Similar to drug addiction the love addict sees their partner as their main or only source of happiness, and can lead to obsessive and controlling behaviours as a result of low self-esteem and lack of self-identity. The fear of being rejected or abandoned can be so great that the person may put up with negative behaviours from their lover, or attract the wrong sort of person for them.
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The love addict believe they need a relationship to find complete happiness, and aspire to having ‘the perfect relationship’ although this is based on fantasy. They tend to give more in the relationship, have a fear of being alone, and may need constant approval from their lover of how much they love them.
The cause of love addiction is thought to stem from childhood. If a child receives good enough nurturing and love, the child will develop a strong sense of self and security. Whereas the child who doesn’t, may crave love and attention through a weakened self of self. This child is more likely to have escaped into the fantasy of a perfect relationship in order to cope with difficult feelings. This means that when seeking treatment it is not just about working with the addiction but also about addressing what is causing it and finding alternative ways of coping and managing.
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