Addiction Series: Love/Relationship Addiction

Throughout this addiction series, therapist Michele Happe says addicts find something to fill the void they feel inside. As the series continues, Happe says some addicts fill the void with a person.

"The relationship addict defines their wellness or goodness on-"are they in a relationship" or not, if they're not, the something is wrong," says Happe.

So far we've seen addicts replace the emptiness with fitness and shopping.

"With love and relationship addiction, you're addicted to the person," says Happe.

Michele says you can get addicted to the fluttery feeling, what we call "butterflies." She says you experience this when you're in a new relationship.

She says if it doesn't work out, a relationship addict will find a new person immediately, and find the "high" over and over again.

"They might get into a relationship and get obsessed with it and do stalking behavior, incessant texting, that sort of stuff with that person," says Happe.

Michele says this essentially can push the person away.

"Barbara" a recovering alcoholic, who doesn't want her real identity revealed admits the alcohol addiction can carry over to other addictions, in this case-- craving unconditional love.

"It's that adrenaline, that connection to that big thing outside yourself, because when we're afraid to be alone with ourselves, that's when we have to hook in to all this outside stuff," says Barbara.

Michele says it's perfectly normal to want to be in a relationship, you just have to know the difference between love and obsession.

"What you're looking for is healthy abstinence, so that you're not in that dependent, attached relationship to that normal object, I mean all people desire to be in a relationship," says Happe.

Michele says the difference is loving yourself and being okay with who you are without someone else making you whole.

"It's a very good thing to get to the place where it's a not a scary thing to be alone," says Happe.


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