Love Addiction, Romantic Obsession and Co-dependent Relationships


Many of us come to Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous because of some form of obsession. Romantic obsession is broadly defined as an unhealthy fixation on another person with whom we may or may not have a relationship or even have met. A romantic obsession can be triggered by a sexual obsession, the beginning or ending of a relationship, or for reasons beyond our present understanding.

The object of our romantic obsession, for example, can be someone we’ve heard speak at a meeting, a public figure, or an anonymous person in a magazine ad. In many cases, we may not be clear what triggers us. The addictive nature of obsession can distort our thinking and behavior and can lead us in a direction that violates our dignity and personal integrity.

We who are plagued with romantic obsession have found hope and recovery in SLAA. The program shifts the focus from the idealized romantic relationship that our disease craves to a working relationship with a Power greater than ourselves. By working the Twelve Steps of SLAA, we counter the destructive behaviors and self-hatred that accompany obsession and begin to experience a gradual yet persistent return to sanity.

Once we become willing to surrender to our powerlessness and take healthy action, we can be guided safely back to sanity and released from the bondage of romantic obsession. The following are some ways that obsession can affect us.

– Engaging in Romantic Obsession Distorts our Perceptions

– Romantic Obsession Obscures Reality

– Romantic Obsession Promotes Self Destructive Behaviors

– Romantic Obsession Stops Us from Fully Engaging in Life

– Romantic Obsession is Self-Negating

– Romantic Obsession is Fear-Based

Obsession invariably leads to

– denial.

– delusional thinking.

– personal acts of dishonesty (e.g., manipulation, intrusion on others’ privacy, etc.)

Excerpts from Romantic Obsession © 2010 The Augustine Fellowship, S.L.A.A., Fellowship-Wide Services, Inc.

An Unconscious, Familiar Relationship Pattern?

Often, we believe we are seeking happiness in love, but we confuse sex with love and what we are really after is familiarity. We are looking to recreate, within an adult relationship, the very feelings we knew so well in childhood and which were rarely limited to just tenderness and care. The love most of us have experienced early on came entwined with other, more destructive dynamics. For example, we may have a habit of wanting to help an out-of-control adult to the detriment of our own needs. Or we may have an uncomfortable fear of rejection due to our inability to navigate intimacy.

​How logical, then, that we should, as adults, find ourselves rejecting certain “love candidates” not because they are wrong but because they are a little too right – in the sense of seeming somehow excessively balanced, mature, understanding, and reliable – given that, in our hearts, such rightness feels foreign and unearned. Often, we chase after more exciting people, acting out with multiple partners. We may stay “committed” to the right kind of partner, while attempting to battle the urge to act out, resulting in a sense of entitlement, resentment and displaced anger.

These patterns grow, not in the belief that life with them will be more harmonious, but out of an unconscious sense that it will be reassuringly familiar in its patterns of frustration. We believed in excitement rather than in reality. We long for love as a feeling by which we were overwhelmed, instead of a committed thoughtful decision.  

Excerpts from Healthy Relationships Â© 2018 The Augustine Fellowship, S.L.A.A., Fellowship-Wide Services, Inc.

SLAA Literature