When does love become obsession? About a year ago, I was in the final days of a five-month-long saga of unrequited feelings for a certain someone who was very close to me. I suppose I believed I was in love with her the whole time, on some level, though I didn't admit it to myself, let alone to her. I didn't want to tell myself that I loved her because I knew that would just get me more attached to her and more tangled up in my terrible web that I had woven. Though, even while I didn't call it "love", I did wholeheartedly believe that we were "right" for each other; I was pretty tangled up nonetheless.

We were really good friends, and she valued that friendship to a degree that still surprises and impresses me. She was genuinely concerned with my well-being throughout the whole ordeal, and offered support in any way she could. One day, she told me that she loved me, and I understood what she meant. She still didn't want to start a romantic relationship; she just wanted to express that she deeply cared for me. I told her I loved her as well. Things were great.

They eventually degraded, though, with misunderstandings and unwise choices on both our parts. I asked her if she meant it when she said she loved me, and she said that she didn't know...that love's a pretty strong word.

Gradually, my wounds healed. We're still good friends, and we are perfectly comfortable around each other again, but I still feel pangs of pain and longing every once in a while...shadows of my remembered emotional intensity.

So, was it love, or obsession? Is love only really there when it is completely mutual? How can two people have exactly the same feelings for each other? The love (or whatever it was) that she felt for me was not the same love that I felt for her...or was it? Maybe it was only our preferred methods of expression which were different; I wanted to express my love with a romantic relationship, and she wanted to express her love with a strong friendship. Is it only love if it is eternal? That's a pretty exclusive definition, I think. Is it only love if it is "successful"--if it "works out in the end"?

At many times during the dark ages of my unrequited feelings, it certainly did feel like obsession, though. Sometimes I would catch myself really resenting her for her rejection...sometimes I would want her to get emotionally hurt, as "payback" or some BS like that. But these were mostly exceptions; for the most part my actions and intentions grew out of a genuine desire to do what was best for her. I could see when I was hurting her, and I tried my best not to.

Sometimes I think that it was love, but put into the unfortunate situation of not being mutual. Sometimes I think that it was just obsession on my part. That's when I start feeling guilty. At least when I think it was obsession, though, I can maintain the hope of finding true love (whatever that is) in the future. It's when I think it really was love that I get depressed: what if love is always just a kind of obsession with a healthy dose of serotonin thrown in?

Five months? God, lad. I was married for seven years. The world revolved around her. Everything about me was defined by her. I liked what she liked because I loved her. I disliked what she disliked because I loved her. We had a baby so she could feel complete as a woman while I was not so gone on the idea. But if she wanted to be a mother instead of the person I knew and married and loved, that was all part of it. I was willing to do whatever I could to help her be who she wanted to be. Turned out it wasn't my child. She divorced me, took the daughter (Elayne), cleaned the house out with a moving van while I was at work. Came home. Even most of my own bloody clothes were gone. I got a letter from her solicitor (Who used to be ours).

The terrible terrible thing?

I still love her. Bloody hell.

Is there a difference between love and obsession?

I don't know for anyone else.

But I'd say no.

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