You land in a euphoric state while thinking about love and declare it one of the best feelings in the world. After all, that deep sense of attachment and passion makes you feel on cloud nine every time you are with your special person.
However, what if the person you love develops an unhealthy obsession for you? Or your obsessive love causes your significant other to suffocate in the relationship? Well, there is a thin line between love and obsession, and once that line begins to recede, things change.
According to research, obsessive love is a mental disorder that requires diagnosis and treatment (1). Read on to know more facts about love vs. obsession and how to differentiate between the two.
In This Article
Love Vs. Obsession
Love is a healthy emotion that enables the two people involved in the relationship to grow in life and appreciate each other’s differences. On the contrary, obsession is an unhealthy sentiment where the obsessive partner does not allow the other person to grow and pursue their interests. They always feel insecure about their partner and experience jealousy and paranoia.
An obsessive person is likely to spend excessive time thinking about their partner and trying to please them. They exhibit extreme possessiveness and often objectify their significant other. Obsessive partners are controlling and demanding and can even become abusive over time.
Love can turn into obsession due to excessive attachment, low self-esteem, and mental health conditions. So, if you think your partner is obsessive about you or leaning towards obsessive behavior, it is time to take appropriate action.
Given below are some traits generally observed in obsessive partners.
Symptoms Of Obsessive Love Disorder
1. They Constantly Make You Feel Special
If you are in love, you will invest time and effort to make your partner feel special. However, when it turns into obsession, the partner will constantly pamper their significant other to keep them hooked in the relationship. They may surprise you with gifts now and then, write poems for you, and do other things to woo you.
2. They Show Extreme Possessiveness
The difference between love and obsession can be measured by the extent of your partner’s possessiveness. In love, a little possessiveness is natural. But obsessive love does not work that way. An obsessive partner will show over-possessiveness and constantly feel scared of losing you to someone else. Their possessiveness can grow to an extent where you may feel smothered in your relationship.
3. They Will Be Extremely Clingy
It feels great when your partner tries to know about your whereabouts when you are not with them. But what if they irk you by sending a barrage of messages every time? Their constant longing to be around you is a sign of unhealthy obsession and not love.
4. They Are Very Controlling
An obsessive partner may exhibit a controlling nature. They will act as the sole decision-maker in the relationship. Obsessive lovers are also very demanding and will want you to fulfill their every small need.
5. They Will Stalk You Online And Offline
It should not be surprising if your obsessive partner often pays you surprise visits at your office or when you are with your friends. They may stalk you on social media and get infuriated when you talk to someone else or like their pictures or posts. In other words, obsessive lovers constantly monitor the actions of their partners.
6. They Ignore Others Because Of You
No matter how busy someone gets in life, they will always take time from their schedule to talk to or meet their loved ones. However, it is a different ball game altogether with an obsessive partner.
Obsessive lovers will ignore their family and friends for you. They will find it difficult to maintain other relationships due to their obsession. Even if they are with their family or friends, they will constantly keep a check on you. They might even object when you choose to be with your loved ones over them.
7. They Will Rush In A Relationship
When two people love each other, they want to give their relationship some time and let it flow at its pace rather than pushing things. On the other hand, an obsessive lover will always hurry to make the relationship official out of the constant fear of losing you.
8. They Will Not Give Genuine Opinions
Sharing opinions by speaking one’s mind is a part of healthy love. When love turns into an obsession, they hide their true feelings and only say things that make their partner happy. Sugarcoating becomes natural for them. As a result, they become unreal rather than honest.
9. They Will Abuse You
A healthy romantic relationship has no place for abuse – be it verbal or physical. Even in case of arguments or disagreements, a couple will not force or inflict their opinions on each other. However, obsessive partners will not take objections. They will try to indoctrinate your mind with the ideas they believe in. Obsessive lovers can also become abusive with their partners and physically harm their partners.
- Overwhelming attraction
- Extreme jealousy
- Low self-esteem
- Dire need of reassurance
Obsessive love disorder goes hand-in-hand with certain mental health conditions.
Causes Of Obsessive Love Disorder
- Delusional Jealousy: It is characterized by believing something that is not true according to your partner (2).
- Obsessional Jealousy: This is a constant fear that your partner is betraying or cheating on you (3).
- Attachment Disorders: These result from emotional attachment issues, such as obsession, abandonment, or lack of empathy (4).
- Erotomania: This mental condition involves the idea that someone might be in love with you even if you do not know them (5).
- Borderline Personality Disorder: It is characterized by self-image issues, mood swings, and fear of abandonment (6).
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: This disorder is characterized by obsessive behavior and uncontrollable thoughts (7).
Obsessive love can be treated in several ways, including both psychotherapy and practical solutions. However, if the sufferer starts exhibiting abusive or dangerous behavior, safety measures or police intervention may be required. Here are some suggested treatments for obsessive love disorder.
How To Overcome Obsessive Love Disorder
The doctor may recommend antipsychotics, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, or mood stabilizers to adjust the patient’s brain chemicals and eventually reduce the symptoms (8).
If the affected person is committed to their partner, they may require psychotherapy. This solution is quite helpful and might require the involvement of family members, especially if childhood issues have contributed to the disorder.
A mental health professional will conduct solo or group therapy sessions, depending on the condition. The treatment may involve talk therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Seeking the help of a relationship coach is the best resort in certain cases. A relationship adviser will diagnose the root cause of the problem and take the best course of action to help you heal. Counseling usually involves working on the patient’s self-esteem, individual ideals, and other interpersonal problems.
Try to make your relationship healthy by giving your significant other some space. You also need to control your obsessive thoughts to prevent your relationship from ruining. Instead of constantly thinking of your partner, involve yourself in other tasks, especially your professional work.
You can take up an interesting hobby and pursue things you love. Surround yourself with your friends and family and take care of them. This way, you will be able to keep your mind off your partner. You can also take a break from your relationship by parting ways with your partner for the time being.
When it comes to love vs. obsession, the key differences exist between the kinds of emotions. While love involves a sense of security, obsession makes one insecure. Obsession can also be the underlying cause of mental disorders that needs immediate treatment through medical help, counseling, self-help, or psychotherapy. In certain cases where the obsessive partner becomes abusive or threatening, legal interventions may be required.
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- [Delusional jealousy and obsessive love–causes and forms]
- Facets of morbid jealousy: With an anecdote from a historical Tamil romance
- Obsessional Jealousy: A Narrative Literature Review
- Attachment Disorders
- Erotomania or de Clérambault Syndrome
- “Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): In the Midst of Vulnerability” “Chaos” and Awe
- Obsessive–compulsive disorder
- Mental Health Medications