Obsessive Love
By: Javan
September 29, 2013

Are you guilty of obsessive love?  There’s a quote in the Jerry McGuire movie that always irks me. It is, “You complete me.” One person cannot complete another….this is invasive, creepy, and overly involved. Obsessive love is controlling and not fulfilling. A person does not complete another person. Healthy love of self is the best medicine to share with others. Agape is healthy, adult love. Eros, or childlike love, is looking for others to be responsible for your needs. Sounds good, but it is not good for the long haul of a relationship.

Today’s blog is about the kind of love many people desire to have in their relationships and with themselves. Agape love, or adult, reciprocal love. Agape love is a mature partnership based in a deep commitment. This is very different from the mysterious, loss of security love that many people feel in unhealthy and unfulfilling marriages. Agape love is not the roller coaster relationship, or the relationship that feels unfair, or the relationship that is dramatic and exciting.

Relationships that struggle with security, trust, and reliability, or Eros love is learned in childhood. It is impulsive, passionate, obsessive, and exciting. It is love that is “fused” in how we experience the other person. Much of Eros love is based in childhood experiences. If you can remember ever feeling completely devastated by another person, the ending of a relationship, a roller coaster relationship, an unpredictable, or a dramatic relationship…these are examples of Eros love. Eros is the love that comes from the experience of a child. It is raw. The family you grew up in, or your family of origin, is your first experience of love and intimacy. It is the unconscious attraction, that you as an adult, continue to recreate in your relationships today, all the while, not knowing you are re-experiencing your family of origin. Eros love can be an all encompassing, obsessive roller coaster like love. Actions that sabotage closeness are recreations of your childhood love patterns.

To be able to experience and trust grown-up life, separately from childhood experience requires doing something new and different. Agape love is not based in childhood defenses or immature understandings of life. Rather it is based on mature, adult understandings about people, loved ones, and friends. Agape allows the adult to drive the “emotional bus” so to speak. This is not the emotional bus of our brain, but of our heart. Agape love does not base self worth on other people’s actions or non-actions. Love is based on the knowledge of choices, self-differentiation, and the ability to give Agape love whether it is deserved or not. Agape is unconditional, healthy, and does not deplete.

If the reality of your relationship is one that feels confusing, fused, or unreliable, then you are not experiencing Agape love. You are experiencing the volatility of Eros, childlike love. Negotiating and managing Eros love can be exhausting and challenging. You can change your relationship by learning healthy needs, learning where your own Eros, childlike love knowledge comes from, and then move towards Agape Love. You can end the pattern of trying to feel complete through a relationship. You can complement another, be your whole self, and experience Agape Love.