In my new book, "The Marriage and Relationship Junkie," I illustrate a clear picture of how relationship and marriage addiction develop and how people can change the course of the addiction in order to develop healthy, sustainable and positive relationships.
One of the big issues noted in the book is the concern about the ability to connect with others online and through dating apps. For a person with a love, relationship or marriage addiction this provides a virtually limitless opportunity to engage in obsessive searches for the perfect partner or to continue to connect with people after a breakup (in unhealthy and potentially dangerous ways).
The Addiction Within the Addiction
Anyone who has gone online and spent time on a social media site or looking through an app that offers something of interest has had the experience of losing time and spending hours searching for all types of information, products or options.
A love and relationship addict can do the same, where the use of the technology and the ability to see endless numbers of "ideal" new partners creates an addiction of its own.
Where a person with a healthy understanding of relationships may get on a matchmaking site or app and spend a limited amount of time, the relationship and marriage addict spends hours a day, often to the detriment of other areas of their life.
In this way, the addiction to the screen time and the constant supply of potential partners become another addictive behavior. He or she may feel that if they aren't online, they will miss the perfect partner. The compulsion to be online can impact their job, their interest in being with others in their life and create further isolation and feelings of being alone until they find someone to respond.
The individual with relationship and marriage addiction will create elaborate fantasies of having someone on the app sweep them off their feet in a romantic, fantastic courtship that simply is not reflective of reality.
Even people without a pre-existing relationship and marriage addiction can become addicted to these online dating apps. Apps like Tinder, which is used around the globe, reports that 26 million matches are made per day. However, according to the Pew Research Center, only about 5% of online meetings become committed relationships, with about 90% of initial contact by one party being ignored by the other.
For a person with a relationship and marriage addiction this creates a very significant issue. While there are lots of possible matches, there is also the 90% rate of non-response, further fueling thoughts of not being wanted, lovable or desirable.
Turning to the apps is often a coping mechanism after the breakup of an existing relationship. Within minutes the relationship and marriage addict can start sending messages to the next fantasy partner. This often creates feelings of guilt in the addict, but the powerful draw of the possibilities of the relationships keeps them returning time and time again.
Take my quiz to find out if you are a love addict. You can find my new book, The Marriage and Relationship Junkie: Kicking Your Obsession here. To learn more about me and my work, visit www.sherrygaba.com.