You may not know that you can be addicted to a relationship, but you can. Like any addiction, the reality of it isn’t good.
Being addicted to a relationship is neither romantic nor healthy. Being addicted to a relationship is just like any other addiction. It fills you up and deflates you. Any addiction is unhealthy. An addiction to drugs, alcohol, exercise, and even a relationship is not going to end well. And addiction hurts you. It may be what dulls the pain but also brings on more.
Drinking to an alcoholic feels good at the moment but leads to regret, self-hate, vomiting, hangovers, dangerous withdrawals, and long-term health problems. Being addicted to a relationship is the same. The good times may be great, but the bad times are so much worse.
The relationship may be what makes you smile or cheers you up, but it is also what makes you cry, scream, and tears down your self-esteem. It is something that hurts you but that you keep coming back to.
And just like any other addiction, it is not easy to break.
Are you addicted to a relationship?
If you’re addicted to a relationship, it usually isn’t a good one. When a relationship is healthy, it is balanced with friendships, work, family, and other outside things that fulfill you. When you’re addicted to a relationship, it is very often rocky. It may be on again off again. Toxic relationships are the most addictive because they provide that same thrill as gambling or taking drugs.
But being addicted to a relationship may not be what you think. We have all been overwhelmed by a new love interest. You constantly check your phone, you can’t stop talking about them, you stalk their social media in your free time.
But those things come from excitement. Those habits usually die down when the novelty wears off. But being addicted to a relationship is a whole other ball game.
The addiction doesn’t start right off the bat. You ease into it, usually not even noticing until you’re at rock bottom. So, how do you know when you’re addicted to a relationship?
#1 Does your relationship define you? Most people would naturally respond ‘no’ to this question at first glance, but take a deeper look. When you and your partner fight, do you feel like the world is crumbling around you?
Do you feel like you have nothing left if this relationship ends? If this relationship fails, you fail? If you answered yes or even maybe to any, you are likely addicted to a relationship.
#2 Does your relationship overpower your pain? When we are in pain, we use things to lessen that pain. Some people use drugs, alcohol, or relationships. If you’ve suffered a trauma, even one you’ve buried deep down, this relationship could be your new focus.
The pain and happiness you get from the relationship is a way to overwhelm you, so you can’t think about what is truly causing your pain.
#3 Does your partner make you nervous? If you always feel uneasy in the relationship, it isn’t adding goodness to your life. If you walk on eggshells to avoid rustling feathers or constantly worrying about something that might go wrong, it is taking over.
#4 Do you think you’ll survive without this relationship? One major sign that you’re addicted to a relationship is your irrational and intense fear of the relationship ending. Even if you are unhappy and want to leave, the idea of that actually happening terrifies you.
#5 Do you trust your partner? You can be addicted to a partner and a relationship without trust. In fact, that lack of trust is what makes the foundation so unsteady. Without trust, you overthink and overanalyze your partner’s behaviors, leading you to focus even more on the relationship.
#6 Do you trust yourself? Do you trust your own judgment? Odds are that deep down you know this person and this relationship aren’t good for you, but you continue because you must. Do you question every decision you make?
#7 Have you broken up and gotten back together? Doing this once and maybe twice isn’t a clear sign of relationship addiction, but if this is a recurring pattern, there is a reason for it. When couples break up, there is a reason and usually a good one.
When you miss each other and get back together and repeat that over and over, it is an addiction. You’re addicted to the pain of the breakup and the high of reuniting.
#8 Do you choose them over all else? Do you drop plans with friends and family to be there for them? And do you put what they want before what you want in every situation? Do you do anything for yourself? We all want to make our partners happy, but in an addictive relationship, you put their happiness above your own.
#9 Do you forgive them for everything? Bad behavior can be forgiven, but all bad behavior shouldn’t be. In a relationship, you should require a level of respect. But if you know you’re being disrespected yet put up with it and continue to forgive your partner due to a fear of losing them, you are likely addicted to the relationship.
#10 Are things bad more often than good? This is a clear sign that you are addicted to the relationship. We aren’t often addicted to a solid relationship that is full of joy. If your relationship has more bad times than good and you still want to stay, there’s a reason.
#11 Do you make excuses for them? If your partner does something wrong and you make excuses, you aren’t just being forgiving. Saying your partner had a rough day at work makes it okay for them to verbally abuse you at dinner is not a sign that you are in a good or healthy relationship.
#12 Do you crave their attention? If you crave your partner’s love and attention like sugar or caffeine, you are addicted to the relationship.
#13 Are you sick without them? Actually feeling physically sick without your partner is a major sign you’re addicted to a relationship. The same as withdrawals from drugs or alcohol, your mind and body will go through that when away from your addiction to a relationship.
#14 Are you afraid to argue? Often, being addicted to a relationship means you are willing to do anything to make it work. You will do anything to keep your partner around no matter their lack of effort. You will be polite and agreeable and never argue to keep the peace.
#15 Do you feel confident? Relationship addiction eats away at your self-esteem. You may have gone into the relationship feeling confident, but depending on this other person for all your fulfillment snatches that self-esteem.
#16 Do you feel lonely? It is one thing to feel lonely when you are alone, but if you feel lonely while in a relationship yet stick around willingly, you are addicted to the relationship.
#17 Are you addicted to anything else? When you are addicted to a relationship, you may show signs of other addictive behavior. Things like alcoholism, drugs, even overeating, can all be ways you cope with the relationship addiction.
#18 Are you hiding secrets about your relationship? When you are hiding things about your relationship or partner from friends and family, it is not just because you’re embarrassed or ashamed. You don’t want them to push you to end it. You want to stay.
#19 Have you lost interest in other aspects of your life? Being addicted to a relationship will overwhelm you. It will pull attention away from hobbies, work, family, and friends. If you have lost interest in your passions to focus on salvaging the relationship, you can’t let go.
#20 Do you want to leave sometimes? Just like an alcoholic wants to stop drinking but can’t at the same time, being addicted to a relationship ignites the same feeling. You are unhappy. The relationship makes you feel bad, but you also want another taste. You want one more good feeling before leaving but that feeling keeps you there.
How to stop being addicted to a relationship
Breaking out of a relationship you’re addicted to will not be easy. Just like any other addiction, you’ll need support, guidance, and strength. Learning how to stop being addicted to a relationship requires you to work on yourself, not the relationship.
The relationship is only hurting you and to put yourself first and leave that place means you must believe you are worthy of that care and attention. Believe you are worthy of being happy. Acknowledge you deserve to be in a better place than this.
That can take time. Not only will you need the support of friends and family, but the help of a therapist will ensure you focus on the proper steps to take.
A therapist can help you rework the way your mind shifted due to this addiction. In order to break this habit and break the pattern of an addictive relationship, you must dig deep and uncover what led to this in the first place.
Work through the pain of your past to focus on a better future.
If you’re addicted to a relationship, you can quit it for good. Follow these steps for a healthier love life.