Tag Archives: Relationship

How would you feel if your life turns out opposite to what you plan?

How would you feel if your life is radically changed by society, opposite to what you want it to be?

change ahead

Most people are sincere to plan their life according to what they see as fit to their life goals and values. But sometimes, society and historical events alter this plan and turn it opposite or substantially different from what the person intends it be.

priest

I remember the late Father Diego whom I personally knew when we were still studying in the same college seminary. He was an intelligent, honest, and God-fearing seminarian. I  predicted that he would be a good and holy priest, judging from his personality and piety. Few years later, I heard that he was ordained priest and was doing well in his ministry.

priest2

But my prediction turned out to be totally different from what actually happened to him, some few years after his ordination. I didn’t expect the tragic ending of his life. He encountered personal and pastoral problems in his ministry as a diocesan priest. He met a woman whom he didn’t know to have secret vices. He left the priesthood and live with her. Soon he discovered that his partner had a secret relationship with another man, addicted to cigarettes and gambling. He also faced poverty after he left the ministry. As an ex-priest, he could not find a stable and high-paying job. He was also lonely and had lost contact with his brother priests and old friends in his parish.

As his personal and economic problems piled up, Father Diego suffered a serious stroke and became totally confined to a wheelchair. The infidelity of his partner intensified when he became totally disabled. Neglected with no money and friends who could help and cheer him up, Father Diego died at an early age of around 40 years old. What appeared to be a life of service and holiness for Father Diego became a life of suffering, frustration, and even excommunication by the Church he loved.

crossroad

The German sociologist Max Weber speaks about the 2 consequences of human action and decision: The intended and the unintended effects. The intended effect is the purpose of a person’s action, while the unintended effect is the unforeseen effect of his or her action. According to Weber, one cannot avoid the unintended effects of human action. What is intended by the actor for his or her life may be good and noble but because of historical events beyond control, the result of the action maybe negative or opposite to what he or she intended. Father Diego is a deeply religious and sincere person who intended to follow Christ and serve people in the Church. But because of problems and life circumstances beyond his control, what he intended for his life did not occur but the unintended consequences such as leaving the priesthood, neglect and infidelity of his girlfriend,  and frustration. Indeed, life can be cruel if one is not prepared for the future.

Photo credit: shutterstock

 

Advertisements

Why People’s Commitments Change?

Wedding vows

wedding-vows-traditional-obey.png

INTRODUCTION

Why people’s commitments change? Despite the fact that people promise to love one another or married couples take the wedding vows seriously, permanent commitment to stay together is not always attainable.

Well, let me just explain here two important reasons why commitment in a relationship changes despite the serious promise of couples to stay together no matter what happens in the future.

open system

First, people change. Thus, what people promise today may change through time. There is one theory in anthropology and sociology which states that a person is an open system. This means that a person’s self is always being influenced by culture and society. It is not a finished product. The moment the person is born, the mind begins to receive impressions and images based on experience that gradually form his or her self. This continues until his or her death. Thus, a person’s perception of his or her self as a committed loving person in a particular historical moment such as the wedding or engagement day is still subject to future historical events that can break this commitment, which he or she may not foresee or anticipate. One lawyer married his wife but has not made a formal break-up with his girlfriend. Five years later, they accidentally met each other. Despite his marital promise to love his wife forever, he did not expect that he would commit extra-marital affairs with his former girlfriend.

change ahead

Second, society and social environment surrounding the relationship change, thus people’s loving commitments change. Depending on the value system of the couples, historical events often change people’s commitment. For instance, the couple undergoing extreme stress due to poverty and  financial problems after marriage can lead to divorce or separation. Job loss or retrenchment due to economic recession and underdevelopment may affect people’s commitment. Maintaining a relationship implies resource allocation. It’s difficult to maintain a relationship without the necessary resources and money to meet the needs of the couple and their dependents.

love2

The advent of the Internet and digital technology can be both a blessing and a curse. The cyberspace and mobile technology have done a lot of advantages to create and maintain romantic and marital relationships. But this societal change in technology also facilitate infidelity, relationship break-ups, or separation of married people, since it is very easy to meet new people in the cyberspace and social media with numerous dating sites and chat rooms. Again, people may be very committed with their loving relationships, but with the constant technological change in society that facilitates infidelity, commitments become more difficult to maintain. Unless the couples believe in something supernatural or some form of spirituality as a foundation of their loving relationship that transcends the material world, maintaining a commitment will always be a great challenge to every one living in today’s fast-changing technological age. Cheers!

praying.jpg

Photo credit: shutterstock

Does Age Imply Control in a Relationship?

071316-married-celebs-age-gaps-slide-5

Age does matter in a relationship whether one likes it or not. Although there other personal and social factors that can affect the social interaction of couples in a particular society, age definitely has an effect on the way partners relate with each other. Age is an informal social norm that somehow affects social interaction. The higher is the age, the higher is the influence of the older partner over the younger companion. Because he or she has more experience, the older partner will tend to guide the younger mate. This is particularly true if the age gap is wider.

Age implies length of experience in life. Older people have more encounters with tragedies and problems in life compared to younger ones. Thus, they tend dominate younger partners because they tend to believe that they know better than the other. Of course, this is only a general rule, since personality and other social factors can overcome this tendency. Thus, a younger partner with a domineering personality can control an older partner with a weaker personality. For instance, a gut person can easily dominate a heart or head person despite the age gap. Inspite of this, older people still tend to play the parent role in the relationship in general.

Thomas Anthony Harris published a classic self-help book entitled I’m OK – You’re OK as a practical guide to transactional analysis as a method for solving problems in life.Transactional analysis (TA) is a psychoanalytic theory and method of therapy wherein social transactions are analyzed to determine the ego state of the patient. A person’s ego can either act as a parent, adult, and child depending on the situation.

The problem with older partners in a loving relationship is that they tend to often act on their parent egos and dominate the younger partners who are forced to act on their adult or child roles to avoid conflict in their daily interactions. Thus, depending on the cultural standards, it is advisable that the age gap of lovers must be not very wide as this can pose problems both in their personal interaction and relationship adjustment. Maybe, 5 years or less is age gap is preferable, but more than 10 age gap can be challenging for couples to maintain their relationship. Of course, what matters most are the maturity and commitment of the partners to stay together despite the odds in the relationship.

071316-married-celebs-age-gaps-slide-7

 

Photo1:     Hollywood couple with 20-year age gap: JASON STATHAM AND ROSIE HUNTINGTON WHITELEY (Photo credit: ALBERTO RODRIGUEZ/NBC/GETTY)

Photo2: Harrison Ford and his wife Calista Flockhart with 22 years age gap (Photo credit:STEVE GRANITZ/WIREIMAGE)

Does Age Matter in a Romantic Relationship?

40D91FDF00000578-4545608-image-a-11_1495882036642

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter” (Mark Twain).

INTRODUCTION

The saying that “Age doesn’t matter” is a popular expression among people for those who fall in love with a wide age gap. They say that love is blind. So, it’s okay to be blinded by the age of one’s crush or lover. Experts on romantic love acknowledge that falling in love is indeed a strong positive energy that makes a person less aware of the consequences of having a big age gap in romantic relationship. One can be so enamored with the other person’s beauty, popularity, personality, social status, or wealth, that he or she forgets that the other person is either too old or too young for him/her! I already encountered some people who fell in love or even got married despite a wide age difference. When I was a boy, our 20-year old nanny was having a secret love affair with our 60-year old neighbor who was a widower with married children. It was indeed embarrassing during their wedding ceremony as the officiating priest had mistaken the groom as the parent of the bride and one of the young best men as the groom! Despite the age gap, they manage to have 3 children before the old man died.

AGE AS A SOCIAL NORM IN SOCIETY

Age really does matter in relationship despite romanticism of some people that it doesn’t affect romantic relationships. In sociology, age is an informal and unwritten social norm. Society has some standards on what age bracket is appropriate for a particular type of relationship, depending on the local culture. Whether one likes it or not, society has a way of classifying people engaging a particular type of social interaction. Defying this informal norm in a romantic relationship can lead to unintended informal and psychological sanction from the public, such as ridicule, suspicion, rumor, gossip, digital bashing in the social media, or even public shaming by people who strongly oppose the relationship. Try to hold hands and show romantic affection with an older man or woman while walking in a public park and you’ll never miss seeing people whispering or giggling in disbelief, or staring at you as if something is terribly wrong, especially when you’re in a rural setting! Generally, women like their men to be a little older and more experienced and mature in life. But if the age gap is quite wide, many people would probably start to think that it is not romantic love or true love that motivates the attraction but something else, maybe the wealth of the older partner.

Age as informal norm in society is not, however, an absolute rule! One can see couples with a big age difference. Among the Hollywood celebrities, the famous actor Michael Douglas and actress Catherine Zeta-Jones were married despite their age difference. These Oscar winners tied their knot in 2000, when Catherine was 31 years old and Michael was 56.

'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps' Premiere

Michael, 56 years old, with wife Catherine, 31 (Photo credit: hollywood.com)

In the Philippines, the famous folk singer Freddie Aguilar fell in love with a 16-year old girl and managed to marry her in Islamic rites. Under the Shariah law, a 16-year old can contract a valid marriage but not under the current 1987 Family Code of the country for Christians. Apparently both decided to change religion to tie the knot.

aguilar

Freddie, 60 years old, with his 16-year old wife (Photo credit: Poklat.com)

Another famous noontime TV host and comedian married a younger woman more than twice his age. The 61-year old veteran Filipino comedian Vic Sotto married the 27-year old TV host Pauleen Luna in a private wedding.

sotto

Pauleen Luna, 27 years old and Vic Sotto, 61 (Photo Credit: gmanetwork.com)

If it is not an arranged marriage sanctioned by culture, people can be suspicious of the motive if they see romantic couples with a wide age gap. They often suspect wealth and/or social status as the main motive why the younger partner “falls in love” with the older guy. This suspicion can have a grain of truth. Normally, people are first attracted to others through their physicality. People project and communicate to the world though their bodies. Appearance matters during the initial encounter of partners in romantic love. Many surveys showed that the person’s eyes as the sexiest or most attractive body part during infatuation. They say that the eyes is the window of the person’s soul. The woman’s big breasts and butts associated with femininity and fertility are also attractive to men, while a tall height, a flat and strong abdomen and chest are attractive physical traits for women. But old people generally cannot boast their physical assets to attract younger people to enter into a romantic relationship with them. Thus, people become cynical of seeing a young and old couple romantically linked with each other.

Physicality, however, can take a backseat if the young and old partners become intimate and learn more about the cultural or non-physical aspects of the relationship such as knowing the other’s attitude, personality, social status, and value system. So people can be suspicious if a poor young woman falls in love with an old rich man as the latter’s youthful physicality has already been deteriorated by age. If he is not extremely handsome and sexy despite his age, it is understandable for them to conclude that it is not the physical appearance but probably the person’s wealth and social status that motivate her to love the other. Age then matters in discerning whether the relationship is truly a romantic love that can lead to marital love or just what the sociologist Anthony Giddens calls as “confluent love” or a contingent form of love without commitment, a love that is based on mutual and temporal satisfaction of the romantic partners–“enjoying the relationship while it lasts.”

In the next blog, we’ll discuss why a wide age gap can be a problem in the interaction and adjustment of the couple as they stay longer in the romantic relationship and marriage. This will also show that age matters in romantic or marital interaction! Cheers!

 

 

Cultural Compatibility Matters in Romance

decptive

Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There is a popular belief that romantic relationship fails because of personal incompatibility. People who fall in love eventually separate due to irreconcilable differences. Many say that differences in personality are often the cause of  break-up. But one can rarely hear from people blaming the cultural incompatibility between partners as the main culprit why lovers separate. Culture refers to the way of life of a particular group of people. It refers to anything a person learns from his/her environment from beliefs, values, norms, art to all material things such as food, tools, etc. An American, for instance, who falls in love with an Asian implies a wide cultural incompatibility from cultural taste, cultural values, beliefs, and views. This can cause a lot of conflict when they stay together as lovers and spouses. The American, for instance, may encounter a cultural shock that his Asian wife values her relatives and becomes dependent on them even if she is already married.

A person’s personality is highly influenced by culture and not by his/her genes or biological make-up. Only few human behaviors are caused by biology, most are socially learned through culture and nurture:

“All relationships are to some extent cross-cultural, in that both parties come together from different families to build a new unit together. Whilst for many couples this will be a natural set of compromises to which both partners will adjust naturally over time – for others the differences can be fundamental, with one finding it difficult to understand the others way of looking at the world and vice versa”.

Particular challenges faced by people with different cultural background:

  • coping with religious differences
  • loss of identity
  • daily disagreements over small things – cooking, hygiene, standards, rituals etc.
  • different ideas about the meaning of love, family and relationships
  • different methods of dealing with conflict
  • unsupportive families.

Some lifestyle disagreements include:

  • Eating and drinking – Different cultures have different views on alcohol consumption and diets vary greatly around the world.

  • Clothing – Sometimes people change what they wear to fit in with another culture.

  • Chore distribution – Different views on gender roles can spark conflict when it comes to distributing domestic chores.

  • Money – Money can be a big stumbling block when it comes to relationship harmony. How people deal with money, how they value money and how they spend it can be quite dependent on the culture they come from [1].

It’s not true as portrayed in romantic stories that love is made in heaven with couple not encountering cultural differences in romantic relationships. Romantic love can lead to true love and commitment if  a couple transcends cultural differences and constantly negotiate to stay together “till death do us part”! True love is loving the person despite his/her cultural identity and saying “I love because you’re you!”

[1]http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellor-articles/cross-cultural-relationships.

How to Mend a Broken Heart!

Picture26

1. INTRODUCTION

To experience a broken heart in romantic love is indeed painful but passing. There’s no pain that won’t subside and heal. It depends on how the broken-hearted person deals with the pain and positions himself/herself in an environment that can gradually erase the painful memory.  Let’s first read Rona’s letter before we’ll tackle this problem (from Joe the Mango’s love notes):

Dear Joe,
It’s been 3 years since my friend Diane wrote u my story. We’re now professionals and are both doing good in our jobs.
I would like to give you a background on how my life 3 years ago was – you see I was the one hopelessly fighting for the love Fr. Kiko and I shared. It was love beyond compare. Indeed there were lots of sacrifices we endured . I must admit I was blinded, we tried to be like a normal couple but we were just not meant to be. All of a sudden he changed, he avoided me and I was left devastated.
During that time, John came. He was an old acquaintance. He was a former partner in a school dance and he was so sweet and thoughtful. Just for fun, we decided to have a trial relationship. I was nursing a broken heart back then and he was a welcome escape for me.
But as the time passed by. I found myself slowly falling for him. It was a smooth sailing relationship. And so even when Fr. Kiko made it known to me that he still exists, I completely forgot about him. My relationship with John became deeper. He introduced me to his parents and I introduced him to my family too and they got along pretty well. I could not ask for more, Joe. A family who loves me, a stable job, lots of friends and a boyfriend who loves me more than anybody else. Or so I thought.
On our first year as a couple, our relationship suddenly came to a halt. A friend of mine caught him arm in arm with another lady moonlighting in Tagaytay. My friend told me about it. But I was not about to freak out without asking him. I confronted him but he told me it’s not true. I can’t deny the fact that John is indeed, two timing me. But instead of throwing a fit of anger to him, I stooped down and blindly understood him. He pleaded for my forgiveness and I readily gave it to him. Call it foolishness, but that was how I loved him. Our relationship went on, this time in a deeper level. Marriage in two years time was in the air.
And so I programmed my mind that he was the one for me. We celebrated our second year anniversary promising each other that the love we shared will be there always and forever. But I was wrong. Late last year after a petty quarrel, he decided to break up with me. I was caught unguarded, my hopes and dreams came shattering in front of me. I didn’t know what to do. It was as if my whole life had fallen into pieces. I asked him why and he casually said he needed time and space. Not measuring the pain I felt, I gave him what he wanted. Maybe, that’s what will make him happy and contented. The days passed by and I anxiously waited for him to come back, but I waited in vain. I came to know that he was courting one of his officemates. I guess that’s why it seemed so easy for him to end the relationship. How could he betray me, twice, when I gave him my full trust. But, Joe, I was still foolishly in love with him. I silently prayed and wished that we can mend this broken relationship….
As always,
RONA

 

2. TIPS ON MENDING A BROKEN HEART

There are lots of romantics out there nursing a broken heart because they cannot forget the past and move on with their lives. To be rejected by somebody we love in a romantic relationship is painful. Since people’s minds are conditioned by society that to fall in love is natural, the bodily and psychological effects of a broken romantic love to people’s live can be devastating. Since people are historical beings, the pain of a broken heart is not forever. It can heal depending on how we deal with the past experience and how we change our social environment. Here are some important tips to expedite the healing of a broken heart:

 

  1. Avoid all things that can remind you of the past relationship. 

    Avoid people, places, and things that can remind you of your former lover. The more you hold on to the past, the longer the healing process  to end. Always remember, that this person is only one of the many millions of people you can associate yourself with in the future. This relationship has ended and there is no reason to hold on to it. Probably, it is the happy memories of the past that keep you clinging to the failed romance. But it is only a matter of time that you can meet your next lover, depending on your attitude and openness to begin  a new relationship.

  2. Change something in your self and environment to mark a new beginning of your life. 

    You can change your looks, hair, or fashion which can make you feel good about yourself. Some people would cut their hair or have a new hairstyle to forget the past. If possible, you can change your job or activities that would remind you of your former lover and past experience. You can engage in new sports, hobbies, or enhance your talents to heal the wound and repair your broken ego. Achieving something for yourself and others can improve your self-confidence and help you forget the past.

  3. Evaluate your past mistakes and try to avoid them in your next relationship.

    Learn from your mistakes. Do your homework before you decide to enter a new relationship. Do some background check first before saying “yes” to your next lover! A simple research whether the person is already married, a womanizer, or a drug dependent, etc. can avoid a lot of future headaches! Also, check whether you can manage the cultural difference with your next love. Marrying a foreigner or a person with a different cultural background can also cause a lot of headaches in personal compatibility and adjustment.

  4. Be patient. Only time can heal a broken heart. There is no medicine or pain reliever that you can take to remove the romantic pain immediately. 

    Just don’t panic. All romantics undergo the painful experience of nursing a broken heart. The good news is that this pain will be more bearable  as you grow in experience, maturity, and wisdom in romantic relationship. To mend a broken heart is more painful for first-timers but less for experienced lovers and repeaters.

  5. Don’t forget to pray and ask God to guide you.

    Based on research, religious people are likely to hurdle difficult problems in life than non-religious. Romance is only temporary but faith in God is eternal. What matters is your ultimate goal in life. Don’t lose sight of it. One failed experience should not define you life. Rise and see the beauty of life!

generosity prayer

 

 

 

 

What is a Deceptive Love?

decptive.png

Fig. 3.6 “Romantic Couple” by Ambro (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

     Let us start with a short story of a man who had mental reservation or lying when he didn’t tell his girlfriend that he is already in love with another woman while still in relationship with her. This can be considered a form of deceptive love:

I had a boyfriend for five years and seven months. His name was Anton and we were deeply in love. At least I’d like to believe that he was in love with me, too. We had dreams of getting married in the year 2000 and we agreed to name our first baby girl with both our mothers’ names.

For five years, my life focused on Anton. He was my world and my life, and he always came first. My friends, family, career and even myself came after. My heart and mind were already set on having him as my husband–my lifetime partner. Nothing and no one could change that. His family and friends knew about us and accepted me. They were all kind to me and treated me well. I remember his brothers and sisters introducing me to their friends as “our future sister-in-law”. Everyone thought it would be Anton and me in the end.

Third quarter of this year, we began having frequent fights over small things like where to eat, what movie to watch and whether he would see me or not. He’d tell me he was under a lot of pressure from both his work and his relationship with me so I proposed we “cool off” for awhile. I told him that in the meantime, I wouldn’t call him or see him as often as I wanted to, but I’d always be around if ever he needed me.

Without a second thought, he accepted my proposal and told me to just end the relationship. Joe, it was as if he had just waited for me to initiate the breakup.

I was shocked and surprised. The man I love and gave my life to was letting me go. Though it hurt, I accepted the idea because I thought he was just tired from work and confused. I thought that after a few days, we’d both realize that we really need and love each other.

When we parted ways, I couldn’t help but cry. The following day I called him and asked if we could still talk about it. I asked him the real reason and he told me that he was tired of my demands. He was tired of being committed and just wanted to be alone for awhile. I told him I’d change but Anton remained firm in his decision.

Twenty days after our breakup, we agreed to meet in our old meeting place for dinner. However, he didn’t show up despite my numerous pages reminding him that I was waiting. When the mall closed, I decided to go home and on my way, I saw him with another woman. What made it even painful was that he just ignored me, as if he didn’t see me. For two days, I was absent from work, I didn’t know what to do. I was so confused. I didn’t know what was happening, why he was with that girl when he was supposed to meet me–that same girl my friends saw him with minutes before our breakup…(Source: http://sobrangcheezy.blogspot.hk/2010/03/joe-dmangos-love-notes-time-to-move-on.html)

    Not all forms of romantic love are sincere and honest. Some are deceptive. Romantic partners can appear as angels but deep inside they are motivated to take advantage of the other.  Having your heart broken is the easy part; knowing when to move on is the challenge. One must be careful not to enter into a deceptive love relationship. This type of love is based on lies and deceit. And the innocent victim of this type of love will end up frustrated and broken hearted.

      Deceptive love is a fake type of romantic love where one or both partners either consciously or unconsciously mislead the other in an effort to dishonestly establish trust and intimacy. The person who engages in this type of romantic love follows a sort of “catch and release” pattern. He or she is more interested in catching more fish (lovers) than in staying in love and maintaining a long-term relationship. His or her intention is ‘to collect” more girlfriends or boyfriends and enjoy whatever social, emotional, and sexual benefits he or she can reap while in intimacy with their partners. But he or she would eventually break up with some of his or her partner/s if he or she becomes dissatisfied with the relationship. This is the case of a person who is tagged as a “playboy” or “playgirl”, a person who likes to establish multiple romantic relationships with other people without serious intention of establishing a lasting relationship or true love.

      This is an unhealthy and functional type of “love”. The person falls in love with another for selfish motives. This is common in the social media where anonymous individuals, using fictitious identity, establish romantic relationships with other users through chatting and other digital means of communication. One woman in the Philippines became a victim of this type of love on Facebook. She fell in love with a man she only knew through the social media. After establishing romantic relationship, the man requested her nude photo. Then he extorted her money, demanding that she should give him a certain amount or else he would post her nude picture online.

     In the study “Understanding the Routine Expression of Deceptive Affection in Romantic Relationships,” deceptive affection means that an individual in a romantic relationship chooses to express affection he or she does not actually feel. According to this study, non-married individuals expressed deceptive affection about three times a week to romantic partners.

      Couples who are not in good terms with their partners usually use deceptive affection to save face, avoid embarrassing their partner or sidestep a situation that may land them in hot water. This can include lying about one’s own feelings or feelings about a partner and expressing affection instead of negative feelings.  Some studies showed that couples use verbal and non-verbal affection in hopes that a sweet caress or profession of love will mask their true feelings. The use of affection to lie appears to be a regular activity in romantic relationships. Thus, people can be extra sweet with their partners to gain material favors such as owning a new car, house and lot, or signing a pre-nuptial agreement to gain an inheritance of the wealthy partner. Deceptive affection can actually help maintain a relationship in some cases. But affections in deceptive love are only a facade of the selfish motives of some romantics to take advantage of their partners.

12 signs to move on

Source: Pinterest

Simple Obsessive Stalking and How to Handle it

stalking

Fig. 1 “Portrait of a Young Woman Gets Earful from an Annoyed Man Again…” by David Castillo Dominici (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Stalking is an indication of an unhealthy love. True love does not pressure the other to reciprocate the attraction and courtship of one’s romantic feelings. People must be aware that stalking can be a manifestation of a social pathology and psychological imbalance of some individuals. Demographically, stalking is a gender-neutral crime, with both male and female perpetrators and victims, but:

  • Most stalkers are men. Best statistics indicate that 75-80% of all stalking cases involve men stalking women.
  • Most stalkers know their victims. 60% are current or former intimate partners.
  • Most tend to fall into the young to middle-aged categories.
  • Most have above-average intelligence.
  • Many stalkers are anti-social, manipulative, deceptive, obsessive-compulsive, and have a history of failed relationships.
  • Stalkers come from every walk of life and every socio-economic background. Virtually anyone can be a stalker, just as anyone can be a stalking victim [1]

“Stalkers can be driven by several different reasons, and most have stalked more than one person in their lifetime. Stalkers are obsessed with their victims, and this obsession is expressed in many ways. Some common reasons for this obsession include power, control, and sometimes revenge. Most stalkers don’t take responsibility for their actions and blame others for making them do what they do. Relationship violence perpetrators often stalk their victims during the course of the relationship and especially after the victim leaves the relationships” [2].

stalking2

Photo credit: Shutterstock

What is Simple Obsession Stalking?

     Simple obsession stalking “represents 70-80 percent (70-80%) of all stalking cases and is distinguished by the fact that some previous personal or romantic relationship existed between the stalker and the victim before the stalking behavior began. Virtually all relationship violence cases involving stalking fall under this rubric, as do casual dating relationships. Simple Obsession stalkers exhibit a variety of characteristics, including desire for extreme control, obsessive behavior, vengeful attitudes, an inability to handle rejection, and an assumption of little or no responsibility for their actions…

     Once the victim literally becomes the stalker’s primary source of self-esteem, their greatest fear becomes the loss of this person. Their own self-worth is so closely tied to the victim that when they are deprived of that person, they may feel that their own life is without worth. It is exactly this dynamic that makes simple obsession stalkers so dangerous. In the most acute cases, such stalkers will literally stop at nothing to regain their “lost possession” –their partner– and in so doing, regain their lost self-esteem. Rejection often triggers this type of stalking.  Stalkers are the most dangerous when their victims determine to physically remove themselves from the offender’s presence on a permanent basis by leaving the relationship. Indeed, stalking cases which emerge from relationship /dating violence situations constitute the most common and potentially lethal class of stalking cases’ [3].

How to Deal with the Problem

If stalker manages to make contact with you, say no clearly while avoiding humiliating him. (Don’t engage in dialogue. Pick a statement and keep repeating it. For instance just say “I’m not interested, there is nothing to discuss.”)

Also, say no without any qualifiers. Stalkers interpret certain phrases or actions as “maybes” or as signs that they’re getting through to you. Do not say “I’m sorry, I’m not interested.” Never include “I’m sorry.” This is interpreted by stalkers as a sign that you have emotions for them, which they will see as a victory, or as hope of future change… so they will contact you again later!

To clearly establish that any further contacts are unwanted and will be in violation of your consent, tell them no in front of a witness, or as a last resort, send a succinct certified letter (or have your attorney send a letter).

Then:

* Cease all contact. Stalkers thrive on REACTION, ATTENTION, and ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. Don’t give any of this. Do not be available to him in any way. Behave as though he doesn’t exist. If you let him see you reacting to his actions, he will experience it as his personal power. Don’t do anything that suggests to him that he affects your world or that you notice his behavior. If there are certain types of contact or communication that are necessary or unavoidable (such as for divorce preparations), appoint a go-between (preferably a man) to handle all communication instead of you.

* Notify friends, family, and your boss that this person is violating your right to peace and privacy, and is interfering with your personal freedoms and quality of life. Ask your peers outright if they will help you in the following manner:  Explain that they must NOT dialogue with the person in any way, regardless of any excuses the stalker may give. Then ask them to promise to notify you ASAP any time that they see or have contact with this person.

* Evaluate your mail delivery. If there’s any way for him to access your mail, start having it delivered elsewhere.

* Collect information about anti-stalking laws in your state.  Figure out what steps you will need to get him arrested on a stalking charge, and follow those steps.  When you have enough documentation you can get a Restraining Order (Personal Protection Order).  These don’t really stop the stalking; their purpose is more so that you can get a good arrest report and court time when they violate the Order…. [4].

References

[1] https://safeconnections.org/who-are-stalkers/

[2] http://www.wgac.colostate.edu/types-of-stalkers

[3] Ibid.

[4] http://www.lilaclane.com/relationships/stalking/

What is an Obsessive Love?

30

Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

      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 Unhealthy Love

     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

      “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].”

stalking1

“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].”

stalking2

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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].”

References

[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 http://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.

 

 

“What is an Unhealthy Romantic Love?”

Picture26
Fig. 3.1 “A Couple Having a Fight” by David Castillo Dominici (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

    A true romantic love is said to be a sincere and based on mutual self-giving. People must avoid a one-sided affair where one partner in a romantic relationship is just using the other to satisfy his or her own needs. Sadly, there are people who allow this type of love and allow their partners to manipulate them, most probably because of lack of options. This situation is particularly true for people who desperately look for a romantic partner despite being used by the other. A person who is single with mature age or a young person who is pressured by his or her peer group and relatives to have a boyfriend or girlfriend may cling to an unhealthy or one-sided romantic love. As the following lyrics of the song “I can’t live without you” by the Bad Company illustrate:

The first time you deceived me, it nearly broke my heart
What hurts me most was I’m the last to know
So lately I’ve been thinking, thinking ’bout you
I know deep in my heart you had to go

Last night when I told you, you looked into my eyes
A wicked smile just spread across your face
You know I can’t resist you, no matter what you do
The way you treat me babe, it’s a disgrace [1]

According to the great Winston Churchill, an “[i]mmature love says, I love you because I need you, mature love says, I need you because I love you.” A true and mature romantic relationship does not use the other for selfish reasons. True love allows both partners to grow as persons and does not manipulate or use the other. Here’s an example of a one-sided and an unhealthy type of romantic relationship. The lack of option is one important reason why people stay in a one-sided love affair. Obviously, this type of romance is not true love:

     “I don’t really know if I can call it love, but I really care for this guy in my college. I had always been a reserved, socially awkward individual. I never really dated any guy in my school years because I couldn’t even look in the eyes of a man without blushing!… However, I am a changed person today—more confident, smart, straight forward and honest. This guy in my college was the FIRST guy who told me “I am falling for you”. He told me he thought I was beautiful. It took over a month to finally tell him a yes, because I was afraid if he would hurt my feeble heart. The thing about me is that if I love, I love unconditionally….And so we spend a lot of time together and during one of our conversations he told me about his psychological condition—he had split personality, was a socially disconnected individual and couldn’t handle relationships. He told me about how his “falling in love” phase lasted only four hours to a few days… But the more I knew about his flaws, the more I loved him.

      Over time, I empathized so much with him that I ended up mirroring his emotions and his personality… I also realized that the only reason he sticks around with me is because 1) I am regularly at work and is a good student at college. Hence, I can inform him of assignments to be submitted and college holidays. 2) He said he can’t afford a girlfriend at the moment and I am available at a ‘cheaper price’ and mostly free because I don’t demand for anything. 3) I am a girl and he is a guy and he can satisfy his ‘needs’….

      No! This is certainly not the way I wanted a man to love me. But I continued to remain in this one-sided, broken relationship in the craving and greed for the temporary happiness I gained when I was with him. I’ve lost all my self-respect; I have begun to value him more than I value myself. I know this isn’t good, but I just can’t get over him and I just don’t seem to find the true love I have been looking for my entire 19 years [2].

      Love and intimacy go hand in hand in romantic love. But this must be felt by both partners. Love is the physical, emotional, sexual, intellectual, or social affection one person holds for another, while intimacy is the close relationship of two people where mutual acceptance, nurturance, and trust are shared at some level.

Picture1

Photo credit: Freedigitalphotos.net

   But not all romantic relationships can blossom into real love. Because of some psychological issues faced by people in romantic love as well as incompatibilities in terms of personal trait and character between lovers, the initial feeling of love or infatuation can turn into an “unhealthy” romantic relationship. People who experience the following types of love are advised to leave the relationship and move on to search their true and meaningful love.

    The most common types of unhealthy romantic love include obsessive love, unrequited love, and deceptive love.

33b54c0f61a064eebe2650c67dd67c33

Source: Saved from hug2love.com (Pinterest)

References

 [1] http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/badcompany/icantlivewithoutyou.html.

[2] “I am in Love” by Nandana96 in www.experienceproject.com.