It is often we hear about friends, lovers or even family members struggling with being addicted to street drugs, alcohol, pain medication, sex, work, retail goods, etc. In fact, addictions can come in many various forms and severity of cases.
Usually when someone has an addiction, it is an uncontrollable desire and urge to engage in an activity that often leads to self-destruction down the road.
But, what about an emotional or love addiction?
They often go undetected because they are much harder to recognize since there is not an addiction to a substance or materialistic good involved. In fact, going through a break-up, or falling deeply in love, is a very normal process. But, when a person consumes their life around a lover this is when it is no longer a healthy love, but a toxic love.
Things become unhealthy and enmeshed when you are co-dependent upon the emotions you feel for this person. You continuously search for the ultimate high, giving you an intense pleasure of ecstasy. The emotional sensation becomes an obsession and it feels as though your life is only meaningful when you experience the euphoria.
Here are some signs you may have a relationship addiction:
- Cling to unhealthy partners
- Choose partners who are emotionally unavailable
- Mistake sexual experiences as romantic compatibility
- Inability to maintain relationships after newness has worn off
- Extremely fearful to upset partner, therefore place them on a pedestal
- Find it unbearable to be alone when not in a relationship
- Using sex as manipulation to “hook” a partner
- Constantly search for sexual encounters or new romantic partners to fulfill the void within
- Seek emotional comfort from a partner to feel alive
- Replay the fantasy of falling in love
- Brooding over the pain of breaking up
- Daily thoughts are consumed about your partner in an obsessive way
- Find it challenging to accept when a relationship is over
- Depend on the relationship as a sense of identity and purpose
- Do not have a life outside of the relationship
- Show neediness and dependency on your partner for validation
- Feeling unlovable or undesirable due to the lack of interaction with your partner
- Change your beliefs to be accepted by your partner
- Looking for the constant highs and lows
Those who typically experience a relationship addiction, often suffer from depression, low-self esteem, or childhood trauma. They use the relationship as an external source to feel better about the state of their internal self, only to feel worse when the relationship comes to an end. This often leads to a repetitive cycle of severe depression and feelings of emptiness.
The good news is you can overcome a love addiction like any other addiction.
Are you ready for a healthy relationship?
Here are 3 tools to overcome a relationship addiction:
1.Journaling Your Emotions
Journaling is one of the most effective ways to process your emotions. It allows you to reflect on your experiences and unleash any built up emotion so you do not displace them onto your connection with a partner. The active handwriting motion is known to be therapeutic in the letting go process. Holding onto resentment, anger, frustration, or agony will only keep you from reaching your goal of healing.
When journaling ask yourself these hard questions:
- How did I play a role in this relationship?
- Am I a respectful partner? Does my partner respect my relationship values?
- Do I seek the same type of unavailable partners?
- How can I fully love and accept myself?
- What will help me feel okay being alone?
- What purpose does the relationship serve if it is unstable?
The more you are in tune with your emotions the better you will understand yourself and be able to manage them. Love addicts usually operate on emotion versus value which typically leads to highs and lows of their relationships. A healthy relationship is built on mutual alignment of values and the ability to be independent outside of the relationship while managing your emotional state.
2.Rewire The Brain
Because your brain has been wired a certain way for as long as you can remember, it can be challenging to think differently about love. The good news is that with patience and perseverance it is possible to rewire the brain through meditation and positive affirmations.
Positive affirmations help you reflect on beliefs that no longer serve a purpose in your life. They allow you to rewire these false beliefs into new beliefs that will guide you towards the outcome you want for your life.
Want to incorporate affirmations into your daily lifestyle? Check out this article for further details.
3.Embrace Self-Care and Self-Love
For many years, you have been busy taking care of everyone else but yourself. Neglecting what you mentally, physically, and emotionally need is a sure way to find yourself in a toxic relationship. Your daily self-care and self-love are essential to your well-being. It allows you to gather inner strength and confidence so when you are hit with adversity, like a break-up. This gives you the ability to keep focusing on your goals and pushing forward regardless of what you encounter, as your long-term goals outweigh the short-term emotions.
Examples you can incorporate self-care and self-love into your daily lifestyle are:
- A gym routine
- Eating healthy, nutritious meals
- Learning a new hobby
- Starting a passion project
- Reading books
- Infrared sauna and sunlight
- Writing poems or stories
- Taking bubble baths
- Practicing deep breathing
- Going on long walks
If you find yourself struggling to overcome the loss of a relationship and feel stuck in attracting unhealthy partners, know that you are not alone. As Relationship and Lifestyle Coaches, we can help you heal while securing a healthy relationship with yourself and a new partner.