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Consequences of Addictive Love Relationships
Cost of love addiction, negative consequences of obsessive love

By Jim Hall, MS, Love Addiction Coaching Specialist


Addicts may argue addiction has benefits-- and this is true in the short term; the substance or behaviors of addiction provide the wonderful high, emotional escape, and anxiety or relief.

Of course, the reality is-- in due course, addiction often has profound negative consequences.


The consequences of having a love addiction can be similar to other addictions.


Let's take a look at a couple of different addictions for comparison.


Alcohol Addiction

The effects of alcohol addiction range across all aspects of the individual's life. Some of the potential negative consequences of alcohol addiction include but are not limited to the following:

Physical effects: cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, alcoholic dementia, heart disease, nutritional deficiencies, sexual dysfunction, and death from many sources.

Marital conflict and divorce, social alienation, loss of respect and trust from friends or loved ones.

Social effects: loss of employment, financial problems, debt, poor financial judgment.

Economic Effects: drunk driving charges of public disorder; even possibility of hurting or killing another and/or self while driving. There is also the possibility of domestic violence to either spouse or children.

Legal Consequences: dui, jail, fines

Emotional Consequences: anxiety, depression, apathy, hopelessness, isolation, and loneliness.


Gambling Addiction

Another example is gambling. The effects of gambling addiction can range across all aspects of the individual's life. When an individual meets the criteria for pathological gambling, many things are at stake. Some of the most common consequences include the following:

Physical/Emotional effects: High-stress levels leading to stress or psychological illnesses- ex.‘s include high blood pressure, ulcers, migraine, anxiety, panic, depression; depression, apathy, hopelessness, isolation, and loneliness; many gamblers drink alcohol or use drugs excessively; death suicide.

Social effects: Marital conflict and divorce, social isolation, loss friends or family trust- never pay back money loaned.

Economic Effects: loss of employment, College education or retirement funds financial problems, Credit card debts, Home mortgages are foreclosed as- pay premiums, Family savings are lost

Legal Consequences: stealing from family, friends, employers, etc- leading to jail or prison; embezzlement, tax fraud; the high percentage of domestic violence of pathological gamblers- 37% have at some point abused their children

A big book could be written on every addiction contrasting the related devastating life consequences of all kinds of addiction… LOVE ADDICTION IS NO DIFFERENT

Potential consequences of love and relationship addiction

Guilt, shame, emotional pain, loss of identity, self-abandonment, denial, remorse, resentment, anger, depression, divorce, broken relationships, obsession and compulsion, loss of values, loss of job/career; financial loss, helplessness, hopelessness, self blame, loss of respect and trust, self hatred, spiritual bankruptcy, loneliness, stress, physical illness, loss of intimacy, bankruptcy, suicide, homicide.

In regards to painful consequences, I recall an experience of counseling a 29- year-old man who was suicidal and homeless for six months. His emotional breakdown was triggered when his girlfriend of three years left him. He lost his job and all contact with friends and family members.

This man was at a painful bottom- he felt deep despair, shame—and at the same time was extremely resentful about his ex was leaving him. His emotional pain was mixed with a yearning and hopeless need to re-connect with his ex to feel relief, worthy, and alive.


He was in deep denial and lost all reality and sense of himself because of his love addiction. His experience was not unlike the heroin addict who hits a complete bottom losing everything.


Legal Consequences of Addictive Love:

Addictive love can lead to people getting into trouble with the law. Some behaviors carried out by addictive lovers that violate the law may include harassment, damage to property, sexual or physical abuse, use of prostitutes or other drugs, stealing, or other illegal activities. These behaviors can lead to arrest and incarceration, loss of one‘s career, lawsuits, or other legal consequences.


Financial Consequences:

For some- consequences of love addiction can tax financial resources. One way this can arise is by giving too much; going into depth by taking care of one‘s partner financially in extreme and unhealthy manners; paying all his/her bills, buying gifts for their partner. Ultimately spending more money than one has in an attempt to take care of a partner‘s own responsibilities in the hopes that they won‘t be left alone or abandoned.


Using Another Addiction (e.g., drugs):

People in love addiction often become addicted to something besides their relationship (if they don‘t already have another addition) such as drugs, alcohol, or sex. Some will use another addiction to escape from the despair and unhappiness within an addictive relationship. Some will use another addiction if they have lost a relationship, are in withdrawal, or are lonely and in-between a relationship.

Symptoms of Withdrawal:


The consequences of addictive loving are most revealed when a relationship ends in a breakup. Since the relationship has been the person's one essential contact point with life or their only identity was the relationship-- its removal leaves him or her in disoriented agony-- as withdrawal occurs and reality is seeping in.


When an addictive lover feels abandoned or rejected by their partner— emotional pain and obsessive thoughts may escalate in extreme—leaving him desperately seeking relief by getting their drug (lover) back (it doesn‘t matter how bad the relationship was).

They long for the attachment and pleasurable love feelings of the lost relationship, as much as a drug user craves a drug. This longing is a form of withdrawal, resulting in extreme debilitating pain, obsession, and destructive behaviors where one would usually never participate.



Pathological Obsession (violence, murder, suicide)

The most severe consequences of love addiction can lead to the horrific stalking and violence episodes often portrayed in the news… murder and/or suicide— which I believe comes from the agony of love withdrawal. There is not a month that goes by that a story in the news isn‘t reported about a seriously pathological obsessive lover who murders their male or female lover usually because of a real or threatened separation or breakup.


Research has come to a primary conclusion on obsessive homicide… that some of these individuals are motivated by a mood of deep despair because of a partner ending a relationship- creating in their mind rage, and the desire to seek revenge or destroy another person, even at the cost of self-destruction.


I believe true incidences like these occur as a result of Obsessive entanglement of Love and Addiction— leading to severe and painful withdrawal experiences by the partner who commits such horrifying acts. Instead of seeking help, they make a decision to cross the most dangerous line- they take their pain to the level of believing they will find relief through revengeful violent acts of the partner who they feel abandoned, rejected, and betrayed‘ them; which are common feelings of love addiction withdrawal.

This interpersonal dependency we call love addiction is not like an addiction, not something analogous to addiction; it is an addiction.


There is a solution for those willing to do what it takes to break free, and that is recovery.





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