Addictive Relationships- 13 Signs To Identify You Are In One

Suffering and Healing | | , Content & Creative Strategist
Updated On: March 13, 2024

“The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.”
– Ernest Hemingway

You have often heard about drug addiction, alcohol addiction and smoking addiction. However, have you ever heard about addictive relationships? Unfortunately, addictive relationships are a very real scenario and several couples exist in one without even realizing it.

It’s tough to imagine that you could love someone to the extent that it harms you and your own sense of self. Guess what? It happens, and sometimes so insidiously that you have no idea.
We’ve rounded up some signs that you’re in an addictive relationship, and how to recognize them.

What Is An Addictive Relationship?

An addictive relationship is one where you’re so deeply involved with your partner that you start losing yourself in the relationship. It could happen with one partner, or with both, but increasingly, the addict(s) will stop nurturing themselves and their own lives, and be living only for their partner and the relationship.

It’s no different from being a drug addict or being unable to function without a drink. In other words, you have no identity left, except for your relationship and you will go to any lengths to preserve it, no matter the cost.

How To Identify An Addictive Relationship?

Do you ever hang out with a couple where one person is always dominating the other, and you always feel stuck in their everlasting fights? Yes, that is an addictive relationship.

In order to identify an addictive relationship, you need to closely observe the dynamics of your relationship. Is your partner always picking a fight? Is your relationship bringing you more chaos than peace? Do you constantly feel like you want to break up but you just cannot? If you are nodding along to these questions, then you can easily identify an addictive relationship.

If you are wondering whether your partner is addicted to you, which is mentally affecting you, or if you feel like you are addicted to your partner, then here are 13 signs on how to identify addictive relationships.

1) You’re rarely ever sailing on smooth waters

Granted, every relationship has its highs and lows. However, if your relationship has more lows than highs, then it is one of the clearest signs of addictive relationships.

Being angry at your partner and feeling frustrated is a natural part of a relationship, but if your fights and arguments are consuming the entire time of your relationship, leaving you with no space to even discuss anything else, then unfortunately, you are in an addictive relationship.

Signs you're in an addictive relationship
Fights and arguments are consuming the entire time of your relationship

2) You can’t stop thinking about your relationship

Relationships are supposed to be just one aspect of a person’s life. One of the major characteristics of addictive relationships is that it becomes the ONLY aspect of a person’s life. Are you reading this and thinking to yourself that this is what you experience too? Well, then, you are in an addictive relationship!

In an addictive relationship, you will keep wondering what is wrong with you and your partner. You just won’t be able to focus on anything else. So much so, that you might have begun lagging behind in your work and increasingly been talking about your relationship to your friends. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with talking to your friends about it, but notice if you it’s all you can talk about.

3) Your relationship brings out your worst side

Take a moment and think about the kind of person you really are. Are you more of a chilled out, laid back, adventurous sort of a person? Now think about the kind of person you have become with your partner. Do you feel you have become bitter and uptight?

Related Reading: 11 Warnings Signs Of A Toxic Relationship

This happened to a friend of ours, Joel. He was the most outgoing person we knew, the life of every party. Unfortunately, his girlfriend made him so mad that he stopped going to parties and ended up becoming distant and sad.

If you feel like this is happening to you as well, then you are in one of those addictive unhealthy relationships, and you really need to run in the other direction.

Addictive relationship cycle
His girlfriend stopped going to parties and ended up becoming distant and sad.

4) Your relationship makes you restless

If you are stuck in an addictive relationship cycle, then you are probably familiar with anxiety and even mild depression, to a certain extent. That is what addictive relationships do to you.

The push and pull pattern of addictive relationships can trigger pieces of several emotional baggage, or even memories of childhood trauma, that can make you feel unloved and unsafe. As a result, this relationship makes you feel restless and anxious all the time.

5) You are completely dependent on your partner to find happiness

If you are desperately seeking happiness from your partner, or even if you are trying really hard to feel anything at all with your partner, then it is one of the biggest signs of addictive relationships.

On the other hand, if you are depressed in your life and your partner becomes your only source of happiness, even then you are stuck in an addictive relationship cycle. In such a case, you need to reach out to your family and friends and find happiness with them as well. If you cannot, then you need to consider opting for therapy.

Related Reading: 11 Signs You Are In A Co-Dependent Marriage

Look, love can be a tough ride, but you shouldn’t have to force yourself to feel something for your partner, and neither should they become your sole source of emotional sustenance.

6) Your self-esteem has gone for a toss

Low self-esteem pops up in addictive relationships not only in the form of toxicity from your significant other, but also from your own inner conflict as well.

The incessant highs and lows of your relationship might make you feel worthless and unloved, but your own dilemma of wanting to leave your partner but not being able to also sends your self-esteem for a toss.

The criticism and negative thoughts affect your self-esteem, and that speaks volumes about the characteristics of addictive relationships.

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7) You feel lonely even though you’re with someone

In an addictive relationship, there appears to be no room for love, understanding and compassion. Either the relationship is brimming with arguments, or it is overloaded with possessiveness and insecurities.

In either of these cases, you end up having different values, views and wavelength as opposed to your partner. This means you can practically share nothing with your partner. Unfortunately, it makes you feel lonely, and loneliness is practically a one-word addictive relationship definition.

8) You have turned to alcoholism and smoking

One of the worst addictive love relationships is that it makes you addicted to other things as well. Overeating, drug abuse, smoking and alcoholism are quite often triggered due to the bad episodes of addictive relationships.

Related Reading: 5 Things That Help Me Cope When My Partner Smokes

A man named Kevin was in a maddening addictive relationship. His girlfriend manipulated him so much that he resorted to smoking. What was once simply an act of fun had now turned into an addiction for him.

This is an extremely unhealthy sign, because now, you’re being destroyed physically, along with being destroyed mentally and emotionally as well.

9) You are neglecting every other aspect of your life

Your hobbies are on a halt, you don’t see your family as much, you don’t go out with your friends. Self-care? What’s that? Well, the drama of addictive relationships is so exhausting that there is no time or energy left for anything else.

Addictive relationships are so all-consuming in terms of mental, physical and emotional aspects, that you end up neglecting every other thing in your life apart from your partner.

Signs of an addictive relationship - neglecting everything else
You end up neglecting every other thing in your life apart from your partner

10) You constantly worry if your partner loves you

When you are on the giving end of an addictive unhealthy relationship, you will be able to relate to this. Living in constant fear of losing out on your partner and that they will find someone better than you is also one of the signs of an addictive relationship.

Eventually, you will think yourself to be worthless and wait for your partner to break. You will also blame yourself for every little action, making it extremely suffocating for your partner to live with you. Before the worst-case scenario kicks in, save yourself from making your relationship addictive.

Related Reading: Dating And Relationship Advice: Why Doesn’t He Love Me Back Anymore

11) You’re acting out in frustrating ways

Charlotte was in an addictive relationship and it was taking a toll on her mental health. Since she couldn’t work out the real reason, she began lashing out at everybody. She was constantly irritated and her friends stopped hanging out with her.

Have you started randomly yelling at everybody? Do you find yourself to be constantly irritated and frustrated? Have you become extremely rude and ruthless to everybody because of your relationship frustration?
We’re sorry to break it to you, but you’re in one of those addictive love relationships.

These little scenarios of acting out will take a toll on your mental health. Take this as one of the biggest signs of addictive relationships and walk out immediately.

12) You have to lie to your friends about your partner

If you tell your friends about your addictive relationship, then they are going to advise you to leave it. As is the case with any kind of addiction such as drugs and alcohol, addictive relationships are also hidden from friends and family.

Related Reading: What To Do When Someone Lies In A Relationship

You will certainly try to make your partner look good in front of your friends and family, which means you have to lie to them about your partner’s bad habits and how bad the relationship actually is. This means that you are a victim of one of those addictive love relationships.

Addictive relationships
You will certainly try to make your partner look good in front of your friends and family

13) You just can’t get out of the relationship, no matter how hard you try

The pattern of breaking up and making up is quite familiar to you. This is because you just cannot get out of your addictive relationships. You can make firm decisions about every other aspect in your life, but this particular one leaves you feeling helpless and powerless.

In case the breakup does take place, you will soon get back with them and feel like your significant other saved you from falling into a bad place. You feel panic in breaking up with the person and anxiety after making up with them.

You are in a terrible addictive relationship in this case and you honestly need to seek therapy and save yourself from years of regret.

If you can’t stop thinking about your relationship and your partner’s happiness has become more important than your own, then you are clearly in an addictive relationship. Usually, there is no bouncing back from an addictive relationship, and therefore, the safer option is to leave.

If you are unable to leave this addictive relationship cycle, immediately seek support and save yourself. We hope you make the right choice!


Are addictive relationships bad?

Addiction of any kind is not healthy. Be it addiction to coffee, social media, smoking, or the addiction to a person. None of it is healthy. Unsurprisingly, addictive relationships are extremely bad for you as well as your partner.
If you feel like you are addicted to your partner or your partner is addicted to you, begin working on it immediately.

Can one recover from addictive relationships?

The only way to recover from addictive relationships is by actively working on the addictive habits, or seeking help from a professional therapist. More often than not, people do not realize that they are addicted to someone or are a victim of addictive relationships. If you do recognize it, visit a therapist if you wish to recover from it.

How to let go of addictive relationships?

The first step is making a firm decision. The worst part about addiction is that you cannot get rid of it easily. If you want to let go of your addictive relationship, make a firm decision. Ask your friends and family to stick to it. If it seems impossible, visit an expert therapist and they will guide you on the right path to leaving.

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