Oh, the honeymoon phase. We all love that time early on in every relationship where each moment feels magical and every love song feels like it finally makes sense. You and your new flame go into a kind of love hibernationduring the honeymoon phase, where you spend every moment you can together. We tend to hold this time of the relationship up as an ideal, but it can (and sometimes does) go too far. At some point you might even ask yourself: Am I obsessed, like too obsessed, with my relationship? If you find yourself wondering that, there are some red flags of obsessive relationships that are important to note, because when passion turns into codependency and fixation, it can take a serious toll on both you and your partner’s mental health and well-being.
Of course, there is a difference between being obsessed with your partner in the way you are obsessed with your best friend or favorite singer, as in you adore them and are their biggest fan, and being actually obsessed with the relationship. In fact, obsession can lean into codependence, wherein you depend on and support your partner in ways that are unhealthy.
“I view codependence as a way of relating to another person, often in a desperate and boundary-less manner,” Liz Higgins, LMFT-S, the founder of Millennial Life Counseling, tells Elite Daily. “Codependence is a reflection of immoderate boundaries. When we talk about boundaries in a relationship, there are two extremes on the spectrum: being walled off, and on the other end, being boundary-less. In partner relationships (and in all relationships!) we want to practice healthy, moderate boundaries (landing somewhere in the middle) which helps us maintain a sense of self, while also being connected with others.”
In order to know how to stop being obsessive in a relationship, you first need to recognize the issue. By knowing how to spot the trouble signs of obsessive relationships early on, you'll know when it's time to take a step back. If you're already bordering on codependency with your partner, it doesn't automatically mean you have to end the relationship — it just means you need to address the toxic behaviors immediately. To learn more about what to look out for, Elite Daily spoke with experts who broke down the signs that you're beyond the normal honeymoon phase and have crossed into unhealthy territory.
Ultimately, a healthy relationship is about balance and compromise for both parties — both things that are the opposite of obsession and, when they're lacking, can actually create obsession. If you're still unsure if what you're feeling is normal or something to be worried about, Dorell offers one last bit of advice.
"The best gauge is joy," she says. "How joyful do you feel? If it's the honeymoon phase, your hormones are flying high but you also can function in a positive way when you are alone. When you're obsessed, you base everything you are doing on that other person's perception of you versus leading your life and enjoying the high of being together when you are."
If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI (6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911.
Liz Higgins, LMFT-S, the founder of Millennial Life Counseling