Over the years, love as a concept has been mystified and demystified, represented and misrepresented, interpreted and misinterpreted. Love is one of the most ancient topics that has remained so ancient and so new. Some people see love as a concept of nature; others see it from romantic angle and yet others see love as not just an attribute of God but God Himself; hence, God is love. Many literary works of medieval period and even current television programmes, musical lyrics and other live publications have portrayed love as a very dangerous thing. Most of such works have made us to understand that love has the ability to take one’s life. From the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet to the sinking of Titanic, many have believed that love might be synonymous to mental illness. As common as the word love may sound, it seems to be one of the most widely practiced concept in human history. There are different kinds and forms of love but this article shall focus mainly on a romantic relationship based love.
What’s the difference between true love and obsession in a relationship? No doubt, all humans experience a bit of obsession and infatuation at different points in their relationship. To differentiate true love from obsession, Eric Charles wrote,
“Well, when you love someone, it is pretty effortless. It is true and pure – you don’t need them to be any certain way. Heck, you don’t even need them to be your boyfriend or lover. You just simply enjoy them as a person and you’re happy with them just being who they are. You don’t need to possess them. You don’t need a title from them. You just love having them in your life and they love being in yours, whether it’s as friends, as lovers, or as life partners”.
Obsession breeds vulnerability and desperation; it comes with a lot of unrealistic expectations making the obsessed partner sink deeper and deeper into it and may at a point cause him or her to relapse into depression.
Let us look at some situations that may gradually metamorphose into obsession.
One of them is unrequited love. Once you begin to feel that your love for someone is unrequited, you’re closer to being obsessed. This is so because unrequited love if not properly managed could be very dangerous. You can manage unrequited love by believing more in yourself and seeing the bigger picture; believing that whoever does not really care about you does not merit you. Rather than struggling to please the person at all costs; rather than punishing yourself by trying to posses the person by all means, you should understand that some relationships are not meant to be. If you eventually continue in that relationship, you’ll begin to look for the causes of your partner’s behaviour; and as you begin to search for them, you’ll start suspecting every move he or she makes. You’ll begin to judge every one of his or her actions; You’ll begin to monitor his or her moves; you read meaning into everything; you’ll believe he or she is having an affair and trust does not exist any more. You keep on struggling to solve all the problems and by so doing, you constitute a nuisance to him or her as you try to impose yourself to get loved as you want. You are already very deep into obsession.
Desperation for a title is another pointer to obsession. Relationships do not necessarily mean marriage; some partners are just good as lovers and can definitely not make a good couple in marriage. Marriage is a different institution though tied to love and relationship. If you are in a relationship and you wish at all costs to get married to your partner but he or she thinks otherwise, this might lead you to being obsessed if you do not handle it properly. Since both of you do not have a common interest of purpose, clash is imminent. It is therefore important that one gets the clear picture of what the other person wants from a relationship. This will determine one’s level of commitment and expectations in such a relationship.
Lengthy relationships can lead one into fixation. Spending years with someone without having a clear cut idea of where the relationship is headed creates room for thought imbalance. For a lady who believes she’s in for good in the relationship, she may start taking some steps that may provoke her partner into believing she’s desperate. This may increase commitment on her part and decrease it on the young man’s part. Staying in one relationship for too long most times fails the ladies.
Low Social life brings low self esteem, low self worth, low feelings at all times. This leads to fixation too. A person who has very few friends or no friends at all tend to depend so heavily on their lover to fill all the gaps. This over dependence is capable of leading to obsession. It is always very important to develop our social life, join groups and clubs. It’s also good to develop skills that can expose us to greater opportunities in life. This can help one depend less on his or her lover and reduce the chances of slipping into obsession.
Break up is another serious cause of obsession. Once you start a relationship, don’t be in denial of breakup. Do not believe that it’s an unbreakable love. Do not believe it’s eternal, only few relationships end up in marriage; others definitely break up. Managing breakup is an arduous task. It is a very difficult situation to handle. You have to prepare for it once you’re in a relationship. Obsession sets in when you still scroll through your phone to see if your ex called. You spend the whole day wishing the break never happened, brooding in denial of it. You put a call through to your ex’s closest friends just to say hi. These are signs of obsession. There are many other signs and symptoms of obsession. In identifying symptoms of obsession, Leslie J Saul wrote,
“Do you get jealous of your partner spending time with other people, when they could be spending time with you?
When you aren’t together, do you feel compelled to know exactly where they are, and who they are with?
Are you incapable of being happy or living a functional life when they aren’t around?
Have you ever accused your partner of infidelity with no evidence or reason, besides your own insecurity?
Do you live in a constant fear that the relationship is going to end?”
These are all serious symptoms of obsession.
In dealing with obsession, you need to first of all understand and admit that you are obsessed. Then Identify the particular cause of your obsession. When that happens, you follow the solutions provided for that. Make new friends, believe more in yourself and act cautiously so you don’t relapse into depression..