How to stop obsessing over your new crush (or your old ex)
“I can’t stop thinking about my ex,” I groaned on a plush couch in Nolita. It was 6 months ago and I was deep in my weekly routine of visiting my therapist and complaining to her for an hour straight.
“I think about him all the time,” I said, fiddling with the edge of my dress. “I don’t even like him. I don’t even miss him. I just think about all of the things I don’t know. Where is he living? What is he doing? Does he think about me? Does he miss me, or does he hate me? I just…I can’t stop thinking about all of it.”
My therapist looked at me with her perpetually calm eyes.
“He’s not all you think about,” she said gently.
“He is!” I insisted immediately, like a 9-year-old. I’m always at my most childish when I’m paying $175 an hour.
“Really?” she continued. “He’s all you think about?”
“Well, sometimes I think about Jeffrey Epstein conspiracy theories,” I mumbled.
And then my therapist told me this incredible true story about how she met Jeffrey Epstein 20 years ago. It was at his Upper East Side mansion, there were Picasso paintings in his living room, you could only access the floors of his mansion by elevators, and he said something incredibly vile and creepy to her and her friend. I won’t repeat it here, but the guy was absolutely a sociopath.
Her story lasted nearly 10 minutes, and I was hanging on every word - completely enthralled.
After the saga ended, I sat back in the couch and took it all in.
“Well, I’m not thinking about my ex anymore.”
Unfortunately, most of us don’t have expensive and well-connected therapists that can spill salacious stories and distract us whenever we obsess over an ex or a new crush.
It’s hard to stop obsession in its tracks - obsession is actually a self-rewarding brain mechanism. We fire off rewarding chemicals when we circle the same thought multiple times, and it’s a hard pattern to break out of.
Over the past 6 months, however, I’ve found something that truly helps me to stop obsessing over any past, current or future suitors that enter my life.
Obsess over yourself.
Yes, I am rooting on behalf of narcissism. Not the dangerous, emotionally vampiric kind of narcissism. I’m just suggesting that you take all of the time you spend on someone else, and spend it on yourself.
I also want to be clear here: I’m not advocating for something very healthy. This isn’t a health and wellness website in the slightest.
I won’t suggest that you drink more water, start a skincare routine and say positive affirmations out loud in the mirror every morning. Frankly, I’m very skeptical of those things helping someone to stop obsessing. They’re great to practtice, sure, but they are weak tools when battling the monster of obsession.
Here’s how to obsess over yourself, and focus less on people you’re dating
Stalk yourself online
I recently went on a few dates with this guy who admitted to online stalking me and watching some of my YouTube videos. I was flattered - I’m always incredibly flattered when people stalk me.
If you’re hung up on an ex or constantly daydreaming about a new crush, you’re going to want to online stalk them. Don’t. It’s going to be boring. Every guy you have dated or will date will have a weak Instagram, a private Facebook with barely any posts, and if they do have a Twitter it’s just going to be retweets of other people’s content or their opinions on something political.
I’m a lot more fun to stalk. Stalk me. Stalk your favorite celebrities. Stalk someone messy like Caroline Calloway.
Stalk your goddamn self! Read your old wall-to-wall posts. Go back on your Twitter from 2008. Look at who DMed you on Instagram 3 years ago. It’s a lot more fun to stalk yourself, and it’s a lot more self-serving too. This will stop generating your interest in him, and generate it in yourself. And if you’re boring on social media, just stop being boring. Make your social media something that would be interesting to stalk.
Find out their Myers Briggs type and horoscope, and then get daily updates on your own
I love to find this out from people. I can usually guess what most people are for Myers Briggs, and of course knowing horoscopes is always just a fun party trick.
Now, once you find out that your ex or crush is a ENTJ type with a Cancer zodiac, don’t read about their type. If you want to know about who they are or what their personality is, they’ll tell you. Over time. When you guy see each other. And talk.
Trying to do ‘research’ on someone via their ‘types’ like this is just going to give you the illusion that you’re getting to know someone when you’re really not.
Instead, look up your own type. Buy a book about your Myers-Briggs type and read it cover to cover. Download an app for your daily horoscope and read it in the mornings. Don’t spend time down a rabbit hole online learning “about” this person. Take that time for self-introspection and look up your own personality type and zodiac instead.
Do the ‘extra step items’ for yourself
It’s officially cuffing season, which has me feeling like hmm maybe a relationship wouldn’t be so bad right now. What is it about the weather that adjusts our mood in such dramatic ways?
At any rate, I was wandering around my apartment a couple weeks ago and thinking about the things that I used to do in a relationship. I really find a lot of joy in trying to make people feel good. You had a rough day at work? Let me draw you a bath, baby! I can cook whatever you want! Let’s go do your favorite thing in the world!
And then I realized that I don’t really treat myself in the same way that I would a partner. When I have a bad day at work, I don’t pamper myself and have a nice meal. I binge watch YouTube and order fast food. I have the pamper need inside of me, but rarely do I use it on myself. What a shame, right?
But as I revealed in my last post, I recently have been pampering myself a lot. And it’s wonderful.
Make a list of the things you would want to do with your crush, flame, ex, you name it! How would you like to treat them? What activities would you like to do together? Then make a note of all of the things on there that you can do with and to yourself….and do them.
I could continue on, but the theme of this is really all the same. Be super fucking selfish rather than obsessive.
And this advice, of course, is for crushes and exes.
Once you’re in a relationship with someone, you don’t need to follow this! Learn about their Myers-Briggs, ask their love language, be interested and learn from them. I just don’t advise for the ‘learning’ we do about exes/crushes which is online stalking or checking their horoscope every day because those things don’t benefit you at all but they give the illusion that you’re doing something useful.
You aren’t! You’re wasting your time! Spend it on yourself, yeah baby yeah!
Best of luck in harnessing the obsession,