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Romantic or Sexual Obsession
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Romantic or Sexual Obsession

Falling in love for most of us is an exciting, happy and sometimes slightly scary experience. Especially in the first few weeks and sometimes months, it can affect us hugely; loss of appetite, anxiety, nervous impatience on the one hand, and on the other side rushes of adrenaline, lots of new energy and the magic of a fresh start. There is not a rule of thumb as to how often in life we should come across this mad mixture of feelings. Some people just try to stay away from it altogether whilst others crave it badly. Some people whilst loving the feeling have difficulties to allow themselves to 'fall' into it, and may find it deeply unsettling as it turns everything upside down.

Falling in love is accompanied by many exciting as well as frightening fantasies which in turn trigger the ‘madness’ and ‘ecstasy’ of the whole experience, as our own personal imagination shapes how we do the 'falling in love'. We try to imagine who the object of our desire really is and how we may match together. We start to imagine where the whole thing will lead us and what kind of life we might be living with the newly found love. Have our romantic, or sexual, hopes, dreams and desires finally come true? What if that’s not the case? What if it is? And how does the object of our affection see us? Will we be able to keep up with the expectations, this new energy, this new life that gives us so much happiness? Could this new found happiness be lost? All this might make us feel very vulnerable.

Falling in love and our individual responses to that extraordinary feeling is a part of life. We speak of a romantic or sexual obsession only when the feeling of being ‘in love’ is used, and abused, similarly to the way some people may abuse drugs or alcohol. When someone gets addicted to falling in love and never makes the transition to a satisfying long-term relationship, this can be because the fantasies and expectations are unrealistic. The good feelings about the other fade away until there is a new encounter with somebody else.

Sometimes the fantasies of falling in love may dominate our lives even when the object of our desire is not interested or even ignorant of what is going on altogether. Quite often a romantic or sexual obsession looks for an ‘other’ that is entirely unavailable or some kind of 'impossible' choice. The suffering about unrequited love can be painful yet persisting. No matter how harsh the reality with a romantic or sexual obsession, somehow the game never seems to be over. One can unhappily love for years or find another object of desire at the next occasion. What does not change is the inherent pattern of what one is doing to oneself. After all, the underlying feelings of loneliness and void remain, distracting the person from their friendships, life and work. In fact, as with many addictions, the vicious circle can get worse over time. What seemingly helps to escape from the suffering is just another fantasy, until the next hangover. And then it starts all over again.