Obsessive love

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Obsessive love is a hypothetical state in which one person feels an overwhelming obsessive desire to possess another person toward whom one feels a strong attraction, with an inability to accept failure or rejection.[1] Although not categorized specifically under any specific mental diagnosis by the DSM V, some people argue that obsessive love is considered to be a mental illness similar to attachment disorder, borderline personality disorder, and erotomania. Obsessive lovers may feel entirely unable to restrain themselves from extreme behaviors such as acts of violence toward themselves. They may be entirely convinced that their feelings are love, and may reject the idea that their severe obsession is not love.[2] Obsessive love has been frequently used and/or exaggerated in mass media, often with a woman having such affections for a man in either a comical or terrifying fashion.[3][4][5]

Cultural references[edit]

One example of obsessive love in popular culture comes from the Nickelodeon animated series Hey Arnold!. In the series, the main character, Arnold, is cruelly treated repeatedly by classmate Helga Pataki, who attempts to hide the fact that she is secretly in love with him, which is obsessive to the point where she has built many shrines and wrote multiple poems dedicated to him. Arnold seems oblivious to Helga's feelings throughout the series, despite the occasional hint from the latter. Her secret was revealed in the 2002 feature adaptation, and goes as far to kiss him passionately on the lips to prove it. However, Arnold gave Helga a chance to retract her confession at the end of the movie, attributing it to the "heat of the moment". It is revealed in an episode from Series 4 ("Helga on the Couch") that Arnold was the first person to be nice to Helga, and therefore she has loved him ever since. She also revealed in the same episode to a psychoanalyst that she is afraid to be rejected by Arnold. Show creator Craig Bartlett has revealed that a sequel to the 2002 movie will be released, and will decide the true fate regarding Arnold and Helga's relationship.


  1. ^ Susan Forward; Craig Buck (1 January 2002). Obsessive Love: When It Hurts Too Much to Let Go. Bantam Books. ISBN 978-0-553-38142-9. 
  2. ^ Voo, Jocelyn (2007-10-16). "Love addiction – how to break it". CNN. Retrieved 2015-12-15. 
  3. ^ Vijayakar, R.M. (2015-12-14). "Priya Banerjee to Reprise Juhi Chawla's Role in Karanvir Vohra's 'Darr' Remake". India West. Retrieved 2015-12-15. 
  4. ^ Birchall, Guy (2015-12-14). "Lisa Snowden's stalker sectioned after bombarding the star with nearly 1000 text messages". thesun.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-12-15. 
  5. ^ Michael Coveney (2 April 2009). "'The Phantom of the Opera': Ghosts of a love affair". The Independent. Retrieved 2015-12-15. 


  • Peabody, Susan (1995) [1989]. Addiction to Love: Overcoming Obsession and Dependency in Relationships (illustrated, reprint, revised ed.). Ten Speed Press. ISBN 9780890877159.