When Normal Love Turns Obsessive
What drives a woman to go through a guy's email or linger outside his house in the pouring rain? The answer may lie within the same tiny area of the brain that fuels your most destructive addictions.
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When Kim Berlin fell in love for the first time, she fell hard. "He was the first person I'd been with sexually," says Berlin, who was a college freshman at the time. Maybe it was because she was new to dating, but she admits, "I was crazy, crazy obsessive." For one thing, she had a hard time accepting that her new guy had ever been with anyone else. "I was consumed with his high school girlfriend—a redhead," Berlin recalls. "I literally started following redheads down the street to see what they had that I didn't." It didn't help that her guy seemed to get off on making her jealous. "Once, he casually mentioned that he was 'haunted' by his ex," a remark that left Berlin constantly worried that she would lose him. For a while, he even kept the redhead's photo on his desk. When it disappeared, instead of feeling relieved, Berlin waited until he was out of town, then tore through piles of his boxes until she unearthed the hated image, just so she could stare at it. "The only time I felt at peace was when he was napping next to me in bed," she says.
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Ah, obsessive love. Lena Dunham's Hannah felt it for the elusive Adam during the first season of Girls. Anastasia felt it for Fifty Shades' tortured-but-hot Grey. And if you've ever truly been head over heels, you've felt it too: the butterflies before you see your crush, the wrenching anxiety as you wait for his text, the over-the-top elation when you get it, the two hours spent analyzing his message ("What does he mean by 'BRB'?"), the inability to think about anything else.…
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