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Love addiction, also known as relationship addiction or obsessive love disorder, refers to an unhealthy and damaging pattern of romantic love. It is often linked to co-dependency in relationships.


In many cases, the root of love addiction can be traced back to adverse childhood experiences of neglect or abandonment by parents or caregivers. People who have suffered severe psychological trauma or sexual assault during childhood are also prone to struggling with love addiction in adulthood. Individuals with love addiction typically display insecure attachment patterns and become reliant on another person for a sense of security and self-worth. This is also called “attachment disorder” and with age, may lead to worsening symptoms.

  • Unable to maintain long-term relationships, but feel the need to always be in one

  • Constant need for validation and approval from others

  • Cannot tolerate being separated from one’s partner

  • Overly possessive and controlling

  • Obsessively stalking a partner/love interest on social media

  • Quickly losing interest once a partner is unable to satisfy one’s needs (emotional and/or physical)

  • Unable to stop the cycle of being in and out of relationships


People who struggle with love addiction typically have experienced many failed relationships. They need time and help to grow in self-awareness, unlearn unhealthy relational patterns, and recognise their innate self-worth. Recovery is possible, and many people who recover from love addiction go on to establish and maintain healthy romantic relationships.

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