Relationship addiction, or love addiction, is described as one person “loving” another person with an obsessive intensity that is not in the best interest of either party. Relationship addicts tend to become involved in brief, intense romantic relationships. If they are involved in a long-term relationship, it is usually characterized by many highs and lows. In some cases, love addicts completely withdraw from romantic or sexual relationships to avoid feelings of vulnerability.
Relationship addiction is a painful, compulsive, and addictive disorder that negatively impacts not only the addict but the object of their obsession. Gentle Path at The Meadows helps our patients to overcome root issues and take steps towards experiencing healthy, fulfilling relationships.
Causes of Relationship Addiction
Relationship addicts tend to focus a tremendous amount of energy on romantic relationships—whether they are involved in one, looking for the next one, or avoiding one altogether. The causes of relationship addiction are rooted in childhood trauma. Individuals lacking self-esteem or who had less-than-nurturing childhoods may grow up looking for constant reassurance from others. Relationship addicts also tend to enjoy the feeling of excitement that being “in love” brings.
Are You a Relationship Addict?
Men who are addicted to relationships tend to have low self-esteem and require an outside source to feel better. They don’t know how to “be themselves,” and some use compulsive behavior like indiscriminate sexual activity to feel better.
Qualities of a Relationship Addict:
- An exaggerated sense of responsibility for others’ actions
- A tendency to do more than necessary on a regular basis
- A tendency to become hurt when people don’t recognize their efforts
- An unhealthy dependence on relationships
- An extreme need for approval and recognition
- Feeling guilty when being assertive
- A compelling need for control
- A lack of trust in self and/or others
- Fear of being abandoned or alone
- Difficulty identifying feelings
- Problems with intimacy/boundaries
- Difficulty making decisions
Relationship addiction is often rooted in a person’s childhood; treatment often involves exploration into early childhood issues and their relationship to current destructive behavior patterns.
Relationship Addiction Treatment for Men
It is not uncommon for men to experience relationship addiction. The good news? We’re here to help.
At Gentle Path at The Meadows, men are guided on their journey of recovery by examining the underlying causes of addiction and co-occurring disorders in a safe and nurturing community composed of their peers. The goal is for these individuals to gain the courage to face difficult issues, including grief and loss; heal from emotional trauma; and become accountable for their feelings, behaviors, and recovery.