Jamie’s buddy hooked up with the guy of her dreams. Now she doesn’t ever want to be with anyone except him. “She’s totally gone from my life,” Jamie says. “It’s like she died.” Jamie isn’t talking about you, is she?
Obsession means to have your thoughts dominated by one single idea. If you are obsessed with someone you love, you think you live entirely for another person. It’s the (huge) difference between “He’s important in my life” and “He’s the only thing that’s important in my life.”
Sure, it’s normal to dwell on your honey. But if your squeeze is literally all you can think about, STOP. It’s time for an Am-I-crushing-waaay-too-far? reality check. If the object of your obsession isn’t even your squeeze — and is actually someone not interested in you — you should consider why you’re putting your life on hold to yearn for something that’s not going to happen.
How do you know when your feelings are getting out of control? “Listen to your gut instincts,” says Julia DeVillers, author of GirlWise: How to Be Confident, Capable, Cool and In Control. “If you secretly are feeling like you are crossing the line and being ‘obsessed,’ you probably are. If you feel really out of control about your feelings, if you feel swept away by emotions … you might be being obsessive.”
So what? Hey, being obsessed is serious. In the extreme, it can lead to stalker-like actions that, in some cases, could get you arrested. More likely, it can lead you to forget you, your likes and dislikes, your beliefs and dreams. Never make someone else the point of your life.
Here are some warning signs to help you figure out if you could be getting love mixed up with obsession:
- only wanting to be with her
- not doing anything without him
- changing class schedules to be with her
- changing yourself to be more like him (becoming vegetarian just because he is, etc.)
- being bummed when you can’t be with her
- wanting him only to do things with you
- hearing friends or family suggest you are too wrapped up in him
- feeling you would die without her
- hearing her say she feels smothered by you
- letting him be abusive toward you
Remember, obsession rhymes with possession, and they’ve got a lot in common.
Here are some examples of normal crushing versus obsessive-type actions:
- You’re crushing if you occasionally drive by his house. You’re obsessing if you drive by daily or park there.
- You’re crushing if you gaze at her in class. You’re obsessing if you spy on her.
- You’re crushing if you e-mail/IM him. You’re obsessing if you read his personal e-mails.
- You’re crushing if you call her sometimes. You’re obsessing if you call over and over.
- You’re crushing if you long to hook up with him. You’re obsessing if you fantasize about getting rid of his girlfriend.
- You’re crushing if you keep a newspaper photo of her. You’re obsessing if you secretly take a picture of her.
- You’re crushing if you ask him out. You’re obsessing if you pressure him to date you after he’s turned you down.
If you think you might be obsessed, take steps now. Go out of your way to spend time with your favorite people (besides him!), doing your favorite things (without her). But most importantly, enlist someone to help you sort out your feelings.
“Talk to an adult,” DeVillers suggests. “Ask a parent or a trusted adult, such as a school counselor, clergy, teacher, a friend’s parent, a therapist.” Although friends your age can be supportive, a savvy adult will help you decide if you’re heading down the right path, or if you should seek additional help.