LOVE addiction – it sounds completely harmless, right?
Well, too much of a good thing isn't great, either – and a recovering sex and love addict has told The Sun how you can figure out if you need a romance detox, too.
Brianne Davis, a working actress in Hollywood and author of Secret Life of a Hollywood Sex & Love Addict: A Novel, has shared her journey as a recovering sex and love addict.
Davis, who has been in recovery for 12 years, shared the clear signs that you may be addicted to love, including ones she saw in herself.
ADDICTION MAY RUN IN YOUR FAMILY
Addiction ran in Davis's family, she said – a warning sign of developing love addiction.
"When I went back and did my lineage, addiction ran in my family like generations, you know. My great-great-grandfather was an alcoholic and every generation adapted to the addiction differently," she said.
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"So it went down like workaholism, eating, and mine is sex and love addiction.
"I like to say [that] since I was a very young girl, I snorted and drank people. Like, that's how I describe it. Like, I love falling in love. I love that high. I love, you know, that first touch, that first kiss."
YOU BECOME ADDICTED TO FANTASY
Davis recalled how she would romanticize stories like Romeo and Juliet at a young age.
"Oh my God, they're so in love, one of them is willing to drink poison. And the other one is willing to stab themselves," she said.
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"That was what I thought real love looked like. That passion and that drama.
"And then when I think about it now, they were 14 years old, came from two families that hate each other. They lost their virginity together in less than 24 hours. And then they were willing to die for each other in like two days. Like, it's insane."
She continued: "So I became addicted to fantasy. Addicted to that high. And the moment that that first love wore off, first touch, first kiss, first everything… I didn't know what to do with real intimacy."
YOU THINK FLIRTING IS YOUR PERSONALITY
Davis said that a major indicator of love addiction is thinking that being a flirt is a big part of your personality.
"I had one foot in the door, one foot out, you know, at all times. I had tons of guy friends. I would flirt with anybody. I used to say I could flirt with a chair and it's just my personality," she explained.
"How many times have you heard people be like, "It's just who I am"? This is just who I am. It's like, no, you're not.
"You are using other people to give you your self-worth. That's the same thing as someone using a bottle of alcohol to feel like they fit in at a party, it's the same thing as just using a different substance. And unfortunately, the substance is a person."
ASSIGNING MAGICAL QUALITIES TO SOMEONE AND PUTTING THEM ON A PEDESTAL
Davis wants you to sincerely ask yourself if you're putting someone on a pedestal, perhaps thinking that they can fix you.
She said: "Are you thinking they're your soulmate, which is a bunch of BS? Like, no one's your soulmate. You are not [this] half looking for your other half in this world.
"It's just ridiculous. But it's like, are you looking for the shiny knight to come rescue you from your life? That's the number one thing."
ALWAYS NEEDING TO BE LOVED
According to Davis, it's not a normal thing to always be searching for love.
"It's like I wasted so much energy going from relationship to relationship to relationship, looking for this person who loves me, and to be enough, and to do everything I imagine a partner could do.
"And that's unrealistic, and we're humans, and we're flawed. So it's not accepting other people's flaws cause they don't fit the fantasy you have for them."
RETURNING TO PAINFUL DESTRUCTIVE RELATIONSHIPS
Davis said a tendency to cling to bad relationships could point to love addiction.
"With [some of] my clients, it's like, why do you keep going back to this toxic relationship? When you know they can't give you what you want? It's like going to the hardware store for milk," she explained.
"And I'm not just talking about love relationships. I'm talking about friendships."
Davis explained that if any of your relationships are filled with drama, there might be some love addictive tendencies or full-on love addiction at play.
YOU WANT TO FALL IN LOVE OFTEN
If you're always wanting to fall in love, you might be addicted to love, according to Davis.
"You know those people that always like a new person and you're like whoa, who's this new person, right?" she asked.
"Especially with this swiping that's going on in the dating world, it's like we all wanna feel and fall in love constantly. And we're searching for that high constantly. And the apps, the dating apps, are amplifying it."
YOUR INABILITY TO BE ALONE
Davis described her experience of not wanting to be alone, which she said was a clear sign of her own love addiction.
"So I just went from relationship to relationship. I never could be alone. And it's not like I don't wanna be alone. I can be alone. But like in my head I was always needing someone to be there just in case," she said.
EVEN IF CHAOS IS GOING ON IN YOUR LIFE, LOVE IS ALL THAT MATTERS
Do you find that you think that even if you have chaos going on in your life, as long as you are in a relationship or know you have someone, the chaos doesn't matter?
If so, you may be addicted to love, according to Davis.
"It means that like everything could be happening bad in your life. Your world could be crashing. But if you have a partner it's still okay."
IS LOVE ADDICTION TREATABLE?
Reassuringly, Davis said that love addiction is treatable.
"But you have to be in treatment for the rest of your life. It's not a curable disease. Just like alcoholism. It's not a curable disease. You maintain it," she explained.
TREATMENT FOR LOVE ADDICTION
Davis described her treatment process: "I'm in a 12-step program. It's called sex and love addicts anonymous. I've been in it for 12 years. I have 12 years of recovery. I'm an old-timer. Cause not many people have recovery.
"Not many people stay in the program because they think, 'oh I'm in a relationship now it's all cured'.
"But what happens is they come back years later because the same problems are there if they don't work on that. So yeah. I still go to a meeting every day."
She added: "The number one thing that helps you with love addiction or sex and love addiction is connection. Like, an authentic connection where you're giving and you're not trying to take from people.
"'Cause I was a taker. I was like, give me your energy. I'm so empty and incomplete. Cause I'm afraid of intimacy. I'm afraid of being abandoned.
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"I'm afraid of being really loved. And the moment it got real, I was out the door. 'Cause I didn't know, I didn't have the tools to have those real conversations. You know?
"What does sex look like with someone you've been with for 17 years? No one taught you that at school, right? How do you reignite the connection? How do you re-fall in love with the person?"
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