Obsessive Relationships Are Unhealthy!

October 30, 2022 | Dr. Krithika
Tags: Love & Relationships

Writer: Dr Krithika 

Image Credits - Pexels  

Trigger warnings: Mentions of trauma, abuse, mental health triggers, symptoms of dysfunctional relationships, and obsession. 


Love is integral to most lives, encompassing a range of firm and positive emotional and mental states. Love may range from a beautiful virtue, act, or the most uncomplicated pleasure to the deepest interpersonal relationship that transcends all boundaries and inequalities. In healthy relationships, love manifests as human kindness, compassion, affection, and concern for the good of the other person. But what happens if love is not understood the way it should be?  

Every individual may have an understanding of love. Still, there are certain forms of perspectives that would prove to be toxic. You may ask me what they are, as it is hard to connect love to toxicity. But what if love leads to exerting control over another person and absolute obsession with them? Obsession is an idea or thought continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person's mind. It can also be told as a compulsive preoccupation with a fixed idea or an unwanted feeling or emotion. We can understand the gravity of the toxicity and pain an obsessive partner would cost in any relationship.  

The word obsession feels like such a familiar and scary term because this word, in a lot of ways, represents the main character in the movie, Kabir Singh. In toxic representations of love and relationships, the central character Kabir treats his partner Preeti as if she were his property, declaring in his meeting that she belonged to him, not considering her consent. The hardest part is that obsession starts to be mistaken for love by the person who experiences this towards the other. Obsessive love disorder is an obsession in relationships and individuals in an extreme form over a consistent period.  

Obsessive Love Disorder is currently not classified as a mental health condition under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders( DSM-5). But obsessive love disorder is a real-life condition that affects the daily life functioning of individuals and leads them to have toxic relationships.  

Signs of Obsessive Love Disorder: 

Certain signs can help determine if you or someone near you may be obsessive and toxic in a relationship. They are as follows: 

  • A constant need for validation from the person you are in love or a relationship with 
  • Obsessively keep in contact with your partner/subject of affection. 
  • Trying to control your partner’s life and decisions 
  • Ignoring personal boundaries and the consent of your partner 
  • Feeling overly protective or exhibiting jealousy over your loved one 
  • Emotions affect you and are so attached to the person that they serve as an obstacle and prevent you from carrying out your daily functions.  
  • Refusing to engage in social activities that don't involve your partner 
  • Being extremely possessive of other person’s time, space and attention. 
  • Constant episodes of anxiety and insecurity about the stability of the relationship. 

There are no specific criteria to identify Obsessive Love Disorder. Obsessive Love Disorder may generally accompany other mental health conditions, and a qualified medical professional will know to differentiate symptoms. Sometimes, Obsessive Love Disorder may not coexist with other mental health conditions, and it is harder to identify them.  

The partner affected by the obsessiveness will also have to recognize warning signs to walk away, seek help or heal from the trauma caused due to the relationship. Certain signs can help us identify an obsessive partner: 

  • Emotionally blackmails or threaten you to be with them because the person uses love as a weapon to manipulate you into staying in a relationship. 
  • When your partner/friend starts to stalk your social media profiles and follow you to all the places you go to.  
  • There is a lot of insecurity and a lack of trust toward you and the relationship.  
  •  Your partner/lover insists on knowing all personal and intimate details as well as your passwords forcefully. 
  • Your partner constantly demands your attention, doesn't allow you free time, or continuously comes into your world without consent. 
  • Sometimes your partner is jealous for trivial reasons, like you going out with your best friend or someone complimenting your dress. The jealousy then gives way to possessiveness and trying to cut you off from your intimate circles 

The treatment plan can involve therapy and medication or any one of them. The therapist will help you identify your obsessive thoughts and behaviors and teach you techniques that will help you overcome them. If you have noticed that your love towards another person is becoming obsessive, please don't think that the feeling will go away but instead acknowledge it and take steps towards making a change.  

If you have started to take treatment for obsessive tendencies and are in the early stages, these are certain things that you can do: 

  • Communicate with the subject of your affection/love about what you are going through and create some space until you have a firmer grasp of emotions. 
  • Spend quality time with other friends and family to remind yourself of what healthy relationships should look like.  
  • Engage in healthy habits like exercising and reading that will distract you from your obsessive tendencies.  

A quote goes like this “ A man may dwell so long upon a thought that it may take him prisoner” by George Savile. Obsession destroys the very nature of a healthy relationship and carefully destroys the foundations of love, trust and respect. Teaching young minds the harmful effects of obsession will help in a great way to dismantle structures in a society that prides control, possession and anger as ways to express love which is a flawed perspective and has to stop! 

If you or somebody you know is in an obsessive relationship or feel you have obsessive tendencies, please reach out to our Support Executives and Mental Health Counselors through the ‘Engage’ and ‘Support’ Verticals available on the app. 


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