In today’s video, I’m going to talk about the distinctions between unhealthy neediness and genuine love relating to obsessive jealousy in a relationship.

Read or watch below if you are suffering from obsessive jealousy in a relationship.

Zachary Stockill: You’ve probably seen me talk about the “Red Pill” recently. It’s a rabbit hole that I’ve been going down recently that is pretty interesting. The term refers to a segment of the internet filled with men trying to figure out the issues in their dating lives, and often, their lives beyond their relationships, beyond their interactions with women.

But anyway, there’s a term in the “red pill,” that is pretty on point. The term is “Oneitis.” It basically means feeling like there’s only one person for you. In the case of men, “there’s only one woman for you. You need this one woman to be happy.”

And you’re looking for “the one,” that you’ve probably heard about in various other places. I think this whole idea of, you know, the soulmate. “And if you just look through the entire world, you’ll find the one person who’s perfect for you.” I think this is a really dangerous idea. 

In today’s video, I’m going to talk about the three key distinctions between what I believe to be unhealthy neediness or “oneitis,” and genuine love. 

I think one of the key components in genuine love that comes from a healthy place that is sustainable, and beautiful, is:

Wanting someone, often wanting them in a profound way, but not feeling like you need them for survival, as is often the case with obsessive jealousy in a relationship. 

I get a lot of pushback on this idea because a lot of people find the idea of needing someone for survival incredibly romantic.

But there are a few problems with that. Number one, neediness is absolutely terrible in creating and sustaining long-term attraction. And I think attraction in a relationship is extremely important. You ask any young woman: “Do you find neediness in men attractive?” 99.9% of them, if they’re being honest with you, will tell you no:

“I want a man who wants me, but I’m not so interested in a man who feels like he needs me.”

Because if a woman feels like you need her, on some level, I think you’re telling her “I don’t have much else going on in my life. I don’t have goals, I don’t have real interests. I don’t have passions that are completely unrelated to my dating life. I’m just focused on you. And I would be grateful if you could fill this hole inside me that I can’t seem to fill myself.

I think a healthy relationship is based on two people who want each other but don’t feel like they need each other; two people who have full lives on their own, but whose lives are better together. Two people who are happy on their own, but feel like they’re happier together. Two people who can be single and be happy, but feel better when they’re in a good relationship. This distinction between wanting and needing is crucial. 

And I really want you to think about this if you’re a guy predisposed to ideas about finding “the one,” finding your soulmate, and finding someone who “completes” you. This is another phrase that makes me crazy. 

“I want to find someone who will complete me.”

If you’re not complete yourself, if you don’t have a full life, hobbies and interests and friends and family and goals and passions and various pursuits that have nothing to do with your relationship life, you are setting yourself up for disaster in your relationship life.

Because your partner will smell that neediness and desperation on you a mile away. It’s terrible for attraction. 

Focus on wanting someone but not needing them.

obsessive relationship jealousy

I also think another key distinction between oneitis and genuine love is when you genuinely love someone, you want the best for that person whatever that means. If that means they need to go off and break up with you, fine. “Goodbye, and God bless. I’ll find someone better for me, you’ll find someone better for you.” Wanting the best for them whatever that means.

Because guys who struggle with oneitis; they don’t genuinely love that person. They think they love that person. And they want the best for that person as long as that person gives them what they want. It’s an enormously selfish, one-sided kind of love. You’re mostly focused on getting love rather than giving it.

And of course, this does not mean that you should put up with cheating and lies and infidelity and sketchy behavior and bad treatment.

Love yourself first. Establish your own boundaries and values first, before you experience obsessive jealousy in a relationship.

Sometimes wanting the best for that person involves letting them go, involves breaking up with them. Because you know that you can’t give them what they want and what they need. Sometimes that is the most loving thing someone can do.

I’ve been in this position before where I had a relationship with an absolutely incredible woman. She wanted certain things that I couldn’t give her at that point in my life; a level of commitment, a level of investment that I simply couldn’t offer at that point in my life.

So I had to end the relationship, I had to move on. And it wasn’t because I didn’t love her. It wasn’t for a lack of love. It was because I loved her that I made that decision. Because I knew deep down she would be better off without me. She needed to find things that I couldn’t give her. 

True love is about wanting the best for that person, whatever that means. 

This is a big idea. This has taken me a long time to really understand. But as far as a description of “true love” goes, I think that’s a pretty good starting point.

The final distinction between oneitis and genuine love is when you genuinely love a person you love them with all their flaws and imperfections in plain sight. Oneitis involves a certain degree of idealizing, putting your partner on a pedestal, what I call “pedestalization,” or idealization, if you like, which is corrosive to attraction, corrosive to the long-term health of your bond with this person. It’s going to push that person away. It’s not attractive. It’s not sustainable. And it’s based on a fantasy.

Because no one’s perfect. No one should be idealized. I don’t care who you are, or how wonderful you are; we’ve all got deep flaws and imperfections and things we should be working on and blind spots and all the rest, right? No one is perfect.

And if you’re idealizing your partner, if you’re saying things like “oh, she’s perfect, and she’s the only woman for me,” on one level, you’re probably trying to give them a compliment, which is nice, but on another level, you’re telling them “I don’t see all your flaws. And if I see your flaws, that’s going to shatter my image of you.”

I think when you genuinely love someone, you love them with all of their flaws and mistakes and imperfections in plain view. 

And on some level, you don’t love them in spite of those flaws and imperfections, but you love them because of them. Because they are all part of the complete package that makes this person unique.

So if you’re trying to decide whether you have “oneitis” or obsessive jealousy in a relationship, or you genuinely love your partner, ask yourself: “Do I love everything about this person?”

And again, this is another big idea that’s taken me a long time to really understand. I am certainly not perfect when it comes to this. I still have expectations and standards that are sometimes unrealistic, frankly, for myself and others. 

But it’s a good question to ask. “Do I love this person with all their flaws and imperfections in plain view? Or on some level, am I still putting them on a pedestal? Am I still idealizing them?” Because if you are, that is a recipe for a breakup. It’s going to happen, it’s just a question of when.

Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.