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When you’re attracted to someone, it’s quite common to spend lots of time thinking about them and fantasizing about what you’ll do together.
But there comes a point where you cross the line into unhealthy obsession.
What if the other person is just not that into you? What if you are constantly thinking about someone you can’t be with, like your ex or a secret crush?
When someone doesn’t reciprocate your feelings, those vivid dreams of the two of you together become more like torturous nightmares because you know that they can’t come true.
Or maybe you’re actually in a relationship with this person, but they are emotionally unavailable and aren’t nearly as invested in the relationship as you are.
This is when you need to take back control and start making changes in your life. Putting an end to your obsessive thoughts about someone who doesn’t feel as strongly about you is vital for your own well-being.
This article will explore the signs that what you’re experiencing has drifted into the realms of obsession. Then it will look at the potential causes for that obsession. Finally, it will provide plenty of effective tips on how to stop obsessing over someone.
12 Signs You Have Obsessive Feelings Toward Someone
Is this true love that you’re feeling, or obsessive love?
If you’re showing lots of the following signs, it’s not quite love that you’re feeling. You might be dealing with a bigger issue.
It’s nothing that you can’t overcome with a little effort, so don’t panic. Keep reading to find out whether your feelings for your crush, ex, or partner have become obsessive.
This is especially important if you’re feeling this way about someone you don’t know or barely know, because your thoughts and feelings are based on pure fantasy rather than a concrete relationship.
1. You can’t get this person out of your head.
Let’s face it, all you really want to do is spend every minute with this person, and you think about them all the time.
You’re even thinking about them right now. Their name, their smile, their eyes… didn’t you take a deep breath or smile just now when all this popped into your head?
If thinking about them prevents you from functioning as well as you used to, you must put a stop to this.
Do you know for sure that you spend as much time in their mind as they do in yours? If not, you need to let those thoughts go.
2. You’re fantasizing about being with them.
If only they felt the same way about you, you would have the most amazing date and end up in a long-term relationship. You’d soon buy a house and maybe get a dog before having two children, a boy, and a girl. Alice and Mark would have your brains and wit and their good looks and charm.
If you’ve already started coming up with kids’ names or picturing yourself at the altar with the person who may not even know you exist, stop right now.
Okay, maybe you haven’t got to kids’ names yet, but do you spend your days daydreaming about cuddling with this person like it’s the only thing that could make you happy?
3. You are idealizing them.
Most likely, you’re putting this person on a pedestal on which they certainly don’t belong.
Are they the most amazing person in the world without a single flaw? Sure, you are rational enough to know that they’re not perfect, but they are perfect to you, and you would love every flaw they have. Or so you make yourself think, because you have spent hours and hours fantasizing about who this person really is without a lot to go on.
Even if you know more than a few things about them, you have fallen for the picture of them you have created in your mind, rather than the person they truly are. You’re drunk on love. It’s actually infatuation, so don’t confuse it with the true love that you deserve!
4. You are possessive toward them.
One of the signs you have obsessive feelings toward someone is when you can’t imagine them with anyone else. Nor do you want to ever actually see them with someone else. It doesn’t even have to be someone they might be interested in.
Since they appear perfect to you, you’ll imagine that they’re much more desirable than they truly are, and you’ll think that everybody sees that and wants them just like you do.
Wouldn’t it be great if the two of you could get stranded on a deserted island where you’ll have them all to yourself forever? Well, it probably wouldn’t be great, and you need to become aware of that fact.
5. You care a lot about their opinions.
This person’s opinions mean the world to you, and they affect the way you live your life.
You’ve never even bought a stamp in your life, but now you’re passionate about collecting stamps. You’d rather be caught dead than wear white, but suddenly you’re in your white t-shirt every day. It’s not hard to guess who really likes white t-shirts and collecting stamps here.
When you can’t be with someone you want so badly, you might be tempted to try to become them, or at least get them to like you by liking the things they like.
6. You feel the need to protect them.
Maybe you think that you’re protecting them by trying to turn them against their friends or getting them to stop going to the places they like. But do you know what you’re really trying to do? You want to control and isolate them, and these are clear signs you have obsessive feelings toward someone.
Your need to protect them isn’t born from a genuine worry about their safety as you might think. It’s just about you wanting them all for yourself, and that’s not good for either of you.
7. You are jealous when you see them with someone else.
As you already learned, your possessiveness will turn into irrational jealousy. You will be jealous of anyone of the opposite gender that they talk to. But not just them. You’ll be jealous of anyone who talks to them, regardless of their gender and interest in this person.
After all, they are taking them from you for a while. You’re jealous of the time and attention that they give to others because you want them so badly for yourself, and they aren’t willing to give you what you need.
8. You can’t accept their rejection.
Perhaps they have made it clear that they’re not interested in you, or it has become clear through their actions. Either way, you can’t take no for an answer. You’re willing to fight for them and win them over, no matter what it takes.
In a different scenario, this would be considered romantic, but when the person has made it perfectly clear that they don’t want you to chase them, don’t make them run.
Not everyone is going to like you, and sometimes the person who doesn’t like you is the one you adore. That hurts, but you have to accept the rejection and move on with your life if you don’t want the only memory of this relationship to be a restraining order.
9. You constantly try to reach out to them.
Speaking of restraining orders, constantly calling and texting this person could make them want to file for one. One innocent text turns into three follow-ups and a drunken call at 4 in the morning.
Think about it: do they ever reach out to you first? If not, why not? Do they make you wait for a response, respond with only a few words, or don’t respond at all? Have they blocked you on social media?
Well, it couldn’t get any clearer than that without the aforementioned restraining order.
10. You’re neglecting other people in your life because of this person.
Ever since you became obsessed with this person, everyone else ceased to exist. Or so it seems.
You just want to be with this person, and you have no time for the other people in your life because you’re busy plotting how to achieve that.
If you do see your friends and relatives, you can’t help but talk about the person you’re obsessed with.
You’ve even neglected your work responsibilities and hobbies because you can’t focus, and this person has become your main priority. You don’t want them to ever find you unavailable because one of these days, they’ll call, and you need to be ready.
What about those who actually call you and don’t just make you hope that they will? Let them in.
11. You analyze everything they do and say.
The truth is, there are probably no hidden messages in the things this person says to you or does around you. However, you search for them anyway in the hope of finding the answer that you want to hear.
You want to see signs they like you and that you have some special connection, so you analyze their words and actions to find proof. When there’s no proof, you might even invent some and misinterpret their words or behavior as a sign they feel the same way about you.
12. You start stalking them.
In the end, obsessive feelings often lead to stalking, and this is significantly easier and more common when we talk about social media. Maybe you don’t hang around in the bushes near this person’s workplace, but how often do you check their social media profile?
Do you ask around about them? Have you been to places they frequently visit in the hope of running into them? It might not be the stalking you imagined, but it is technically stalking isn’t it?
6 Causes Of Obsessive Feelings Toward Someone
The causes of obsessive feelings toward someone can vary, so don’t let the following ones scare you. You don’t have to have a mental health issue to become obsessed with someone.
Maybe connecting with this person has become a habit of yours. You’ve made them a priority and started feeling strong emotions and extreme desire. However, you found out that they don’t reciprocate your feelings, and you’re left with obsessive thoughts because you need time to process this.
On the other hand, there might be an underlying issue that’s preventing you from experiencing healthy love. Is this the first person you’ve become obsessed with, or is this nothing out of the ordinary for you? The problem might have roots in your past, so keep reading.
1. Attachment disorders.
Forming healthy attachments to others starts early in childhood. But those who had abusive or unstable parents or caregivers can form abnormal patterns that later present themselves as attachment disorders in adulthood.
These people often become fearful, controlling, or obsessive in relationships and tend to have an overwhelming fear of loss. They often stay in abusive relationships because of this fear or become abusive themselves because they want to keep their partner.
2. Past trauma.
Obsessive tendencies can develop due to trauma from the past that’s unrelated to one’s childhood. For instance, a person who has suffered a great loss, such as someone whose partner has passed away, might become terrified of losing any future partners.
Unfortunately, our past relationships have the capacity to severely affect our future relationships, whether the past ones were with our parents, partners, friends, or colleagues.
3. Fear of abandonment.
Some people are so terrified of being abandoned that they become obsessive. Again, this can be due to issues during childhood or past relationships.
They are scared that the person they deeply care about is going to leave them any second now, and so they reach for them like a drowning man gasps for air.
4. Delusional disorder.
Some delusional disorders can cause obsessive love disorder, and erotomania is among them. The person with this disorder tends to believe that they’re destined to be with someone and that they already have a loving relationship even though they aren’t together.
This disorder can cause you to think that someone loves you, and that particular someone might be a person you don’t even know. For example, some people believe that they’re in a relationship with a famous person, and they end up stalking the aforementioned celebrity.
Stalking, paranoia, violent and abusive behavior aren’t uncommon with erotomania.
5. Borderline personality disorder.
People with borderline personality disorder can struggle to manage their emotions, and they are often extremely afraid of abandonment.
They often see people as either good or evil and don’t have a consistent sense of self or identity. This makes obsessive tendencies worse because they don’t consider themselves worthy as an individual, separate from their relationships.
6. Other mental health problems.
Many mental health conditions could alter or distort someone’s perspective to the point that they become depressed, obsessive, or fearful.
For instance, someone who is suffering from depression might think of themselves as alone and unworthy, or that their relationship is the only worthwhile thing in their life. This can lead to obsessive feelings.
16 Ways To Stop Obsessing Over Someone
When you decide that you need to stop obsessing over someone who doesn’t reciprocate your feelings, you’ve made a step in the right direction.
Even if this person has feelings for you, your obsessive thoughts might have turned from “being in love” to “being a stalker” and now you’d just like to get back to the former.
It is possible, but it all depends on you and your determination. If you have obsessive feelings for someone, they aren’t going to go away on their own, and neither is the underlying issue.
Now, it’s always a good idea to talk to a professional and figure out the root of the problem so that you don’t repeat the same bad patterns in the future.
How many of the signs you’ve read about above are you experiencing? If you can recognize yourself in many of them, what you’re experiencing might not be simple butterflies in the stomach.
Keep reading to learn how to stop obsessing over someone.
1. Think about your relationship.
You know how you feel about this person, but the question is how do they feel about you? If they don’t want to be with you (in a romantic sense, at least), you need to repeat that fact to yourself until you are able to let go.
On the other hand, if you are already in a relationship with this person and your obsessive feelings are getting in the way of it being a healthy and happy one, a professional might help you deal with this problem.
Another scenario might be that this person doesn’t feel the same way about you even though you’re in a relationship, or your relationship recently ended. If this is your ex, give yourself time to stop loving them, and if you’re in a one-sided relationship, you might consider ending it.
Once you’re clear about the relationship you have or don’t have with this person, think about the relationship that you want to have. Don’t you want someone who’ll think about you all the time too?
2. Put some distance between you and them.
Regardless of your relationship with this person, getting some distance from them is probably the right thing to do at this point. This means limited contact, if any at all. It also means avoiding the places where you know they’re likely to be.
Stop all the texting and late-night calls, and it might even be best that you don’t talk to them if they reach out to you first. You can let them know that you need some distance before you cut off all contact, and give yourself time to deal with your feelings alone.
Simply put, you can’t keep them in your life if you don’t want to keep them in your head. Your obsessive feelings aren’t going to go away if they don’t go away.
3. Remember your life before them.
Surely you had a life before you met this person, so what was it like? What did you do with all the time that you now spend focusing on them?
Most importantly, what did you do that made you happy? Maybe you enjoy reading a good book, or your friends are always ready for a night on the town. Did you have some hobbies, or did you spend more time chasing after your dreams?
Whatever it was that you were doing with your life before you met the person you’re obsessed with, let it remind you that you had a life before them, and that you will have a life after them.
4. Stop idealizing them.
Is this person really as perfect as you think? Think again. This time, focus on their imperfections, flaws, shortcomings, and even deal breakers that you might have neglected to consider.
You might not even like the person they truly are because you’re imagining them as someone entirely different. Maybe you fantasize about them making you a romantic candlelight dinner, but would they really do that?
When you’re stuck inside your imagination, you neglect what’s plain to see in reality. Now that you’ve noticed the things that you don’t like about them, ask yourself what it is that you actually like about them, especially if you don’t know them that well. Focus on their bad sides and try to look at them as objectively as your feelings allow. Then ask: what’s so great about them, really?
5. Think about the life you deserve.
You deserve to be with someone who feels the same way about you as you do about them. It’s as simple as that.
Yes, you also need to work on your obsessive tendencies, but at this point, just realize that you do deserve better. Truly you do.
The life you’re imagining with someone who doesn’t care about you could be waiting for you with someone who’ll give you their heart forever. It’s true, and if you keep chasing after someone who keeps running, you’ll miss out on a lot of opportunities for genuine happiness.
Let go of the person who doesn’t appreciate you to make way for someone who will. If you have consistent obsessive tendencies, work on them with a professional so that they won’t damage your future relationships.
6. Change your train of thought.
We don’t always have the power to stop certain thoughts from popping up in our heads entirely, but we can stop the train of thought that starts with a person’s name and ends with our kids’ names.
When you think about this person, try to think about something else, but don’t force yourself. Simply occupy your mind with something different. For instance, when you start thinking about going for dinner with them, think about what you’ll have for dinner today instead of letting the train of thought lead to the kiss at the end of the date.
While fantasizing about your future together can appear innocent, it just prevents you from moving on and keeps your feelings alive.
7. Let your loved ones help you.
Can your family and friends give you the support that you need right now? Maybe you could spend more time with them and engage in fun activities that will keep your mind occupied.
Talk to them about your problem by all means, but talk about other things much more. Let them remind you of all the other things that are going on in the world while you’re wasting your time on someone who may not appreciate you (or even know you exist!).
Maybe you could even go on a vacation, because a change of scenery and additional distance could do wonders for your problem.
Most importantly, let your loved ones share their perspective on the matter. They might shine some light on facts that your feelings don’t allow you to see. If they know the person you’re obsessed with, they might even give you some valid reasons why they’re not a good match for you to begin with.
8. Find out the cause of your obsessive feelings.
We’ve covered some of the possible causes of obsessive feelings toward someone, so did you recognize yourself in any of the descriptions?
Maybe this is not the first person you felt this way about, and you are repeating a toxic pattern. All this might be caused by something from your past, or you may have problems a therapist could help with.
Either way, you should identify the root of your problem and work on yourself. You deserve to be in a healthy relationship, and you don’t need to bring any unhealthy baggage into it when the time comes.
9. Talk to a professional.
Talking to a professional is never a bad idea, especially if the feelings persist or you’ve experienced them before with a different person. Learning about your attachment style might help you form healthier relationships in the future, and something from your past might be the key to fixing your problems.
Talking about the problem with a professional is a good choice because your family and friends might not have the insights that could help you.
Connect with one of the experienced relationship experts from Relationship Hero if you would like to get tailored advice for you and your obsessive love situation.
10. Get busy and live your life.
When you want to stop obsessing over someone, you have to think about other things you could do with your time.
Are you neglecting some responsibilities or hobbies, or you could take on some more? Learn new things and definitely try new things too! Focus on improving yourself and gaining new knowledge, but don’t forget to have fun.
Pamper yourself a little when you feel sad instead of letting the feeling overwhelm you. A coffee with a friend followed by a bubble bath and a night of binge-watching your favorite TV show sounds much better than obsessing over someone who’s out there living their life. You need to live yours too.
11. Meet someone new.
While you’re getting some distance from the object of your obsession, you’ll probably feel lonely. When friends and family aren’t an option, new friends certainly are. Get out there and meet new people. You can even forge real and meaningful new friendships online if you feel that’s easier for you.
Don’t jump into a rebound relationship as soon as someone likes you, but talk to different people and realize that you have a lot of options. While one person might not like you at all, another one will absolutely adore you!
Most importantly, you’ll see that your crush, ex, or partner, isn’t the only person out there who’ll seem perfect for you and make your heart skip a beat. The worst that could happen is that you end up with new friends instead of a new partner right away. So start being aware that there are a lot of people in this world, and you’re focusing on the one that doesn’t want to focus on you.
12. Don’t try to drown your sorrow.
During the time that you’ll try to move on, you’ll probably be tempted to try drowning your obsessive feelings in alcohol or recreational drugs. You already know that this is a bad idea, but you need to be reminded because you might be just a few shots of hard liquor (or a joint or two) away from calling this person, stalking them, or, in the best-case scenario, thinking about them even more.
The goal is to get them out of your head, and no substance you can put in your body is going to make that happen. It will likely just make things worse.
13. See things from their point of view.
When you show someone your love, whether they consider it romantic or creepy really depends on their feelings for you.
Try to see things from their point of view. How do they feel about your obsessive feelings? If those feelings are just pushing the other person even further away from you, what are you achieving except letting yourself seem desperate and needy?
Just remember the things that happened between the two of you, but this time try to see it from their perspective. They don’t look at you with the same love and passion, so your behavior looks differently to them than it would if they were mad about you too.
Try to remember a time when someone you didn’t fancy was into you and how that felt. It probably felt awkward at the very least. Do you really want to make this person feel that way?
14. Learn to accept rejection.
Everyone in this world should learn to accept rejection because we all face it from time to time. It’s the inevitable part of the dating game, and if you want to find love, you have to be ready for all reactions, including rejections.
Not everyone will be into you as much as you are into them, or at all. That’s just a fact of life. You can’t escape it, and you only win if you play fairly. So learn to accept rejections and move on because that’s the only way you’ll get to the one who’ll think about you every day too.
15. Get rid of the memories.
Whether you have been in a relationship with this person or not, you can deal with this as with any other breakup. If you have any physical keepsakes that remind you of this person, get rid of them.
Just like you need to get them out of your head, you need to get them out of your house. If you have pictures on your phone or in a frame, delete or remove them. The napkin from the restaurant you went to together, a gift they gave you – let it all go to let them go.
If it’s too difficult for you, you don’t have to throw these things away to begin with. Just put them in a box and hide it somewhere where you won’t have to look at them.
16. Treat them as an acquaintance.
Ultimately, you shouldn’t hate the person who rejected you. Your feelings of love will probably turn to feelings of anger or resentment once you realize that you can’t get them to like you.
How can you hate them though? If they did nothing to harm you, don’t hold a grudge just because they weren’t interested in you.
You shouldn’t see them for a while where possible. But after some time, you might see each other again. In that case, treat them as an acquaintance and no more. Once you reach the point where you can wave to them on the street and keep walking without feeling a thing, you’ll know that you’re over them for good.
Still not sure what to do about your obsessive thoughts and feelings for someone? More people experience this than you might imagine, so know that you are not alone. And you don’t have to deal with it alone either. Talking to a trained relationship counselor by yourself is a great way to move past the obsession you have. So why not chat online to one of the experts from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.
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