There’s a fine line between love and obsession, and sometimes it’s difficult to decipher between the two. What we all know is that obsessive thoughts and an uncontrollable desire for someone can be catastrophic. In this elaborate guide, I will share effective strategies on how to stop being obsessed with your partner.
When you love someone so much that it causes you anguish and suffering, that’s a telltale sign that you are falling into a world of obsession.
Obsessed partners are unable to behave in a manner that is attractive, secure, or mature.
More importantly, they are unable to enjoy their relationship, let alone their own company, when they are by themselves.
How this guide will help you: It will provide you with practical tools you can use to gain control of your mind so that you can enjoy a healthier connection with your partner. It will also empower you to have a diverse and wide variety of interests in life so that you can realize your full potential as an individual.
Related article: The reason why self-esteem is important for relationships
Understanding Romantic Obsession
To some degree, we are all driven by what we want and need. It is not an overexaggeration to state that most of our thoughts revolve around self-service. But when thoughts turn obsessive, it’s problematic.
What constitutes obsession?
Great question! Allow me to explain.
An obsession is an unhealthy and uncontrollable relationship with something or someone. It usually presents itself as rumination and controlling behavior. Left unaddressed, an obsession can take your brain hostage and control your emotions.
Signs Of Obsession:
- Excessive and intrusive thoughts about your partner.
- Stalker behavior consists of monitoring your partner’s behavior and activity online all the time, snooping through their personal possessions, and even following them in person.
- Excessive jealousy and possessiveness that doesn’t differentiate between family, friends, and so forth.
- Inability to focus on anything other than your partner.
- Idolization of your romantic partner to an unusual and unrealistic extent.
- Frequent contact that is demanding, needy, clingy, and desperate.
- Not allowing your partner to have space and resisting any attempts at having healthy distance from each other.
- Developing the belief that your partner is the only source of happiness and purpose in your life.
- Isolating oneself and withdrawing from a social circle to only spend time with your romantic partner.
- Disregarding boundaries and neglecting self-care for the relationship.
- Co-dependency and the complete emotional and psychological reliance on your partner for support.
- Constant fear of abandonment and loss of the relationship.
The Impact Of Obsession On Relationships
In this academic article titled Love Attitudes and Relationship Experience, researchers found the following about the effects of obsession on relationships: “A review of taxonomies, theory, and research suggests that romantic love, without the obsession component typical of early stage romantic love, can and does exist in long-term marriages, and is associated with marital satisfaction, well-being, and high self-esteem.”
To summarize what they are saying, if you want to have a long-term relationship, you cannot be obsessed with your partner or the relationship.
An obsession with your partner will be mentally and emotionally exhausting for you. It will alter your behavior and change your perception of the relationship. Also, the likelihood that you will lose all sense of independence and identity is significantly high.
These effects will directly impact your relationship. Not only will you be unable to nurture a healthy connection, but it will also place an extreme amount of expectation on your partner.
Please realize that it is emotionally overwhelming and scary to become the object of obsession for someone else.
This may push your partner away and influence them to escape the relationship to save themselves from your obsessive behavior.
To put it simply, an obsession with your partner may stifle them and suffocate the relationship until it ceases to exist.
Related article: 10 Ways to cope with self-doubt in a relationship
Tips For Overcoming Obsession
These are the most effective strategies on how to stop being obsessed with your partner. If you apply these consistently and with the help of a professional in extreme cases, you should be able to get over your obsession and resume a healthy relationship.
According to this study, we have thousands upon thousands of thoughts per day. Of those thoughts, it is estimated that up to 40% of our thoughts are negative. What is even more interesting is that there’s a natural inclination to believe every thought we have to be true.
But, on what grounds?
Just because we think something, it doesn’t make it true, despite our unsubstantiated assertion that it is.
That’s the battle we face on a daily basis.
Now we could just allow this process to occur uninterrupted, but if we did, it would cause more harm than good.
When an obsession sets in, there’s no guarantee that what we obsessively think about is true. Perhaps that’s what drives us so crazy and feeds into our obsession.
As someone who has battled with OCD in their life, I know how destructive thoughts can be, especially when they are intrusive.
This is when self-awareness becomes a lifesaver.
Firstly, we need to recognize what thoughts are obsessive and destructive. Then, we need to actively recognize when we are having these thoughts before acting on them. Thereafter, we need to disarm these thoughts by challenging them or choosing to act differently than we ordinarily do.
This is how we rewire our brains and strip away power from obsessive thoughts.
If it’s possible, examine why you have these thoughts and where they stem from. I’d even recommend consulting a professional psychologist to work with you through this process.
Oftentimes, the obsessive thoughts we have that cause us distress and destruction stem from a space of insecurity, fear, or anxiety that is rooted in a childhood experience or belief.
By understanding ourselves better, we gain control over who we really are versus who we were programmed to be.
Establish Healthy Boundaries
Many people are afraid of getting their hearts broken.
The idea of being played or cheated on is scary, and if you have been through this before, it’s natural to develop a realistic fear for it.
In trying to navigate your desire for a long-lasting relationship along with your fear of being hurt, it’s possible that you develop an obsession with your partner.
The obsession clearly stems from fear.
To face it, you have to accept that there’s always a risk of getting hurt because no relationship is guaranteed.
We will be vulnerable, but that is the price we pay to enjoy the intimate nature of love.
Rather than fixating on your partner, it would be healthier for you and the relationship to establish boundaries that mitigate your fear and honor your values.
I’m of the opinion that you don’t have to be suspicious of your partner’s online activity if you express clear boundaries about what constitutes respectful behavior online.
Similarly, you don’t have to be constantly concerned about other people trying to get your partner if there’s boundaries in place that protect your relationship.
Your job in protecting the relationship is to have open and clear conversations about boundaries with your partner, trusting that they will respect and honor these boundaries. Your job is also to recognize when those boundaries are being crossed and address them when they are.
It is very difficult to have boundaries when you don’t believe in yourself and when you are reliant on your partner for meaning in your life.
So be sure to create some boundaries for yourself that are aimed at helping you maintain a sense of independence and emotional strength outside of the relationship.
Create A Fulfilling Life For Yourself
When the only interesting and passionate part of your life is a relationship, it’s understandable that your brain gets addicted to the dopamine and oxytocin triggered by romantic love.
These hormones are so enjoyable and soothing that we can feel depressed and empty without them.
But there are other ways to trigger these feel-good emotions that don’t involve your partner.
- Solving problems
- Regular exercise
- Team sports
- Platonic socializing
- Gardening and walks in nature
- Healthy food and supplements
- Goals and objectives with a personal investment in them
- A mission or purpose that provides a service to society
- Spirituality and religion
If your life consisted of the items on the above list, I am certain that you would find fulfillment and stability. Balance may not be completely achievable, but aiming to do everything on this list will get you closest to it.
There’s also not enough time in a single day to give yourself to all of these things.
You’ll be so busy that it will often require you to prioritize and dedicate time zones to different facets of your life.
If it were up to me, this is how I would make it physically impossible for me to be obsessed with my partner or a relationship.
As a side effect of living a life of depth and variety, I would be a much better partner who has much more to share in a relationship.
Breaking an obsession will take time, but you can see some results immediately by utilizing the advice I have provided for you.
In extreme cases of obsession, please seek out the help of a professional. It can be one of the best things you do to find alignment again in your life.
I want you to remember this: With true love, obsession is nothing more than a hindrance. Peace is the result of a relationship that is built on trust, respect, and loyalty. Everything will fall into place with these three attributes, which will completely eradicate any need or desire for obsessiveness.