When you love someone, you have intense feelings of warmth and affection. The other person has become extremely important to you, and it’s hard to imagine a life that doesn’t include him or her. Experiencing love is one of the most valued and wonderful of human experiences. In most cases, love is a healthy, positive experience.
But for some people, feelings of love become excessive. Love turns into emotion that is obsessive and all-consuming. If you’re one of these people, your love is so deep and intense that you can barely separate yourself from your feelings of love. Some would say you love too much.
Loving vs. Loving Too Much
What’s the difference between loving and loving too much? In a society that idealizes romantic love in music and movies, losing oneself in a relationship may seem perfectly normal. What could be more magical than finding that special someone who makes your heart skip a beat? Just the thought of this person brings a smile to your lips and a song to your heart. When you are apart, you can’t wait to see him or her again. Being around your loved one makes you feel fulfilled and complete.
But there’s a difference between enjoying your loved one’s company and being unable to function if he or she isn’t around. Loving someone means you cherish the time you spend together. Loving too much goes far beyond that. It means you have little or no interest in activities that don’t include the person you love.
Signs That You May Love Too Much
If you love too much, you probably are aware that you are usually giving a lot more love than you are getting back. You may love until it hurts or until you completely lose yourself in your relationships. You frequently feel neglected or unappreciated. You can’t understand why your loved one isn’t as wrapped up in the relationship as you are.
Yet even though you feel unappreciated, you keep giving. You are obsessed with the person you love, thinking about him or her constantly. You may give up activities that you used to enjoy just so you can be with your loved one. You may even stop hanging around your other friends or family.
Your self-esteem is probably very low, and your obsessive relationship is only helping to bring it down further. How you feel about yourself may depend only upon how the other person is treating you.
At this point, you feel like you have lost touch with who you are and what your own goals and dreams are. The relationship has become your whole life.
Love and Freedom
In healthy relationships, love isn’t about taking the other person hostage. When you love someone, you should be able to allow him or her the freedom to have some space without being afraid that the relationship won’t survive.
Loving too much doesn’t only happen in romantic relationships. Parents are sometimes obsessed with participating in the lives of their grown children, which in essence is refusing to let the young adult grow up. People may also try to control the activities of their best friends, parents or siblings.
Is Loving Too Much Really Love?
If you love so much that you can’t think about anyone or anything except the object of your affection, you may need to be honest with yourself about whether what you’re feeling is love at all. In truly loving relationships, there is give and take. There is respect, affection and communication. There is not smothering.
When you are so preoccupied with someone else that you lose sight of yourself, you have become codependent, which is actually a form of addiction. You are as dependent on the person you love as an addict is on heroin. You treat love like a drug and look for someone outside yourself to make everything better and to distract you from facing reality.
If you believe you may have a problem with codependency, you can learn more from Al-Anon, Co-Dependents Anonymous or by talking to a counselor. You will find it’s possible to love and be loved without getting lost in your relationships. You will learn to love without loving too much.