It’s normal to think about the person we’re attracted to or someone we love. However, those thoughts and feelings, when left uncontrolled, can turn into something unhealthy.
Regardless of why you found yourself in this situation, it is crucial to recognize that obsession is not the way to attain a healthy relationship.
If you think it’s easier said than done, think again. Here’s how to stop obsessing over a guy, as advised by experts.
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Meredith Prescott, LCSW
Psychotherapist, Prescott Psychotherapy + Wellness
Try journaling and self-reflection
Let’s address why we are obsessing or ruminating about this person. What about him are we obsessing over? Do we obsess about other things in our life? Sometimes the rumination isn’t specific to dating but too many other things in our life. Journaling can help us process our emotions.
Accept the thoughts you are having about this person without judging them. Lean in rather than resist them. The more we fight our thoughts, the more they stick!
Related: 18 Best Mindfulness Books
Maintain your independence
Are you giving up your needs and desires for this guy? What does that look like? This person should enhance your life rather than complete it. Make sure you are doing things that are in line with your values and that your obsessions with this guy are not getting in the way of things you want to be doing.
Schedule worry time
Plan a time of day and a specific amount of time (10 minutes) you will allow yourself to obsess. When the thought comes to you, and it isn’t that time of day yet, you can postpone worrying until the next day. Try to keep your postponing worry schedule to the same time each day.
Taking care of yourself can be one of the best ways to deal with negative emotions you are feeling. Invest in you! Do things that bring you joy and make you feel good. Maybe that means taking a new virtual workout class with friends, baking a new recipe, or getting a manicure.
Speak to a therapist
If relationships have been hard for you, there is no shame in speaking to a therapist. Sometimes obsessions and ruminations are due to an underlying mental health condition. Having someone to unpack your thoughts and feelings can be so helpful.
Nina Rubin, M. A., CPCC
Professional Development & Leadership Coach, afterdefeat
Remember that this is a cycle and you’re ready to move forward
Are you obsessing over someone who is lying to you? Let me guess, you’ve been blindsided. Well, blindsided is one way to look at it. Another way to describe the feeling is pure disheartening disgust. I’ll paint the picture, and maybe it resonates with you.
Perhaps this is a person to whom you have mistakenly given the benefit of the doubt too many times. Now, you’re over it. You let it slide, begrudgingly, once. Then, a second time. He twists and turns everything to suit him.
He is an excellent verbal manipulator and crafts sentences like Michelangelo chiseled David. After years or too many experiences to count, you’ve realized you’re so sick of the lies that you can’t bear to listen to another one. You’re finally done.
Related: Warning Signs of a Manipulative Partner
So why did you put up with these lies after they’ve stacked so high? Well, doing some deep inner work, it’s likely you didn’t want to disappoint him and get an earful of why you were wrong. He constantly tells his sob story about how he’s not sure which way is up, and he’s doing the best he can.
You’re the empath, and it’s hard to keep being kind, and by default, walked all over.
Lies have a way of eroding everything pure and special in a relationship. They spiral, they grow. If you’re lying, maybe you’ve been the one trying to protect someone by disregarding certain details of a story so you look stronger or better.
Stop it right now.
Your loved ones will likely care about you through the flaws, but they won’t put up with the lies much longer. Do yourself a favor and decide to tell the truth. You’ll be better for it.
Now you’re trying to get to the bottom of the mess and unravel everything. We’ve all been there. Here are some tips for getting out of this unsavory situation:
Walk away. You may say it’s not that easy. Make it easy – get your stuff and extricate yourself from the sticky web as soon as possible.
If you share a pet, figure out pet custody or say good-bye, and take care of your needs.
Recruit a friend to hang out with. Make a pact that you can call each other anytime.
Don’t drunk text. Even if you miss each other (and you will), know that missing is part of growing. (You may need to delete their number, block them on social.)
Initiate your strength and remind yourself that you can do hard things, even like letting go of someone who has great potential. He or she is lying, and you’re obsessing. You can remember how much strength you have when you’re busy exercising, learning something new, getting a new job or promotion, making cookies, dating someone else, or talking on the phone with an old friend.
Recall something you did once that made you feel accomplished or proud. Write about it or tell someone about it.
Make a list of the lies. Re-read this anytime you feel like reaching out or getting back into the cycle.
Talk to a Coach or a Therapist. Invest in yourself and your growth. The benefits of personal development are so far-reaching!
Read “Codependent No More“ by Melody Beattie
Remember that this is a cycle, and you’re ready to move forward. Your obsessions are harming you more than anyone else. You matter so much to the world, and we see you slipping by as you obsess over this person. Reclaim yourself!
You’ve got this! I’ve been there, and so many people have had unhealthy, unproductive, lingering relationships that are swirling with lies. You will be better off when you make a clean break. You’re not alone.
Dr. Sabrina Romanoff
Harvard Trained Clinical Psychologist
Stick with the reality of his behavior and the ways in which the relationship is likely flawed
We often turn inwards when the reality is not satisfying or meeting our needs. We are more vulnerable to obsessive thinking if the person’s behaviors are not living up to the potential or expectations you’ve created in your mind.
If we stick with the reality of his behavior and the ways in which the relationship is likely flawed and perhaps headed towards a dead end, you must face the impasse and all the disappointment and sunken hope. Instead, you may turn to obsession because it allows you to continue to play out the fantasy and alternative explanations for his behavior that are more acceptable than the more apparent reasons for his actions.
If he is not as responsive through text, for example, you may assume he is not interested. That comes with disappointment and ends the interaction. Obsessive thinking serves to prologue the relationship, creating fantastical alternatives and shielding your egos from the disappointment of rejection.
Understand how your brain works and what you get out of it
There is a function of obsessive thinking in the brain. Your thoughts often become fixated to the extent of obsessing over food or water when faced with starvation.
Fixed thinking is often very useful for us. It allows us to narrow attention, focus on the topic, and eliminate distraction in the process. However, your brain does not know this man is not essential to your survival; he is not a bottle of chilled aqua panna in the Sahara desert.
When you are unable to actualize relationships, you may tend to symbolize them in thought, fantasy, and rumination. This process becomes ineffective when obsessing does not yield positive outcomes, and instead, only serves to make you more despondent.
Understand that your brain develops neural pathways that are employed when you experience a particular emotional response.
The more you experience the emotional response, the stronger that pathway becomes. This is how obsession becomes the dominant response in your brain. Knowing this pathway exists can help you to carve out a new, more effective response set.
This is no easy feat. It’s the choice between a well-traveled hiking path relative to the overgrown backside of the mountain. It’s clearly easier to take the predefined footpath but will only bring you to the same vantage point.
Create a new route along the uncovered terrain; it’ll be worth the view.
Relationship Expert, Datingpilot
It is best to cut ties with the guy you are obsessed with
To be able to stop obsessing over a guy, you must first acknowledge it for what it is—an obsession.
Obsessions tend to take over a person’s thoughts and influence certain behaviors, such as constantly looking at your phone to see if he has called or constantly checking up on them on social media. The obsession can also impact other areas of your life, such as having a hard time concentrating at work or putting off plans to pursue the fabrications that the obsession may bring.
By acknowledging how the obsession has affected you, you can then begin to devise a plan to move forward. Consulting loved ones who truly care about you can also help shed light on how the obsession has affected you. They can also support you in moving forward.
To effectively move forward, it is best to cut ties with the guy you are obsessed with.
This means avoiding him in every way possible and preoccupy yourself with new goals, such as meeting new people, taking up a new hobby, reading a self-empowering book, partaking in self-care tasks, etc.
Related: 12 Best Self Love Books
Having a support system is also helpful. Therefore, make it a point to have your support system close by and meet with them regularly. Involving yourself in community service or participating in church activities can also keep the focus on a greater good and can aid the moving forward process.
For some people, moving on from an obsession can be very difficult and may require extra help. Every individual is different, and therefore the level of support needed to move forward will also differ.
Consulting professional help, such as a therapist, can be of great help for those who find that the obsession has taken control of certain aspects of their life and have a difficult time moving forward.
Master of Science in Professional Health Studies and Oriental Medicine | Senior Advisor, Healthy Howard
Take a step back and re-evaluate if what you’re feeling is still a healthy thing
There’s a fine line between true love and fixation, and we often reverse these two more times than we normally should. Take a step back and re-evaluate if what you’re feeling is still a healthy thing; ask the people closest to you if they see any not-so-pretty changes in your behavior.
Related: The Difference Between Love and Infatuation
True love is effortless—it doesn’t need anything from you, and you don’t even need to be anything for it. It’s just happiness, true, and genuine, and you won’t need to change a single thing about you.
Fixation, on the other hand, is the opposite. It feels very urgent, very important, and extremely stressful. When you fixate on your relationship, it will feel like you’re constantly grasping for air. It will take the joy out of the whole experience, which will later poison your relationship.
This is where the importance of self-love comes in. You do you, first—focus on yourself and don’t over-inflate what he says and does.
Try pursuing other things and take a step back by spending time with yourself or anywhere away from him; only then will you be able to see things differently.
CEO & Certified Matchmaker, Select Date Society
When a relationship ends with someone you thought could be “the one,” it can be challenging. It’s okay to take some time to feel sad, to watch sappy movies, and eat ice-cream in your pajamas all day.
Grieve the relationship for a few days or a few weeks and then move on
Allowing yourself too much time to replay the relationship in your head is not healthy. Obsessing over the past is not healthy. You can’t control the past, but you can control the future!
Think about the easiest way to get rid of a bad habit—replace it with a healthy habit.
Swap your TV habit for reading. Swap your morning snooze time for a Pelaton. Swap your old guy for a new one, seriously! Sometimes the easiest way to get over someone is by replacing them with someone else.
I’m not suggesting jumping into a serious relationship too soon or with just anyone, but I am suggesting dating. It’s healthy to get back out there and see that there are great single guys available. It’s good to see that you can connect and have fun with other people!