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Relationship Addiction: 5 Signs You Might Be Emotionally Addicted

“Emotional addiction” is a very real addiction that affects an untold number of highly sensitive individuals.

It takes a toll not just on their relationships but also on their hearts, minds, and bodies.

This article contains 5 sings you might be emotionally addicted and how to overcome that addiction and start loving yourself.

Ready? Let’s get started!

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5 Signs You Might Be Emotionally Addicted

#1. You Believe That You Receive Love or Validation Only If You Earn It

This root belief comes from “I’m unlovable,” and, “I’m not enough.”

Such belief might help you get high grades and earn promotions at work, but it also prevents you from enjoying healthy romantic relationships.

This belief is a sign that you’re living with an extra layer of shame, judgment, and lack of acceptance of self, especially when it comes to your weaknesses and imperfections.

Related: 10 Signs You Were Shamed In Childhood

#2. You Prioritize The Needs of Others Before Your Own

You tend to find yourself bending over backward for your relationship, but you end up feeling unappreciated, and starved for more love.

Your partners don’t seem to be as invested in the relationship as you are.

You’ve always felt rejected for expressing your needs, or even having them, and you adapted by prioritizing other people’s needs before your own because deep down inside, you don’t feel that you are worthy of having your needs met.

#3. You Tend To Put Your Relationship at The Center of Your World

When you get into a relationship, you tend to merge with your partner and put your relationship at the center of your world.

Your identity and priorities revolve around that relationship. Your partner becomes the only person who can make you feel okay, but when the relationship is in turmoil or comes to an end, you’re feel like nothing is left for you to live for.

Your root belief here is “I’m not okay on my own.”

Related: How to Be Whole on Your Own: 3 Crucial Steps to Feel Complete and Whole

#4. You Struggle With Opening Your Heart and Allowing Yourself To Be Vulnerable

You’ve been hurt so badly before that even if on a cognitive level you know you’ve over that pain, your subconscious still associates vulnerability with pain

Your root belief is that you cannot trust and therefore it is not safe to open your heart, and no matter how your partner proves themselves, you still find it hard to open the gates of your heart.

You might get in a relationship, but ad the relationship progresses, you struggle more and more with emotional intimacy.

#5. You Need Constant Validation From Your Partner

Being unable to self-soothe, you constantly seek validation from partners.

You end up avoiding emotional intimacy, and seeking fantasy and chasing highs.

It’s Not Just About The Ex

We often end up re-creating the emotional experience of how we were wounded as children.

Unless we heal our childhood pain, we will continue to repeat the same painful emotional experience—just with different people.

Not because we want to get hurt again—but because we want to master a situation in which we felt helpless as children.

Freud called this “repetition compulsion.” On a subconscious level, a part of you imagines that you can go back and heal that wound from long ago by engaging with somebody familiar—but also new.

However, choosing the familiar partner doesn’t help heal the wound, it only reopens it and make you feel even more inadequate and unlovable.

A breakup is also an opportunity for you to learn something about yourself so you won’t keep repeating the same pattern.

To break the old pattern, you’ll need to stop and assess the lessons before you can replace old habits with healthier ones.

As you begin to practice healthier habits, you’ll slowly discover that your happily-ever-after relationship isn’t going to be with the next partner, but with you.

You’ll realize that love is something you find within – self-love. It is the foundation needed before a healthy partnership with another is possible.

How to practice self-love?

By giving yourself the love you often dream about receiving from others.

What’s Next? Raising low self-esteem: 18 Ways to Build High Self-Esteem

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Relationship Addiction: 5 Signs You Might Be Emotionally Addicted


  • Portions of this article were adapted from the book Breakup Bootcamp: The Science of Rewiring Your Heart, © 2020 by Amy Chan. All rights reserved.
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