Relationship Addiction

Recognizing the Problem:

Love and Relationship Addiction

Love addiction consists of three components: Romance, Relationship, and Sexual Addiction. We acknowledge all three as valid addictions. The following are characteristics of the Romance and Relationship addiction. The Sexual Addiction is dealt with elsewhere.

Identifying/Symptom Checklist:

  • Lack of nurturing and attention when young
  • Feeling isolated or detached from parents and family
  • Outer façade of “having it all together” to hide internal disintegration
  • Mistake intensity for intimacy
  • Hidden pain
  • Seek to avoid rejection and abandonment at all costs
  • Afraid to trust anyone in a relationship
  • Inner rage over lack of nurturing and early abandonment
  • Depressed
  • Highly manipulative and controlling
  • Perceive attraction, attachment, and sex as basic human needs, on par with food and water
  • Sense of worthlessness
  • Escalating tolerance for high-risk behavior
  • Intense need to control self, others, and outside circumstances
  • Presence of other addictive or compulsive behaviors
  • Insatiable appetite in area of difficulty
  • Using others to alter one’s mood or to relieve painful feelings
  • Continual questioning of values and lifestyle
  • Driven, desperate, frantic personality
  • Existence of secret “double life”
  • Refusal to acknowledge existence of problem
  • Defining out of control behavior as normal
  • Defining “wants” as “needs”


The Solution

Celebrate Recovery can help guide you to break free of the love and relationship addiction cycle and establish healthy relationships. If you are willing to begin the process of recovery, you can start living the life God has planned for you. Celebrate Recovery provides a safe place to share fears, hurts, and or anger. It also is a place to find victory. Celebrate Recovery participants face our failings and work through them. They turn from the addiction and turn toward God.

The following comprise the “cycle “of love and relationship addiction: 

 ROMANCE The Addiction Cycle

Obsession Physical or emotional “trigger”

Consumed by thoughts Plots, plans, schemes; Loss of concentration; Judgment impaired

The Hunt Driven to find relief; Seeks out someone or something; Point of no return

Recruitment Movement to resolve pain; Enlistment, enticement, seduction; Risk

Gratification Object of hunt is attained; Other person steps into desired role; Thrill of conquest; Victimization of other party

Return to Normal Feel calm, peaceful; “Switch” turned off; Mood altered

Justification Pain resurfaces; Rationalizations; Depersonalization of victim

Blame Focus on own neglect or abuse; Refuse to accept responsibility; Lay problem at another’s feet

Shame Blaming seems inadequate; Horror at own actions; What sort of person must I be?; Stuff feelings

Despair Elation-depression cycle; Utter despair; Resolve to fix what is broken

Promises “Never again” list of promises; Fear of breaking promises; Return to start of cycle

RELATIONSHIP The Addiction Cycle

Obsession Self-focus; Hurts from the past; Feelings of abandonment; Negative emotional state

The Hunt Looking for love in all the wrong places; An available victim; Well-rehearsed ritual of enticement

Recruitment Tricks of the trade; Submissive nature; Mating calls

Gratification New energy; Solving another person’s problems; New attachment; Instant feeling of relief

Return to Normal A new companion; Feeling of completeness

Justification I needed it; I deserve it; I had no choice;

Blame Usually focused on parents first;  Spreads to others

Shame Self-pity; Recognizes attachment to the “wrong person”; Self-betrayal

Despair Feeling trapped ; Over-responsibility

Promises “Never again!”;  Focus returns to hurt and pain; Obsession re-starts addictive cycle

Celebrate Recovery

Revised 2004-08-21 Relationship Characteristics-1



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