Relationships
Am I obsessed with my relationship?

7 Red Flags You Might Be Too Obsessed With Your Relationship

Experts explain when it’s time to take a step back.

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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 hibernation during 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.

01
Your Whole World Revolves Around Your Partner
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It's normal to think about your partner throughout the day — they are a big part of your life, after all. But when you reach the point where "you're so focused on them that everything occurring in your world relates to them," you're heading into obsessive territory, NYC-based relationship expert Susan Winter tells Elite Daily.

Diana Dorell, dating coach and author of The Dating Mirror: Trust Again, Love Again, agrees that when thinking about your partner becomes disruptive to your work and personal life, it's time to pull the emergency brake on the relationship. For instance, if "you are unable to focus at work because you are constantly wondering if they are missing you," or "you begin avoiding friends and family and drop everything to take a call from the person you're seeing,” the fixation is going a little too far.

02
Your Relationship Has Become All You Talk About

When you're out with friends, do you catch them zoning out or rolling their eyes whenever the subject of your relationship comes up? If you’re being honest, do you realize you’ve been talking about them the entire time you've been with your friends, and you just can't seem to stop yourself? Winter says that's a behavior you need to take a closer look at. "These are the 'thought bursts' that irritate your friends, as every topic of conversation you share becomes a prompt to talk about your mate once again," she explains.

And if most of what you say about your partner consists of long-winded venting sessions, that’s another indication that there are deeper problems in the relationship. "If you’re constantly venting to your friends about your relationship, chances are you're obsessed with the direction and depth of the relationship,” behavioral scientist, relationship coach, and creator of Your Happiness Hypothesis Method, Clarissa Silva tells Elite Daily. This might tell you something about whether this is the right partner for you.

03
Your Emotional Well-Being Is Dependent On Your Partner’s Mood

Have you stopped feeling like your feelings are yours? Winter says that if "you're either happy or sad depending upon where you stand with your partner," you're too obsessed with your relationship. What she's describing isn’t just feeling empathy for your partner's emotions (that’s healthy), but rather, when "your relationship becomes the center point of your emotional barometer."

04
You’re Always On An Emotional Roller Coaster
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Winter says that another sign you're obsessed with your relationship is that your emotions have become erratic and unpredictable. "Obsession has wildly vacillating ups and downs," says Winter. "One minute you're on top of the world, and the next minute you're in despair wondering if your lover still loves you." One clear sign of obsession is noticing extreme emotional changes in yourself, because "our partner has gained an elevated status in our life," says Winter. "This throws off our rational thinking.”

05
Your Partner’s Needs Always Outweigh Your Needs

In addition to having your well-being dependent on your partner’s well-being, a sign of obsession and codependency is putting their needs and wants before your own needs and wants. If you find that to be the case, and you are constantly being a pushover with your partner, you likely have a problem with boundaries. “People who are boundary-less in relationships often feel desperation, that sense of' ‘I'm not OK if we're not OK,’ or have a strong tendency to people-please others and minimize their own needs and wants,” Higgins says. “Feeling obsessed with a relationship can go in this realm as well.”

06
You’ve Stopped Doing Things You Used To Love To Do

As Dorell points out, when "you have stopped doing the things that make you happy just for you (taking that dance class, reading for pleasure, etc.)," and "they get put on the back burner,” you may be in an unhealthy place in your relationship. It’s probably time to take a step back and reevaluate what this partnership is really bringing into your life — and what you're giving up.

In a healthy relationship, there is going to be some compromise. However, as Silva explains, it’s about "striking a balance where both partners are happy." She warns that if you have begun "acquiescing to your partner’s needs most of the time" or "defining what you want based on someone else in order to please them, you may be replacing your life’s desires in the long run."

07
Your Friends And Family Tell You They’re Concerned

This might seem obvious, but if several of your friends and family bring up to you that you are too obsessive or dependent on your relationship, you probably are. If you find that you also rarely see your friends and family anymore (which could be the reason they bring this up to you), that is also a red flag, relationship expert James Preece previously told Elite Daily. “Neglecting your family and friends is never a good idea, but it can happen if you make your partner the priority," he said.

It can be easy to shrug off what people close to you have to say about your relationship, but ultimately, your viewpoint will always be a bit biased. Listening to your friends and family is important in this situation, because it can be incredibly difficult to recognize an obsessive or codependent relationship when you’re in one. “If people try to call it out or indicate that it feels ‘smothering,’ [or] ‘too needy,’ it can feel like an absolute attack to your core,” Higgins says. “Remember, with immoderate boundaries we don't have a clear sense of self, so being called out in this way could really be a huge shot to our self-worth, if we aren't in a place of healthy self-awareness.”

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.

Sources:

Liz Higgins, LMFT-S, the founder of Millennial Life Counseling

Susan Winter, NYC-based relationship expert

Diana Dorell, dating coach and author of The Dating Mirror: Trust Again, Love Again

Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist, relationship coach, and creator of Your Happiness Hypothesis Method

James Preece, relationship expert

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