Unlike substance addictions (such as alcohol, cocaine or tobacco), love addiction is known as a process addiction. Process addictions include gambling, compulsive eating, shopping and sex addictions. By nature, we are all addicted to love—meaning we want it, seek it, and have a hard time not thinking about it. We need emotional bonds to survive and we instinctively seek connection, especially romantic connection. There is nothing dysfunctional about wanting love.
Love addiction, however, is a compulsive, chronic craving and/or pursuit of romantic love in an effort to “cure” loneliness or get a sense of security or worth from another person. We become more strongly attracted to the intense experience of “falling in love” than to the intimacy of a healthy relationship. It's about being addicted to the rush of first romance, and because of that, relationships rarely develop beyond this initial, emotionally elevated state. When the rush starts to fade, we often feel detached, unhappy, restless, irritable, and discontent. If not in a relationship, we feel desperate, unworthy, and alone… until we find a new potential mate and get to experience the high of “falling in love” once more. Love addiction fits the three “C”s of addiction – Craving the euphoria, Unable to Control urges, and continuation despite onset of negative Consequences.