How To Deal With Partner Obsessions and Save Your Relationship ...by Bill Knell
There are many advantages to being married or in a relationship for a long period of time. Some might say, "Only if it's a good marriage or relationship!" Those kinds of remarks usually come from people who float from one romantic liaison to another trying to satisfy themselves. Self-satisfaction is for children, adolescents, teenagers and those who refuse to grow up. It's a poor substitute for overall happiness and a sure sign of emotional immaturity. It's also something that will occasionally pop up and cause grief in every relationship.
We live in a society that has become all about running away from stability toward change. Change, we're constantly reminded, is good for the psyche. This has produced several generations of one parent or no parent children who are emotionally damaged, scared and have no faith in long-term relationships. Unable to fully experience or find love, many find obsession. That's why record numbers of people are addicted to dating, sex, alcohol, drugs, porn, gambling, entertainment and electronic games of all types.
Obsession is the child of self-satisfaction. We get bored or feel that we're not getting our share of happiness. This leads us to becoming obsessed with a person or activity and it happens to everyone. The only difference is how each person deals with it. The most common obsessions not associated with substance abuse are those involving people and entertainments.
Someone who is ripe for an obsessive experience with another person will ignore, placate or completely give in to it. It usually starts with something as innocent as a smile, kind word or simple act of kindness directed towards them by a co-worker, friend, relative or complete stranger. This sets off a series of emotional reactions that can last for days, weeks, months or longer depending on their ability to get a handle on these reactions and strengthen their hold on reality. Never underestimate the power of a smile, kind word or simple act of kindness.
If you are involved with someone who has acquired a romantic obsession with another person, you must fight back if you want to save your relationship. How successful you'll be depends on your ability to bring your better half back to reality. Obsessed people may be able to function in the real world, but they live within a fantasy of their own creation. Anyone trying to dispute the validity of his or her fantasy world will come up against a brick wall. It's unlikely that they will respond in a positive manner to logical arguments, emotional pleas or verbal attacks on the object of their obsession.
The best way to help your partner return to reality is by romancing and emotionally supporting them. This may not be easy. By the time most people are aware that a romantic partner is obsessed with someone else, their own relationship has deteriorated to a point where meaningful conversation or even successful communication is almost non-existent. The road back must be paved with passion, emotional support and a reestablishment of commitment. A romantic partnership cannot be just about convenience or stability; it has to have real passion to survive. All relationships begin with passion and it's always a good place to return to when trials and troubles seem to be splitting you both apart.
People that fall deeply in love never stop caring for each other. It's life circumstances that change around them and cause a rift. While some are able to deal with these kinds of changes, other people withdraw into themselves or seek a comfort zone that allows them to cope with everyday problems. That comfort zone can sometimes be a dating relationship or sexual liaison that doesn't include their romantic partner.
Obsessions are an escape and most do not last. If your partner develops an affair out of their obsession it probably means that they still care about you and have no plans on leaving. But it also means they are simply unable or unwilling to commit exclusively to you without having the other person as a sort of emotional security blanket. If that's the case, you'll have to be willing to place your anger and outrage on the back burner if you want your relationship with them to continue.
Confrontation is for cheesy television therapist shows. Placing additional stress on an already unstable and volatile situation is not going to help. Bringing a straying partner back into the fold means restoring passion to your relationship, setting ground rules that cannot be ignored and providing an example of stability, confidence and commitment in your own life. While no one wants to admit it, we all create situations that sometimes make our romantic partners feel as though they are trapped or in some no-win situation. This happens when we place a career, hobby or outside interest above our partnership. Keeping any relationship strong is as much about making good choices and taking personal responsibility as it is about passion.
Most obsessions involving people can be overcome with the help of a caring partner. Porn, gambling, entertainment, electronic game, internet, drug and alcohol addictions are tougher nuts to crack. These things are providing your partner with a rush, thrill, emotional or physical response that they crave. Face it; you may be involved with someone who has an addiction problem. If that's the case, it cannot be tolerated and should be professionally treated. The person who spends most of your shared income on season tickets for baseball without asking has the same problem as a partner who spends it on alcohol, drugs, pay per view porn, adult websites, hookers or gambling.
The most important thing to do about treating your partner's obsession is NOT to ignore it and hope it will just go away.