Addictive Relationships

addictive relationshipsPeople who are addicted to love often have the best of intentions: they hope to have happy and healthy relationships that are full of romance.[1] However, underneath these good intentions may be a struggle with intimacy, as with sex and love addiction, there is always a hidden agenda that needs to be met, often based on feelings of insecurity.1

When a child is raised in a family that is dysfunctional, especially with emotions, that child grows up to desperately seek out love from others.1 When a child lacks love from a parent, they may seek to make up for it later in life with that of a romantic partner.1

However, when emerging from a dysfunctional home and falling quickly in love as an adult, our vision may be clouded and we may be at risk of being with a partner who will repeat those familiar and unhealthy patterns.1 Spending time with someone before committing to a relationship is important, as we can get to know them as a person and a partner without romance getting involved and in the way.1 Then, a realistic decision can be made regarding whether or not the relationship turns romantic.1 This is often difficult for love addicts to do, as they need romance, but it is a healthy practice.1

Love addicts often live in a fantasy world, where they think that each person they have intense feelings for can make them happy, without truly knowing them first.1 This is when separating fantasy from reality is important.1 When we don’t know someone too well, we can project many desires upon them.1 These positive feelings of love can create chemical highs within our bodies, only to be possibly ruined by the truth of who the person is, through experience.1

Since addictive relationships are based on the highs that are created during pairing, they often burn out quickly.1 On the other hand, non-addictive relationships will grow and become more settled.1 People who are in addictive relationships have trouble navigating normal relationship difficulties, as honesty is lacking, and the underlying dynamic of the relationship is very emotionally raw, due to a dysfunctional childhood.1 These relationships actually lack intimacy.1

Intimacy involves the ability to talk openly about fears, concerns, deep topics, and dreams.1 There is no blaming or deflecting involved.1 However, for those with dysfunctional childhoods, they found that it was not safe to be real with everyone, and learned to preserve themselves as a coping mechanism, detaching themselves from their feelings.1 As they grew, their coping mechanism stuck, creating toxic relationship dynamics.1

[1] Katehakis, A. (2014). The Psychology of Addictive Relationships. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/03/24/the-psychology-of-addictive-relationships/

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