Are Love Addicts Codependent? Exploring the Relationship Between Love Addiction and Codependency

By Susan Ball, Unapologetically You Mentor.

Meeting with women I am frequently asked questions about love addiction vs codependency. Are they the same or different? Does it make a difference to my healing and learning about myself? Yes it does!

I was very confused about this myself when I began my healing. When I explored my behaviour against love addiction vs codependency, I started to clearly see my personal pattern. And that was life-changing.

Let’s explore the differences and similarities between them and how knowing tiny details can impact your healing and recovery.

Love addiction and codependency are two terms often used interchangeably. Both involve patterns of behaviour centered around relationships, but they represent distinct concepts with their own characteristics and implications. Understanding the relationship between love addiction and codependency requires examining their definitions, symptoms, and underlying dynamics.

Defining Love Addiction and Codependency

Love addiction refers to a compulsive pattern of seeking out romantic relationships or intense emotional connections as a way to soothe emotional pain, boost self-esteem, or fill an inner void. Love addicts may experience a constant need for validation and fear being alone, leading to an obsessive pursuit of relationships even when they are unhealthy or damaging. Love addicts dream about their perfect wedding and how it will be perfect and beautiful; a true celebration of love.

Codependency is characterized by a reliance on another person for approval and a sense of identity. It often involves a dysfunctional relationship dynamic where one person enables or supports the unhealthy behaviours of another, often to their own detriment. Codependents may neglect their own needs in favour of meeting the needs of others, leading to feelings of resentment and exhaustion. Sadly, codependents will find themselves “helping” someone who has a serious addiction (alcohol or drugs), throwing themselves into saving someone. 

Differentiating Love Addiction from Codependency

While there can be overlap between love addiction and codependency, they are distinct concepts with unique features:

Focus of Behaviour:

  • Love addiction primarily revolves around the pursuit of intense emotional experiences within relationships, often leading to a series of short-lived or tumultuous connections. The love addict will often speak about a potential partner being “boring” and they will be single for a very brief period of time.
  • Codependency, on the other hand, centers around caretaking and enabling behaviours within relationships, where one individual prioritizes the needs and desires of another at the expense of their own well-being. 

Underlying Motivations:

  • Love addicts are driven by a desire to fill an emotional void or gain validation through relationships, seeking external sources of happiness and self-worth. All their friends are married or in relationships and to the love addict that defines success. And they will accept a relationship even if there is no true connection.
  • Codependents derive their sense of self-worth from caring for others and often struggle with boundaries, feeling responsible for the happiness and actions of those they care for. They believe they are failing or letting people down if they leave or say no. It speaks to a need to feel wanted and needed. Codependents find their validation from doing for others.

Emotional Patterns:

  • Love addicts may experience extreme highs and lows based on their romantic interactions, with emotional stability often dependent on external factors. The break-up is very emotionally intense but not long lasting. Searching for the next relationship becomes the goal. 
  • Codependents may experience a sense of emptiness or anxiety when not in a relationship or when their partner is not doing well, tying their emotional state closely to the well-being of others. And if there is a break-up, the codependent is left with no sense of their identity.

It’s important to note that individuals can exhibit traits of both love addiction and codependency, and these issues often coexist within complex relationship dynamics. Learning and understanding your relationship patterns and behaviours can begin the process of addressing underlying issues and promoting healthier relationship patterns.

In conclusion, while love addiction and codependency share some similarities in terms of relationship-focused behaviours, they have unique manifestations and underlying motivations. Understanding the differences, creates effective healing plans, tailored to address the specific needs and underlying issues of each individual, promoting personal growth and healthier relationships.

Susan Ball is an Abuse Recovery Expert who works with women ready to free their voice, break the cycle, and live life unapologetically. You can begin your healing journey by downloading her free ebook “Falling in Love with Myself Again” right here.

1 Response

  1. Victoria Charles says:

    thanks informative and feeing

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