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Love Island may not be delivering on the drama front at the moment, but now that we're a few weeks in, it looks like there are at least a handful of couples who could go the distance.
One Islander – yes Liberty, we're looking at you – has even said the 'L' word. And it's not just the likes of Faye Winters, Chloe Burrows and Liberty Poole chasing romance.
These hot summer days get us all in the mood for love. But could you be unhealthily addicted to the quest for it? And how can spot the signs of love addiction in yourself, your partner, or a friend? Did you know that, despite the assumption, love and sex addiction are not the same? Though one can be linked to the other, love addiction can exist on its own.
Experts are now warning that sex and love addictions could thrive as lockdown and isolation ends, as thousands of pandemic couples and those who have been single throughout are readjusting to the return of normalcy.
Those who have never had to think about their partner being around others, whether at work or a night out, can become possessive and insecure – but how can you spot the signs of whether you are just jealous or have a potential love addiction?
We spoke to Martin Preston, Founder of Delamere Health who has let us know signs to look out for…
“While all romantic relationships may exhibit some of the these signs at least occasionally, with love addiction there is a consistent pattern of one or more (usually more) of the signs, and that pattern results in ongoing and eventually escalating negative life consequences.
"Much like sex addicts, love addicts are searching for something outside of themselves – a person, relationship, or experience – to provide them with the emotional and life stability they lack. In other words, love addicts use their intensely stimulating romantic experiences to (temporarily) fix themselves and feel emotionally stable.
"Love addiction, much like sex addiction, is caused by a brain cycle – the addiction cycle: FANTASY-RITUAL-ACTING OUT-SHAME
"For someone with a love addiction, this cycle repeats itself as a euphoric high is achieved, over time becoming more extreme, releasing excessive amounts of dopamine and other chemicals. Therapy to help this type of addiction is about breaking that chain.’
1. Fantasising about a relationship that does not exist
Love addiction always involves another person – even if that other person doesn’t know they are involved. This can be a form of fantasy where someone with a love addiction will build a fictional relationship in their head where it does not exist in reality.
Those with love addiction can become obsessed with making an impression on the person they are infatuated with – changing their personalities, looks, clothes and even daily schedules to bump into that person in order to ‘secure’ the person they are fantasising about.
2. Addiction to being 'in love'
Many people who suffer from love addiction will find that they jump from one relationship to another as they are addicted to the feeling of being in love without realising it’s a problem.
They can often feel after one relationship has ended that they need to find someone else immediately after because of a fear of being alone. This can lead to fantasising about people who are unavailable – or alternatively jumping into an unhealthy relationship where they can become obsessed with this person.
3. Impulsive and dangerous decisions
A love addict may find that they make impulsive and sometimes dangerous decisions without thinking about the consequences of their actions just to win over someone they are in love or are infatuated with.
This could be someone they are (or want to be) in a relationship with, or perhaps someone they have built up a fantasy around.
Those with children may be putting them at risk by inviting strangers into their homes. Children can also end up feeling neglected if their parent seems to be prioritising their relationships over their child’s wellbeing. Many stay in toxic and even abusive relationships for fear of being alone.
4. Obsessive and needy
A love addict will often show obsessive and needy behaviour when in a relationship. They can find themselves bombarding their lover with gifts and tokens of affection or extravagant gifts that they cannot afford.
5. Difficulty with true intimacy
People with love addiction never feel loved enough so can quickly become tired of a relationship when it has gone past the ‘honeymoon’ stage.
This can stop them from forming a healthy relationship as they are constantly looking for a ‘perfect relationship’ that will solve all of their issues.
This can also mean they end up in unhealthy relationships with other people that can be intense from the very beginning, often using sex as a way to keep their partner ‘hooked in’.
6. Codependency / Infatuation
A sign of love addiction is someone becoming extremely codependent with a partner or infatuated with someone (whether they are in a relationship with them or not). This can mean they get very possessive and jealous of that person speaking or spending time with others which can lead to dangerous or erratic behaviour.
On the other side of this, someone with a love addiction will often focus on their partners’ shortcomings – always wanting more from their relationship.
7. Becoming resentful of friends and family (and vice versa)
Those with love addiction may find themselves becoming resentful of friends and family in happy relationships as this is something they will be constantly seeking. They may withdraw from a friendship circle or family events.
It is easy for family and friends to become resentful themselves as someone with a love addiction may start to only use their friends and family as an outlet for their problems and drama that is being caused by their addiction.
A love addict can find they often manipulate people they are in relationships with, by causing drama and harvesting deep resentment through their obsessive impulses.
This can cause issues with their partner, friends and family as people can struggle to deal with the drama that surrounds this person.
Some love addicts can even become aggressive in their manipulation, inflicting both mental and physical pain on loved ones when their expectations are not met.
Further help and advice on love addiction is available from health professionals without judgement. For more information, see here.
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