What’s the Difference Between True Love and Unhealthy Obsession

It’s easy to understand why true love and infatuation are so easily confused. Infatuation FEELS like true love when you first experience it.

You may have epic thoughts like:

• “I know my crush isn’t perfect but he has all the BEST qualities I’m looking for!”

• “I have never connected with anyone this closely before!”

• “I care about him so much, even more than I care about myself.”

Yes, they all seem like evidence of love…at first. But all of these statements could also be symptoms of infatuation. How do you know the difference?

Consider how infatuation imitates love as we reconsider some of these statements.

Take the first sentence: Does you crush have all the ideal qualities that you pre-selected BEFORE you met him? Or did you create this list of a perfect man AFTER you met your crush? Did in influence you to think of him as a paragon?

The second: You connected more closely with him than anyone else, but is it possible the emotional connection was not as honest as you thought it was—since you know now that he was hiding some of his honest feelings (or lack of serious feelings) for you?

That means this intimate connection could be improved upon.

The third: You care about his happiness MORE than you care about your own? Why is it not an equal happiness? Shouldn’t real love be about respecting each other as equals and enjoying each other’s company without one partner carrying the extra burden?

Infatuation is not only misleading – it can be downright insidious. In the worst case scenario, unrequited love and infatuation can become an unhealthy obsession.

As a way to better understand the way the unguarded and irrational heart feels let’s consider three characteristics of unhealthy obsession and then three characteristics of love.

1. Unhealthy obsession sounds insane.

If you really stop and listen you yourself during a full blown obsession, you may start to sound like…well…maybe Vicki Vallencourt from The Waterboy if I can steal a moment from the 1990s. Saying things like “I don’t want to live without you!”, “I would do anything for you!” or “I love you more than anyone or anything on earth!” doesn’t sound reasonable.

You might be so infatuated with the intense feelings of a new relationship that you really don’t notice the lack of sanity—what’s being promised, what’s implied, and what’s at risk. What usually happens is that a person can become addicted to the feelings—the “rush” of infatuation—and may start to see the other person in an unrealistic, maybe even a self-aggrandizing way.

The person then becomes your “ideal partner” – you don’t even let him be himself anymore. Whatever he says or does, it must fit within your perfect ideal, your detailed fantasy of him.

2. You need him to exist.

You ache and yearn and pine when he’s not with you. In your fantasies, he shows up just at the nick of time and “saves you” from a life of drudgery. He rescues you from the mundane. Life seems tolerable now that you’re together. You’re two lost souls who find solace in each other – your love makes you just strong enough to get through the day.

Without him, there is no you. That’s how madly in love you are.

3. You’re willing to go the distance to win him over.

You’re so in love you’re willing to work through anything – move heaven and earth to make your partner happy. You’ve never worked so hard, invested so much in a relationship. Sometimes you play mind games to keep him interested. You change all the time, just wanting to keep his interest.

Are you starting to sense a pattern here? All of these signs of unhealthy obsession are incredibly self-involved. They’re about you – not him. YOU have so much invested in this relationship. He does the bare minimum. It satisfies a need that you have, to have somebody. To not be alone.

Now let’s compare what we just learned about obsession to True Love—the characteristics that define lasting marriages.

1. You don’t need him—instead you want to share joy with him.

This may be a confusing lesson to learn, since we tend to associate “need” with love when we’re younger. The object of affection becomes our world—we fixate on them. The sexual chemicals and hormones we release only provide more mental fuel for our fantasies.

In contrast, the man you fall in love with doesn’t need you, nor do you need him to survive. But you enjoy his company. He enjoys being with you. You don’t need to be saved or “completed” by him. He doesn’t support you or give you a purpose.

You trust him and he trusts you. You build a foundation of mutual respect and voluntary giving. Love is equal. There are no power plays, no power imbalance, and no need to make promises. You’re here with him because you’re still having fun. There’s nowhere else you want to be.

2. Love happens naturally and easily – you don’t have to obsessively work at it.

Obsession and infatuation require great effort. Whether it’s getting along in a dysfunctional relationship, surviving the odds, and proving someone wrong…

All these are egotistical plays that require heavy emotional investment and usually lots of crying and heart-wrenching conversations…you might even call it a stressful relationship. Mind games, drama, an addiction to impossible odds and winning.

Sound familiar?

That sounds like the opposite of real love. Real love is easy because it happens naturally. Both partners are at peace with each other and compatible. They don’t have to fight or impress. They don’t have to keep up an act. Both partners love themselves. The relationship is almost effortless. Stress is minimal.

You give freely, forgive often and do what naturally makes you happy…even in each other’s presence.

3. Love transforms you into a better person.

When you’re truly in love you become a more well adjusted person. Your partner has a calming effect on you. You associate him with security and comfort. The effect is that you become a better version of yourself.

In contrast, unhealthy obsession has a destructive and confusing effect on you. You don’t know where the relationship is going – only what you feel. When you love another person, you let go of those destructive feelings.

And you know where the relationship is headed…the same place it’s at right now. Steady, ahead.

“Right now” is perfect because this is all you can give, all you are capable of…and that’s all your partner wants. Nothing more is required but living peacefully moment to moment.

Love is defined by stability, by appreciation, and by growth. It’s validated by your partner and their implicit trust he has in you. Obsession is all about the Self. This is you we learn from your past mistakes.

So that when love comes along, you are mature enough to focus on the joy of love and the pleasure of your partner.

You’ve wasted too many years worrying about yourself. Now is the time to pamper yourself with someone who really understands you.

10 Man-Melting Phrases That Make Him Yours

Have you heard of the secret words that unlock a man’s heart and make him addicted to loving you and only you?

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If you’re ready to have a man…

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Then just use them on ANY man in your life…

Maybe your boyfriend, husband or fiancée…

Maybe that cute guy you have a crush on…

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How he becomes yours and yours alone…

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You can thank me later!

Talk soon,

Matthew Coast

P.S. You’ll be the first thing he thinks about in the morning…

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About The Author

Matthew Coast

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