A strong romantic obsession appears to be more common in introverts. Romantic obsession frequently strikes people at times of stress, loneliness, or bereavement, an unhappy marriage can also be a big factor. A lot of us want to believe that we’re rational beings, who behave in predictable ways but then someone dazzling comes along and all that rationality just goes out the window, they dominate our waking thoughts, they become an irresistible force of attraction, and their behavior can affect our mood. A romantic obsession that is strong is known as limerence, it feels like being addicted to another person. Once captured by such an obsession, we have to answer some challenging questions about who we are, what we really want, and why some people have the power to overwhelm our senses.
Fundamentally, obsession has its roots in neuroscience. We’re built to seek reward, and romantic attraction is rewarding, romantic attraction is one of the most exhilarating, thrilling, and euphoric experiences anyone could ever experience. When we get properly infatuated with someone we do literally experience an altered state of mind. Obsession marks the point where one person becomes fixed as the most desirable, most rewarding, but also in some cases infuriatingly unattainable thing in life. We all have a romantic type, we’re all shaped by our personal history, who catches our eye will depend on the homes we grew up in, the experiences we had as our sexuality developed, the people who were around at that critical period of our lives and the relationships we had as we matured. One of the top reasons for obsessive behavior in relationships can be caused by a mental health condition such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Other common causes of obsessiveness in relationships can include the constant need for reassurance, low self-esteem, and high codependent tendencies. Underlying issues with jealousy also count or the fear that the partner or your partner will leave you, and finally having an addictive personality type.
Now let’s work on how to get over an obsession with someone.
- DISTRACT YOURSELF: One of the easiest ways to stop being obsessive in a relationship is to distract yourself, if you’re having difficulty letting go of your obsessions, spend time doing things you enjoy, or take up a new hobby. You can consider watching a movie, reading a good book, or finding a new acquaintance. A little distraction will go a long way in your dealing with your obsession.
- SET A GOAL FOR YOURSELF: If you’re looking to overcome an obsession with someone, what you want to do is to set a goal such as learning a new skill, getting a promotion at work, or even going back to school if necessary. When you’re focused on your goals you won’t have time to be obsessed.
- GET TO THE ROOT OF THE FEELING: Behind every obsession is usually some sort of underlying feeling like fear or anxiety, what are you really feeling, maybe you’re obsessing over your partner because you’ve been hurt in the past and you’re fearful that they will betray you again, whatever the case, dealing with the underlying feeling can help you become less obsessive.
- PRACTICE MINDFULNESS: Learning to become more mindful and live in the present can be a strategy for how to deal with obsessiveness in a relationship. When you become more mindful, you can focus on the present and let thoughts come and go without being fixated on them. It’s hard to slow down and notice things in a busy world, try to take the time to experience your involvement with all your senses, your touch, your sound, your taste, your smell, your sight, essentially live in the moment, stop and smell the roses. Treat yourself the way you treat a good friend.
- KEEP FAMILY AND FRIENDS CLOSE: Sometimes you may not realize you’re being obsessive in a relationship but if friends and family share that worry with you, they’re probably genuinely concerned and almost always correct. At the same time if you worry that you’re being too obsessed you can actually count on your closest loved ones, to be honest with you and to offer their suggestions.
- JOURNAL YOUR THOUGHTS: When you experience an obsessive thought, write it down, you may find it has less power. Journaling can be a way of calming your mind and alleviating whatever feelings that are leading you to be so obsessive in your relationship. Once you have it on paper, it will make more sense to you.
- IS CODEPENDENCE THE PROBLEM: Codependent people tend to be obsessed over the well-being of the people around them, to the point that they feel responsible for other people even in an adult relationship. So if you feel compelled to obsess over your significant other’s every need, and think you need to fix them or be the hero in their life, you could be codependent and you want to look into it.
- OBSESSION CAN BE DANGEROUS: If you’re struggling with how to stop being obsessive in a relationship, you want to take a step back and recognize that being obsessive in your relationship can be unhealthy and even dangerous. At the very least being obsessive can lead to toxic relationship dynamics in which you’d want to control your partner, and prevent them from having outside interests. In the worst cases, obsessive behavior in relationships can cause you to violate your partner’s rights, for instance, they may feel they do not have the right to leave the house without your permission. Some obsessive partners may even resort to psychological abuse and physical aggression to control their partners and that is extremely unhealthy
- SPEND TIME WITH PEOPLE: If you become obsessive in your relationship you might want to consider enjoying time with family, friends, and people that care. When you’re struggling to accept the fact that your significant other has outside interests and friendships, you can be helpful to yourself and pursue friendships of your own, find a friend. As you spend more time apart, you might realize that you actually enjoy the time that you spend apart. Prioritize spending time for your own interests and your friendships and this can help you overcome being obsessive in the long run.
- SEEK PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT: Sometimes there can be an underlying issue, such as a mental health condition that is leading to an unhealthy obsession with a person. If you’re in a committed relationship you may benefit from undergoing relationship therapy to help you address this obsessiveness.