are the most common symptoms of love addiction. Read the statements and mark the ones you agree with.

  • I feel bad when my loved one is not here.
  • Love is the most important thing in life.
  • I easily fall in love and get attracted to other people.
  • I believe that my love will change my significant other for better.
  • The stronger the love, the stronger the jealousy
  • My relationship with significant other depends only on me.
  • I feel like I love the other person more than they love me.
  • True love is when two become one.
  • I am willing to change my opinion for the sake of my loved one.
  • I always consult my partner before planning.
  • You can reject even your personal freedom for the sake of love.
  • Partner is always more important than friends and family.
  • I find it hard to be all alone.
  • When my significant other is far away, I imagine bad things, feel extremely worried and jealous.
  • For women: If my boyfriend cares about me, he must not talk to other women.
  • For men: If my girlfriend cares about me, she must not talk to other men.
  • I find it hard to end even a hurtful relationship.
  • I dread the very idea of being left alone.
  • My partner must tell me everything about their life.
  • I don’t understand people who don’t spend weekends together.
  • I cannot concentrate on my job because I think about my significant other.
  • Their happiness is the most important thing. I will do everything to make them happy.
  • I feel inferior when I am not in a relationship.
  • Being alone is the worst thing in the world.
  • I often experience unrequited love.
  • I sometimes read my partner’s private conversations.
  • There are no secrets between us.
  • I don’t want to have children, because they will take my partner from me.

If you agree with at least 5 statements, there is a high probability that you are susceptible to love addiction or already are in dependent relationship.

Getting rid of love addiction

If you learned from our test that your love is not true love, do not lose your heart. Addiction is not a life sentence, and you can always change your existing mindset and have a healthy life.

Many people try to get rid of love addiction on their own, but it can be hard for a person to look at themselves properly and notice their behavior patterns. We recommend you to consult specialists. There are various ways to treat love addiction.

Regular psychotherapy

Therapy is often focused on analyzing your life, understanding the roots of addiction and finding ways to get rid of it. A therapist will carefully analyze your childhood trauma with you, show you the similarities between your relationship with parents and with your partner. They will look at the finest details to discover similar patterns. As the result, you will get a better understanding of your personality and the things you need to change in order to free yourself from addiction.

Unfortunately, not all people are brave enough to tell a therapist about the most intimate details of their life, while this method requires complete honesty. Moreover, therapy requires a lot of time and money, and you may spend years to free yourself from your old behavior patterns.

Hypnosis

Many people prefer hypnosis to free themselves from love addiction. A hypnologist sends a person into a trance—a state between seep and wakefulness. This gives them access to a person’s subconsciousness. A hypnologist helps a person to reproduce all the hurtful emotions towards their partner, discover real causes of addiction and then experience happy and healthy relationship in their imagination. After hypnosis ends, a person learns the new model of relationships and never return to their old behavior patterns

However, many people do not trust hypnosis, as it is the least scientifically approved method. An inexperienced hypnologist can inflict serious harm to a patient, as human subconsciousness is very fragile. The consequences of such intervention can be extremely grave: strong emotion can lead to mental disorders. Moreover, there are multiple contraindications for hypnosis, from depression to heart disease. [2]

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7Spsy behavior modification technique

Another way to overcome love addiction is changing your mode of behavior. This is what our 7Spsy technique is about. This method helps you discover the mindset that became the foundation for your addiction and change it to a healthier one, allowing you to value yourself more. This will become the basis for healthy relationship with mutual feelings.

Its main feature is that the course can be taken remotely. You won’t have to tell a psychologist about every detail of your life or ask your partner to come with you. You will simply need to stated your problem and pass a diagnostic test. The course lasts 2-6 weeks. This will be enough to change your behavior pattern in relationship. You will be able to consult a psychologist online during your journey towards overcoming love addiction. After you finish the course, you will change tour mode of behavior and experience the joy of true love.

References:

  1. Egorov A. YU. Lyubovnye i seksualnye addikcii (zavisimosti) (http://www.psi-test.ru/pub/love-addict.html)
  2. «Gipnoz i zdorovye vzroslogo cheloveka» (https://medaboutme.ru/zdorove/spravochnik/slovar-medicinskih-terminov/gipnoz/)
  3. «Vyjti iz lyubovnoj zavisimosti» (http://www.psychologies.ru/standpoint/vyiyti-iz-lyubovnoy-zavisimosti/)