Can Love Be an Addiction – Blessing Or A Curse

How do you distinguish between the two? Some may be able to know the difference, but others may confuse the "love" feeling with being addicted to someone.
A black and white couple cozy on the stoop in NYC

Love and Addiction, both powerful feelings. How do you distinguish between the two? Some may be able to know the difference, but others may confuse the “love” feeling with being addicted to someone. The symptoms are pretty much the same, however as a relationship develops you begin to feel the difference. I use the word “feel” because not everyone “sees” the difference right away. As a result, sometimes what you think is a loving relationship is actually a toxic addiction.

Love can be so easy, yet so difficult at times. Whenever feelings enter the picture, it becomes a very confusing painting. Loving someone should come easy, being loved in return is where the confusion usually comes in. When you find yourself being more confused, less happy and always wondering how your significant other feels, then maybe it’s time to consider cutting your losses. Recently in an interview, Actor, Johnny Depp opened up about splitting up with his 14-year long term girlfriend. He said something to the effect, “the relationship had run its course”.  Also, “just because a relationship has run its course, doesn’t mean you don’t still care about that person”.  That statement stirred a lot of minds. How do you really know when a relationship has run it’s the course?  Many people believe in sticking it out no matter what, especially when children are involved. Many stick it out even when children are not involved and then there are those who amicably split up because they know in the long run it’s the right thing to do.  Whatever happened in Mr. Depp’s relationship is personal to him. Apparently, he recognized symptoms that were not conducive any more to a healthy relationship. For the average person though, it’s not always that easy to recognize those symptoms. Let’s examine what some of those symptoms are.

Symptoms of a dysfunctional relationship or a relationship that clearly needs to be re-evaluated are sometimes easy to see, but more difficult to process. As humans with feelings and emotion, we sometimes make excuses for why things are the way they are. We desperately want to hang on to the person we love or to the relationship we are so used to.  God forbid we are tempted to step outside our comfort zone.  After all, the comfort zone is where everyone feels the safest.  If you find yourself feeling depressed, laughing less, worrying more, arguing frequently, then it’s time to really think about your situation.  Ask yourself a few questions. Are you suffering and noticing these symptoms? Sadness, worry, confusion, loneliness, depression? Are you crying more than you are laughing? Can you be yourself around this person without feeling judged? Are you able to be an individual within your relationship and still function as a loving couple? Do you get your personal required amount of attention from your significant other, or do you always feel like they pay more attention to everyone else? When you see the person or spend time together, are you truly happy and enjoying yourself or are you always wondering when or what cloud will descend overhead next? If you are experiencing these symptoms then it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship.

A healthy, loving relationship should leave you feeling well most of the time. An addictive relationship will leave you feeling depressed, lonely, confused and having giant mood swings. You’ll go from feeling happy with the person to feeling doomed and empty,  yet you just aren’t ready and willing to let the relationship go. You are trying everything you can to hold on to that person because you are convinced they are the love of your life. You want things to work out. You are used to this person. Ah, the keyword “use”.  You are used to having them in your comfort zone. Ask yourself, “what would my life be like if this person was out of my comfort zone?” “How do I feel now when they are away from me as opposed to with me?”  An addiction to a person doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t care about them. It doesn’t mean you don’t have some sort of love for them. It does mean, however, it is probably a toxic relationship.

Remember the rule of thumb when in love with someone, happiness outweighs the sadness.   Personally, I have three rules I tell my own daughter and son when in love: 1- he/she must make you laugh more than you cry 2-he/she has to be your best friend, the one you can talk to about anything and won’t judge you; instead they will listen or guide you if needed 3-you trust each other enough to allow individuality in the relationship.  Of course, I also mention the importance of both of you being employed, but that’s off-topic.  A really good “love” relationship should leave you feeling good inside and smiling on the outside.  An “addictive” relationship will leave you feeling confused. Tell yourself you are always worth a loving relationship. You are worth being loved and giving love in return. You are worth everything you desire and want out of love. You just have to be with the right person for you.  Many long term relationships end, only to find true love down the road. It doesn’t mean you never loved or cared about the person you were with, it just means they weren’t the right person for you.  Check yourself from time to time, know your worth, know what you want. For those of you in a relationship ask yourself this: “Am I in love or am I addicted?” Is it time to cut my losses?  In the world of good, healthy relationships there’s always happiness available.  The issue may be your first need to visit your own personal rehab


LA Writer: Host at "The Sensitive Nice Guy" radio show. Entertainment management and PR with a background in Psychology and Behavior Management.