Can Possessiveness in Relationships be Healthy?


Possessiveness in relationships is the fear of loss that an individual feels toward their partner. However, this is often seen as negative because the impact of possessive behavior in romantic relationships is considered toxic and hurtful.

Possessive behavior is often considered negative because it restricts an individual’s freedom towards their partner. These efforts are often followed by violent and aggressive behavior in the relationship. This can damage trust in the relationship and increase the risk of conflict.

On the other hand, possessive behavior can also be considered an effort to protect the relationship from external factors that threaten the partner’s loyalty and relationship stability. So, the possessiveness that leads to aggressive and violent actions by individuals can also be seen as an effort to maintain their partner’s loyalty for the relationship to survive.

Based on this explanation, is possessive behavior positive or negative for the sustainability of the relationship? Read more to find the answer. 

Understanding possessiveness

Before discussing possessiveness in relationships, you must understand what possessive behavior is.

Possessive behavior is a condition when someone wants to have all the love or attention of another person and doesn’t want to share it with anyone. In the context of romantic relationships, possessive behavior is caused by feelings of jealousy, which causes them to prevent their partner from communicating with other people.

Another definition states that possessiveness in relationships causes individuals to control their partners and try to prevent them from having friends of the opposite sex. In some cases, possessive individuals also prohibit their partners from socializing with other people and even stalk them, infringing on the freedom their partners have. 

Possessive behavior is also not just reactive behavior to threats but also prevention of potential threats to the relationship. So, it aims to protect the relationship by trying to eliminate or minimize the emergence of threats that might arise. 

Possessive behavior is also influenced by the individual’s attachment style. According to research, individuals with an avoidant attachment style tend to feel jealous of other people and often perceive other people as threats to their relationships.

Individuals with this type of attachment tend to monitor their partners more, resulting in lower levels of psychological well-being in the relationship.

On the other hand, individuals with a secure attachment style tend to have a positive view of themselves and/or others. This causes them to have a high sense of trust in their partner and not easily feel jealous in a relationship. Individuals with a secure attachment style also tend to be able to build and maintain romantic relationships and keep the level of well-being in the relationship high.

How to have a healthy attachment

Partners with secure attachment tend to have a positive view of themselves or others and can deal with jealousy well, which causes them to tend to have positive relationships. This attachment style is also the healthiest compared to other styles. Healthy attachment has all the positives of possessive behavior (wanting the relationship to survive) without the negatives (reducing the partner’s freedom).

Thus, there are several things you can do to create a healthy attachment style.

Build trust and communication

Individuals who have a healthy attachment style in romantic relationships tend to have a high sense of trust in their partners. 

This can be achieved through good communication. Individuals who can communicate well and effectively tend to develop healthy attachments. They listen to their partners actively, have empathy, and can validate what their partners feel. 

Read more: From Insecurity to Intimacy: Cultivating Secure Attachments for Stronger Relationships 

Good communication is also demonstrated through honesty and transparency toward your partner. This creates a sense of trust in the couple and positively impacts the relationship.

So, you need to communicate honestly and openly, listen actively, and have empathy to create trust in relationships.

Encourage independence in relationships

Individuals who have a healthy attachment tend to feel comfortable when alone. They also tend to be independent and not highly dependent on their partner. This independence causes them to have good self-confidence, so they can create personal and relationship boundaries well and stick to them. 

There are several things that individuals can do to create independence in relationships:

  • Pay attention to self-care. Through mindful self-care, you can continue to prosper in the relationship. You can do this by meditating, exercising, walking, or doing other things that make you feel better and energized. 
  • Create boundaries in the relationship. You can do this by communicating things you are comfortable with and not comfortable with with your partner. You should also respect the boundaries that your partners set.
  • Try doing activities alone. This can be hobbies or other things you like, such as singing, reading books, or others. In addition, you can also try to meet with friends or family without your partner, so you can enjoy your time. Some of these examples can help individuals create independence, having a positive impact on their relationships.

Seek professional help

In some cases, individuals often find it difficult to create a healthy attachment, so seeking professional help could be a solution. In this regard, professional help allows individuals to learn about their attachment style and work to change it. 

Several techniques can be used, depending on the needs of each individual, one of which is couples therapy. Through this technique, therapists can help individuals recognize their attachment style and help create a sense of mutual trust with their immediate environment, thereby having a positive impact on their romantic relationships.

In conclusion

Possessiveness in relationships is often considered a problem because it restricts an individual’s freedom, thereby increasing the risk of conflict in the relationship. 

Therefore, individuals and their partners can try to maintain their relationships in other ways besides being possessive of each other, namely by implementing healthy attachment in their relationships.

In the end, healthy attachments are recommended because they tend to be positive and not a double-edged sword like possessive behavior, which can threaten the relationship. So, prioritize healthy attachments and abandon possessive behavior for stronger and happier relationships.

If you would like to see more resources on possessiveness, check out the Relationships Science Labs. The lab uses the research of the Institute for Life Management Science to produce courses, certifications, podcasts, videos, and other tools. Visit the Relationships Science Labs today!

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