“If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they're yours; if they don't they never were."
~ Richard Bach
Balance is the key – whenever you see that you’re obsessing over ANYTHING – whether it be a man who’s caught your attention, a new relationship that’s consumed your thoughts in an over-zealous fashion, or a challenging situation at work, with a friend or family member, or heck…even politics -- what to do is… balance things out by consciously choosing where your attention and focus are going.
Throw yourself into a project that needs your dedicated attention. Challenge yourself with an intense yoga class, commit yourself to a 45-minute kickboxing routine, take yourself on a heart-thumping journey up a steep hill or mountain, read War and Peace – yeah, the whole book, bring yourself to a soup kitchen and serve the homeless, write a poem or a love letter to your mom (whether she’s alive or not) – do SOMETHING to take that nervous energy and do something fruitful, even miraculous with it. And whenever you catch yourself obsessing, convert that energy into something that will enrich your life or someone else’s.
Think back to other times when you’ve obsessed over someone or something. Wasted energy, don’t you think?
From this moment forward, make the conscious choice to convert obsessive thoughts into something productive.
Clean your house – I mean REALLY clean your house. Give an old toothbrush a new purpose, on your hands and knees, or scoot around the room on your fanny, but really get into those corners and turn your obsession into a craving for cleanliness.
Did you send out holiday cards this past year?
Do it now.
Rather than obsess over something you can’t control, give yourself a love project.
Write a love note – old school, a card bought at a Hallmark store, or a kind thought sent by email, Facebook Messenger or text – but write that message and send it off. Too often we see the end of a life, with REALLY important messages left unsaid. Turn today’s obsession into a gift of love. Let someone know that you care, that you always have. Especially if you’re “the type” who tends not to express with words.
Anytime life throws you curve balls or makes you wait for something you think you want, take back control by giving your heart, mind and soul something ELSE to focus on, something that will enrich our own life and/or someone else’s. When you’re feeling at a loss for something, waiting for something or someone, wishing for, yearning for – transform those obsessive thoughts into something purposeful or lovely…
Take that moment to do something good for yourself or for someone else whose day could use a bit of a lift.
Julie Ferman, Matchmaker and Dating Coach – www.julieferman.com
As defined by the Oxford Minireference Dictionary & Thesaurus, the word “obsess” means to occupy the thoughts of, continually.
So, when you’re thinking of something or someone so often that you can’t function properly or get things done, you’re in deep trouble. That’s not good, or even healthy for that matter.
If it’s not good or healthy for you, there’s got to be something going on within to give you an indication that something is off; you know, not quite right.
Listen to that internal warning, which is sometimes called intuition, or that gut feeling.
It will save you from a lot of hurt, harm, and danger if you pay attention to it. Allow it to serve its purpose.
Anything can be obsessed with, or over.
Some examples include:
· Other people
· Things or “stuff”
While there are plenty of other things you may list that can be obsessed over, if not managed, it can be taken to another level.
Being obsessive can and does change your attitude and behavior.
It’s one thing to become obsessive over things, but it’s another thing altogether to obsess over another person.
Often, for example, when a woman is obsessed with or over a man, rather than drawing him closer to her, it tends to push him further away; which is opposite of what she wants.
You can like him without being obsessed with or over him.
If that’s you and you don’t like what it’s doing to you and/or your relationship as a result, consider the following as some things you can do to help you stop obsessing when you really like the guy.
· Be aware.
· The moment you notice an internal feeling you don’t like, STOP and examine what’s happening.
· Where is it coming from?
· Consider how you feel about what’s happening within first.
· Choose to do something different.
· Ask someone close to you to provide feedback on their experience of you when you’re in obsession mode.
· Take notice of your thoughts.
· Changing your thinking will also affect the way you’re feeling.
· Seek and/or ask for help if you need it.
These are just a few things to look at, think about, and consider if, and when you’re feeling obsessive.
Anytime you find yourself feeling uncomfortable, allow it to bring you into awareness of your own feelings and what’s going on inside and around you.
When all else fails, or if this has gone on too long, or too far, reach out and get connected with a counselor or relationship coach to help you work through this. I hope this has been helpful.
Barbara Ann Williams, LPC, MS – www.barbaraannwilliams.com
You find yourself exhausted, unable to focus on anything and wrapping your world around the man you are seeing and really like.
You know this is likely not healthy but have a hard time stopping yourself. You don’t have to give up you to be obsessed with someone but first you have to build and look at you.
Often when we become obsessed with someone it is because we have stopped taking care of ourselves and our independence.
If you find you have given up the things you love and that have been a part of you or have never had or found interests that were exclusively yours then you have the first step you need to take to change your focus from obsession to healthy love.
The following tips will help you stop obsessing.
1. Find things you love to do that is unique to you, so that you have many things to occupy your time in a healthy way and not focus all your attention on the other person.
2. Do the things you loved to do before but have stopped doing now that you are dating someone, you will find that it creates a healthy balance in the relationship and even possibly make you more desirable.
3. Spend time with your friends and talk about other things then the guy you are dating. They have been missing you and likely you missing them.
4. Look at why you are truly obsessing about this person in an honest way and handle what you find rather than excusing it away.
5. Is it because you are insecure and need to do some work on your self-esteem so you are in a better place? If son address these things in a healthy way, getting support and help if necessary.
6. Is it because there are red flags with this person and you don’t feel you can trust them? If so see the red flags, don’t excuse them and see if they are valid and if this is someone you should be dating.
When you put these tips into place you will likely find that you are not obsessed any longer and actually feel good about the current situation and who you have become. You may actually find that man in your life is much more attracted as well.
Neesha Lenzini, MS - www.relationshipsinneed.com
So, you are preoccupied with your lover. Your thoughts constantly revolve around this person -- their wishes, their wants. You place their needs before your own, if you even think about your own needs at all.
Or maybe your thoughts are incessantly focused on whether he or she is paying enough attention to you. So, you interpret every little action or non-action as a sign of their caring or rejection of you.
The upshot is that this relationship over-shadows almost everything else in your life.
Consequently, you are always on high alert. You believe that, if you weren’t vigilant, this person would somehow slip away from you. In that way, your vigilance serves as a kind of protection from what you construe as impending loss.
If any of the above describes your love relationship, then it is likely more about pain than it is about enjoyment. And relationships are meant to be enjoyed!
Then there is this: your intensive focus may have the opposite of the desired effect. Instead of drawing your lover closer to you, it may actually drive him or her away.
Why? Because your lover will pick up the vibe no matter how well you try to mask it. Your fixation is not attractive. It is repelling.
However, there is a way to obsess less and enjoy your relationship and your life more, but it will require commitment on your part and a complete change of focus.
So, if you are committed and ready to step out of relationship pain and into relationship enjoyment, I would encourage you to:
1. Figure out what’s behind your intense focus on your lover. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a ton of fear there. So, be curious about what the fear is about? Then challenge the reality of the fear. Or, is your fixation on your lover a distraction from other issues or problems in your life that require your attention? If so, it’s time to address them.
2. Switch the focus -- focus on yourself first and foremost. Direct your attention to your own legitimate needs. Begin to fulfill your deeper needs for fun and satisfaction in all parts of your life, not just your love life. In addition to feeling better about yourself, you’ll be a lot more interesting to your lover.
3. Renew and refresh your other relationships. While you are preoccupied with your lover, other important relationships are likely suffering. You need other people (more than one) in your life to love and support you in good times and bad. All these relationships require nurturing.
4. Reclaim your autonomy. Autonomy doesn’t mean rugged self-sufficiency where you don’t need other people in your life. It refers to your capacity to act in your own best interests, independent of what you think your lover and others might think or need. Standing in your autonomy will give you a greater sense of balance and wellbeing. And it is inherently a lot more magnetic in love department.
5. Respect your lover’s autonomy – his or her right to choose, to be or not be. You can’t control another person and, if you respect them, you don’t seek to control them. Respecting your lover’s autonomy also requires trust – trust in them and trust in yourself. Where there is no trust, there is no real relationship.
6. Accept the relationship for what it is. Don’t overplay it or underplay it. It may be the relationship of a lifetime or might be a short-term affair. If it is of the short-term variety, then it still has value and the potential for much enjoyment. You can, if nothing else, see it as an opportunity to hone your relationship skills.
Mary Rizk, Transformative Coach - www.maryrizk.com
It would happen to me every time. I’d meet someone, talk a few times, and then start obsessing.
Will he call? When? Does he like me? Does he think I’m fat?
I should clean the house. I’ll call him. I’ll text him. No wait, he should call me. Where is he? He doesn’t like me. Or does he?
It was like someone came along and flipped a crazy switch.
What I didn’t know at the time was that flood of fear was not about the guy. It wasn’t about that guy, or ANY guy. It was about me, and meeting someone new brought the issue to light every single time.
When I was thirteen, my dad died.
Suddenly, I went from being a normal 8th grader who loved to play music, to feeling like the walking wounded. A partial person, incomplete. Someone with a huge hole in my soul that only a boy could fill.
And so it began, from this place of lack. This belief that I alone was NOT ENOUGH. To be happy, I’d have to find that perfect puzzle piece to fit the hole in my heart. Or else I’d always feel broken.
What this belief, rooted in lack, led to was a life entrenched in worthlessness.
Symptoms of that life included choosing partners that weren’t good for me, lack of healthy boundaries, constant violation of my authenticity, and obsession.
I finally saw my role in it, and hit rock bottom, after my divorce which was followed by a roller coaster ride of a bad relationship that I could not let go of. When I saw myself and my choices, that night as I lay curled up on my bedroom floor, not knowing what to do or how to make things better, I finally owned it. It. Was. Me.
To heal from obsessing when I liked a man (since the only criteria I had was that he liked me), I had to see that they were my drug, my escape, my numbness to the real stuff that was going on inside me, that I only knew how to run from.
I had not been willing to get real, deal, and truly look within. I understand why, now. It looked like big, scary stuff. Who wants to deal with death, violation of self, and relationship brokenness? I certainly didn’t.
But oh, when I did, what freedom!
It was all within me. The answers, the healing. “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.” – Dorothy
I had to do the work, make peace with my past, my losses and grief.
I had to admit that I used men and relationships to keep from having to think about or do the work on myself. Once I did the work, men became wonderful people with whom I could relate on an authentic level that I never knew possible. No more obsessing. No more bad choices. The hole in my heart had been filled and I was set free.
Sue Markovitch, Author and Life Coach in Westerville, Ohio – www.clearrockfitness.com
Everyone has moments when they become a little googly-eyed at the prospect of dating a someone they really like, but what about when you become so obsessed you can’t enjoy the actual relationship, because the ‘obsession’ is taking on a life of its own?
Let’s explore this dynamic.
Oftentimes, when we feel anxiety or a lack of control we will cling more tightly. So if you value a specific relationship you may find yourself obsessing over every detail as you try to manage the instability of the emotions the relationship is dredging up. These uncomfortable emotions often stem from feelings of insecurity about either yourself or the connection you have with the other person.
Maybe you have specific expectations about the relationship that manifest by grabbing onto imaginary timelines or feeling certain behavior criteria need to be met to feel secure such as buying you flowers or calling at specific times. Then when the relationship is not progressing in the way you feel it should be or it is not meeting your expectations of what you think the relationship should ‘look like’ you panic a little and try to figure out how to get it on track.
Either way you start putting a great deal of potentially negative energy into the relationship which can often roll into obsessive thoughts and behaviors.
So how do you stop letting your thoughts get the best of you?
1. Become more mindful, meaning be present in your relationship. Do not worry about the future or dwell on the past. Be in the moment. If you are not ‘present’ you cannot connect to your partner in a meaningful way.
2. Utilize acceptance in that you accept the relationship ‘as is’, don’t make excuses or try to manipulate outcomes. Just allow the relationship to be what it is.
3. Do some inside work, focusing on improving self-acceptance.
4. Maintain a sense of balance in your life by keeping up with friendships, hobbies and activities outside of the relationship.
Stacey Shumway Johnson, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS, BCC - www.2xlcoach.com
1. Slow it Down
A lot of women will sabotage their relationships by rushing towards the next milestone- the first kiss, the first vacation, moving in together, talking about marriage and kids, etc. When you rush in a relationship, you can easily overwhelm your partner and cause them to panic or lose interest. When you find yourself getting caught up in the rush, take a breath and take a step back.
2. Continue to Maintain an Independent Identity
When we solely dedicate our lives to our relationships it is easy to become obsessed with them. Sometimes as a result, we may neglect other parts of our lives that are important. Focus on maintaining an identity as an “I” in addition to the “we.” Having a healthy balance between your relationship, your family, your friends, your job, your extracurriculars and more is important!
3. Distract Yourself
If you find yourself obsessing over your relationship, divert your attention to something else. By focusing on something other than your relationship, you can take a healthy break from thinking about it. Moderation is important!
Kasey Lafferty, MSc, RP, RMFT - www.kltherapy.com
Obsession develops as a form of anxiety that is exacerbated by the emotion of fear.
The "How To" process is to first understand the emotion of fear which may be combined with jealousy.
Fear is based an emotion that generally occurs in relationships based on your history with other men, or it may come from family of origin.
The process is to understand what prompts the feeling of fear, by noticing the interpretation that the fear makes you have when triggered, for example, when he does not call, the interpretation may mean he is with someone else.
The next step is to notice the body senses engaging the mind to create the emotion of fear, which may be shortness of breath, upset stomach, narrowed vision, etc. The emotion of fear has an action associated with it, which is called the emotion action, which is obsessing.
Obsession is based on the level of attachment and connection to the man.
Jealousy usually, not always, but usually goes hand in hand with fear when the obsession occurs. Jealousy occurs when there is a perceived threat, real or imagined that someone may be taken from you. Keep in mind it is different than envy.
The step by step process of dealing with obsession, would be:
1. Notice the obsession
2. Label it as obsession
3. Identify what the obsession is asking you to do, what is the action that obsession is prompting you to do, for example call, snoop, text.
4. Identify the opposite action, for example not call, snoop or text
5. Identify a distraction skill from the action of the obsession to occupy your mind.
6. Be willing to notice and practice distracting from the action of the obsession. For example, exercise, paced breathing, an absorbing activity that is methodical, such as knitting, coloring, cooking.
7. Talk to an objective person for example a therapist to help understand and validate the fear, however, also process the effectiveness and how to decrease the obsession in a non threatening environment
8. Practice compassion for yourself by doing a compassion meditation
I hope this helps. With social media and all the external influences, it is hard to not be obsessed, however, peace of mind and the ability to not let fear take over your relationship is worth the effort to practice the steps.
Lisa Bahar, MA, LMFT - www.lcbahar.wix.com
When you really like a man, I know how easy it is to become obsessive. We all have our triggers, and if gone unchecked our affection can quickly turn to obsession.
Of course when this happens, we’re like repellant to them! Not only that, but we destroy our own inner-peace.
So, how do you enjoy dating without becoming too obsessed?
You must re-connect to your own personal power.
You don’t need him. You never have and you never will. You may want him, but you certainly don’t need him.
Re-connect to the wonderful qualities about yourself, and all the amazing things you have going on in your life. Don’t disengage from your work, your friends, your family, and your hobbies because you like a man. This is when it’s important to keep up with them so that you don’t become overly reliant on the new relationship.
Once you have freed up the obsessive energy by connecting to your personal power, you can simply enjoy the beginning stages of dating.
Get to know this person. Explore each other. Be open to all possibilities. Have fun. Stay present.
This novel space doesn’t last forever in a relationship, so I always remind my clients to truly enjoy it for what it is. Even if you stay together for the long-term, some of that initial spark will change, so just have fun with it and be yourself!
Alexis Meads, MA - www.alexismeads.com
Healthy love is wonderful. When you experience it, you will have the ability to enjoy comfort, contentment and joy deeper than you've ever known before! But what if you are obsessing over a man that is not committed, authentic or evolving at the same rate as you? What if you are wasting your time and energy on a lost cause?
Here are some tips to help you stop obsessing until you know he feels about you the way you feel about him:
1. Your relationship is there to enhance who you already are.
It is not there to complete you or fix you. It is something that you don't need, but rather something you want because it gives you enjoyment, pleasure, fulfillment, and support. Being all you can be in your relationship is more important for your mental health and sense of self, than trying to please the person you are with.
2. If you are concerned about your relationship and wondering if he really likes you, is committed to you and is thinking about you, then you really don't know the guy.
He should be making you feel that way all the time. The fact that you don't know for sure, means the relationship may not be all you think it is -- and maybe it's time to move on.
3. You are a work in progress -- meaning that it takes time and effort to make a relationship work.
For you to grow emotionally, so you can give of yourself to another person, you have to focus on your needs, your wants and your love of yourself. As an empowered individual, who has a lot to offer others, your well-being is significant for your progress. Don't sell yourself short by compromising who you are for the sake of the relationship.
4. Improve your self-esteem so that you don't constantly have to be reassured that your significant other loves you.
How you do that is by reminding yourself of who you really are, what you have to offer in a relationship and all the positive qualities you possess that make you a great catch!
5. Keep your outside interests, friends, commitments and social activities.
This is especially important while dating and in any long-term relationship because you are so much more than your relationship with your partner. You are an individual with talents, gifts, knowledge, values and convictions, the foundation that allows you to be who you are, even when you are a couple.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
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