It’s very common to get super-excited over a crush or new person you’re seeing. This is all totally natural, and fun… in most cases. We tend to put new love interests on a pedestal and romanticize everything about them. The down side of this is the risk of falling into a state of obsession, wondering when you’ll see them next, overanalyzing every text, and imagining your wedding day after the first date.
While these feelings are natural in certain cases, they can also spiral out of control and have a negative impact on your self-esteem and mental health, says relationship expert, Britanny Burr. Wondering how to keep your love interest to a healthy crush, rather than a “Fatal Attraction”-level infatuation? Keep reading.
Note Their flaws
It is easy to only see their good qualities when our heart is doing the thinking for us. That’s why it is important to remember that our crushes are human, therefore they’ve got a whole bundle of flaws, even if you can’t quite see them yet. “Rather than focusing on the tiny, cute, good qualities, try to look at them as an entire person, good and bad, and try to humanize them in your mind,” says Burr.
When you find your mind wandering and imaging your crush whisking you away in their arms, find a way to occupy your mind and get grounded. Grab a book, work on a hobby or passion that brings you joy, or just create a more realistic fantasy to keep your mind busy, suggests Allison Agliata, a psychologist who specializes in relationships. “Remember that sometimes we use fantasy to escape, but obsessing about your crush is not going change anything or help the relationship progress.”
Change the Scene
“People flourish in the environments in which they are the most comfortable, so if you are seeing that special someone only in their familiar, comfortable environments, they can seem a lot more confident and appealing than they are in other environments,” says Burr. For example, if you met at a party and continue to hang out in social settings, they’ll thrive, making you more attracted to them. Pull them out of their comfort zone and watch them out of their element for once. This may make them seem a little more, you know, normal.
Start a New Hobby
It’s a good time to get into a new hobby when you find yourself obsessing over a new crush, suggests Sky Sommerfled, owner of StripN’Fitness LLC. “Find a hobby that takes up your time, something you’ve been meaning to do that you haven’t done yet. When me and my fiancé got together, I started doing yoga to take my mind off of the obsession and the constant “when will he text me back”.”
Imagine the actions, words, and qualities of someone who you aren’t smitten with. For example, if your crush says or does something that you find adorable, imagine a friend had said or done the same. If it were coming from anyone else, would you find it quite as remarkable? “Chances are, the things that they are saying and doing aren’t that incredible, it is just the fact that they are coming from someone you like/love. It is important to recognize the different standards we hold for those who we have feelings for, and ask ourselves why,” says Burr.
Have a Mantra
Something like, “He/she is so obsessed with me.” It may seem a tad egotistical, but it’s all about putting the power back in your hands. “I remember when I first started dating my man I kept telling myself, ‘You’re a catch and any man is lucky to have you.’ I would repeat it in the mirror over and over. Focus on yourself and he/she will follow your lead,” says Sommerfled.
Spend Time with Friends and Family
Try to put extra energy into the people that are already in your life and you know will always be there for you. “This will force you to divide your attention between many people, rather than dumping it all into a crush you barely know,” suggest relationship expert and dating coach, Stacy Karyn.
Obsession is all about getting your mind under control and meditation is one way to do this. “There are many apps to help you,” says Karyn. “Apps such as Headspace even offer specific self-help categories that you can follow, including one on “relationships”.”
Pick up the Phone
Part of the reason we get so obsessive over new love interests is the mysterious nature of discovering someone new…and one of the hardest forms of communication when chatting with someone new is texting. “There is SO much room for misunderstanding in the case of non-verbal communication, and when we’re unsure what someone means exactly, we can begin to obsess. Rather than freak out about what someone means, if they read your message, if they understood your sarcasm over text or any combination of these stressors, pick up the phone and have a verbal conversation,” says Burr.