According to Love Addicts Anonymous (LAA), love addiction comes in many forms. Some love addicts carry a torch for unavailable people. Some love addicts obsess when they fall in love. Some love addicts get addicted to the euphoric effects of romance. Others cannot let go of a toxic relationship even if they are unhappy, depressed, lonely, neglected or in danger. Some love addicts are codependent and others are narcissistic. Some love addicts use sex to manage feelings; others are sexually anorexic. What love addicts all have in common is that they are powerless over their distorted thoughts, feelings and behavior when it comes to love, fantasies and relationships.
LAA has identified several different kinds of love addicts, each with their own behaviors and traits, and are presented below.
Obsessed Love Addicts: OLAs cannot let go of someone they love even if their partner is:
Unavailable emotionally or sexually
Afraid to commit
Unable to communicate
Controlling and dictatorial
Addicted to something outside the relationship (hobbies, drugs, alcohol, sex, someone else, gambling, shopping etc.)
Codependent Love Addicts: From a place of insecurity and low self-esteem, CLA’s try desperately to hold on to the people they are addicted to using codependent behavior. This includes enabling, rescuing, caretaking, passive-aggressive controlling, and accepting neglect or abuse.
Relationship Addicts: RAs, unlike other love addicts, are no longer in love with their partners but still cannot let go. Usually, they are so unhappy that the relationship affects their health, spirit and emotional well being. Even if their partner batters them, and they are in danger, they cannot let go. They are afraid of being alone. They are afraid of change. They do not want to hurt or abandon their partners. This can be summed up as “I hate you don’t leave me.”
Narcissistic Love Addicts: NLAs use dominance, seduction and withholding to control their partners. NLAs appear aloof and unconcerned until you leave them. Then they panic and use anything at their disposal to hold on to the relationship—including violence.
Ambivalent Love Addicts: ALAs have a hard time moving forward. They desperately crave love, but at the same time they are terrified of intimacy. This combination is agonizing. ALAs also come in different forms, as listed below.
• Torch Bearers ALAs who obsess about someone who is unavailable. This can be done without acting out (suffering in silence) or by pursuing the person they are in love with. Some Torch Bearers are more addicted than others. This kind of addiction feeds on fantasies and illusions. It is also known as unrequited love.
• Saboteurs ALAs who destroy relationships when they start to get serious or at whatever point their fear of intimacy comes up. This can be anytime—before the first date, after the first date, after sex, after the subject of commitment comes up—whenever.
• Seductive Withholders ALAs who always come on to you when they want sex or companionship. When they become frightened, or feel unsafe, they begin withholding companionship, sex, affection—anything that makes them feel anxious. If they leave the relationship when they become frightened, they are just Saboteurs. If they keep repeating the pattern of being available/unavailable, they are seductive withholders.
• Romance Addicts ALAs who are addicted to multiple partners. Romance addicts are often confused with sex addicts. However, unlike sex addicts, who are trying to avoid bonding altogether, romance addicts bond with each of their partners—to one degree or another—even if the romantic liaisons are short-lived or happening simultaneously. “Romance” means, in this context, sexual passion and pseudo-emotional intimacy. Please note that while romance addicts bond with each of their partners to a degree, their goal (besides getting high off of romance and drama) is to avoid commitment or bonding on a deeper level with one partner.
A Note about ALAs: Not all avoidants are love addicts. If you accept your fear of intimacy and social situations, and do not get hooked on unavailable people, or just keep your social circle small and unthreatening you are not necessarily an ALA. But if you eat your heart out over some unavailable person year after year, or sabotage one relationship after another, or have serial romantic affairs, or only feel close when you are with another avoidant, you may be an Ambivalent Love Addict.