Types of Love Addicts

Posted by on 01 22 13 in Romance Addiction | Comments Off on Types of Love Addicts

Love addiction is an obsession with romantic partners, falling in love, or love relationships, depending on the addict. This addiction, like other addictions, is destructive and damages families, marriages, careers, health, and many other things. For love addicts and the people who care about them, knowing more about the specifics of the addiction can be helpful and enlightening. There are many types of love addicts, and this article will explore the most common variations.

Some things that almost all love addicts have in common is a failure to have bonded in a healthy way with their main caregiver when they were young. In the beginning of their romantic relationships, they try overly hard to impress. They seek to find that super-special magical bond with this fantastical partner that will heal their wounds and finally make them feel lovable. All love addicts tend to over-focus on their romantic relationships, investing far too much time and attention. They have unrealistic expectations of what a relationship should signify in their lives, mistakenly believing that the “perfect partner” will show them unconditional positive regard and satiate their insatiable desires.

Co-Dependent Love Addicts

Types of Love AddictsA co-dependent is someone who puts the needs and welfare of another (usually a romantic partner) ahead of their own happiness and comfort, in time tolerating worse and worse behavior and likely developing manipulative and unhealthy habits to cope. According to LoveAddicts.org, co-dependent love addicts (CLAs) are the most common type of love addicts. Therapist Mary Ellen O’Leary identifies these characteristics as the main symptoms of codependency in love relationships: low self-esteem, poor boundaries with others, a low standard of self-care, and being unable to truly see or communicate their reality for what it is.

In order to maintain their love relationships, CLAs enable unhealthy behavior from their partners, take care of their partners more than they tend to take care of themselves, rescue, rely on passive-aggressive tactics, and tolerate neglectful behavior and even physical or emotional abuse. In a nutshell, CLAs do whatever is necessary to keep their romantic partners from leaving them.

Love addicts and co-dependents are not synonymous terms though. A CLA is a co-dependent that processes these issues in an addictive, obsessive-compulsive way. When addicted, a co-dependent tries to literally swallow up and merge into their partner, hoping to conceal a deep-seeded fear of abandonment and intimacy. A mere co-dependent can rectify their unhealthy conduct through awareness and support, while a CLA would experience a very real withdrawal in an attempt to rectify their conduct.

Ambivalent Love Addicts

Ambivalent love addicts (ALAs) don’t really know how to be intimate in a healthy way so they find themselves craving, but ultimately avoiding, true intimacy. This ambivalence can manifest in many forms: unrequited love, sabotaging their relationships, cycling between being available and unavailable to their love interests, and being in love with numerous people at the same time in order to avoid genuine intimacy with one person.

Ambivalent love addiction is often associated with avoidant personality disorder. According to the National Institute of Health, avoidant personality disorder is a chronic pattern of fearing rejection and feeling shy and insufficient. Those that suffer from avoidant personality disorder are obsessed with their perceived inadequacies and prefer to be lonely and isolated than risk rejection.

Combination Love Addicts and Switch Hitters

It is not uncommon for love addicts to suffer from multiple types of addictions, including various types of love and sex addictions. For example, someone may be an alcoholic who starts drinking everyday before lunch, a sex addict who masturbates five times a day to Internet pornography, and an ambivalent love addict who is currently dating four different people. Someone may be experiencing unrequited love, sabotaging their relationships, and in love with multiple people simultaneously or in cycles.

On the other hand, “switch hitters” may manifest as one type of love addict in one relationship and a different type in another relationship. Perhaps with a co-dependent partner, the love addict ambivalently sabotages the relationship. With the next partner who has avoidant personality disorder, the love addict acts in a co-dependent way to try to salvage the relationship and make it work.