Is this Love or Obsession?
How can you tell if your new relationship is real love or obsessive love? Perhaps you haven’t even had a conversation with him? Maybe you’ve only had contact via social media? But you know you love him. You know how much you are meant to be together. It could be true love… or it could be obsessive love disorder.
Incidentally, we’re using the pronoun ‘him’ here for brevity and simplicity. Feel free to insert the pronoun of your choice.
Nine Indicators of Obsessive Love
1. You don’t know him, but you do know you love him. This is where you project a whole personality, and a relationship to go with that personality, onto someone you’ve hardly spoken to. Your imagination has filled in the gaps, and you adore what your imagination has done with that, so you can’t help but love this persona.
2. Your heart races when you catch a glimpse of him. You see him and you literally can’t breathe, can’t think straight and certainly can’t hold up your side of a conversation.
3. You feel insanely jealous when you see him talking to someone else. Even if you know he's with his female boss, his sister or even his mother. You rage inside because he’s giving his attention to another woman.
4. He smiles at you briefly, and it lifts your whole day/week/month. Your efforts are beginning to pay off. True, it’s a small pay off. Nevertheless, it’s a start. It doesn’t even matter if it was a smiley face in response to a Facebook post. After all, he’s everything you want. It’s worth the wait. Even that little acknowledgment of your existence is enough to feed you until the next time.
5. You have daydreams where you visualize every detail of your future life together. It’s all mapped out. You’ve planned it down to the cars in the garage and the kids in the yard.
6. You are convinced he secretly loves you too, but can’t show it for some reason. He has to hide his love. It’s not the right time. He has to get out of his existing relationship. He can’t tell his parents because they won’t approve. He’s waiting for the right moment to declare his passion for you.
7. He has problems and you know you can fix him – if only he’d let you. He’s suffering, but you know you can help him. He needs to change his behavior, and only you can persuade him. Maybe he’s sad over a breakup – you know you can kiss it better for him.
8. You think of him as ‘yours’. Of course he’s yours. There’s no doubt. Is there?
9. You can’t talk about anyone or anything else. He fills your thoughts so much that you are unable to function properly.
Are You the Object of Obsessive Love Disorder?
It maybe the other way around. You are the object of another person’s obsessive love. How do you cope?
Obsessive love is essentially a delusion. The obsessed person takes everything they think they know about true love and projects it on to you. You are everything to them. This can make you extremely uncomfortable, even if you found it amusing in the beginning. The obsession can take a sinister turn toward outright stalking, though this is relatively rare.
Six Steps to Stop Someone Obsessing Over You
1. Use clear language to explain you aren’t interested, and to leave you alone. Be firm. Don’t use any ambiguous words that they could misinterpret or give them hope. Be very calm and don’t smile.
2. Block them on all social media and remove them from your contact lists. Do not respond to them in any way. Do not speak or text them. You’ve already stated your wish that they leave you alone. Do nothing to encourage them.
3. If the obsessed person is a work colleague, inform your boss and ask for a transfer, if possible. You cannot work with someone who is plaguing you.
4. Have a (preferably massive) male friend to warn off your stalker. Be careful with this one. You don’t want to instigate any violence.
5. Change your appearance: hairstyle, clothing, makeup, scent. Many obsessives have a fixed ideal of their ‘loved one’ and by altering some of those details, you can break the spell.
6. Keep a record of all attempts the obsessed person makes to contact you. This will help you if you have to report them to the police.
Four Ways to Let Go of Obsessive Love
If you identify with three or more of the nine indicators of obsessive love, then you must seek help. Obsessive love is a sign of mental illness and can be treated. This love is an addiction, and despite all the popular songs, it is not good for you and will eventually destroy you.
1. Understand that this kind of relationship can never work out. Even if the other person is willing to become involved with you, your inability to let her live her life will smother her, and she will leave.
2. This love interest of yours will inevitably disappoint you. You have put her on a pedestal of perfection, but she is still human. And human beings make mistakes. Let go now before that happens.
3. Know that what you are experiencing has been replicated over and over by experiments with rats. The animal is taught to respond to a particular stimulus; perhaps a light comes on in its cage and by pressing a lever a small food reward is delivered. Pretty soon the rat is pressing that lever like a slot machine. Sometimes it is rewarded, but mostly not. Nevertheless, it keeps trying – any reward is better than nothing. Don’t be that rat. Get help.
4. Begin to know yourself. Becoming aware of your obsessions and tendencies can help you be a better person. Very often, someone who obsesses over another doesn’t like themselves very much. They feel incomplete, broken, loveless, unlovable and unworthy. None of those adjectives applies to you. Your task is to learn how to love yourself. Only then will you be able to tell if someone loves you too.