Are You In Love or Obsessed? (5 Differences)

Love and obsession can sometimes go hand in hand, especially in a new and exciting relationship and can be perfectly normal. However, where does the line start to blur? How do you know when things have gone too far? Love is different from obsession, so in this article, we will be comparing love and obsession to find out.

What is Obsessive Love Disorder?

Obsessive Love Disorder (OLD) is not necessarily a DSM-5 classified disorder, but it may be given out by providers. Generally, people with this condition will experience an intense obsession over someone which can manifest into jealousy and controlling behavior, which is often co-occurs in other mental health disorders (Cherney 2018). This article is not focusing directly on OLD or its diagnostic criteria, but what we’re describing can be seen as traits of it.

1. You Need Constant Contact With Little Space

Communication is extremely important in a relationship and keeping tabs on where your partner is at and if they are alright is a healthy sign of love. However, it begins to creep more into obsessive territory if you find that you need to constantly be in contact with this person. That, them leaving for a short amount of time is problematic and unbearable. Boundaries and space are important in loving relationships, and lacking either of these can be unhealthy. It’s possible to find your partner to be your everything in the sense that you need to know their every thought, move, or action, which puts a lot of pressure on them and hurts you in the process (Fellizar 2018). 

2. You Don’t Truly Want Them to Succeed

Loving relationships come with a lot of supporting one another to succeed. Obsession however, limits this. If you are finding yourself wishing that your partner loses out on a promotion, or breaks up with a long term friend, you may be obsessed; limiting your partner’s success means that they are less likely to leave you. Partners in love with each other will work to support each other and celebrate their successes, and try to find solutions if problems arise (Fellizar 2018).

3. Your Conversations are Surface Level

Conversations with your partner should be rich, lively, and deep. However, in obsession, you may not care to get that deep with your partner. Conversations may be flirty, but they generally don’t go much farther than that. You don’t necessarily find anything other than the other person’s presence interesting. Loving relationships have more of these deeper conversations where you get to know them for them (Schwartz 2022).

4. You Give a Lot of Yourself

Obsessive relationships can mean that you give more of yourself than you should. You may find yourself going out of your way, boundaries, and financial means to please your partner. This isn’t necessarily out of love for the person, but for their approval. In general, the relationship is uneven and the “give and take” aspect isn’t there (Fellizar 2018).

5. You Have No Long Term Goals

Loving relationships are often characterized by planning for the future and including the other person in these plans. In obsession however, these plans simply don’t exist or go that far. The relationship will tend to be insecure and it can be hard to predict what the long term will look like (Schwartz 2022). 

Love and obsession can look similar and sometimes go hand in hand, however, the two are actually very different. Whether or not you are dealing with a mental health disorder or simply problems in a relationship, talking with a professional is a great first step to figuring out ways to improve your situation. We hope you found this article informative and encourage you to leave your thoughts in the comment section!

References:

  • Cherney, K. (2018, September 18). Obsessive Love Disorder. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/obsessive-love-disorder
  • Fellizar, K. (2018, October 26). How To Tell The Difference Between Love And Obsession. Bustle. https://www.bustle.com/p/how-to-tell-the-difference-between-love-obsession-13000434
  • Schwartz, S. (2022, June 18). Obsession vs Love: 12 Critical Differences You Should Know. Her Norm. https://hernorm.com/obsession-vs-love/

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