The Dance of Love—What is a Love Addict?

valentines day heartsWhat are the characteristics of a love addict? 

Scratch the surface of a sex addict and you will find a love addict. Scratch the surface of a love addict and you will find a love avoidant. This is a perplexing situation for most of the individuals who are facing these complex behavioral addictions.

Love addiction or love avoidance is often an underlying addiction in many relationships. But it is hard to discern the dance of a love addict and a love avoidant when you are on the dance floor with one. It helps to look at the definitions of each behavior.

What is love addiction?

“Love addiction is defined as a coping mechanism whereby an individual is obsessed with a fantasy he/she has created about another person, believing he/she is ‘loving’ the other but in fact objectifying the other person through the use of the fantasy.”

-Pia Mellody

Love addiction is usually created in childhood when a parent or major caregiver is incapable of displaying love or forming an attachment with their child, such as a parent who stands behind an emotional brick wall, perhaps is abusing drugs or alcohol, or is an overachiever in the workplace or in society. As it’s psychologically impossible for the child to believe that it’s the parent’s issue, the child has no choice but to take on the blame themselves and begins feeling “less than.”

In adulthood, the love-addicted person believes that if nobody takes care of them, they will be abandoned, and unable to survive. As a result, the love addict has very few personal boundaries, becoming needy and creating drama (intensity) in a relationship, in order to draw attention to themselves, to be noticed and therefore “kept alive.”

Love addicts live in a world of desperate need and emotional despair. Fearful of being alone or rejected, love addicts endlessly search for that special someone – a White Knight or Princess Leia, the person who will make them feel safe. Ironically, love addicts have overlooked numerous opportunities to experience the true intimacy they think they want. Passing by many a good man or woman, because the love addict thinks they are boring. Mainly because a love addict is more strongly attracted to the intense experience of “falling in love” than they are to the peaceful intimacy of a healthy relationship. As such, they spend much of their time hunting for “the one.” They base nearly all of their life choices on the desire and search for this perfect relationship – the person with an Ivy League degree, or the interesting job, the guy with the perfect wardrobe or the woman with a perfect body. The love addict will play the chameleon, engaging in hobbies that may not interest them or portraying themselves falsely in conversations and social interactions, in order to attract their mate. But what is a love avoidant? In next week’s post, I will explore the love avoidant characteristics.


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