The Difference Between True Love And Unhealthy Obsession
What is an unhealthy obsession with love and how does this manifest? In today’s world, many people are confused and depressed due to the failed relationship because they don’t know how true love should look like. In most cases, the relationship is based on idealisation and infatuation, and these feelings don’t grow into something more significant and relations fail. If love isn’t shared, then it is not love. If love is self-centered, controlling, jealous, clingy, it is an obsession. If love isn’t understanding and forgiving, it isn’t love.
If you are in two minds about the true nature of feelings you experience, and your intuition tells you that something is wrong, then consider this article. You’ll learn about the difference between love and obsession, obsessive relationships signs and ways to prevent obsession.
Love Or Obsession: The Difference
Love and obsession are two diametrical opposites. However, they are often confused. This fact is surprising as they have significant differences.
#1: Effortless Love vs. Stressful Obsession
This feature is the major one as it highlights the true nature of the feelings. If you love the person, then the relationship is effortless and stress is minimal. You feel great, you “get” each other, live brightly, enjoy your life because you and your partner are compatible. You appreciate the person genuinely and accept him the way he is.
As for an obsession, it may be compared with the feeling of suffocation. Your mind is screaming that you should get away, but you feel that being with this person is very urgent and important. Eventually, the relationship is stressful as it requires heavy emotional investment and it ruins genuine feelings between you. The relationship is filled with mind games, drama, crying, heart-wrenching conversations.
#2: Free Love vs. Clingy Obsession
In love, people are connected to each other but they don’t limit each other’s freedom in thoughts, feelings, preferences, and choices. They perceive each other as separate individuals and simply interact with each other. They have separate interests, maintain other meaningful relationships.
Whereas when the relationship is built on obsession, each choice of the partner is painful as the person wants him to fulfill personal desires and don’t be distracted by other events, people or thoughts.
Such feelings as jealousy and paranoia begin to creep into the relationship. The idea is that any person or thing, which doesn’t suit the “ideal world” is considered to be harmful and it is a subconscious attempt to maintain control over the partner. Eventually, instead of feeling relaxed together, the partners feel upset and irritated together.
#3: Unselfish Love vs. Selfish Obsession
Love makes you feel needed, cherished, appreciated, and desired. Love is about accepting and serving. You don’t need another person to fulfill your needs, you just share your life with him. You share the same life journey and support each other on their road to self-development.
If it is the obsession, it is always selfish and painful. The meaning of obsessed with someone is about feeling great when the partner does what you want and if he is not around it brings even physical ache.
#4: Destructive Obsession vs. Creative Love
Nervous, suspicious, irritable – these are the typical states of the obsessed person. Instead of focusing on positive things, the person becomes preoccupied with problems, negative aspects of the relationship. Eventually, this behavior destroys him.
In the meantime, love is associated with stability and comfort. When you are in love, the person soothes you, which has a positive effect on your life. Eventually, you become happier, healthier, and a better version of yourself. True love is characterised by stability, appreciation, and growth.
#5: Deep Love vs. Superficial Obsession
Love always grows into something deep and meaningful. You are not only attracted physically, you are connected spiritually and emotionally. You are respectful, you have your own friends and interests and your life is balanced. When faced with unhealthy obsession, this is important to know.
As for obsession, it is built on lust and the partners always experience a lack of time, attention, they are controlling and their obsession doesn’t transform into a strong commitment and lifelong trusting bond.
#6: Accepting Love vs. Dissatisfied Obsession
Love is about embracing each other’s personality and loving each other with advantages and flaws without wanting to change something. Love is comprehensive, understanding and forgiving. A person can make mistakes, but real love understands and accepts them. Love is always merciful.
As for obsessive love, it always focuses on changes. You want to change the partner in order to meet your own desires and ideas about the ideal person. You want to change him even if these changes contradict his nature.
Obsessive Relationships Signs
Obsessive love is a condition in which one person feels an overwhelming, obsessive desire to possess another person toward whom one feels a strong attraction, with an inability to accept failure or rejection. Here are some of the major signs.
- Obsessive love may be destructive for both partners, so it’s important to protect yourself. These ten obsessive relationships signs will help you to determine if you feel obsession.
- You are getting close too fast. You’ve been seeing each other for a couple of days or weeks and you express the feelings of attraction and think that there is a deep connection between you.
- You can’t apply logic to your relationship and consciously ignore the warning signs. For instance, your partner is cruel or even dangerous and you know that you are incompatible, but you don’t pay attention to these facts.
- Pathological jealousy and paranoia about infidelity accompany these relationships. Sometimes, paranoia develops and these assumptions become frankly absurd (affairs with doctors, teachers, relatives).
- You and the partner become too attentive. This excessive attention becomes an obsession. It is expressed in numerous phone calls, thousands of messages per day.
The obsessive relationship occupies all spheres of life. It is expressed in the inability to focus on other things except for things, connected with the loved one. As a result, you can’t work and use all time to write poems about love for the partner, send emails, daydreams, attempt to reach the partner by phone. Sometimes comes the feeling of confusion. You soberly realise that you are in the relationship with the wrong person, but in the same time, you can’t imagine your life without him.
- You may experience physical and mental problems. I.e. you may suffer from the loss of appetite and sleep. Feelings of depression and anxiety are increased, you lose your identity in the relationship, which leads to the low self-esteem. Besides, you can’t accept the fact of the end of the relationship.
- You may think that your partner still loves you even if he says the opposite, refuses to answer your calls and tells you that everything is over.
- Sometimes the obsession becomes really health-threatening. For instance, there may be a manipulation of a lover through guilt tactics (the promise to commit a suicide if he leaves you). Also, you may take drugs, alcohol, which only enhance the feelings of loneliness and depression. Don’t fall into unhealthy obsession.
- There are promises to alter everything in life for the sake of the partner. These may be changes in your character, appearance, habits, interests. But these changes aren’t long-lasting.
Fear, insecurity, and dependency rule your life and you may feel incomplete, miserable and useless without this person. Love brings out the best of your character, whereas obsession reveals only worst characteristics. You become more jealous, suspicious, controlling, irritable, restless, arrogant.
How To Prevent Obsession
If you’ve noticed the warning signs in your own behavior, you should cope with them. If it is unattainable to do yourself, use the help of others. Dr. John Moore, a Ph.D. in Psychology, recommends consulting the professional such as a psychotherapist for support, guidance, and insight. If you are obsessed, you shouldn’t be ostracised. On the contrary, you need outside help. Here are some tips how to prevent unhealthy obsession:
Evolve as a person, it will improve your self-esteem so that you don’t need the reassurance how significant you are and how much the partner loves you. A low self-esteem leads to obsession and destroys healthy love.
Foster equality and respect in your relationship. If you will put your needs and desires first, it will lead to the selfishness and dependency on the other person. Besides, selfishness eliminates respect. So, make sure mutual respect reigns in your relationship.
- Keep your outside interests, friends and social activities. Feeling of true love means that you interact well and share your life together, but it doesn’t mean that you should focus only on each other.
- Other activities and interests will help you to remain interesting, to develop personally and distract from the relationship. It is especially relevant for a long-term relationship.
- Don’t idealise your partner and always be objective about him. Love isn’t perfect. You should realise all his merits and demerits and don’t expect more than he is ready to give you.
- Realise your emotional needs and don’t focus only on your partner. Find events and activities which make you happy. Don’t entrust your happiness to the hands of your loved one, it leads to dependency.
- If you notice some signs of obsession, calm down and think everything over. Meditation can help you to evaluate the situation and make the right decision.
Therefore, always evolve, respect your partner, be considerate, sympathetic and unselfish, and then you will never experience unhealthy obsession.