Tell-Tale Signs Of Relationship Addiction

Updated January 31, 2020

Reviewer Lauren Guilbeault

Addicted to love? Being in love can be one of life's most amazing experiences, but at the same time, it can be intoxicating. Love has been and continues to be the subject of many novels, songs, and movies. But can it be a form of addiction? Believe it or not, many of us struggle with functioning alone. This is especially true of extroverts who feel they must be connected with others to feel 'okay.' Although this isn't a healthy way of existing, struggling with relationship addiction is a collective experience for many.


Relationship Addiction Defined

When one has a relationship addiction, it means that the person in question cannot function without a romantic relationship. If one is not in a relationship and often feels incomplete or struggles to function normally, then that is relationship addiction.

One can also say that relationship addiction happens when an individual is in a relationship that instead of bringing the best of you, it makes you stop taking care of yourself, or one begins to lose sight of your main goals and purpose in life.

Just like any kind of addiction, relationship addiction can result in so many negative consequences. One can be a relationship addict without realizing it until someone or something triggers the symptoms of relationship addiction. For many people, this is the time they reach out to a professional counselor who can help with their relationship problems. Recognizing these signs is the first step, and the process of healing can be assisted by the help of BetterHelp counselors.

Symptoms Of Relationship Addiction

If you are unable to break off a relationship that involves a lot of devaluing, demeaning, silent treatment, controlling, or even emotionally and physically abused, then you may be a relationship addict. You most likely keep seeing that this relationship is not good for you yet you keep going back to the same person over and over again. Being in a relationship brings about warm feeling of love, but if that same relationship is causing you to doubt your self-worth or creates inner conflicts, well it's high time you have a serious evaluation of the relationship.


When seeking to have meaningful relationships, we should ask ourselves several questions the following questions. Does this relationship serve any value in my life? Are you in this relationship to avoid being alone? Can I grow as an individual in this relationship? Does this relationship make or break me?

Some relationship addictions arise from a deep-rooted fear of being alone or abandoned. Relationship or love addicts may sometimes fail to recognize when they are in an unhealthy relationship. Defining the line between real love, infatuation, and addiction is very crucial.

Let us look at the telltale signs of relationship addiction.

Many Break Up And Break Up Cycles In Your Relationship

One of the signs of relationship addiction is having numerous breaks up and makeup cycles in a relationship. You are unable to stay away from the partner for extended periods prompting you to make up with your partner even when you know it is not the best decision.

The vicious cycle does do any good for the health of the relationship. If there's an argument that leads to a breakup, the relationship addict is likely to initiate reconciliation even when he/she has been wronged. Such kind of a relationship has no future.

If you and your partner have broken up countless times, then the relationship is just not working, and one of you could be a relationship addict. A healthy relationship does go through makeup and break-up cycles, but not the extreme.

Inability To Exercise Self-Control

Just like any other addict, a relationship addict does not have the power to exercise self-control. A relationship addict does not have control over the new relationship, and they can move from one relationship to the next.

Learning to have self-control over your emotions and actions is a big step for a person who is a love addict. As a relationship addict, one should seek to regain power over their lives and be mindful of how they react to situations. For instance, a relationship addict may find their partner cheating, and instead of having self-worth and self-respect, they may keep begging their partner to stop cheating. True power is in seeking control over their life decisions and different situations.

There Is No Life Outside The Relationship

Once in a relationship, many relationship addicts give too much, and their partner may feel smothered. Similar to any other kind of addiction, relationship addiction has adverse effects on all other areas of your life. For instance, one may lose interest in their hobbies, jobs, friends, and family. All the attention is given to the relationship even when the partner shows no interest in the relationship or does hurtful and disrespectful things. It is losing all for the sake of keeping the relationship.

The drama of this type of relationship can be exhausting, and you will unknowingly find yourself neglecting other areas of your life. Even activities such as exercising, self-care, and money issues can become a problem if you have a relationship addiction.

Interestingly, even if the addict has no life outside the relationship, he or she feels very lonely despite being in a relationship. In addictive relationships, the parties involved often have little in common other than their obsession with each other.

Confusing Sex For Love

Individuals in addictive relationships usually confuse the fact that they have great sex with their partners for love. Just because someone who mistreats or cold walls you can be intimate with you that does not mean that they value the relationship. If you are in a relationship where every time you have issues such as physical abuse the partner resolves the issue through sex, then you are in an unhealthy relationship. One should not confuse sex for love. A person who loves you cannot abuse you then have sexual intercourse as a display of love.


Inconsistency In The Relationship

When on good terms with the partner, the relationship addict feels on top of the world. But in bad times, everything else comes crumbling down. If one is in a healthy relationship, then the good and the bad times are all handled rationally. However, this is not the case in an addictive love.

Some people may feel sick when they try ending the relationship, symptoms that similar to drug withdrawal. If you find yourself being inconsistent in how you feel and act, then you may have relationship addiction. Your partner may make you feel on top of the world one moment, and the next moment they can even look at you.

Non-Stop Thinking About The Relationship

A person who has relationship addiction is constantly thinking about the relationship. Why did the partner do this to me? How can I make myself better for them to love me? They are always thinking about what is working in the relationship and what can be done with what is not working in the relationship. Even when with their friends and loved ones, they are constantly talking about their relationship or their partner.

This can cause serious issues even at work because the mind is not focused on work issues. A person with relationship addiction is always making excuses as to why the relationship has problems. Some of the explanations that could fill the mind are such as, "maybe if get thinner he will love me more" or, "maybe he didn't mean to hit me."

Loving And Being In A Relationship With The Wrong People

Loving the wrong people is also a sign of relationship addiction. People with this problem will get into a relationship even with someone whom they know is not the right choice just for the sake of being in a relationship. Some people are so afraid of being alone that they're not scared of being in a relationship with a dangerous person. Relationship addicts prefer to be in such relationships instead of being alone.

It is important to become aware that you are settling for less than you deserve.

Lowered Self Esteem And Acting In Ways That You Can't Believe It's You


One may tend to love the partner too much even when the partner is indifferent. The constant indifference and maltreatment from the partner may make one have low self-esteem. You can find one putting up with physical, verbal, and emotional abuse for fear of being alone. Relationship addiction can get so bad such that when the other partner ends the relationship, the victim becomes disabled emotionally and mentally.

It is not uncommon to find a person who was always high-spirited and with high self-esteem, acting in unusual ways that are not in line with your personality. Constant criticism from the partner may lower one's self-esteem. Don't give anyone the power to destroy you; no one dies from being single. Others may also turn to addictive behaviors such as drug and alcohol abuse.

Like with other addictions, there are ways to overcome these types of unhealthy relationships. Instead of letting your relationship spiral out of control, contact our counselors at BetterHelp for assistance.

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