Sometimes, the problem isn’t getting a guy to like you.
It’s getting you to stop liking him.
Circumstances in love don’t always play out the way we want them to. Sometimes, he’s got a girlfriend. Sometimes, he’s leaving the country. Sometimes, he’s just not interested.
No matter what it is for you – you know one thing. You have to get past your feelings for him.
I’m not talking about ex’s here, either.
I’m talking about that one guy in your life. The guy who seemed to connect with you so perfectly in that one little moment or your short time together. The man you vividly imagined your future with. The one who – although you’ve never been his partner – won’t get out of your head.
Here’s what you need to do when circumstances mean he just can’t be yours.
The first and most important thing you can do is to get distance. If he’s someone you’re frustrated about feeling for, it’s likely you’re around him a lot. You need to do as much as possible to change that.
If the circumstances permit, not being around him, at all, is ideal. This also means not messaging him, not Facebooking him and not bringing up discussions about him with friends.
Sometimes, due to work, classes, or social circles, it’s impossible to avoid him entirely. In these instances, do your best to avoid him on a personal level. You can still chat about work. You can still speak about assignments where necessary. You can be polite and surface-level friendly in social environments. But keep personal conversations off the table. Be polite while engineering some emotional distance.
It’ll feel like a breakup – And that’s OK.
Here’s a dose of reality you’re unlikely to enjoy when you go to cut off your feelings.
You’ll get the same sense of heartbreak as you would in a breakup.
And that’s OK.
The comedown may not be as long lasting or intense as a real breakup, but as far as your brain chemistry goes, the worst bits are going to hurt just as much.
Why? Why would our brain put so much emphasis on someone who has given us so little?
In his book, PsychoCybernetics, Maxwell Maltz explains how a vividly imagined experience can buzz our nervous system in exactly the same way as the real thing. When you intensely focus on a result, imagine it and feel it in your body and mind, your brain responds and releases the same chemicals as if it were real.
If you’re reading this article, it’s not likely relating to a guy you met once and never thought of again. It’s a guy you imagined – over and over – being with and building a future with. It didn’t happen? It doesn’t matter. As far as your brain is concerned, you’re breaking up with him.
Expect grief, sadness and other emotions that go hand in hand with loss. Don’t resist them or judge them as invalid because the two of you haven’t been partners. If you fight them, you give them power and put focus on them, making for a battle you can’t win. Instead, let them wash over you. Sooner or later, the storm will blow over.
Surround yourself with support
There’s nothing more important than having good people around you when you’re feeling down. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family. This will give you a secure base – the emotional support you need to pick yourself back up.
Connect with them. Play board games, watch movies, have a girl’s night in. Do whatever makes you feel good. A good set of friends or family will help you remember your own value and push you out into the world again when you’re ready.
Mention to friends you don’t want to discuss that guy. They’re there to support you in your decision to let him go, not to assist you in questioning it.
Write a list of qualities you liked about him
It might seem counterintuitive to write a list of things you liked about him, but there is method to this madness.
Put down, on paper, the traits that attracted you to him.
Instead of having them swimming around in your head, this list will give you a hard copy. Your mind won’t obsess over them, because you’ll have them in black and white.
In addition, you now have the beginnings of a list of traits you like in a man and can look for in the future. Later, you can continue to add to it, giving yourself targeted traits to look for in a new man.
Write an equal length list of things you disliked about him
Now you have a more difficult exercise.
Create a list, equal to the size of the previous one, of traits you did not like about him. The important point here is: Equal.
You will find this hard, especially because you may not know him well. Persist with this exercise. If you do not, you’ll struggle to get over him, because his positives will continue to outweigh his negatives in your mind.
Take things you know about him, things you’ve heard from friends, or things he’s done (or hasn’t done). Do whatever it takes to make your list of equal length.
Once complete, this list will help you take off the rose-colored glasses. You’ll see that, while he had his strengths, he also had just as many flaws.
Focus on yourself
Now, it’s time to turn the attention away from him.
There is no better time to turn the spotlight onto you than when you’re hurting in love.
Put focus back onto you. Fill your schedule with enriching activities. Always wanted to learn to dance? Start classes. Been out of gym for a while? Go Back. Always wanted to learn a language? Download the first module.
Not only do these things take your attention off him, but they grow you in the meantime, helping you feel good about yourself and become a more fulfilled and attractive person.
As you focus on you, understand your mind will continue to relapse. This is normal. Each time it does, simply thank it, and then remind yourself of his negative traits before turning your attention, again, back to you.
Get back out there
By now, your feelings for him will have weakened. You’ll be feeling better within yourself, you’ll be seeing things from a fresh perspective, and you’ll be close to letting your feelings for him go entirely.
Now, it’s time to put yourself back into the world.
Meet new people. Flirt again. Remember what it’s like to enjoy men. Don’t jump into a relationship. Just appreciate what it’s like to feel attractive and wanted as you enrich your life with new people who have strengths in areas he did not.
As you continue to put yourself out there, one day, you’ll turn around and realise you haven’t thought about him in a week. Your life, your friends, and perhaps, even a new man will have taken over the mental real estate he used to own. That’s when you know you’ll have moved beyond him. You’ll have stopped liking a guy with whom things just weren’t meant to be, ready for bigger and better things and people to take his place.