Distorted Love: Understanding Adult Attachment Styles and Love Addiction

Estimated read time 6 min read

Do you find yourself struggling in relationships, feeling isolated and misunderstood? Have your attempts at forming connections left you unfulfilled, leaving you with an overwhelming sense of emptiness or despair? If this sounds familiar, exploring adult attachment styles may offer valuable insight into why distorted forms of love have developed and how they may be negatively impacting your life.

Understanding our attachment patterns can help us break free from harmful compulsions, such as becoming addicted to toxic partners. By shedding light on the underlying causes of love addiction, we can empower ourselves to break destructive patterns and find healthier ways of relating.

In this article, I’ll be delving into adult attachment styles through a psychodynamic lens and providing practical coping strategies for those seeking to safely exit a relationship built on distorted love.

What is Adult Attachment Style?

The concept of adult attachment style pertains to how individuals perceive and respond to intimacy within relationships. It encompasses three patterns: anxious, avoidant, and secure, all of which can significantly impact how people form and maintain interpersonal connections.

In contrast, love addiction is an unhealthy attitude towards a partner that can lead to obsessive behavior and a series of unsuccessful partnerships. By gaining insight into the various attachment patterns and their connection to love addiction, individuals can take proactive steps toward cultivating healthier behaviors and relationships.

Types of Adult Attachment Styles and How They Affect Love Addiction

The impact of adult attachment styles on one’s love addiction can be profound. There are three primary types of attachment styles: secure, anxious-preoccupied, and dismissive-avoidant. Let us talk about each of those in more detail.

Secure Attachment Style

The secure attachment style is characterized by a sense of trust, comfort, and ease in relationships. Individuals with this attachment style have strong bonds with their partners and feel safe and secure in their relationships. They are not afraid of being alone and often enjoy spending time alone as well as with others.

This pattern is typically developed through positive childhood experiences where caregivers provide warm, responsive, and consistent relationships. In addition, it has been linked to positive mental health outcomes in both childhood and adulthood. Therefore, it is crucial to recognize the importance of cultivating a secure attachment style by providing positive experiences in childhood and developing trust in relationships during adulthood.

Avoidant Attachment Style

Individuals with an avoidant attachment style often struggle with emotional intimacy and may actively avoid close relationships. As a result, they may come across as emotionally detached and may unintentionally push others away. This pattern is typically rooted in early childhood experiences, where they may have learned that expressing emotions can lead to rejection or abandonment.

While it may seem challenging to form deeper connections with someone who has an avoidant attachment style, it is not impossible. With the help of therapy and a willingness to explore one’s emotions, individuals can learn to build healthy relationships and emotional connections with others.

Anxious Attachment Style

Individuals with an anxious attachment style tend to feel insecure and fearful in their relationships. They often seek attention, reassurance, and affection from their partners but also worry about being abandoned or left alone. Those with this attachment style commonly struggle with trust and experience high levels of anxiety in their relationships. They may constantly seek validation from their partners, overthink their actions, and feel jealous or possessive.

By gaining a deeper understanding of anxious attachment patterns, people can recognize potential behavior patterns and work towards building healthier relationships. This may involve developing greater trust and communication skills and learning to manage anxiety and insecurity. With time and effort, individuals with an anxious attachment style can cultivate more fulfilling and secure relationships.

Signs and Symptoms of Love Addiction in Adults 

Love addiction can manifest in adults with different attachment styles, but the signs and symptoms may present differently. 

  1. For those with an anxious type, love addiction may be characterized by a constant need for reassurance and attention from their partner. They may also struggle with boundaries and have difficulty ending unhealthy relationships. 
  2. Those with avoidant behavior may experience love addiction in the form of a fear of intimacy, leading them to seek out new partners but avoid emotional connection constantly. 
  3. Lastly, those with an avoidant attachment may struggle with both the need for intimacy and the fear of it, leading to cycles of intense pursuit and withdrawal in their relationships. 

It is essential to recognize these signs and seek professional help, as doing so can be crucial in overcoming the issue and building healthier relationships.

Strategies for Overcoming Distorted Patterns 

Distorted patterns of love can cause relationship issues and emotional distress in some adults. Nevertheless, with the right strategies, these patterns can be overcome.

  1. One approach is to identify and challenge negative beliefs and assumptions about love and relationships. This can involve examining past experiences and reframing them in a more positive light. 
  2. Another effective strategy is to practice mindfulness, which can help individuals become more aware of their thoughts and emotions in intimate relationships. By developing self-awareness, one can better regulate their own emotions and respond more effectively to the needs of their partner. 
  3. Additionally, seeking professional help from a professional and experienced therapist can provide valuable insights and support for those struggling with distorted patterns of love. 

Through understanding and addressing their problematic patterns, individuals can cultivate healthier relationships and experience greater emotional well-being.


To sum up, adults with various attachment styles may develop distorted patterns of love that can lead to love addiction. Therefore, it is crucial to recognize the signs and symptoms associated with each unhealthy behavioral pattern to seek appropriate treatment and strategies to overcome this addiction.

If you find yourself struggling with negative patterns, do not feel ashamed or let it define you. Instead, equip yourself with knowledge and work towards creating more secure behaviors. With patience and practice, individuals of any attachment style can cultivate healthier ways of thinking, behaving, connecting, and communicating.

Thank you for reading! We hope our article has been helpful and you have found all the necessary information here. Remember, everyone is capable of building healthy relationships. If you find yourself struggling in this aspect of life, seeking professional help is crucial. You deserve to love and be loved!

Thank you again for reading, and best of luck to you!