Relationship Addiction: When The Other Person Becomes Worse Than A Drug

Last updated by Lauren Hart

At one point in my life, I knew it was impossible for me to be alone. In the romantic sense, I was afraid of being single, and I racked up one relationship after the other. Even if they’re toxic because I didn’t necessarily end up with well-meaning people... Is this what we call “relationship addiction”? Many people use this term, without knowing what it means, because we think of a dependence on the other person. Through my research, I understood that it was much more than that and that it didn’t correspond to me. Explanations.

Relationship Addiction: When The Other Person Becomes Worse Than A Drug

What is relationship addiction?

This addiction is like all other addictions, as psychotherapist, Stéphanie Assimacopoulo explains. It’s a progressive phenomenon in which the person is caught and against which they’re unable to fight. Except that, it’s not taking drugs or drinking alcohol, but it’s other people who become an addiction. The relationship becomes obsessive and compulsive, and the addict feels that they can’t help but do otherwise 😞.

To differentiate from emotional dependence

Relationship addiction can easily be confused with codependency, as there’s a need for each other in both cases. That is what I had, except that addiction implies that it’s compulsive and that you lose a bit more autonomy and freedom each day because of the empty space. My need for the other person has never had this impact on my life. Psychiatrist Hugo Naudet explains that we’re all emotionally dependent, but that this is a healthy dependence. What Stéphanie Assimacopoulo confirms is that relationship addiction has a connotation of an unhealthy mental obsession, as the person is seeking sensations that relieve them 😔.

📌 The origins of this romantic addiction? 📌

The psychotherapist explains that this is an attempt to create or recreate the symbiotic relationship of early life. Therefore, the addict probably lacked the unconditional love of their parents during childhood. This deficiency caused a deep emotional wound that they try to fill through addiction and self-destructive behavior.

How does an addiction to relationships materialize?

As it’s an addiction, there will be an emptiness when there’s no relationship, sex, or feelings. In order to ease their suffering, the addict will have a vital need for others and will be forced to act. This implies that they may also have a sex addiction, as it is the carnal fulfillment of the relationship. They can never have enough of the other person, sex, fantasy, romantic dreams… And because they’re addicted to the hormonal cocktail that you feel when you fall in love, they’ll try and put themselves in situations that keep this feeling going 💊:

  • either by having a desire for inaccessible people, a bit like erotomania,
  • or by racking up romantic relationships by only experiencing the intensity of the start, without ever taking the relationship to a deeper lever.

Of course, risky behaviors can result from this addiction, such as stalking or harassment. The person won’t be able to stop behaving in such a way, as the painful feelings when the “drug” doesn’t produce its effect will reappear. Little by little, addiction will lead them into a vicious circle, from which it’s difficult to overcome alone.

How can you overcome relationship addiction?

Overcoming an addiction, whatever it is, is a very difficult process 😖. Especially as this is about a relationship with others, so we have to take a step back to find healthy, harmonious, and nourishing relationships. Relapses can be plentiful and the path quite long. So, in order not to lose hope and have a profound rebirth, you need to start psychotherapy.

Obviously, the person must become aware of their addiction to begin healing. Accept before treating. Once this first process is done, the therapist can accompany them in the withdrawal process in order to get rid of their relationship patterns. Little by little, they will regain calm relationships, because there will also be a lot of work done on emotional wounds and self-esteem.

Editor’s note: An addiction to be treated

Relationship addiction is, as you’ve understood, an addiction like any other and must therefore be treated as such. If you’re suffering from it or think someone in your life is, don’t wait to make an appointment with a psychologist to start the process.

🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!


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Article presented by Lauren Hart

Writing is a beautiful means of expression that I cannot do without. It has allowed me to channel my hypersensitivity, plus I love writing about psychology and personal development. For me, self-understanding is the best way to move forward!

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Wengood's playlist


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  15. With Or Without YouU2
  16. HelloAdele
  17. Don't Stop Me NowQueen
  18. Skinny LoveBirdy
  19. WingsBirdy
  20. Californian SoilLondon Grammar

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"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." 

- Oscar Wilde