My friend Jane has always been one of the most independent and hard-working women that I know.
Six months ago, Jane met her new boyfriend, Sean, and they became official within a few weeks.
Last week I had Jane over for dinner and was stunned by how different she was than the confident woman I have known for over a decade.
It became all too clear that Sean was becoming the center of her world, she wasn’t the center of his, and it was causing Jane anxiety, depression, and a whole lot of unneeded stress
Unfortuantely it is far too easy to become too infatuated with our partners and lose our sense of self.
Here are four signs that obsession is beginning to creep into your relationship, and that you may need to take a step back and re-evaluate if your current partner is a healthy fit.
#1. The focus of the conversation is your love life
Although I am in a relationship, I make it a point to limit how much I talk about my partner because I want my time with my friends to be centered around us and our shared interests.
When Jane came over, she stayed for almost four hours, and the only topic of conversation was about Sean. Although Jane is typically caring, and our friend has never been one-sided, she made Sean the sole focus of our conversation.
If you tie everything back to your partner, “Oh my gosh, Joe loves this type of soup too!” Then you are allowing it to consume the conversations that should include other topics.
#2. Your interactions with them will make or break your day
During my first semester of college, I dated Will, a handsome senior who felt way out of my league.
It felt like a dream come true when Will reciprocated my feelings. We officially began dating, but my feelings were a borderline obsession. Will was the first thing that I thought about when I woke up, and whether or not he texted me would determine if I had a good morning or a bad one.
When I saw Will on campus, I would be ecstatic throughout the day, but if he were busy or seemed “unhappy” (all in my head), it would be what I ruminated about the rest of the afternoon.
#3. The way that you feel depends on their ever-changing mood
Years ago, I was in a relationship with a toxic older man. Although I wouldn’t have considered myself obsessed, it was evident that he had temporarily consumed my life when I looked back. His moods were constantly changing, which ultimately determined how I felt that day.
If he was upset, I was upset and nervous, trying to fix things. If he was happy, I felt ecstatic and over the moon.
No one should have the power to control your mood. Obsessing over how your parent feels is very dangerous and can result in a complete loss of self.
#4. Any plans that you make revolve around them
A few weeks ago I met a woman, Christen, at my friend’s birthday party. It turned out that she was dating Ryan, a friend in the group.
Ryan is in his forties and struggles with commitment. His pattern consists of dating a woman for a year and then becoming distant and starting to date someone new.
Although Christen is aware that Ryan has commitment issues and has been warned, she’s fallen head over heels for him. When Ryan needs something, she will drop everything and rush to his aid. Instead of making time for her needs, she caters to what Ryan wants to do and always leaves her calendar open for whether or not he “decides” that he wants to meet up.
Christen has lost control over her life and calendar, and everything revolves around what Ryan wants and what serves him.
When we hear the word “obsession,” it can take us to an extreme version of the word, such as stalking our crush or bombarding them with communication.
The truth is that it can be much more subtle and is just when you let someone else consume everything in your life, including the time that you used to put towards yourself.
I completely empathize with my friend Jane that I mentioned at the beginning of this story. After all, there were many times when I abandoned myself for my relationships. However, it never ended well and was no grounds for cultivating a healthy partnership with someone I could genuinely see myself with for life.
I hope that she will begin recognizing her obsessive behavior and start putting her needs first, instead of putting then aside for her partner.