Talk Nerdy To Me’s: @StaffWriter
Have you ever been with a person who had a hard time staying in your life, but was hell-bent on making sure you stayed in his? Chances are, you have.
Vanity Fair has reported that the only real difference between love and obsession is duration. While this is true for some people, let’s discuss how to tell whether someone is obsessed with you—as opposed to merely being “in love” with you.
In addition, we’re going to go over some red flags to look out for if you find yourself obsessing about another person.
Know the Difference Between Passion and Obsession
Before we do anything, let’s establish a clear understanding of what it means to be “in love” vs. “obsessed.” There is no hard-and-fast line dividing the two states of mind, but there are several differences that can help you recognize which one you’re experiencing.
If someone truly loves you, s/he/they will see your positive traits as well as your flaws and accept them both equally. Relationships built on true love allow for personal growth and change—both in yourself and your partner. Also, being loved by another person instills a deep sense of self-worth in you because you know that this other person sees how worthy you are of his or her affection.
On the other hand, if someone is obsessed with you, s/he will seek to control your every move. This behavior is often revealed through accusations of disrespect or disloyalty—even if no such lack of respect has occurred. The person who’s obsessed with you will also try to keep tabs on where you are always and ask a lot of invasive questions about your private life.
Another characteristic of the obsessed person is that he or she feels entitled to have complete dominance over you because s/he believes that his or her “love” gives him the right to be in charge. If this sounds like someone you know, there’s an excellent chance that it’s not love that motivates him or her—it’s an obsession.
Is Obsession Love?
Obsession is not the same thing as love. True love is a feeling of deep affection that comes from getting to know someone over time and realizing how compatible you are with him or her. Even if this person does things that upset you, the very fact that he or she has flaws—just like anyone else—shows that the relationship is built on something real.
In contrast, obsession happens when a person latches onto another’s life to fill a void within himself or herself. The obsessed person needs constant reassurance about his or her self-worth, for whatever reason—the person was neglected as a child, he or she is insecure about her body image, whatever. The desperate need for this assurance makes the obsessed individual feel unworthy of being loved in a healthy way.
Instead, s/he becomes fixated with another person to try to compensate for these feelings of unworthiness. S/he ignores that person’s faults and over-emphasizes his or her positive characteristics because it helps him or her rationalize the relationship.
Is It Normal to Have Obsessive Feelings?
Having strong feelings for someone is understandable. After all, most people can’t help but be attracted to others who are good-looking, smart, funny…you get the idea.
But obsession often develops when one doesn’t feel appreciated or doesn’t believe s/he deserves to be loved.
When you think about the person all the time, even when you really should be focusing on something else, that’s a sign you’re obsessed with him or her.
When it seems like no one can measure up to this person, even though you hardly know him or her, that’s another sign of obsession. And finally, if you find yourself faking illness or exhaustion to spend time together—or cutting out other people from your life so there’s more time for communication with this person—that’s simply not healthy.
What Is the Line Between Love and Obsession?
In order to determine if you love someone or are obsessed with him or her, ask yourself these questions:
Do I encourage this person to pursue his or her dreams? Or do I try to persuade him or her to give up things that are important to him or her in favor of my own wishes?
Does this person truly believe that he or she will never find a better match than me? If so, that’s a sign that it may not be healthy for either of us. Healthy relationships have no “one way” about them—both people feel free to say what they want and can trust the other person not to react with anger.
If the object of your affection doubts his or herself on occasion, does this make s/he feel good about him or herself? In a healthy relationship, you should build this person up and make him or her feel confident. If your friend constantly puts him or herself down, it’s time to back off and let s/he learn from his or her own experiences with failure and success.
Is Obsession Bad in a Relationship?
The problem with obsession is that it never works out in the long term. No matter how much you love someone, you can’t make him or her like you back, and trying to do so only pushes this person away.
In addition, your feelings of unworthiness and low self-esteem will eventually drive him or her away as well—and we’re not talking about a few weeks here. The more obsessed you become with someone else, the more likely he or she is to run far, far away from you because your behavior isn’t rational and makes no sense to an outside observer.
Trying to use another person as a tool for “fixing” yourself is never going to work out well. In order to have a healthy relationship, you have to be willing to be loved in a normal way.
How Long Does Obsession Last?
It’s difficult to say for certain how long obsession lasts because everyone is different. It can last just a few weeks, or it can continue and off for years until the obsessed person finally realizes that s/he has control issues and needs help overcoming his or her deep-seated insecurities and self-doubt.
“Obsession” is sometimes also considered being one person putting more value on another person than he or she does on him or herself, thus making the presence of “healthy love” impossible in this situation (in real life). On the other hand: For some people, this can work out in positive ways by getting them out of emotional ruts and encouraging them to grow as individuals.