Can’t Get Enough Of You: Is It Love Or Just Obsession?

There’s a fine line between being devoted, to being obsessed.

By Fred S.
Can’t Get Enough Of You: Is It Love Or Just Obsession?

What Are The Stages Of Falling In Love?

In less than two hours, movies show us an exaggeration of all stages of love, summed up into one big montage. Every story has some aspects in common, where a stunning heroine and a handsome male lead fall in love with each other, to unite happily in the end. Practically though, the reality often differs. While the pattern depicted in these rom-coms is somewhat realistic, the stages of love ranging from excitement to commitment can vary.

“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.” ― Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

Stage 1: Excitement and Butterflies

That fluttery feeling in your belly whenever you think about that special someone, the excitement you feel just by imagining scenarios with them – that’s where it all begins. As if the whole world has stopped, that person always remains on your mind. Estrogen and testosterone hormones are responsible for making you strongly desire your crush in this first stage. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t get them out of your head. It almost feels like anxiety, but the good kind!

Stage 2: Developing Serious Feelings

In this second stage of developing your crush into a serious form of love, dopamine and adrenaline make your heart pound faster. Serotonin, or ‘the happiness chemical’ is created and you feel like the whole world belongs to you, but nothing in it matters more than your loved one. Now, you’d start finding more and more details about that person, stalking them on all social media platforms, and bringing them up in all discussions with your BFF!

Stage 3: Compatibility

Dreaming about forming a couple, if the love is mutual, both persons would look for ways to finally get things going. In this stage, you figure out if the person you have your eyes on is compatible with you, your beliefs and opinions, and your preferences, and vice versa. You bring personalities, boundaries, core ideologies, and habits into perspective to ask if it really is the right relationship for you. If both parties convince each other on a ‘yes’, things move forward.

Stage 4: Honesty

In this stage, the relationship has begun. The greatest challenge is to be strong enough as a couple to move past ‘infatuation’ and prove to each other that what you feel is true love, and not mere lust. The initial excitement and giddiness fade out a bit and the pressure of impressing someone departs. Now, there’s room for true identities to show themselves with complete honesty, which brings us to the make-or-break part of the relationship. If both parties happily accept each other for who they are, unconditionally, the golden bond of love is highly strengthened.

Stage 5: Commitment and Stability.

After spending more time with the true images of each other and practicing honesty in all matters, the relationship grows into a more mature form. Here, infatuation turns into passionately caring for each other. As the couple becomes more and more comfortable, the hormone oxytocin fosters a sense of attachment among the two. At this point, the lovers are happy to commit, and to always be with each other through thick and thin, strength and weakness.

What Is The Difference Between Love And Obsession?

Anything in the world can be harmful if it’s taken to an extreme, and the same is the case with love. In some cases, lovers reach such an extreme that their feelings can no longer be deemed as ‘love’, but an obsession. Every aspect of love, when exaggerated to a dangerously high level, shapes obsession. The difference between love and obsession is that where love finds balance, obsession breaks all bounds, to the point that it becomes a threat to the very person you’re obsessed with.

What is obsessive love disorder?

Obsessive love disorder (OLD) is a condition where you’re obsessed with an individual, whom you think you love. Your extreme instinct to ‘protect them’ shows in your behavior as possessively controlling behavior, which is in turn harmful for the person you love.

For this complex type of disorder, no psychological or medical classification exists as of yet. This is mostly because many people suffering from it can be seen as passionate lovers, which masks their obsessive nature. Though obsession often occurs with other forms of mental illnesses, and you should talk to your doctor immediately if you feel like you or your partner could be a subject to this.

What are the symptoms of obsessive love disorder?

Some common symptoms of obsessive love may include;

  • Always feeling like you need to ‘protect’ your loved one
  • You feel like you own their decisions and actions
  • Feeling extreme possessive jealousy from the slightest triggers
  • Feeling an abnormal, overwhelming level of attraction to someone
  • Low self-esteem
  • Monitoring or keeping a close check on the actions of someone
  • Controlling where they go or the activities they do
  • Responding aggressively to hearing ‘no’ from the loved one
  • Constantly messaging/calling someone and expecting availability

What Are The Possible Causes Of Obsession?

There isn’t any single identifiable cause of obsessive love disorder, though it is often linked to other forms of mental ailments such as;

  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Attachment disorders
  • Obsessional jealousy
  • Delusional jealousy

These categories house many mental issues, such as emotional attachment issues, lack of empathy, and extreme mood swings, etc. Jealousy, both obsessional and delusional, can also lead to symptoms of OLD. Anxiety and depression episodes can also be the cause of obsessive behavior in some people, which further clarifies how obsessive behavior is almost always linked with mental health problems.

Is Someone Aware If They Are Already Being Obsessed?

No, they usually aren’t aware of their obsessive nature. The obsessed individual only sees their feelings as immense love, in most cases. Generally, obsessive love disorder is diagnosed through a detailed evaluation by a professional psychiatrist or some other mental health expert. They’ll typically begin by interviewing subjects to ask about their family and other background information in an attempt to dig out any possible mental health illness signs.

What Are Some Of The Tell-Tale Signs Of Someone Being Obsessed With You?

1. Even if you treat them badly, they’re always there.

2. They’re a total ‘yes-man’ and don’t refuse to anything you ask

3. They often check your phone

4. They stalk you and gets jealous too easily

5. They see you as his soulmate

6. They have threatened to commit suicide if you ever leave them

7. They say you’re their role model

8. Rejection really gets them worked up

9. They bombard you with messages all-day

10. They’re way too clingy  

What Can The Couple Do If The Relationship Has Reached A Phase Of Obsession?

Suffering from obsessive love disorder can be incredibly difficult, both for the patient and the partner. No matter what, seeing a doctor should never be delayed or neglected. The doctor would likely refer you to a known psychiatrist to help accurately diagnose your condition, and find out if you truly have obsessive love disorder. In some cases, the issue turns out to be a whole other mental illness.

Once this disorder is diagnosed and treated successfully, there’s hope for an ongoing relationship to continue in a healthy way. Successful and complete treatment can surely lead to a positive outcome, but that requires regularly taking your therapy sessions or medication. Even if you think you’re feeling better, continue to follow the doctor’s guidelines as advised. Stopping your treatment abruptly can cause them to relapse and come back worse than before.

Though the type of treatment you’ll go through mainly depends on the cause of OLD, it usually involves psychotherapy and medication.

Though the type of treatment you’ll go through mainly depends on the cause of OLD, it usually involves psychotherapy and medication.

Some medications can help adjust the chemicals released in the brain, such as;

  • Anti-depressants,
  • Mood Stabilizers
  • Anti-psychotics
  • Anti-anxiety medication

In combination with these options, therapy is often used. Such as;

  • Talk therapy
  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Behavioral Therapy

Related Article: 16 Natural Tricks To Stop Obsessing Over Someone
16 Natural Tricks To Stop Obsessing Over Someone

When you obsess about someone, it means you are dependent on them emotionally and that has to stop. Here are some ways you can get over them:

Summary

It’s always advisable to book an appointment with a reliable mental health practitioner if you notice even the slightest signs of obsession in yourself or your partner. One of the most dangerous aspects of OLD is how subtle the symptoms are, and how they gradually sneak into one’s life. Make sure you take the appointments seriously and cooperate as much as possible with the expert.

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