My boyfriend’s obsession with a female actress bothers me to the point of thoughts of breaking up with him.

I’ve been with my bf for 2 years and I’ve always known that he is a huge fan of Christina Ricci. He has all her movies and records all of her appearances. Recently it has started bothering me because I realized that he looks her up online very often. I’ve started feeling like I have to share him with her. I don’t know if we have value differences that cant be reconciled or if I am just a jealous person. I have good self-esteem. I don’t’ feel like she’s better than me except that she has a large part of my boyfriend’s heart. We got in a huge fight and broke up over it. He said he won’t stop being her fan and if I didn’t like it then I could leave him. So I did. He changed his mind and said he would stop following her if it meant we wouldn’t be together. But now I feel like I’m changing a huge part of who he is. I don’t know what to do. Are we too different? Does he have a problem? Do I have a problem? Is it reconcilable?

A: Thank you for taking the time to write us. Some women are football or baseball widows, but to be dismissed by the intensity of your boyfriend’s obsession for Christina Ricci (who played Wednesday in the Addams Family movie, hence my addition to the title) is a new, and disturbing category for women who lose their boyfriends or husbands to fandom. While Christina Ricci is one of the most diverse and talented actresses and emerging producers, your boyfriend choosing to divert his attention to her rather than you did not honor your relationship. He may as well have been having an emotional affair, albeit one-way, in his treatment of you. Him saying he would curb his enthusiasm is healthy for him, and for you. At least he’s listening.

Don’t think of this as changing who he is. Think of this as you explaining what you need out of the relationship. You simply need to be a priority, and he needs to set his. A deep appreciation for someone’s art is one thing. Sabotaging a perfectly good real relationship because of it is another.

The deeper issues here, perhaps of him feeling too controlled in a relationship, or your insecurity, are definitely worth exploring. For this I would highly recommend brief couples therapy, or a couples therapy weekend. You can find someone in your area by clicking the “find help” tab on the top of this page.

To answer your question — you are not changing a huge part of who he is, you are simply informing him of what you need. He is free to change, or not. If he loves you enough he will, and, as a result, he will hopefully mature by balancing his entertainment needs with your relationship.

And to your question: “Is it reconcilable?” I will let Ms. Ricci answer this one herself:

“If anyone ever saw me dance they’d have trouble taking me seriously.”

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Jun 2010

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2010). Addams Family Therapy: My boyfriend’s obsession with a female actress. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 2, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/06/27/addams-family-therapy-my-boyfriends-obsession-with-a-female-actress/