Plenty of people worry about how much they worry about their relationships and partners. How much do you worry or think about your relationship, and is it too much?
Like many other human impulses and emotions, attraction and love can go too far. Take the desire to eat, which we must do to survive, too far and you get obesity. Or take the opposite – the desire to be healthy and thin – too far and you get anorexia. It’s normal to want some money to keep yourself safe and secure, but too much of that desire leads to harmful greed and workaholism.
So it is with relationships. People tend to obsess about them, and a little bit of obsession is a good thing! But how do you tell how much is too much?
Striking a Balance
One difficult thing for everyone to accept in this world is that even if they are in a very intense, serious relationship, nevertheless they are still an individual person. That individual person has a life with cares and joys and responsibilities that are also individual.
Your partner, no matter how deeply and totally you love each other, is also an individual and has a life that does not include you or belong to you.
Finding the right balance between being an individual and a romantic partner isn’t always easy, and it can change through different stages of life.
Are you worried that your relationship may be borderline obsessive? That worry in itself may be a good sign that it isn’t. Truly obsessed people don’t often take the time to stop and reflect on what they’re doing.
Trust Your Gut
Your best guide to the health of your relationship is your own common sense and your own instinct. What do you think? How healthy is your relationship? Try to answer that question honestly. Answering questions honestly isn’t always easy, but it’s a good thing to try.
Do you have some sort of gut feeling that your relationship is out of balance? Why are you reading this column in the first place? Trust your own feelings and follow up on them.
Have an open and honest conversation with your partner. It’s a good idea to have regular “check in” conversations like that.
Ask your partner what they think about the health of your relationship. You might be surprised to hear what they think.
The Warning Signs
Here are a few common warning signs to consider, either in yourself or in your partner, about borderline obsession.
1. Snooping. This is a big one. Do you poke and pry into your partner’s private things? Go through their trash, read their emails, secretly check their phone to see who they’ve been texting? That’s a sign that you don’t trust your partner, which ain’t a great thing.
But what’s more worrying is that you are trying to control your partner by getting some dirt on them. And you are living your life based on fear, and that’s not healthy or attractive.
2. Bullying. Do you nag or berate your partner, or do they nag and berate you? That is another attempt to control someone by bullying them into doing what you want. Not good for your relationship. A good rule of thumb is that you can say anything you want to your partner, like “I really think you should ask your boss for a raise,” or “You really should lose some weight – I’m worried about your health,” but then you must let it go after that. You can’t force them to do anything, and bullying them doesn’t work.
Obsession in relationships often springs from a misguided attempt to control the behaviour of an independent human being. And human beings are stubborn and resist being controlled. It’s better to take the path of letting go. Let them have their life. Feel free to ask them anything you want, but give up trying to force them to do what you think they should be doing every minute of every day.That old saying, “If you love someone, set them free,” is really true.
3. Always being together. How much time do you and your partner spend together? That’s another area where people sometimes get obsessed.
No matter how amazing and passionate and fun and fantastic your relationship is, both you and your partner need alone time.
If the only alone time you are getting is when you shut the bathroom door to go potty, well, something needs to change. Join a club, take a class, get out there and do something for yourself that doesn’t involve your partner.
Why? Because you are half of the relationship, and unless you take care of yourself by doing interesting things, having fun, and enjoying life, it’s much harder for you to show up for your partner and contribute to the relationship.
So remember to keep time for yourself and to do plenty of things without your partner. That will help keep you a happy, healthy, interesting person and will help keep your partner interested in you and attracted to you.