“How do I stop thinking about someone?”

How in the world do you stop thinking about someone?!  If you remember, I made that one of my goals this week.  However, it’s harder than I anticipated.  Trying not to think of someone IS thinking of that someone.  Alisa, advice?

And in other news, I’ve been thinking about my top-ten a lot this week. Here is what I have so far:

  1. Selfless (I think this takes care of a number of potential problems)
  2. Emotionally mature
  3. Compassionate
  4. Insightful
  5. Flexible and adaptable
  6. Grateful (this pretty much takes care of everything too)
  7. Genuine interest in other people
  8. Patient
  9. Sacrifices
  10. Knows how to work

Alisa, any suggestions on my list?  It’s interesting how this list has changed over the years, but I feel it will stick this time.  I’ve dated guys who haven’t had those qualities, and I know that they are deal breakers.

I’m really interested in other peoples’ top-ten!  So let’s hear it.  What are your deal breakers?

Alisa’s response

Two thoughts:

First, the best way to not think about someone is to engage in physically or mentally focused activities, to spend time with others, and to limit how much you talk about the person. If you don’t talk to more than three people about him and when you do talk about him you keep it to fifteen minutes or less, your struggle with this will get easier. I know redirecting your attention away from him is tough, but it’s seriously an emotional lifesaver until he asks you to become exclusive. When you do catch yourself thinking about him, say to yourself, “I refuse to think about him more often than he thinks about me. If he is thinking about me I will know it because he will call me. Until then I will think about other things.” Then turn up the radio (preferably talk radio rather than romantic music), turn on the TV, call a friend to ask her about her life, go for a run, etc. Also, stop reading romance novels, which never helps.

I don’t recommend that you stop talking about him completely. Definitely talk to three friends about him and go through the details you know about him to ensure that he is emotionally mature and that you aren’t missing important facts, warning signs, or areas of incompatibility. Just don’t talk about him with more than three people, don’t talk about him with “magical thinking” (i.e., overestimating his good qualities when you have actually known him only a few weeks, minimizing his negative qualities by focusing on only what you want to see, or believing he is everything you have dreamed of), and, again, try to keep most of these conversations to fifteen minutes or less if you can. I hope this helps. The more he calls you and invests in you, the easier this will get.

Second, I’m concerned because all of your top-ten are personality characteristics. Although these characteristics are great, you need to remember that other attributes and worldly realities also need to be considered. For example, attraction, desire for children, how he manages money, his career plans, any drug and alcohol history, his relationships with his or your family, similar goals, religious and cultural differences, etc., can all greatly increase or decrease your compatibility. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “A fish and a bird can love each other, but where would they live?” If you don’t keep these other details in mind, you may later find yourself quite unhappy.

To fit other qualities in, you may consider combining some of the qualities on your top-ten that are similar to each other. For instance, “patient,” “compassionate,” and having a “genuine interest in other people” could all be under one category labeled “empathy” or “emotional maturity” rather than separated into three categories. Also, prioritize your list to where you have five non-negotiable goals and then five more that can be a work in process over a period of time as long as he’s already been working on the attributes (for example, he may not currently have a career, but he’s going to school to establish one; or, he’s currently in debt but has been working hard for the last year to get out of debt). I hope this helps. You may also want to select some issues you could live with. Everyone has issues. Could you choose someone who has a dysfunctional family, struggles with overeating, is balding, or has difficulty finishing projects simply because you value the qualities he does have on your top-ten list?

I know this process is hard, but it’s absolutely critical to your eventual success and will help you to be realistic and grounded.

Good luck. Let me know if you need more specific advice.



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5 thoughts on ““How do I stop thinking about someone?”

  • Lili,
    I struggle with preoccupying my mind so that I’m not thinking about a certain someone too. Recently, I’ve discovered that I’ll be driving in the car and realize that I haven’t thought of that someone in hours or all day. The shift has been two fold, at first when I caught myself dwelling on that person I would silently say to myself “STOP IT” and make a shift in what I was doing (send an email to a friend, check the news, get up from my desk and go fill my water bottle).
    The second part is that I’ve actually made an effort to fill my thoughts with other things, like the idea of a sprint triathlon and the friends that would join me, planning activities with the new people I’ve met this month (which also was important, expanding my social circle allows other prospects into my thoughts as well), along with all the other meaningful activities I’m involved in. I hope the experience I’ve had can help you in your goal.

  • Why can’t there just be a built in “OFF” switch for our brains!! I struggle with thinking way to much about the guy I’m interested in. But coming from someone who’s been divorced, it’s very important for me to find a man who is willing to invest in me. Finding someone who is willing to put forth an effort in pursuit of me is a must have as I’m going about things the second time. When I can’t stop thinking about a guy, I remind myself how important seeing his interest is and I patiently wait (while keeping myself really really busy 😉 Which brings me to the top ten list. I agree with Alisa, you’ve got the beginnings of a great list, but don’t be afraid to be more specific. Some things I’ve realized are important to me are a college education. Someone who can at least match my level of education is important to me. Education is also a security issue. I know the job market and job security for someone with a college degree is different than for someone without. Another must have for me is a similar understanding of the gospel and committment to our church and living it’s standards. I didn’t look closely enough at this one on my first marriage. Best of luck Lili!! I look forward to reading more of your adventures.

  • i dont have dis problem but i told someone who i liked my email but they kept bothering meh so i stopped replying to there emails and spammed them so Yer lool

  • So difficult to stop thinking about someone when you have no one else. It’s so hard to keep boistering yourself up when no one else is looking at you except this person. What I’m so fearful of is loneliness; I’ve had about all of it I can stand. I want to be a different happy person with someone I really love and who loves me and respects me. The other night I had a dream of being in the temple with my husband and it was way more comforting to me than I had imagined it could be. I think this dream helped me to see a positive goal instead of being fearful….but I have a long way to go.:)

  • Lilli,
    I’m glad you asked about the obsessing thing. Alisa’s answer is really helpful.

    My top ten list is
    1. trustworthy
    2. financially minded
    3. patient
    4. LDS member
    5. wants kids, wants that lifestyle
    6. health oriented
    7. physically active
    8. is alright with giving/taking constructive criticism
    9. likes to learn, new things intrigue him.
    10. Enjoys discussions

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