Love addiction vs. Codependency

Old 07-23-2017, 09:54 AM
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Love addiction vs. Codependency

Hi all,

I've been reading quite a bit lately about the subject of love addiction.

Some of what I've read has me wondering what the difference is between the two.

I was hoping some of the more seasoned members of the forum could help shed some light on that for me.

Also, if this is the incorrect place for this post, please let me know.

Thanks as always for your support and guidance.
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Old 07-23-2017, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by HeartbrokenGuy View Post
Hi all,

I've been reading quite a bit lately about the subject of love addiction.

Some of what I've read has me wondering what the difference is between the two.

I was hoping some of the more seasoned members of the forum could help shed some light on that for me.

Also, if this is the incorrect place for this post, please let me know.

Thanks as always for your support and guidance.

I got a handout on thus topic from my outpatient group and I was confused also.

my take is that the addiction is that you just want to be in love doesn't matter who it is whereas codependency is developed in the course of a relationship.

Or that codependent fall in love with folks they want to help but addicts are addicted to the dynamics of the relationship rather than the person who they are involved with.

does that make sense? I find that different in the terms is confusing also.

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Old 07-23-2017, 10:58 AM
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My favorite definition of Co-dependency, (and, there are many), is this one:

"Co-dependency is less about relationship with another and more about the lack of relationship with the self"......

The way I see it...both and so called "love addiction" are based out of the need for another person to fill an essential feeling of emptiness. within the self,that can only be filled through the presence of that other person.....

**To me...I think an essential element is that the person, with either condition, will cling to a relationship with another regardless of the pain and damage that it might be doing to them....
Again, favoring another over themselves....a lack of the ability to care for their own welfare, first....

***I would like to add my own opinion on this term "Love addiction", which is a very popularly discussed term, lately....
The state of being in love or falling in love is a very exciting state to be in. It is even normal for it to be so...After all, Mother Nature designed it this way...and is probably a major factor in the continuing of the species.....
There are powerful hormones involved that can put opoids to shame.....especially, in the beginning stages...the early attraction phase...which can last from a few months to about two years....
It is the most natural "high" that a person is likely to ever experience.....
Who doesn't like the feeling of being in love and having it reciprocated? I haven't ever talked to anyone who said that they hated it.....
So.....I don't, personally, think that a person who exhibits the common symptoms of being in love is necessarily "love addicted"....event though they may have some of those addicted type symptoms in the early attraction stage with another person.
Now---here is where I see the sticky
Normally, the early attraction stage is the foundation for the relationship to morph into a more mature, and satisfying stage of the ongoing love relationship....marked with increasing emotional intimacy, feelings of safety and contentment and serenity....a further deepening of the bonds of caring....
If a person find themselves going from one person to another for the sole purpose of experiencing the "high" of early attraction, without other investments that are required---just looking for the "feel good"....then, I would think of the term "love addiction" being more appropriately applied.....

The above comments are purely my thoughts on the subjects that have been raised....nothing more.....
This is just a view from a
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Old 07-23-2017, 02:46 PM
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Love addiction is closer to "romance addiction" - addicted to "being in love, being in a romantic relationship."

Codependency does not have to involve romance at all. Parents can be codependent and try to bail out their kids over and over again. Or you have one brother who is continuously saving the other one who is getting in trouble, being pulled down at the same time. Or even you could say that codependents are individuals who grew up in a dysfunctional environment and are applying the same dysfunctional coping skills in their adult life.

Also codependency may include love addiction, when being "in love," being in a relationships is a must, regardless of consequences.
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Old 07-23-2017, 03:03 PM
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This is all such good information!
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Old 07-25-2017, 09:05 AM
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Love addiction is a specific kind of codependency involving short lived romantic relationships.
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Old 07-25-2017, 10:15 AM
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I don't know that those two conditions are even remotely related. As I understand it, sex/love addictions are fixated on having someone--maybe many someones--who keeps you in a constant "love at first sight/head over heels" feeling.

Co-dependency has more to do, I think, with the overwhelming need to be needed, giving up your own life for the sake of satisfying the partner's every desire.

I'm no expert on either one, but I've never heard of comparing them or distinguishing between them.
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Old 07-25-2017, 10:36 AM
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Yeah, codependency is definitely a sacrifice of the self for another person--to the point where there's very little separate self left.

Here's an example: My AH got out of the hospital on Friday, after having had an alcohol withdrawal grand mal seizure on Thursday. It was totally scary for me, never having witnessed one before. I called 911 in a total panic, not knowing if he was stroking out or having a heart attack or what.

The kids texted me at the hospital and asked me how he was doing. My "Codie Freudian slip" was in my response back: "Dad had a lot of tests. He'll get the full download from his doctor later but I seems to be fine." (Note I said "I" instead of "he.")

The classic joke is the codependent who, when drowning, sees their alcoholic's life pass before their eyes.
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Old 07-25-2017, 10:54 AM
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When I was much younger, my constant need to be in a relationship (healthy/satisfying or not) might have looked to some like love addiction, I suppose? But that term doesn't resonate with me in the slightest.

The hallmark of my codependency has been the drive to define myself through my relationships - "AM's daughter", "so-and-so's girlfriend", "such-and-such's wife" as opposed to just being SparkleKitty. Without those relationships to let the rest of the world know who I was, there just wasn't much there.

Building my self-esteem, self-worth, self-respect, and self-love has given me a secure foundation to let go of the need to define myself in terms of someone else. Very empowering.
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Old 07-25-2017, 11:13 AM
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"The relationships of love addicts involve far more codependency than love. "
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Old 07-25-2017, 11:50 AM
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I can't speak on the similarities & differences of these 2 issues, but it reminds me of this old post/article about Love Addiction. If you haven't read it in the sticky threads yet, maybe it will help?
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Old 07-25-2017, 11:59 AM
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i think both are based on the NEED to have someone outside of one's self to focus on.

the codependent literally crawls inside the skin of their chosen one - breathing their air, thinking their thoughts, feeling their feelings - or what they believe they know to BE the other's thoughts and feelings. everything is about "pleasing" the other - trying to create a snapshot of perfect, then make it into a living thing. for the OTHER.

love addicts don't have a singular focus of their OTHER - they are more focused on the role they play rather than who is playing in the role at any given time. the addict just wants the high. the rush. the zing. for THEMSELVES.
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Old 07-25-2017, 03:30 PM
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I don't know the difference per say....

But I just wanted to let you know that my codependent behaviors extend outside of my relationship with an intimate partner.

It took me a long time to see that it was negatively impacting me whoever I was engaging with in that way.

I love Dandy's definition of it, by the way.
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Old 07-25-2017, 03:48 PM
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I think codependency and love addiction.. are both basically maladaptive behaviors just like alcohol or substance abuse. There have their own varying degrees of dysfunction.

I think Love Addiction is that feeling of being in love, of absorbing yourself in someone else, and having them wrapped up in you.. the high so to speak... I think some people get addicted to the feeling and cant settle down when things in a relationship begin to mature.. they want to go back and chase that high with someone else if necessary.. because its not the person its the emotion they brought.

I also think Codependents probably start out this way in relationships.. they want to get wrapped up in someone else, have someone else wrapped up in them so they feel ok/accepted. Their feelings and self worth begin to be defined by how the other person responds to them, the attention they get, if the other person is happy or sad its obviously because of something they did or didnt do.. they seek to control the emotions and responses of the other person and will jump through unusual hoops to do it.

From things Ive read they often smother their partner and once that initial phase of a relationship passes... most healthy partners wont want to be smothered, or controlled. This will be a turning point where a person has a chance to adapt and focus on self and being an equal independent partner.. or my guess is it goes downhill and a healthy love interest will leave the relationship..

Possibly this is why dysfunction finds dysfunction... those who are unhealthy due to substance abuse may feel comforted and want the attention and the gifts showered upon them by the love addict.

But even then.. not every love addict will stay once they determine they are not getting back what they are putting in... they cant control the emotions of someone on substances, they cant get their approval, or make them happy because the other person isnt stable to begin with. The continuing efforts to get the approval, to feel loved... its all based on what crumbs the other person tosses their way. The codependent is so wrapped up in their addiction, they have lost who they are, what they believe in, what they want for their life. I think later stages are much like that of someone with any other addiction.. anger, frustration, and then advancing to feeling broken, being perhaps in poor health, isolated, low self esteem, not knowing the way out of the pain.

While love addiction is more of a mainstream concept, I think the term codependency was coined in the 12 step programs... and applied to not just love interest but parents, siblings, friends.. I also think codependency has somehow got wrapped up and confused with enabling behavior.. but they are not one and the same.
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