What Does "Possessive" Mean in a Relationship?

Possessiveness could decrease one's independence in relationships.
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Possessiveness is when an individual holds onto something for herself only, unwilling to share with others. For example, she might be possessive about an object, not allowing anyone else to touch or use it. In a relationship context, possessiveness is when you do not want your partner to spend time with anyone else or even pursue interests outside the relationship. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word as "wanting all of someone's attention and love."

1 All Hearts and Roses

It is natural in the early stages of a relationship to want to spend all of your time with your partner. This is the romantic love stage. It is during this six-month to two-year stage that couples tend to be infatuated with each other, thinking the other can do no wrong and wanting constant affection, according to an article provided by the Relationship Institute, a psychoeducational service organization located in Royal Oak, Michigan.

2 Reality Bites

After couples emerge from the romantic love stage, they become reacquainted with reality and begin to see their partner as a normal human being with flaws. This is a hard reality to face. To successfully navigate this stage, each person must be able to rediscover their own interests and learn how to be both independent again, while also dependent on their partner to help meet certain needs as the relationship develops.

3 Holding on Too Tight

Moving from the infatuation stage back to "real life" can be particularly challenging for some. It is during this time that an individual might become possessive, demanding a more than reasonable amount of attention from his partner. This may come in the form of calling too frequently or trying to monitor his partner's every move, according to a 2011 CollegeMagazine.com article, provided by Pace University. This behavior may be an attempt to keep any outside influences away from the relationship so that the more possessive partner doesn't feel threatened.

4 Effects on the Relationship

Possessiveness can be overwhelming and create division between partners. One of the most important aspects of being in a relationship is both maintaining your own interests and unique personality while still being willing to make compromises for your partner. If you feel like you are unable to do this, you might ultimately become resentful. Healthy relationships are about give and take with each partner feeling free to be themselves while also pursuing a shared life together.

Angela Charles works as a professional Success Coach and began writing professionally in 2010. She has been published on eHow, other websites and runs her own blog. Her articles focus on helping people achieve healthier relationships and create habit-forming success. Charles received her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Southern California and her Master of Science in clinical psychology at Vanguard University.