At some point in our life, we may have experienced being infatuated with someone. It’s blissful and euphoric, yet it can also be addicting and blinding.
Without even realizing it, infatuation can take a toll on your life and cause an unhealthy mental situation.
Here are some experts’ insights to help you get over an infatuation that could cause tension within your life.
Nikki Winchester, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist | Owner, Cincinnati Center for DBT
Infatuation can feel really good. Those butterflies whenever you think about the person, let alone all the good sensations when you see or hear them!
But then there’s the dark side of infatuation. The desperately waiting for a return call. The longing. The despair. The not feeling good enough. The blowing off the other things or people who are important to you because right now, this person matters more.
If you’re reading this, you’re not reading it because you want to get rid of the good parts of infatuation. You’re reading this because you’re tired of feeling miserable because of the dark parts.
In the type of therapy I practice, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), we teach skills to manage and change emotions. If infatuation decreases your quality of life or that of those you care about, is far too intense, or decreases your chances of attaining your personal goals, you would want to use a DBT skill called Opposite Action.
Essentially, Opposite Action is doing the opposite of what your infatuation urges tell you to do. Usually, when we are infatuated with someone, we want to spend all of our time thinking about or being with that person. So, here are a few ways to practice Opposite Action in order to change your feeling of infatuation:
Avoid everything that reminds you of the object of your infatuation
Avoid the person, stay away from places where you might run into them, block their number, unfriend, and block them on social media; cut off all contact. Get rid of all reminders of the person or at the very least put them in a box somewhere out of reach.
This is often the hardest step but it is the most necessary. If you’re going to get over infatuation, you have to cut the person out of your life. And you have to do this 100%. Commit to this. Have a friend help hold you accountable if you need that.
If this is a person you cannot avoid due to work, childcare responsibilities, etc., be sure to adjust your posture and expression when you are around them.
Keep space between you, do not lean in toward them, gaze at them, or be friendly toward them. Keep things strictly business and adopt a confident body posture while you do that (e.g., back straight, shoulders back, appropriate eye contact, normal voice volume).
All of this avoidance is going to take a toll on you emotionally, so you’ll probably need to find ways to distract your attention for a while.
This is where friends come in. Let them know what’s going on and enlist their help in getting your attention off of the object of your infatuation.
Pick up a new hobby to invest a lot of time and attention into. You’ll need to stay busy for a while so that you don’t have a lot of downtime when you can think about the person. This is especially important at nighttime when people tend to feel the loneliest.
You may want to plan ahead for going to sleep, too; maybe play a calming sleep meditation to distract your mind while you fall asleep so the quiet doesn’t send your mind straight to your object of infatuation.
Make a list of reasons why the infatuation is harmful to you
During the inevitable moments when your mind starts doubting your decision to get over this infatuation, remind yourself of why the infatuation is harmful to you or getting in the way of your quality of life or goals.
It may help to make a list of all the reasons you need to get over this person and have the list readily available when your emotional mind tries to trick you back into infatuation mode.
Join support groups
Finally, if intense infatuation and heartbreak is a pattern for you, you may benefit from checking out a support group like Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) or Codependents Anonymous (CODA).
It can be an extremely helpful experience to find other people who experience the same patterns as you and want to work toward the same goals.
Jaime Bronstein, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker, The Relationship Expert
Look at infatuation as a crush. Crushes are different than healthy love and connection which is usually demonstrated by emotional safety, a balance between two people, and seeing each other as imperfect. Crushes are easier to move on from because they don’t run deep, like healthy, true love.
When you are infatuated with someone, you don’t really know them authentically. Infatuations are based on surface-level data, not long-term facts that are based on a history of shared experiences and genuine-time spent together.
When you are infatuated, you see the object of your infatuation on a pedestal; flawless, perfect, etc. No one on earth can live up to those levels of expectations.
You don’t see the person as human because if you did you would know that they have flaws and they were capable of disappointing you.
Related: Physiological Signs of a Crush
Move onto someone else
If you believe that you will meet someone else who makes you feel all the feels, then you will, but you need to make sure that your heart and mind are open for business.
I promise, that the minute you recognize that you found someone new, your past infatuation will just fizzle away into a distant memory.
I know it seems as you will always be infatuated with this person, however, time does heal in miraculous ways. If you can trust that in time you are going to feel better, then you will.
You can repeat the mantra or affirmation, “I’m not always going to feel this way.” Knowing that you will for sure feel better in the future, instills a glimmer of hope and solace from the deep trenches you feel you’re in, and it helps to lighten the load of emotions.
Rejection is protection
Not having the object of your infatuation should be looked at as a blessing. Know and trust that there is a reason, and the big-picture outlook is that there is someone out there who is better suited for you.
Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Communication
Understand how you relate to any other person who seems special
We often think that when we think of someone as special–a parent, a close friend, that person we’ve been crushing on silently for months–that the specialness is in them. But it’s not. Specialness isn’t a quality people possess.
So whether you obsess over their devil-may-care free-spiritedness or their nurturing way of making you feel seen, those are qualities that you give them; they are not qualities that a person has.
No one actually “is” a free-spirit. They may do or say things that you connect with being a free spirit, like changing plans at the last minute or constantly listening to ChillWave, but those are just behaviors; you turned their behaviors into an interpretation of them. And it’s those interpretations fueling your infatuation.
A harmless, “I just like you,” interpretation turns into infatuation when we start to perceive that this other person has something that we are desperately lacking and without it, we cannot be whole.
You may think it’s the person that you can’t live without, but it isn’t. You have given them some kind of trait that compensates for something that you don’t feel as if you possess: likability, charisma, independence, creativity. And the only way you can possess that trait is by possessing that person.
But people can’t be possessed because they aren’t objects. Infatuation is fundamentally hopeless and therefore desperate because you want to possess something that cannot be possessed.
The french language has a word for that kind of relationship with another person: objet petit a. Loosely translated, it means “tiny object of otherness.”
Your objet petit a can be a token of love that doesn’t inspire infatuation, just nostalgia, or you can turn an entire person into an objet petit a and become obsessed with possessing them to compensate for something that you are missing.
Look at any good horror film built on infatuation: Swimfan, Fatal Attraction, Get Out–in every case, the character who is infatuated doesn’t really want that character with whom they are infatuated in all of their boring human chews-too-loudly ordinariness.
Glenn Close doesn’t really want Michael Douglass and that creepy white family doesn’t really want Chris Washington. The infatuated always want something about their object of infatuation that they don’t believe they can have for themselves.
Figure out the interpretation that you have assigned to the person with whom you are infatuated
What superhuman characteristics have you assigned them? What larger-than-life quality do you believe they possess? Those questions should yield the same answers as questions about your own perceived inadequacies. What quality are you most lacking? If you could wake up tomorrow and be different, what one thing would you change?
Or the real kick in the gut: “why don’t you think this other person is as infatuated with you, as you are with them?”
When you find the quality of interpretation that you desperately want but lack, start working to give that quality to yourself. If you don’t believe that you have the charisma that makes people instantly like you, journal every morning about where you have the charisma that you might not notice.
Read articles on the web debunking the idea of charisma in the first place (Hitler had charisma, for the record). Ask what charismatic people do or say and start doing or saying those things.
If charismatic people tell great stories, take an online class in how to tell a great story. Sign up to do an open mic night and network with some local amateur comedians.
As you start to give yourself the qualities that you so desperately want to possess, you’ll stop trying to take shortcuts by getting them from possessing other people and the infatuation will naturally fade away.
It also doesn’t hurt to make a daily list of all the things wrong with your object of infatuation. The more you focus on how ordinary they are, the more they become just regular people.
Clinical Coach and Recovery Consultant
Infatuation is simply about getting caught in cyclical thinking. Our thoughts get stuck following the same neuropathways in our brain, and they become even more entrenched like walking the same path in tall grass day after day.
Eventually, it’s going to be difficult to blaze a new trail because we’re so used to walking the old one! Breaking the pattern of infatuation requires some courage because it requires that we be willing to do a little off-roading.
Practicing breaking our “addiction” to the object of our infatuation is a muscle that requires training over time. It’s going to be weak initially, so we have to be patient with ourselves as we begin the process of re-training our brain to forge a different neuropathway.
You must want to get over it
The first step in that is noticing that we’re in the infatuation, and being willing to disengage from it, without beating ourselves up for having been drawn back into it.
Assuming it’s an infatuation with a person or relationship, start with observing how much real estate that person takes up in your brain. Ask yourself if you’re willing to lessen the amount of time you allot to the obsession.
Notice how often you’re falling into the obsession
Don’t judge it, just notice it! Be vocal about it with friends to help create accountability for yourself “I totally just went down the Tyler rabbit hole for a bit, coming out now!”
Be honest with yourself and others about how tricky the process is. “I’m sorry can you repeat what you’re saying? I was off in Tyler-land for a second but I’m back now.” The less you can beat yourself up for slipping into infatuation, the better.
By cranking up the volume on your awareness of the infatuation, and going public with your friends about your intention to break it by redirecting your thoughts, you’re training your brain to change your relationship to the obsession.
If it’s a relationship, it can be especially helpful to start dating, flirting, or engaging with other potential partners again. Yes, it’s important to heal from one relationship before you get over a new one, and you want to make sure that you’re not bringing baggage from an old wound into a new partnership, but there’s nothing wrong with seeing what else is out there to practice some neurological off-roading!
Certified Relationship Coach, Maze of Love
Infatuation can happen for a few reasons. The first is a unique relationship that we have never experienced. Perhaps we met someone who fills our emotional intimacy needs and not just our physical ones. If this is unique (rare) for us, infatuation could be in the cards.
Another reason we get infatuated is that someone sucks us into their psychological games through charisma and allure. At that point, we just can’t get enough.
Begin with detaching yourself from the person you are infatuated with
This may mean not following their social media anymore. It may mean not being in the same social circles with them. After all, so long as they are in our mental or geographic sphere, they will be on our minds.
Focus our attention on something else
Not someone else, something else. Too many times we attempt to curb infatuation by jumping into another relationship because we believe that it will help us forget.
Instead, we will find ourselves comparing and almost no one will match up to the person for whom we are infatuated with. Infatuation is intense and rare. Something else can be a hobby or a trip or reconnecting with family and friends.
See yourself as a strong, independent woman
Lastly, getting over infatuation requires an ability to see ourselves as independent, strong, and meaningful people with or without someone else.
With infatuation and the intensity that surrounds it comes a belief that we have just found someone that we cannot do without.
This is a certain road to attachment, dependency, and self-limiting beliefs. Worse yet, if the person feels our infatuation, they can easily exploit it and get out of us what they want.
We’ll be happy to give it to them even if it leads to nothing meaningful because we believe that they complete us. No one should complete us, they should complement us.
Psychiatry Resident, Dalhousie University
Focus on the negatives
Whether it’s infatuation or true love, recovering from strong feelings for someone is a difficult process. Research has found that the best solution is negative reappraisal; think about things you disliked about this ex-lover, what was hurtful in your interactions with this person, and how this person was the wrong match for you.
This can mean making a pros and cons list, expanding more on the cons, and holding onto that list for the tough times when you reminisce about your ex-flame.
Pull out that list and read it whenever you’re missing this person or feel the urge to look for this object of desire on social media – especially to help avoid looking at online photos or updates that may spark new excitement and lingering feelings.
By focusing instead on your cons list, you’ll find your strong feelings start to wane to disinterest over time. Other techniques people may use can be a distraction or accepting the situation, but those have not been found to be as effective as negative reappraisal.
Replace the void
Infatuation is like an addiction and its physiological effects are similar to those of narcotics. When the infatuation starts creating a mess in your life, it becomes necessary to treat it on time.
If the severity goes on increasing, remove all the memories of the person. Unfriend the person from social media, avoid talking to mutual friends, stop buying things of their choices, and if the tips still are not working out, try yoga or involve yourself in some time-consuming activities like cooking.
Analyze the person’s faults
When you are in infatuation, you barely notice the faults of that person. Instead, your brain is over-occupied with the amazing thoughts of that person. We all know that no one is perfect and everyone has faults that some try to cover with their attractive personalities.
If one wants to get over the infatuation, start noticing the faults in the person that you think a lot. There can be two ways to do that. One way is to spend time with that person outside of the regular circumstances or spend more time than usual.
During the communication, you will get to see their faults. The other way is to talk about them with mutual friends and you will definitely get to know some facts that you will hate.
Therapist and Relationship Expert
You have to investigate “infatuation” as if you are a reporter searching for the truth.
- Why do you like this person so much?
- Is it healthy?
- Is it just a repeat of an old pattern?
We tend to love what reminds us of home. Let us say, your dad was a workaholic and you tend to go for men who work all the time and dismiss you. Why do you gravitate towards someone who has no time for you? It is because it is a pattern of love you learned in childhood?
When you begin to demystify the process of love you tend to get sane and healthy and understand your love crazes.
Infatuation must be balanced and healthy and you must understand why you are attracted to this person. If the answer is healthy for you, proceed. If not, take up running or a sport to use this energy.
Infatuation is driven by a strong attraction for someone. Oftentimes, people get confused with love versus infatuation. Not getting over infatuation, especially when it’s inappropriate might lead to unnecessary acts like jealousy and sex desire.
To help you overcome this, here are two tips:
Get distracted and not attracted
While you are being attracted to his/her good qualities, think of his flaws or something negative about him/her. It may be an attitude or an act towards someone. Focus more on his/her annoying characteristics that may turn you off about him/her.
Keep yourself busy
Infatuation becomes stronger when you think about the person too much. Instead of thinking about him, think of activities that will make you busy and keep you away from seeing him. Do your hobbies, hang out with your friends and family.
Wellness Expert, Family Assets
Take a physical charge and shift everything back towards reality
Infatuation is all about cultivating a fantasy world in your head that has no connection with the reality. It gets worse when you are not in contact with another person. So, along with taking psychological measures, a person should physically take charge of his or her life.
Rather than keep talking to the other person in their thoughts, approach, and communicate to them in real. It would take you out of their crystallization version and let you toast your epiphany that they are not a heavenly creature but a human being has many flaws like others.
Catch yourself consciously
In Infatuation, your subconscious mind keeps on stimulating thoughts about the other person that has no connection with the outer or realistic world. If you do not stop it deliberately, then your feelings will keep intensifying, and you will end up reaching the level of self-sabotaging.
Fix any word, for example, “stop” and say it to yourself whenever the impulse of thoughts or feelings start flashing into your mind. This practice will break the pattern of your thoughts, and gradually such thoughts will leave you.
Relationship Coach, Mantelligence
When it comes to getting over a crush, the first thing you really need to do is to distinguish whether it is infatuation or love. Once you’ve established this, you can already start getting over your infatuation with these tips:
Don’t see them as a god
When you are strongly attracted to someone, you tend to desire that person. And since you think about this person a lot, your brain has turned them into a beautiful demigod. You will not have an easy time getting over your crush if you continue to see him as a stunning being.
What you need to do is to bring yourself back to reality and see that person at his worst. Think about how that person will look like after a hangover. It will help rewire your brain and make him less desirable to you.
Stop going out of the way for them
Sometimes, when a person knows that you have a crush on them, they tend to manipulate you into doing stuff for them. They let you do things like help with homework, buy food for them, or even spend time to listen to their problems.
When you’re infatuated with someone, you’ll be willing to do whatever it takes for his wish to be granted. This makes you prone to being used. In order to get over them, realize that you need to stop being their go-to.
This tends to be difficult since you’re more likely to fall for that person even more. This is why you have to make a decision to stop giving, helping, or even listening. Stop being there for that person too much. Go live your life. Once you do, you won’t need to think about him anymore.
Give a silly nickname
Another way you can get over your infatuation with someone is to give that person a silly nickname. You can even make it a ridiculous nickname based on one of their features or traits. When you do this, you are actually tricking your brain to not see them as a superior being.
Avoid having a deep conversation with them
It’s important that you avoid engaging in face-to-face conversations with the person you’re infatuated with. This is because you are likely going to have deep and very meaningful conversations with that person, which will make it harder to get over your crush.
Concentrate on improving yourself
People who have high self-esteem do not get infatuated with other people this is because they don’t need other people for fulfillment. They have an independent sense of fulfillment. They know that infatuation will only take their time away and they value their time.
This is why you have to focus on improving yourself. Value your time and resources. When you do, you’ll stop chasing after someone who doesn’t feel the same way towards you.
Most infatuations die down on their own almost instantaneously. But there are some that don’t and even turn into an addiction. As long as it doesn’t become an obsession, an infatuation can be a good feeling. Just remember to put a balance on things.
Relationship Expert, Feely Feelings
Focus on their flaws
When you’re infatuated with someone, you only see them in the best light. They are perfect according to you. In order to get over the infatuation, you need to take everything that you think you know about them and spin it on its head.
Focus on their flaws and even laugh at them. Once you see them as not being the perfect person you imagined, your infatuation will soon disappear.
It might seem like a harsh way to get over someone, but we don’t realize how much we put them on a pedestal until we remove our rose-tinted glasses.