Obsession versus Love
Dawn Cove Abbey
Klaas Tuinman
Deerfield, Nova Scotia 2009 (Rev: 2010-2020)
    Indicators of Obsession:
    An instant attraction to romantic interest, usually occurring within the first few
    minutes of meeting.
    An immediate urge to rush into a relationship regardless of compatibility.
    Becoming "hooked on the look" of another, focusing on the person's physical
    characteristics while ignoring personality differences.
    Unrealistic fantasies about a relationship with a love interest, assigning "magical"
    qualities to an object of affection.

    The beginnings of obsessive, controlling behaviors begin to manifest.

    Other aspects, after having made an initial commitment include:
    Unfounded thoughts of infidelity on the part of a partner and demanding
    accountability for normal daily activities.
    An overwhelming fear of abandonment, including baseless thoughts of a partner
    walking out on the relationship in favor of another person.
    The need to constantly be in contact with a love interest via phone, email, text-
    messaging, or in person.
    Strong feelings of mistrust begin to emerge, causing depression, resentment and
    relational tension.

    The continuation and escalation of obsessive, controlling behaviors.

    Eventually, it escalates to the following:
    The development of "tunnel vision," which is a situation where the relationally
    dependent person cannot stop thinking about a love interest and required his or     
    her constant attention.
    Neurotic, compulsive behaviors, including rapid telephone calls to love interest's
    lace of residence or workplace.
    Unfounded accusations of "cheating" due to extreme anxiety.
    "Drive-bys" around a love interest's home or place of employment, with the goal
    of assuring that the person is at where "he or she is supposed to be."
    Physical or electronic monitoring activities, following a love interest's whereabouts
    throughout the course of a day to discover their daily activities.
    Extreme control tactics, including questioning a love interest's commitment to the
    relationship (guilt trips) with the goal of manipulating a love interest into providing
    more attention.

    The final “stage”:
    When those have basically resulted in destroying any possibility of keeping a
    relationship going, the following tend to emerge:
    Overwhelming feelings of depression (feeling "empty" inside).
    A sudden loss of self-esteem, due to the collapse of the relationship.
    Extreme feelings of self-blame and at times, self-hatred.
    Anger, rage and a desire to seek revenge against a love interest for breaking off the
    Denial that the relationship has ended and attempting to "win a loved one back" by
    making promises to "change".
    The use of drugs, alcohol, food or sex to "medicate" the emotional pain.
    Love vs. Obsession - Loving Too Much? - One View

    Many romantic relationships fall into these two formats:
    an individual is either desperately trying to get someone to love them, or they are
    desperately trying to keep the love of a partner by focusing an inordinate amount
    of their attention on them. Both are forms of "obsession” - neither of these has
    anything to do with genuine love.

    Obsession is where we obsess over our own emotions.
    This is characterized by expressing ourselves on an extremely selfish level.
    In doing this, we really are not loving those we have feelings for because we want
    them to be happy, even if it means they choose to live their lives without us.

    In obsession, people are focused on things that are designed to make them happy
    by doing everything they possibly can to get the other individuals to share their
    lives exclusively with them. And they will often go to some very extraordinary
    lengths in   order to try to make that happen.
    They romantically chase, sometimes pursue, even physically stalk - those they
    profess to "love."
    When they engage in relationships with new partners, they tend to be so possessive
    in their manner of "loving" that the ones on the receiving end inevitably tend to run
    for the door to escape what they perceive to be an extremely oppressive and,
    essentially, unloving atmosphere.

    When the “objects of desire” leave them, they continue to chase them and may
    even harass them with phone calls and letters.
    They appear in desperation at their doors at all hours of the day and night.
    They confront their new partners in jealous rages, intent on venting their emotions
    while making the lives of those they profess to love miserable in the process.
    They may even attempt to ruin their careers, reputations and the families, as a
    form of retaliation for not being  loved enough in return.

    The "problem" or reason behind obsession.
    People who are obsessed: have major Trust issues, and tend to suffer from major
    Jealousy issues, and have major esteem issues which leave them feeling totally

    They might go so far as having fantasies of killing the object of their love in order
    to prevent him or her from sharing a life with someone else.
    That is not “loving”.
    It is emotional obsession in its most dangerous and destructive form. It is so
    different, and so far removed, from genuine love that it can't even be categorized
    as obsessionbecause it is a form of psychosis.

    "When people genuinely give love to others, they selflessly put their
    happiness ahead of their own. They feel their pains, their sorrows. They also
    respect their own right to freedom, should that man or woman choose to exercise
    that right.
    They extend themselves beyond their own wants and needs to encourage their
    partners to enjoy rich, full lives for themselves, risking the possibility that they
    won't be active participants in their lives in the future.
    They want these individuals to be genuinely happy as they live their lives - with or
    without us - because they are capable of truly loving them that much."
    ~Unknown Source
    Falling in genuine love is totally different:
    We literally feel the urge to mate and be coupled with that individual.

    This magnetism is an initial stage of loving,
    but it is far from reaching its final and most meaningful stage.
    Falling in love only draws us toward an individual with whom we may develop a
    relationship in the future, but the future depth and substance of that relationship
    won't have a thing to do with sexual attraction experienced in the here and now.
    When we fall in love we feel entranced, dazzled, and downright captivated with
    that individual who attracts us so intensely.
    We feel drawn, consciously or not, to selfishly gratify a deep, inner longing for
    physical unity with another who characterizes an ideal mating partner for us at
    that particular time.

    There's no denying our basic nature, in part, to be sexual beings, no matter
    how technologically advanced civilization may have become. Human beings are
    drawn to one another essentially to mate, propagate, and, in general, proliferate
    the species. It's basic human nature, after all.

    Loving, on the other hand, is an entirely unselfish act in emotionally
    extending ourselves beyond our own wants and needs. Through such loving,
    we recognize that our loved one is a wholly separate person who is traveling his
    or her own individual path in life without our needing or requiring them to be
    there for us at any given moment.

    When we say, "I can't live without this person in my life," we aren't expressing
    love but instead, extreme dependency on another individual.
    We are obsessed and parasitic in the way we feel about that individual.
    We have focused the essence of our lives on the lives of our partners and are
    basically feeding off them as they pursue their own happiness in life.
    We virtually have no identity for ourselves when we live this way.
    We are so focused on that partner and what he or she does in an attempt to be
    happy that we have no idea what it means to make ourselves happy.
    We are, plainly speaking, living our lives through the lives of others, which is a
    very unhealthy way to live.
    Genuine love will never grow from such an unhealthy way of life, only greater
    dependency and deeper unhappiness is fostered in the end.

    If you worry that you might be obsessing rather than truly loving your partner,
    ask yourself these questions:
    Are you afraid to allow the one you love the space and freedom in which to
    pursue his or her own goals and dreams to grow and develop as a wholly
    separate  individual?
    Do you respect the privacy of the one you love or do you feel so insecure about
    the relationship you share that you feel driven to be a participant in every facet
    of their lives?
    Are you overly suspicious of your partner's relationships with others -family
    members, coworkers, and friends – and scheme to destroy these relationships so
    he or she will ultimately "belong" only to you?
    Does the thought of your partner leaving you fill you with such fear that you
    think, "I can't ever let that happen"?

    I urge those who are yearning to better understand the difference between
    genuine love and obsession to pick up a copy of "The Road Less Traveled"  
    by M. Scott Peck, MD. This book directly parallels the teachings of Personal
    Prophesy in terms of what constitutes truly healthy, loving relationships.
    - adapted from: Love vs. Obsession: Are You Loving Too Much?
    ~Deborah Leigh Ketner
    Healthy / Unhealthy Love
    A healthy love is when my heart is filled with happiness, joy, respect,  and just
    pure love -in actions as well as feelings:
    Unhealthy love is filled with stress, pain, frustration, doubt, and heartbreak and
    lack of trust.
    An unhealthy love is not happy - it's miserable.
    A healthy love is the sharing of two people, two souls, connecting together.
    An unhealthy love is one that has one being a Giver all the time, while the other
    is always the Taker - the relationship is not equal in feeling, actions, etc.
    A healthy one is where two people are connected in healthy ways - supporting
    each other, loving each other in feelings and actions, sharing a life together,
    each giving to the relationship, and bringing out each other's best!
    A healthy love is one where each person grows and matures and yet knows
    they are accepted for who they are. Each is given acceptance and has a SO that
    wants what is best for them, and uplifting each other as well.
    In a unhealthy love there is one who dominates the relationship, condemns
    the other and brings them down, takes power over the other, manipulates,
    abuses, takes advantage, takes for granted, etc.

    To sum this up:
    a healthy love is positives.
    An unhealthy love is negatives.

    Really loving another person takes time, it takes perseverance
    and it can’t be based on physical attraction alone.
    Until you know somebody well you can’t really be in love.
Dawn Cove Abbey
"Roadside Assistance" For Your Journey Through Life
- Dedicated to helping people return (and maintain) sanity and decency to life -
From the eBook: "One! The Journey hOMe", by Klaas Tuinman M.A © 2007-2020

Established in 1995, in commemoration of Abbey Dawn in Kingston, Ontario.
Questions and comments welcomed.
    If all of your time and effort goes in to satisfying the needs of another or in chasing
    after another person then you are at risk of becoming obsessed.

    If one person is always trying to please the other person, or if the relationship is
    without consideration and compromise then it could be based on obsessive feelings
    rather than real love.

    Real love is nurturing and helps people grow
    but obsession is debilitating and takes away from the psyche of the person
    caught up in it.

    If you feel like you have lost yourself, if you are always striving to please your partner
    without them doing the same for you, and if you find yourself making all your decisions
    in your life based on the feelings and needs of the other person you are obsessed and
    not in a real love relationship: and you've become codependent.

    Love can’t be forced at will,
    it must be found,
    and that can only happen for real
    when our hearts and minds are free.
    -Adapted from Jessica Stevenson

    Love versus Obsession    

    Obsessive Love - outline: The early stage of obsessive love is characterized by an
    instantaneous and overwhelming attraction to another person. It is at this point the
    relationally dependent person becomes "hooked" on a romantic interest, usually
    resulting from the slightest bit of attention from the person they are attracted to.
    That should be the first “warning flag”.

                           More detailed descriptions, symptoms and behaviors
                                           of obsession follow below.

    How do you know if it is really love or simply an obsession? “Love” involves many
    things, with trust being the most important (a discussion on "love" is provided further
    below). You may wish to read further on trust and trusting: click HERE.

    Deeply insecure, controlling people try to defend their jealous or even violent actions
    by claiming that they are in love. But the reality is that Love is a beautiful, giving and  
    trusting action between two people, and Obsession is an action of one person towards
    (against) another.

    Love and Obsession have some similar qualities, but are very different: here are some
    guidelines to distinguish them:
    Obsession results in a constant or frequent fear of infidelity.
    Obsession results in constantly demanding that s/he tell you where s/he has been,
    and what s/he has been doing.
    Obsession wants to control who s/he sees and insists they drop all former friends.

    It is importantly to understand that those who do not trust the other when they do
    account for themselves, are not really in love.
    When there are infidelity issues – it is time to reevaluate your relationship.
    Where there is no trust, love does not stand a chance of survival.

    Another obsession indicator is having a constant fear that s/he will leave you,
    and you wonder if you can even begin to survive on your own without her/him.

    No one wants to begin to think about what would happen if they lost their true love,
    but constantly obsessing over this fear is - - - obsessing.

    Where there is a need to be in constant contact with the one you “love”, it is
    unhealthy  both for both. Being constantly afraid of losing him/her, feeling depressed
    at the thought, and even provoking arguments because of that fear, indicates that this
    is not really love – but obsession instead.

    Love is a beautiful thing.
    It should bring with it no fear,
    no worries of desertion
    and certainly should produce a trust between two people;
    if it doesn’t,
    it isn’t love.

    Any relationship that does not have this peace and trust – is at the verge of disaster.

    Obsession has another dimension, too - compulsiveness.
    If you frequently call your special person at home or work just to see if s/he is there
    or even worse,
    If you drive by their home or workplace just to see their car then you should be
    Accusing him/her of cheating,
    Demanding to know every single detail of his life away from you
    and trying to control him/her at all times - points to obsession.

    Being obsessed with someone will only get you hurt
    – having someone who is obsessed with you will get you hurt.
If you found this page helpful and know someone
else who could benefit from it, please tell them
The difference between Obsession and real, genuine Love.
    An obsession is a compulsive over-whelming excessive preoccupation, or unreasonable
    and is often accompanied by symptoms of anxiety; sometimes obsession consists of
    unwanted feeling or emotion, which also produce anxiety.

    This page is about the reality of “obsession”, and provides examples of obsessive
    behaviour through an introduction to this all-too-common reality, with detailed
    characteristics. Then in comparison, it contrasts Love to obsession by describing
    and discussing  healthy, genuine, "real" love.

    In Obsession, there are powerful "obsessive" feelings that are often mistaken for love,
    because people rationalize that, “It must be love if I can’t think of anyone else.”
           Obsession is misleading and destructive.
           Obsession kills genuine love every time.

    The more time and effort invested in an unhealthy obsession based relationship the
    more intense the obsession can become and the more damage is done. Obsession in
    too many cases - kills.

    People in an obsessed state have a one-track mind where the other person is concerned
    to  the point where they often lose touch with who they are as an individual. This loss of
    individuality creates a vicious circle of behavior where the obsessed person grows more
    and more dependant on the other person and on the relationship in general (also see

    Even so-called unrequited love (love that is not returned) can become an overwhelming
    obsession. When one person believes they are in a relationship that doesn’t truly exist,
    or when one person is investing more in an existing relationship than the other, the
    foundation for an obsession has been laid.