Is it Love? Or Possessiveness

5 minutes

It is not! In fact, it is the opposite of love. It is anti-love!

“I need you and I can’t live without you.” That is NOT love – that’s possessive behavior. In essence, you want the person for yourself, regardless of what the other person wants for himself.

Possessiveness in a relationship is the deep need to hold on to a person for himself or herself only. When you do not want your partner to spend time with anyone else or even pursue interests outside the relationship, when you want all of someones attention and love.


Possessiveness stems from neediness. You need someone because you feel he or she fulfills you in some way and you are incomplete without them.

The predominant thought is – “I will lose something valuable if I lose this relationship. Therefore, I must do everything to hold on to it.” The operative emotion here is a fear of loss leading to threats, drama, tears, begging and eventually misery and deterioration in the relationship.

'It's my wedding ring: My wife insists I wear it here to stop me flirting with other females...'

Love, on the other hand, is the will to give one’s time, energy and resources to nurture one’s own or another’s spiritual growth. It stems from completeness.

When you love yourself, you feel fulfilled and complete and choose to love another. There is no force there. It is a willingness to give your time to another. It is a choice you make. The person is in a relationship not because he or she feels incomplete without it or feels it is his or her duty to fulfill the bond, but because he or she chooses to be in it. The person you love doesn’t have to be on your radar all the time. Your love doesn’t depend on how often you are in touch with each other. You don’t have to know everything about the person’s day to day activities and feel offended if you are not up to date on it. You just love the person for who they are.


The driving force behind possessiveness, in both men and women, is insecurity. It can be overwhelming and create division between partners because it is constricting rather than liberating – as love should be.

On the other hand, people who are self-confident and happy with themselves typically allow their partner to choose to love them and accept it if they choose to move on. They do not feel the need to control the relationship or their partner.


One of the most important aspects of being in a relationship is both partners maintaining their own interest and unique personality while still being willing to make necessary & acceptable compromises for their partners. If you feel like you are unable to maintain this balance to your liking, you might ultimately become resentful. A healthy relationship is about ‘give and take’ with each partner feeling free to be themselves while also pursuing a shared life together.

How many of us can claim to be in this kind of a relationship? Have you ever felt suffocated in a relationship? Have you ever felt that you are with the person because you have to be with him and not because you want to? Then it is likely that you are in a possessive relationship.

If you are anxious about a separation from your partner, you cannot fix it by controlling, nagging or forcing the person to be with you. You can’t make anyone stay in a relationship by controlling them. Love remains love only when there is a freedom to choose.

Further, we can only love others if we love ourselves. In other words, we need to give ourselves the freedom to choose; the freedom not to be forced into doing things just because we have to. We need to work on ourselves and get a healthy attitude.

So how do we do that? How do we get to know who we truly are and what we offer to a relationship? To begin with:

  • One could make a list of strengths, qualities, values and skills of one’s own as there are the characteristics that make a person unique and these are what one offers to a relationship.
  • Next, one should stop depending on any relationship to complete or fulfill them.Relationships are meant to enrich your life not to complete you or fill a void. They can seem to do that for a while but will eventually fail to do so.
  • Fill your life with interesting hobbies, activities, projects and friends. A life that is filled with a rich variety of interests has little time for possessiveness.

As Khalil Gibran says,
Love one another, but make not a bond of love……..
………And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each others shadow.

Radhika Prasad

Radhika Prasad is a Freelance Counsellor. She has over 16 years of experience in the corporate world, in the area of Qualitative Market Research which deals with the psychology behind consumption decisions.