Is it possible to get “addicted” to relationships in the same way you’d get addicted to a substance?

As a psychologist, from my experiences, I can conclude that relationships can be as addictive as substances. Many reasons can make an individual addicted to relationships, including fighting loneliness and feeling more complete, as you tend to be happier when with your partner than being alone. You can never be alone at any point in life as you believe you are in a better state when in love with someone; this can make you move into many partnerships no matter the impacts, and pursuing a partner triggers euphoria feelings in the brain.

What might be happening in your brain when you feel “addicted” to relationships?

Most people feel at a loss, incomplete, despair, lonely, sad and empty when alone. Hence, they pursue relationships to cope with their mental state and seek happiness even when the partnership is abusive.

What are some common signs that you might be “addicted” to relationships?

  • You stay in a relationship even if it’s bad and there is no sign of your partner changing.
  • Being over-excited or obsessed with your partner and spending most of your time fantasizing about them or who to go for next.
  • Lack of self-care as you prioritize your lover more.
  • Jumping from one relationship with no time for healing after breakups.
  • No friends beyond the relationship.
  • Being Over dependent on a partner, altering your habits to please them, justifying their mistakes, fixing your arguments with sex, and increased exhaustion, depression, anxiety, conflicts, or harmful habits. 

What to do if you suspect that you have this problem?

I recommend you try to write down your relationship goals, set boundaries and limits, and concentrate on loving or appreciating yourself more before loving others. If you are in abusive addictive relationships, I suggest you quit it, find a support network or other activities to distract your thoughts, and seek a therapist to help you in your recovery journey.

Anastasia Filipenko is a health and wellness psychologist, dermatolist and a freelance writer. She frequently covers beauty and skincare, food trends and nutrition, health and fitness and relationships. When she's not trying out new skincare products, you'll find her taking a cycling class, doing yoga, reading in the park, or trying a new recipe.

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