It may, at first glance, appear that a love addiction is not really a bad thing. After all why should it be a problem to be deeply, madly and fully committed to the object of your affection and love? Why should it be critical to be able to separate yourself from your partner, after all aren't people in love to be "one"?
The reality is that a love addiction is not a supportive, comfortable type of love. Instead it is incredible intense, all-consuming and constantly in jeopardy type of love. This is because the love addict becomes the love relationship and if the love fails then the person sees themselves as a failure. Literally their whole sense of self-worth, self-esteem and self-identity is the relationship itself. And, to make matters worse, their partner is usually a person that is cold, distant and avoidant of emotional intimacy.
The major reasons why a love addiction is as devastating as any other type of "hard core" addiction such as alcohol or drugs is easy once you stop and consider what love addition really includes. The three critical elements to consider are:
1. Lack of boundaries
The person that is addicted to the relationship has no ability to understand when the other person is crossing boundaries. This means that the love addict will tolerate and excuse violence, physical abuse and even very severe forms of isolation and emotional abuse just to attempt to keep the relationship going.
2. Lack of respect
As the other person in the relationship learns that there are no boundaries or no limits to what the addict will allow in the relationship respect disappears. The often dominant and abusive partner no longer feels any reason to curb their violent, controlling and demanding ways. The lack of respect for self that the addict has fuels the fire for the lack of respect for the entire relationship.
3. Lack of reciprocation
The other partner realizes that no matter what they do in the relationship the addict will stay. They can have affairs, be abusive, lie, steal, and be as distant as they want and there will be no repercussions in the relationship. In fact the addicted person often works harder to make the relationship "perfect" despite what the other person does. This lack of reciprocation is so damaging emotionally to the addict and creates a vicious cycle contributing to boundary issues and lack of respect.