Love is a constellation of emotions and experiences related to a sense of strong affection or profound oneness. The meaning of love varies relative to context. Romantic love is seen as an ineffable feeling of intense attraction shared in passionate or intimate attraction and intimate interpersonal and sexual relationships. Love can also be construed as Platonic love, religious love, familial love, and, more casually, great affection for anything considered strongly pleasurable, desirable, or preferred, to include activities and foods. This diverse range of meanings in the singular word love is often contrasted with the plurality of Greek words for love, reflecting the concept's depth, versatility, and complexity.
What is obsessive love?
Forward and Buck believe that rejection is the trigger of obsessive love. They state four conditions to help identify it, namely, a painful and all-consuming preoccupation with a real or wished-for lover, an insatiable longing either to possess or be possessed by the target of their obsession, rejection by or physical and/or emotional unavailability of their target, and being driven to behave in self-defeating ways by this rejection or unavailability.
Obsessive lovers truly believe that their “one magic person” alone can make them feel happy and fulfilled.
Obsessive love can also have a great affect on certain individuals surrounding the "love addicted" person. These people are the silent victims sitting in corner and on the sidelines. The relationship of their friend, or family member brings deep angst and sorrow to them for having to see a person they are close to disintegrate, figuratively, right in front of them and be mixed into this controlling as well as controlled life style.
What causes it?
Hodgkinson believes several factors create a climate for obsessive love: leisure, as cited by anthropologist Branko Bokun, who believes obsessive love almost always happens at times in a persons life when they haven’t got enough to do; education, as nearly all obsessive lovers are educated people and thus able to think about and analyse their feelings; feelings of vulnerability and a perceived failure to belong, believed by Hodgkinson to be the most important factor, applicable to people such as those who do not have a recognised place in the world (e.g., those who are required to perform an unfulfilling job), and those undergoing dramatic life changes and the associated fear and lack of self-confidence; an inflated opinion of oneself, as this is believed to ultimately stem from insecurity, with this insecurity driving the obsessed to seek an individual with attributes that they want for themselves; particular childhood experiences, such as deep feelings of unworthiness during childhood that lead the obsessed to seek out one who
finds the obsessed similarly unworthy in adulthood; feelings of being special and/or different, as there is an apparent correlation between feelings of distance from peers (whether real or perceived) and obsessive love; and inequality between the lover and the beloved, e.g., the beloved may be married, older, too young, famous, or otherwise unattainable.
It is worth noting that almost all of these conditions apply exclusively to the obsessed, and not to the target of their obsession.
Hodgkinson recommends realising that one who loves obsessively has not fallen in love with a real person, but rather an illusion. It is estimated that up to 90% of obsessive love is motivated by projection. The obsessed is not falling in love with their target because of any salient
properties of the target, but for what that target represents to the obsessed. Hodgkinson suggests Regression Therapy as the most useful remedy.
The dangers of obsessive love
Since obsessive love is more of a delusion than actually falling in love with a real person, it can lead to dangerous results depending on how far the obsession grows. Obsessive love can lead to stalking, rape, murder, and other harmful things to the target of obsessive love or anyone the person believes is “in the way” of their delusion. In one case, John Hinckley’s obsession for actress Jodie Foster caused him to attempt an assassination on former President Ronald Reagan, because he believed it would grab her attention.