When you fall in love, everything in your life suddenly starts revolving around that one person. And you do your best to make them happy as well as keep them pleased with you.
Your brain produces dopamine, a stimulant that makes you experience the emotions of falling in love – being attracted, craving, caring, lust, sexual attraction... and sometimes, there are feelings which are paralleled when you are addicted and obsessed with someone. But then, when do you know you’re in love and when you’re just obsessed?
Difference Between Love and Obsession: LOVE
What is love?
You know that love constitutes deeply passionate feelings and emotions for special people in your life, right? And if you thought love was always romantic in nature, you’re wrong! The people that you love could be your friends, parents, someone you look up to, your partner or even God. Love comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, and it universally denotes an emotional bond between two human beings, which is based on trust, patience, kindness and understanding. When you’re in love, you put their well-being before your own.
Let look at the two different types of love:
● Romantic love: This is the emotion that immediately comes to our mind whenever the word “love” is used. This feeling involves physical attraction and invariably, sexual attraction. It’s always between two partners, who can be of different sexes or of the same sex.
Platonic love: This is a non-romantic bond between people that involves little to no feelings of romance or sexual desires. Primary examples include friendship and feelings among family members.
In order to know the difference between love and obsession better, you should know the major characteristics of love.
Love is selfless
It is about give and take, about making sacrifices for the happiness of the person you love, about willing to suffer in order to make your love happy. Although you sometimes feel jealousy of your friends' success, you never have this feeling when it comes to the achievements of your love, and instead you feel pride and happy for them.
Love hurts but also heals
You can get hurt in love and you two will argue with each other and sometimes the situation can be really bad, but you can never be angry or frustrated for long because making your love upset hurts you too, and ultimately, love will make you two get back to each other. What's more, through those arguments and conflicts, you two can know each other better and learn to forgive and forget which help to strengthen your relationship.
Love prioritizes "we" but also emphasizes "I"
Love means you respect each other and plan a future together as equals. This also means listening to what the other person wants and making compromises willingly. If you truly love someone, you will see him or her as an indispensable part of your life. But this does not mean to eliminate everything else and all others out of your life. You two should have individual time and space to grow, making your own friends, working on your career, fostering your own hobbies…
Difference Between Love and Obsession: OBSESSION
Never leave you alone
They have one and only one object of affection and all their time, money and energy is spent focusing on their obsession. For those not in control of their obsessive thoughts, their obsession finds way through other channels, like talking about a certain person 24x7, buying all their merchandise, having their bedroom covered in their photos or even stalking them on social media in order to be the first person to comment on their updates.
Certain people feel the need to possess or own the person they like, which would explain why people (mostly men) force someone to get into a relationship with them. Sometimes they use emotional blackmail or manipulation and sometimes they use money or power to get what they want.
The feeling is unilateral and extreme
Keep in mind that for an obsessed person, the opinion of the other person does not matter at all – what matters is how he or she feels and what he or she wants. That’s it. The person they are obsessed with is not treated like an equal or even as a person.
And in obsession, it’s almost always true that the person they are obsessed with does not feel the same way about them, which only intensifies the obsession. The denial or resistance produces deeper emotions of “love” in the person obsessing over them, which makes those people believe that they can't live without the other person. Literally.
It never ends well
I guess the biggest difference between love and obsession would be how hard it is to accept rejection from the other person. People with obsessive feelings generally turn to violent outbursts of anger and aggression to display their displeasure at the termination of the “relationship”. Of course, the way in which a person reacts depends on their nature, as well as their mental stability. Some even choose to cry and sob and threaten to commit suicide if the other person does not resume their relationship.
It can get violent
Others get physically violent, either with the person they are obsessed with, like beating them to a pulp and then apologising later on for doing what they did, or with their property, mostly their apartment which will be totally trashed. Some even choose to threaten the new partner that the other person chooses to date. In extreme cases, these people kidnap the person "they are in love with" and keep them in an undisclosed location till they “decide” to get back into a relationship with them.
It even needs professional treatment
Needless to say, obsession is classified as a mental disorder, where individuals confuse their wants as needs, and immediately label them as “being in love”. Such people do not have any individuality; the more they obsess over someone, the more they lose sight of who they really are. They grow dependent on the other person, and they genuinely feel that a life without them isn’t a life worth living. Therapy and psychiatric help is available for both the victims and the perpetrators.