We’ve all heard people say, “They have a sense of entitlement!” But what does that…
Having feelings for someone that doesn’t share them or that you shouldn’t necessarily be having feelings for, hurts. And understanding how to stop having feelings for someone doesn’t just happen because you don’t want them anymore.
It’s not like you can wave a magic wand and boom! They’re gone forever! It’s far harder than that and it takes plenty of time and patience.
When you have feelings for someone, even just a crush, they can linger a lot longer than you would like.
Figuring out how to stop having feelings for someone has plagued humankind for centuries. It is a burden. Feelings overwhelm us and take our time and attention away from more important things. But, the good news is that you can learn how to stop having feelings for someone and move on for good.
Why do we have stronger feelings for people who don’t want us?
Before you understand how to stop having feelings for someone who won’t like you back, you need to understand why you obsess over them.
Yes, you may have a crush on them. You may deeply desire them. But that’s not what’s making getting over them so hard for you. The truth is, this person you like may not even be worth your time. There may be someone who’s way more compatible with you, who’s also way “better” in every way, and they may even like you back. But there’s a reason behind why we have such a hard time leaving someone who doesn’t want us.
Evolution has taught us that something we can’t have is instinctually more valuable to us. The more someone rejects you, the stronger you feel for them. Not because they’re so good, but because our minds are hardwired to enjoy rejection!
Rejections motivate you and stimulate the same part of the brain that is associated with cravings, addictions, and perseverance. It’s clearly not heartbreak, because more often than not, the person you’re trying to get over is someone who was never a part of your life in the first place. You never had them, and you don’t know what it is like to be in a relationship with them. You just obsess over them because your brain subconsciously convinces you to continue pursuing them because you believe they’re “better” than you, and hence, more worthy!
On the other hand, even if you were in a relationship with them and you’ve now broken up, perhaps you intrinsically have the dependent or anxious attachment personality where you intentionally continue to stay in love with someone who will never love you back. You enjoy the pain and stress of heartbreak because that’s the only kind of love you’ve known since childhood. It’s comfortable to love someone who breaks your heart instead of giving it all up and looking for a fresh start. [Read: Insecure attachments – The different types and how they affect you]
Why might you want to stop having feelings for someone?
Although logic and emotions do not always go hand in hand, practicality can be the best first step in getting over someone.
Why do you want to stop having feelings for this person? Is it an ex or someone that is already in a relationship? Is it someone that isn’t interested in you?
Remind yourself why your life would be happier and more productive if you stopped having those feelings. This is not a magic cure-all. It will aim you in the right direction moving forward.
Look forward to the improvements your life will have if you stop having feelings for this person. Will you be able to focus better at work? Will you be able to start dating again? Or will you let go of the pain of a breakup or rejection? Is holding on to a lost cause helping you in any way at all?
We know your feelings are strong. Logic may not feel strong enough to shut down your feelings, and it may not be, but reminding yourself of why you want to stop having feelings for someone will help you focus.
Whenever you notice yourself falling back into Facebook stalking them or daydreaming about your imaginary wedding, remind yourself that that isn’t conducive to a happy future.
The ‘why’ is just as important as the ‘how’, if not more so.
How to stop having feelings for someone
Once you know why you want to stop having feelings for someone, you have something to focus on. You have an end goal you can aim at.
But, take steps to really let go of those feelings and move forward without your emotions taking over.
1. Let all your feelings out
If you try to stop having feelings for someone without letting those feelings out, it will feel more like you’re just pushing them down and not getting rid of them for good. When you can’t tell the person you have feelings for them, or that you like them, write it out.
Go old-school with a pen and paper like you’re writing in your middle school diary. Let out all your feelings about this person. You may feel a weight has lifted. You can then crumble it up and toss it out. Or go further and burn it *safely* to release those feelings.
2. Accept the reality
One reason it is so hard to stop having feelings for someone is that we hold out hope. We live in a fantasy world where maybe one day things will work out. We make up conversations in our heads and let that impractical hope guide us.
Hope is great in many circumstances. When you want to stop having feelings for someone, it is time to accept the reality for what it is. Once you come to peace with the fact that these feelings aren’t reciprocated for whatever reason, it will be easier to let those feelings go. It might be hurtful, but it’s necessary.
3. Take off your rose-tinted glasses and see things as they really are
Look at them as if you didn’t have those feelings. When we like something and have romantic feelings for them, we overlook their faults. We see them as the best version of themselves.
That is great when you’re actually in a relationship but makes it hard to get over someone. Do you know how after a breakup you finally realize all the things that drove you crazy about your ex that you didn’t see when you were together? That is what you want to do here.
Think about the things you don’t like about this person to remind yourself that they really aren’t as great as you thought. It can be anything from their sense of style to their stubbornness, their flakiness, or lack of honesty.
4. It’s time to distract yourself
Sometimes, trying to stop liking someone leads us to focus on them even more. If you struggle with getting this person out of your head, focus on something else. Keep yourself busy.
Throw yourself into work, a home project, or just make a lot of plans with friends. The more you do, the less time you’ll have to think about this person and your feelings.
5. Focus on something productive
While outings with friends are a good distraction, if you’re still having a hard time staying distracted, do something productive.
Volunteer to clean up your local beach, clean out your wardrobe and donate to charity, or even get a second job. These things will not just keep you busy but make you feel proud of what you’re accomplishing.
6. Remove them from your online world
This is one of the best things you can do for yourself when you want to stop having feelings for someone. Seeing them post selfies and what they ate for breakfast keeps them at the forefront of your mind. It also lets you give in and look at their photos and posts whenever you feel weak.
You can unfriend them, block them, or just hide their content from your feed, but do it. It’s hard to let go in this way but it’s the healthiest thing you can do right now.
7. Stop seeing them as much as possible
It is one thing to stop seeing this person virtually, but not seeing them in real life is even more helpful. If you see someone daily because you go to school together or share a friend group, it can be hard to rid yourself of those feelings.
Obviously, you can’t transfer schools or quit your job or find new friends, so take a break. If they are in your social circle or group, avoid that group or places they will be until those feeling fade away. If they are in your class or at work, keep your interactions as brief and professional as possible. And when you’re around them, focus on more productive things.
8. Date casually
If you have feelings for someone, throwing yourself into a new relationship to distract yourself isn’t healthy or fair. Instead of getting a rebound, date casually.
Go into it open, but let the other person know you are just interested in meeting people at the moment and that you’re not looking for anything serious.
This will open your eyes to other people that are out there and available. It will remind you that you have other options and can form feelings for other people in different ways.
9. Don’t compare others to them
When you start dating, even casually, it is easy to compare anyone new to the last person you had feelings for. We have all done it at some point. Everyone is unique. Comparing people’s qualities, whether physical or not, is unfair and pointless.
Maybe the person you want to stop having feelings for is taller than someone you just met, but that doesn’t really matter. Focus on what makes the person you just met unique, without the comparison.
10. If you’re really struggling, seek out professional help
If you have tried all of this and still struggle with learning how to stop having feelings for someone, seeing a therapist may be your best option.
In therapy, work with a professional to pinpoint where your emotions are coming from and face them head-on. Hopefully, you can cut them off from the source and look forward to a freer future.
It may seem like an impossible task. But here’s the truth – you know you WILL get over them someday. Knowing the end result of all of this is a positive thing to look forward to. When you’re confident of something like this, and truly believe that you will get over them, all you need to do is focus on the steps to stop having feelings for them.
The pain of missing someone: Your heart will mend in time
Learn how to stop having feelings for someone with a bit of focus and a lot of determination. Believe it or not, there are other options out there, and a much better life as well!