In a healthy love relationship, the infatuation phase of romantic love often occurs in the early months. It may include obsessive thoughts about the object of one’s affection and a desire to spend every minute with that person.
A good romantic relationship often develops over time to the point where it lacks the near-desperate intensity and passion associated with infatuation. Healthy love often develops through time to encompass commitment, companionship, and a strong regard for the other individual and their needs.
Healthy partnerships enable both parties to feel special, cared for, and respected, while also allowing for each party’s uniqueness and exploration of their own professional life, leisure interests, and relationships outside of the romantic connection.
While there is no distinct medical or psychological categorization for OLD, it often co-occurs with other kinds of mental health disorders. Consult your physician if you suspect that you or a loved one has the condition. Treatment may help alleviate discomfort while also avoiding relationship problems.
You can make an appointment with a doctor from Sesame Care. They offer great doctors at affordable prices through “telehealth visits.”
What symptoms are associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder?
Among the symptoms of OLD are the following:
- a person’s overpowering attraction
- a person’s obsessive thoughts
- a sense of obligation to “protect” the person you’re in love with
- attitudes and behaviors that are possessive
- intense envy of other people’s interactions
- self-esteem deficit
Individuals with OLD may also struggle with rejection. In certain instances, the symptoms may increase upon the termination of a relationship or upon the rejection of the other person. There are other indicators of this condition, including the following:
- repeatedly texting, emailing, and calling the person they’re interested in
- a perpetual demand for certainty
- Due to the preoccupation with one individual, it’s difficult to form friendships or keep touch with family members.
- observing the other person’s activities
- managing the other person’s whereabouts and actions
What distinguishes healthy love from obsessive love?
The distinction between healthy & obsessive love is that in the latter, emotions of attraction become excessive, growing to the point of fixation. Obsessive love and jealousy that is delusory is a sign of mental illness that affects about 1 percent of the US population and 2% of the global population.
Individuals suffering from delusory jealousy often perceive small events such as a colleague greeting their partner or romantic partner or their romantic partner glancing at a bystander as conclusive evidence that their loved one is unfaithful. Male drinkers have been shown to be more prone to delusory jealousy.
Females are more prone than men to acquire obsessive love for individuals they know. For women who love excessively, the objects of their affection are often individuals who have served as an aid in their life. When obsessive love results in aggression, men and women appear to be equally likely offenders. A lack of full-time work is a risk factor for developing obsessive love, as is having family members with mental disorders, especially a delusory illness.
Causes of OCD
Numerous variables may contribute to obsessive love. The sections that follow go into more depth on each of these variables.
Erotomania and kindred pathological delusory diseases
Delusions of erotomania may be caused by mental health disorders such as bipolar I disorder and schizophrenia, as well as symptoms induced by alcohol use disorder.
While this is not synonymous with obsessive love, it may be a sign of a far more severe mental health disorder.
Erotomania is a very uncommon delusory disease in which a person believes that destiny demands a certain connection. The individual may even believe that a relationship that ended years ago is still loving and healthy.
Additionally, erotomania may make a person think that another person loves them. Occasionally, the object of their affection may be someone they have never met. For instance, people may think they are in a relationship with a celebrity that does not exist.
Certain delusions may be so severe that they lead to stalking, abuse, or violent conduct. Erotomania is often associated with paranoid symptoms.
According to a 2017 case study, social media may exacerbate erotomania. This is because it enables individuals with obsessive tendencies to watch others from afar and feel more connected to them than they would otherwise feel.
It is critical to emphasize that erotomania is not synonymous with obsessive love.
Personality disorder on the borderline
Individuals who suffer from borderline personality disorder may have extreme fear of abandonment and have difficulty regulating their emotions. For instance, their emotions may seem out of proportion to the circumstances, and they may get fixated on their relationships.
They often perceive things in black and white terms, switching between seeing someone as entirely nice or entirely wicked. This may result in them attempting to exert control over others or coerce partners into staying in the relationship.
Individuals who suffer from this condition may lack a consistent identity or sense of self. This may exacerbate obsessive tendencies, since they may struggle to view themselves as distinct from their connections.
The capacity for developing healthy bonds with people starts in infancy. Individuals whose parents or caregivers were emotionally unstable or abusive may develop aberrant attachment patterns. This may manifest itself in their relationships as obsessive, dominating, or frightened behavior.
Individuals who have insecure or reactive attachment styles may be concerned with loss concerns. They may feel incapable of coping without their spouse and be ready to do everything to retain them.
Insecure connection may sometimes keep a person in an abusive relationship out of fear of loss. In other instances, it may drive an individual to become abusive in an effort to retain a relationship.
Trauma and anxiety over abandonment
Certain individuals acquire obsessive behaviors out of fear of abandonment. This may develop as a result of an attachment problem or as a result of a trauma.
For instance, a person who has just lost a spouse may be fearful of losing their present companion. As a consequence, they may take odd or unhealthy steps to “protect” themselves.
Additional mental health problems
Numerous mental health disorders may distort or change an individual’s viewpoint, increasing their fearfulness, obsessiveness, or depression. This increases the likelihood that they will get obsessed with their connection.
For instance, a person suffering from depression may think that they are worthless and alone, or that their relationship is the only meaningful part of their existence. This may result in compulsive thoughts or behaviors.
Norms: social and cultural
Certain societal and cultural conventions place a greater emphasis on one spouse than the other. This may imply that certain parents and caregivers expose their children to unhealthy relationship patterns throughout their childhood.
For instance, exposure to different relationship “norms” throughout infancy may lead some individuals to believe that love entails ownership or that their partner must do everything to demonstrate their love.
These thought processes are a defining feature of “toxic masculinity.” Individuals who possess this characteristic may think it is appropriate for men to abuse their spouses in physically or emotionally abusive ways. Those who exhibit toxic masculinity may also be manipulative, expect more from their relationships than they are prepared to offer, or attack partners who violate their “rules.”
How is obsessive love treated?
Obsessive love is often treated via psychotherapy for both the patient and their love object, especially if the two individuals are presently in a relationship. Counseling may be beneficial and may include assisting both parties in seeing their relationship in a more positive light, including using affirmations or other methods to boost their self-esteem.
Any underlying mental disorder should be addressed appropriately with medicines. If the person suffering from obsessive love begins to exhibit threatening or other hazardous actions, legal measures such as contacting the police and enforcing restraining orders & safety plans may well be required.