The 9 differences between love and obsession

If we are not careful we can find ourselves immersed in relationships in which obsession leads us to disaster.

Is love the same as obsession? What are the differences between the two concepts?

Broadly speaking, while love for someone is a healthy feeling, obsession with someone turns into a negative and even pathological feeling.

But it is not the only difference; In this article we will know the 9 differences between love and obsession . As we will see, these are very diverse emotions, of different nature and characteristics. In addition, we will also know what is understood by love and obsession (in the field of romantic relationships).

Differences between love and obsession

Love is a universal feeling. We can feel love for many people; Similarly, there are many types of love : brotherly love, love between siblings, love within friendship, love as a couple (romantic love), self-love, etc.

In this article we will refer to romantic love (inside or outside of relationships); that is, to the fact of loving a person, or of being in love with her. On the other hand, the obsession with someone (in the context of “romantic love” or relationships), is another concept that is far from love.

It is a state we plunge into when we think we are madly in love with someone ; However, in reality an obsession with someone is a type of toxic or pathological love, since in the end it does not do us any good (or the other person), but rather the opposite, it ends up doing us a lot of damage, or even dominating .

Many people become “obsessed” with someone, start a romantic relationship with that person and end up believing that they are really in love. But love has nothing to do with this (if not, healthy love).

Thus, when we become obsessed with someone, it is not “excessive” love as is often believed, but rather a poorly managed or dysfunctional love.

But, what differences between love and obsession can we find? We are going to see 9 of them below.

1. Quality of feeling

One of the first differences between love and obsession is the quality of these two states or feelings . To begin with, it is essential to be clear that love and obsession are totally different feelings. Although it may seem that one (obsession) is the exaggeration of the other (love), in reality it is not.

Yes, it is the fact that many people, thinking that they love someone very much, end up “obsessing” with them, but as the song says “it’s not love, it’s obsession”. The quality of the feeling changes radically, because it is no longer about loving someone (love), but about feeling that without that person we cannot live (obsession), and much more, as we will see.

2. Vision of the other person

When we are in love, when we feel love for someone, we see the other person as someone who complements us. On the other hand, when we become obsessed with someone, when we feel obsessed, we see it as something that we lack .

In this second case, we feel that we cannot live without that person, that we need him (pathological love also implies this); however, healthy love or love “in itself” does not imply this (the person is seen as someone we love, not someone we need).

3. Healthy or pathological?

Another difference between love and obsession refers to whether it is, on a psychological level, something healthy or, on the contrary, pathological. Broadly speaking, and by definition, we can say that love is healthy and obsession is pathological.

This is so because when we are in a love relationship, we have esteem for the other person, but we want them to be free. On the other hand, when we are in a relationship (or outside of it) and we are obsessed with “X” person, we don’t really want her to be free, because we want her to be in our life yes or yes, whatever the cost.

4. Intensity

Although it is not one hundred percent correct (and now we will incorporate the nuances), it could be said that the obsession is much more intense than the love; or, in other words, that the obsession is pathological love to an intense degree.

In this way, although it is not always the case, obsession is usually a much more intense feeling or emotion, and love (at least healthy love), although intense, is usually more moderate.

5. Connotations

Another difference between love and obsession is its connotation (or connotations) . The connotations of love (we insist, healthy love) are positive; those of obsession, negative. Thus, loving is a positive feeling, but when one loves pathologically or loves “badly”, obsessions for people appear.

6. Idealization of the other

Although it is true that “love is blind”, or that makes us blind, even when we are in love we are able to see the features of the other in a more realistic way than when we are obsessed with someone. In love we idealize the other person, but in obsession we idealize even more and lose contact with reality .

7. Experience of grief

In the event that a romantic relationship breaks down, the experience of grief also tends to vary in the case of love and in the case of obsession. Always speaking in general terms (there may be exceptions), in a love relationship, the duel can last more or less, but if it is not pathological, it does not usually last excessively in time.

On the other hand, when a relationship in which we felt obsession (and not love) for the other person breaks down, the grief can be much more difficult, because the dependency was probably greater.

8. Respect for the other’s space

When we are in a healthy romantic relationship, both parts of the couple respect each other’s space. Also, there is no room for jealousy, toxic dependency, and possessiveness (always talking about healthy relationships, let’s remember).

However, in a relationship where instead of loving, we are obsessed with the other person (it is “our obsession”), it is very easy for jealousy, dependency, reproaches, etc. to appear, and that freedom or space is not respected of the other person.

9. Effects

Another difference between love and obsession is its effects on relationships and on people. Thus, love makes relationships grow, and heals people; Obsession, however, hinders their growth (of relationships), and ends up damaging them in the long term (and if the obsession is very intense, in the short term).

In addition, the obsession is not at all healthy for oneself (nor for our personal growth, nor for our self-esteem, etc.).