Most relationship addicts aren’t able to recognize what a healthy partnership actually looks like. In their eyes, a healthy, loving relationship is boring. There’s a fine line between love and this sort of addiction, but acknowledging the difference is crucial. Here are six differences between being in love and being addicted to relationships.
1. You have a history of short romantic relationships
If your pattern of romance entails several short relationships, there’s a good chance you’re a relationship addict. The excitement of the honeymoon phase ends, and you’re left craving more. William Berry writes in Psychology Today, “When someone is addicted to love, this person develops an unhealthy attachment to the passion and enthrallment of the beginning of a relationship.” Once that novelty wears off, you’re tempted to bounce to another relationship to fulfill that void of lust, passion, and excitement.
True love: Your relationship is lasting
People who are truly in love put in the time, effort, and energy to make it work. They know relationships aren’t for the faint of heart, so they’re willing to go the extra mile and stick it out for real love. Rather than hopping from one partner to the next when things get rough, they weather the storm.
2. You’re in a breakup and makeup cycle with your partner
A love addict who’s managed to stay with his or her partner for an extended amount of time will typically fall into a pattern. This pattern, as Susan Campbell explains on YourTango, is one where the two of you argue and break up. Then, shortly after, you reconcile and make up. But this roller coaster ride isn’t bringing any kind of healthy stability to the relationship, which is why it’s time to move on for good.
True love: You don’t rely on having to constantly make up with your partner
Healthy relationships don’t rely on the honeymoon makeup phase for happiness. Just like your friend who broke off their engagement twice already, it’s time to call it quits. Chances are, if you’ve broken up more times than you can count, something’s just not working. Your relationship of breakups and makeups isn’t meant to be. Healthy relationships, however, don’t experience these extreme cycles.
3. You’re unable to exercise control
When you think of an addict, you probably think of a person whose life has spun out of control. The fact of the matter is, an addict needs to regain power over his or her own life. And relationship addicts are no exception. According to Don9ja.com, a telltale sign of a love and relationship addict is an “inability to exercise control over romantic fantasies and new relationships.”
True love: You have control in your relationship
On the other hand, people who are in loving, healthy relationships are in control over their own actions. Sure, you may not be able to control your emotions in a given moment, but how you react to situations is completely in your hands.
4. You neglect everything outside your relationship
It can be too easy to get caught up with your significant other. And if you’re a relationship addict? Well, your drama often gets in the way of other areas of your life. Like any other kind of addict, your vice is all-consuming. When this happens, everything else inevitably falls by the wayside. For instance, you’ve suddenly lost interest in your passions, or your job responsibilities begin to slip. For love and relationship addicts, there are some serious risks in losing sight of your responsibilities.
True love: It inspires you
When you’re in love with the right person, he or she makes you want to be better. Your love is so deep, the relationship inspires you to be the very best version of yourself. “The drama took over every aspect of my life, and I thought love was just exhausting,” Zara Barrie recalls in Elite Daily. “Now, I realize real love energizes you! It inspires you to create, be a better friend and invest in time for yourself.” If you’re not the best version of yourself in your relationship, it’s time to call it off.
5. You’re after the kind of love you see in the movies
The big screen has a long-touted reputation of delivering fantasy over reality. Most people are well-aware of this. After all, it’s not too likely you’ll end up in a love affair similar to that of Love & Other Drugs.
Take The Bachelor, for instance. The franchise works because we’re so obsessed with the idea of a perfect love story. But then again, just how realistic is it to fall in love with someone who’s also dating a bunch of other people at the same time? Not very.
True love: You know fairy tale love doesn’t exist
Even if you’re head-over-heels in love, you’re smart enough to know fairy tales are just that — tales. You’re head may be in the clouds in terms of how much you love your partner, but you’re feet are on the ground and you’re in touch with reality. As Jen Kim writes in Psychology Today, you can’t expect “those cinema-quality-over-the-top scenes in real life.” After all, those stories are about selling fantasy, not actual romance.
6. You mistake sex for love
Love and relationship addicts equate that passionate can’t-keep-your-hands-off-one-another feeling with actual love. According to The Ranch treatment center, a typical sign of love addition is “mistaking intense sexual experiences and new romantic excitement for love.” But this can be very, very dangerous, so heed caution.