What is an Obsessive Love?


      Obsessive love begins with intense emotions, flattery, and attention, but slowly turns into an unhealthy possessiveness of the partner. Initially, it’s easy to confuse obsessive love for healthy love. In the beginning of romantic relationships, it’s natural for one partner to be the sole focus of the thoughts of the other, but they become unhealthy and obsessive when one is too possessive and controlling of one partner by the other–when he or she is no longer living a normal life [1].

Obsessive Love as an Unhealthy Love


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     Obsessive love is an unhealthy type of romantic love where conflict and dramatic extremes in the relationship are both the goal and the theme of the couple’s love. Obsessive lovers are often violent or overly aggressive at different levels. These people cannot establish an intimate and stable relationship with their partners. They most likely need professional counseling and would be better off if they broke up immediately with their partners to avoid further hurt and injury. People who are obsessed with love are not capable of self-giving in the relationship. Most often, these people are possessive and concern only with their own needs without considerations of the personal needs of their partners. There is also domination of the obsessive lovers over their weaker partners. And this can lead to verbal and physical abuse if the weak partner allows the “unhealthy” relationship to continue [2].

Obsessive Love as a Clinical Disorder


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      “Obsessive love relationship is probably the worst manifestation of the feeling of love or when you mistake obsession for love…At times people who are obsessed with their feelings tend to consider their obsession towards their object of desire as their love. Obsession is a state of mental and clinical disorder due to which people get highly self-centered and feel rather insecure towards the other person…They would rather attempt at tying down the other person instead of understanding their emotions and needs. In case of non-reciprocation from the other side the obsessed person is more hell bent on compelling and getting attention from the object of his obsession…In cases of complete mental illness, the patient mostly complains of hallucinating about vulgar and disgusting images of the person they are obsessed with…In most cases, the obsessed people love to either harm the other person physically or mentally. The obsessed person desperately wants to make his or her presence felt in the other person’s life by physical abuse [3].”


“Stalking is a sign of obsessive love” (image courtesy of Shutterstock)

Signs of that the Partner is an Obsessor

  1. Barrages you with intense and constant attention;
  2. Demands unreasonable amounts of your time Ignores other aspects of their   life for you;
  1. Ignores other aspects of their life for you;
  2. Shows jealously towards anyone and any activity that competes for your  attention;
  3. Follows you or checks up on you when you’re not together;
  4. Stalking;
  5. Physically ignores personal space to show others that you’re taken [4].

      Obsessive love is said to be delusional and a sign of mental health problem. It can start with a strong or extreme feeling of infatuation and develop into an obsession. This type of love is unrealistic and demanding. It occurs in about 0.1% of adults. “Individuals who suffer from delusional jealousy often interpret minor experiences like a coworker saying hello to their spouse or romantic partner looking at a passerby as positive proof that their loved one is being unfaithful. Male alcoholics have been found to be particularly vulnerable to developing delusional jealousy. Females are more likely to develop obsessive love toward people they know rather than toward a stranger [5].”


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The Healthy Love

    An obsessive love is not true love. It is an unhealthy love. “A healthy love relationship usually evolves over time such that it no longer involves the near desperate intensity and fervor of infatuation. Healthy love tends to mature over the years to include commitment, friendship, and a solid respect for the other person as an individual and of their needs. Healthy relationships allow both people to feel loved, cared for, and respected and allow for each person’s individuality and the pursuit of their own professional lives, recreational activities, and friendships outside of the love relationship[6].”


[1] “6 signs your partner is dangerously obsessed with you,” Retrieved 1 June 2017, http://citifmonline.com/2014/06/23/6-signs-your-partner-is-dangerously-obsessed-with-you/#sthash.RHdpuDtg.dpuf

[2] Hammond, R., Cheney, P. and Pearsey, R. “Sociology of the Family” in www.freesociologybooks.com.

[3] “Obsessive Love Relationship” in http://www.mydearvalentine.com/relationships/obsessive-love-relationship.html.

[4] supra, note 1.

[5] “The Difference Between Healthy and Obsessive Love” at http://www.medicinenet.com/confusing_love_with_obsession/views.htm

[6] Ibid.

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Functions of Persistent Rumors in Business Organizations

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It is normal in any business organization to hear rumors against the company, managers, supervisors as well as fellow employees. Unlike gossip, rumors deal with social issues, not personalities, that affect a sector of a company or the entire business organization. People may immediately dismiss rumors as hearsay and unproductive talk. But if they persist, they might have a structural basis that requires a closer examination and analysis.

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A persistent rumor about the company or workplace usually has structural roots that need attention and solution. All companies which face bankruptcy or imminent demise are always forewarned by rumors. Before Enron collapsed, for instance, rumors about the company fraudulent accounting persisted. But it seemed that the early warning signs were ignored by the company leading to its closure. “A detailed look at the Enron accounting scandal reveals the circumstances that made it possible for Enron to succeed in deceiving the public. There was connivance with external auditors & banks, while SEC gave Enron exemptions from investment laws, instead of paying heed to the early warning signs”(http://www.brighthub.com/office/finance/articles/101609.aspx).

Rumor as an Indicator of a Serious Issue and Lack of Transparency

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A company which hides some vital information to their valued customers, stockholders, employees and to the public is prone to rumors. In today’s social media age, it only takes a post, selfie, or viral video to spread the rumors if a business firm is found deceiving the stockholders or customers about the true state of the company, products or services.As the saying goes, “If there’s a smoke, there’s fire!”. The smoke is the rumor, the fire is the negative effect that destroys the company. A firm cannot hide the reality to the public. It is only a matter of time that the fire will come out and burn the entire house! So, if there’s a persistent smoke or rumor, it is better for house managers or CEOs to put it off before it burns the company. And this could only be done if the company starts providing clear and convincing information to the affected sector about the issue. A transparent system is less prone to rumors. Thus, when rumors came out about the bending of iphone 6, Apple immediately issued a statement and credible explanation to stop the rumors on the alleged defects of the phone. And it did apparently succeeded in putting off the smoke as Apple posted a historical profit of $18 billion last year due to massive sale of iphone 6 and 6plus.

Rumor as An indicator of a Management Problem.

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It is important that managers must be empirically updated with what’s going in the company. It there is a discontent in the company, the manager must be the first to know it, not the last one. S/he must open to suggestions and willing to listen even to people whom s/he dislike.

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Rumors can serve as warning signs and guide for managers on what management area that s/he needs to examine and improve. A feedback mechanism is therefore necessary to check once in a while the general sentiment of employees in the company as well as the true state of things in the company. This feedback must come from below, from rank and file employees up to the top managers in order that the general picture of true state of the company will come out. The Japanese firms which use the inductive method of management are good on this. They usually ask feedback or opinion from people below before they create or implement a major policy that affects the entire business firm.

Remember: a persistent rumor can be an allay not an enemy in business when used wisely by business managers. They serve as a guide or indicator on what area to improve on in the company!

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What is Confluent Love?

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Confluent love is an emerging popular type of  union in  today’s globalizing world that is characterized by flows, flexibility, and “liquidity” of information and migration of people around the globe. The current postmodern society prefers anything contingent or passing, or relationships without lasting or long-term commitment. Confluent love flourishes in this type of environment. It is, therefore, unsurprising to see divorce, annulment, and legal separation, cohabitation, and marital infidelity increasing in today’s global society because of confluent love.

Unlike romantic love, confluent love has no commitment to last until death or to enter into marriage. It is passing and it is good while it lasts for partners.

This story of Gabrielle illustrates the contingency of confluent love:

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“It was three years ago when I became friends with a guy I met through a mutual friend. It was hard not to like him. He was sweet, charming and thoughtful. He became the friend I would call when I couldn’t sleep at three in the morning. I woke up one morning and realized I couldn’t imagine my life without him.

I had no illusions about the relationship because I knew he had a girlfriend from the start. I knew I was special to him, but did he love me? I was much too afraid to know the answer. I just held on to what we had, just happy to be with him, knowing deep in my heart that it wouldn’t last and yet hoping against hope that it would.

And then one day he told me his girlfriend was pregnant. I felt like someone had put a knife through my heart and twisted it in really deep. I knew at that moment that I had to let him go. I didn’t want him to see that the happiest day of his life was the saddest day of mine. But though I was slowly dying inside, a part of me was happy because I knew he was happy. Walking away from him was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do but I never looked back, afraid that if I did I wouldn’t have the strength to let him go.

It’s been a year now since we last spoke. Even though we made a vow to stay good friends, there was also an unspoken understanding between us that I needed time away from him to give me a chance to heal. There are days when I still miss him badly and I wonder if I can ever really let him go. I know one day I will love again. But for now I just take it one day at a time knowing that if I make it through the day, then tomorrow will be easier” (The happiest and saddest day, By Joe d’Mango).



What is Confluent Love?

Confluent love is a type of romantic relationship which is attuned to the present postmodern times. In his book, “The Transformation of Intimacy: Sexuality, Love and Eroticism in Modern Societies,” the British sociologist Anthony Giddens (1992) describes confluent love as a type of love which is based on pure relationship. And  pure relationship is a “social relation…entered into for its own sake; and which is continued only in so far as it is thought by both parties to deliver enough satisfaction for each individual to stay within it” (Cornville & Rogers, 1998, p. 97).

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‘Unlike romantic love, confluent love is not necessarily exclusive. What holds the pure relationship together is the acceptance on the part of each partner, ‘until further notice’, that each gains sufficient benefit from the relation to make its continuance worthwhile (Giddens, 2011). Romantic love is a type of relationship which is often viewed as ‘forever after’ monogamous love. This type of love prepares people for the lifelong commitment of marital love after courtship and engagement.

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Confluent love is different from romantic or marital love. In consensual love, the partners agree to have sexual relations with others whom they have no intention of marrying or, if they marry, do not necessarily see the marriage as having permanence (Kendal, 2014). The essence of confluent love is its contingency. It is not a “till-death-do-us-part” kind of relationship. It lasts as long as the lovers find the relationship mutually fulfilling. Thus, a one-night stand, a regular orgy of couples, or a temporary live-in arrangement or cohabitation with no intention of marrying, are some expressions of confluent love.

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Furthermore, confluent love, unlike romantic love, is not always monogamous. Sometimes it allows polygamous, bisexual or homosexual relationship. In this sense, confluent love does not conform to the criteria of true love as defined by the Bible and Church teachings. It has no religious dimension. It ends when both or all parties involved feel that the relationship is no longer working and satisfying. “The emergent morality of confluent love recognizes the rights of individual to happiness and appropriateness of ending relationships that are no longer experienced as fulfilling” (Goodwin & Cramer, 2009, p. 48). This emerging concept of love and commitment, facilitated by the liquidity of the world by the process of globalization and secularization, contravenes the religious understanding of marital love as sacred and a lifetime commitment.

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The Limits of Material Happiness: A Christian Reflection

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It has been said that happiness is a state of mind and a relative term. Our views on happiness are determined by our mental frames which are reflections of our own cultural orientation as members of a particular community. For Christians, happiness is not only limited to material happiness. The Christian concept of happiness goes beyond the material world and satisfaction of our sensual needs. In fact, the Church's teaching on the 7 deadly or cardinal sins includes gluttony. The word "gluttony" comes from the Latin word gula which is derived from gluttire which means "to gulp down or swallow". Gluttony is the inordinate, over-indulgence, and over-consumption of food, drink, or material things that provide much pleasure to the body.


The Church does not discourage people to enjoy consumer goods that provide pleasure and material happiness to people. But consumption must be done in moderation. As embodied beings, we are entitled to the enjoyment of God's creation and human goods and services. But we must avoid inordinate attachment, i.e., our life is not tied up with material goods, we don't crave for things that are unnecessary in life and detrimental to our spiritual life with God.


In Church teaching, happiness is, above, spiritual in nature. True happiness is spiritual joy of being in the state of grace and of knowing that one is following God's will. The happiness of parents of seeing their children praying or doing their duties in school is spiritual joy that last in their memories even after death. The consolation we experience when we pray to God is spiritual joy that can propel us to be with the divine in the afterlife. In other words, spiritual happiness is lasting, while material happiness is fleeting.


Material happiness has limits. We may have achieved our personal goals. We may have acquired much wealth and fame, but the end of the day we still remain mortal and moving towards our own death. The great Steve Jobs may have reached the pinnacle of success in business and innovation for co-founding the tech giant Apple. But when he was stricken with cancer and was dying, he acknowledged what that lingers in people’s memory are not achievements, pleasures, and material success in life, but the loving memories of the things we care about that make our loved ones and other people happy. In other words, he is referring to our spiritual joys which are indeed lasting!


Material happiness is like eating our favorite cuisine. After we have savored it and satisfied our craving, the sense of pleasure immediately vanishes. And it is only a matter of minutes that we crave again for another type to continue the pleasure of eating. Some Roman gluttons were said to intentional vomit the food they just ate in order to feel hungry again and to continue to feel the pleasure of tasting their sumptuous meal.


The fleeting moment of material satisfaction can also be illustrated in buying a new luxury car. After using it a couple of days or would probably after a week, the excitement and pleasure of driving our dream car would immediately subside. And the desire of acquiring a new car which is better than the previous model would probably surface in our dreams. We enter into an endless cycle of craving and pleasure to satisfy our insatiable material desires. This also the case of people who find happiness in sex, drugs, and other forms of material pleasure. The material happiness is indeed very temporary.


Contrast this material pleasure with spiritual joy and happiness of helping and loving our loved one and people who are in need. Our loving memories of the good we do to others do not just fade away in our consciousness but can linger even up to our last breath. That’s why people capture memorable moments in selfies, groupies, posts, videos, digital photos and pictures to remind them of their treasured happy memories. This is not say that we should disregard our material desires and suppressed them altogether, but we have to be conscious of their limits and not be imprisoned by our inordinate attachment to material pleasures, thereby losing sight of our spiritual journey in life.


Seeing life from the point of view of death has been recommended by great saints and thinkers. St. Ignatius of Loyola, for instance, recommended a meditation on death to make us more humble and see the limitations of our being or what the great philosopher Martin Heidegger calls a human person as a “being-towards-death”, and to feel our vulnerability on the face of death and remove the last vintages of pride within us.

Again, Steve Jobs is one of the most innovative and charismatic leader in the American business world and has been idolized by millions of his fans worldwide for his technological innovation and vision and for co-founding Apple and its innovative products. And yet, he has acknowledged the limits of success and accumulation of wealth. In the face of death, everything fades except our loving memories of people. In our dying bed we recall these memories and thank our God for giving us the spiritual grace of genuinely loving other people, especially our family and friends or whoever that touched our life deeply.


Praise God for reading this post. If you feel that this post can help others, press click share! I pray that God will always guide you in your daily activities. God bless!

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How to Overcome Societal Traps

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Once we are born in the material world and become members of society, we are thrown into a sea of social norms. These norms can be laws, rules, regulations, customs, traditions, and other forms of behavioral regimes. Social norms when effectively enforced can be coercive to people. Each norm carries with it sanction and punishment. This sanction can be psychological such as ostracism, rumors and gossip, public shaming, etc. or penal in nature such as imprisonment, suspension, banishment, or paying of fines. Norms limit our freedom and action in society. They also structure our mental life and thinking. If caught by authorities violating them, we can be trapped in society for life.

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One story that struck me in a documentary shown in a local television is the story of a homeless Filipino migrant in the United States. He said before he became a homeless, he lived a happy family life with his wife and children. But this happiness was overturned when his wife filed a divorce. The law on alimony in San Francisco requires a husband who divorced his wife to pay 70% of his monthly income as a support to his wife and children. According to him, this has radically changed his life. He was unable to keep up with the payments and incurred debts from the government. Thus, he lost his job and left his normal life and became a homeless. He can’t return back to his old life since this implies paying his huge debts and finding a high-paying job. His story is an example of a societal trap in the material world that people may sometimes find themselves imprisoned, unable to free themselves from material bondage for violating societal norms. For people who live without a spirituality and life of prayer, to live a societal trap is probably the end of the road. It can be a life of boredom, without meaning, progress, and hope.

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Material bondage is not an end, however, for people with deep sense of spirituality, particularly for those with strong beliefs in the supernatural or God. Religiosity, can provide people with a sense of meaning and purpose which can “empower” and provide them with a sense of control in the face of potentially stressful events (Hood 1974; Matton & Rappaport 1983). Spirituality can give us resilience and courage to face difficult situations in life. Thus, one secret to transcend the limitations of our material limitations is searching of an appropriate spirituality that fits with out ultimate goals in life. Searching for ultimate values and meaning of life is the key to purpose-driven life that transcends the material world. This is not escapism but an acknowledgement that there is more what the material world can offer.

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