3 Ways to Stop Obsessing Over Someone in Early Dating

When you get excited about someone, it’s easy to get caught in the trap of obsessive thinking.

In today’s video, I share 3 ways to keep yourself from over-obsessing in early dating so you can enjoy the experience and give yourself enough time (and perspective) to see if someone’s right for you.

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What’s the loyalty you want to feel? What’s the level of peace you want to feel with this person? How seen do you want to know that you are? When you think about all of that, it suddenly starts to feel ludicrous how excited we get about someone in week two.

I asked people recently on Instagram, what is a mistake or a pattern that you keep making in your love life that you want to work on? One person said that she wanted to work on taking things more slowly so that she doesn’t invest in people before they’ve shown they actually deserve it. I thought I’d spent a bit of time here because this is an incredibly common thing. I know I’ve done it. I’m sure you’ve done it. You get excited about someone and you rush forward, thinking . . . I don’t even think we are thinking when we do it necessarily. There’s just this instinctive, “I’m excited about this person. I’m excited about what it could be.” We start projecting, of course, onto that person all of the value that they could have in our lives, how amazing they are, how great the relationship could be or would be, and then we start giving a ton of energy to it.

Firstly, is that helpful to do, and if we agree that it is not helpful, how do we get ourselves to actually slow down? I would argue that it’s absolutely not helpful to do that because it shows someone that they don’t actually have to provide any value or invest in us in order to get all of our value. It is a false representation of how great that person is because we probably don’t even know them that well yet, and it assumes that by speeding up and by investing more, someone will like us more, and that’s just not true. Investing more in someone does not necessarily make them like us more. In fact, it might make them value us less because they start to take for granted just how much energy they’re getting from us at a time when they’re not giving us that much.

So if it doesn’t just not help us, if it can actually hurt us, how do we get ourselves to slow down? Slowing down with someone, being someone that another person has to actually earn is easy when we are swimming in options because it feels kind of natural. If we have loads of options, then it’s easy to assess what is the best option. Who’s the option that’s giving me the best or giving me the most? What’s hard is going slow when we feel like we don’t have any options. When we’ve been single for a while, when we don’t relate to having attention or when we don’t relate to having attention from the people we actually want, and then all of a sudden someone that we do feel attracted to starts showing us a little attention, all of a sudden it feels like we’ve stumbled upon this incredibly rare treasure and we have to grab onto it as hard as possible. It’s very hard when we’re coming from a place of scarcity to go slow with somebody. It feels like it goes against all of our instincts.

So, how do we do it? Firstly, in the absence of options, we have to connect to the other parts of our life that give us a feeling of joy or worthiness or satisfaction or meaning and really connect to those on a daily basis, especially when we meet someone we like so that when we do meet someone like that, we’re not thinking that this person is the answer to some kind of existential problem, and if you watch my videos a lot, you know that I like my business analogies and I think a lot in terms of those. In business, there will always be sexy opportunities that come along. There’ll be things that feel glamorous or feel like they could be exciting, and the temptation is when something like that comes along to jump at it because it feels like a bit of a lottery win.

What I have prided myself on is having cultivated a career where the kind of meat and potatoes of what I get to do every day is enough for me. I love making videos. I love being able to go to my live events and connect with people and run retreats and write and have this amazing team that I love working with every day. My daily existence in my career is already enough for me. So when something that feels glamorous or sexy comes along and says, “Do you want to do this crazy opportunity, Matt?” before I jump and say yes, I always put it through the filter of, “Is it going to give me what I really need? Is it aligned with my values? Does it feel like it fits with the culture of my life and what I want to do?” And if the answer is no, it’s actually quite easy for me to say no, even to things that from the outside look wildly exciting. Like, “Matt, how can you say no to that?” It’s actually easy because I have an abundance everywhere else in my career, in my working life.

I think our love lives are the same way. It shouldn’t be the case that we only go slow with someone or are able to say no to someone if there’s someone else waiting in the wings. That’s that’s not a strong position to be in. That’s not real confidence. Real confidence is I can say no even when there’s not another option because I’m abundant everywhere else in my life. If you have things that you love doing with your day, people you like spending time with, passions that you just feel absorbed in, a life that you think is beautiful, all of that creates a level of abundance that means when someone comes along, instead of getting overexcited about that person, we go slow and evaluate every step of the way, whether this is a person who can meet our needs and who fits with the culture that we want to have in our life.

The second way to slow down so that we don’t over-invest in someone who isn’t investing in us is to have a clear vision for the kind of relationship that is going to make us happy. Really think about it. Instead of just getting excited about the early stages of dating when you meet someone you like, think about the kind of long-term relationship you want to be in. What’s the loyalty you want to feel? What’s the level of peace you want to feel with this person? How seen do you want to know that you are by this person? What’s the teamwork between you? How do you conquer life’s problems together? How do you approach life together and your vision and what you’re building? Have all of these things in mind. And it may seem like that’s a lot to think about in early dating, but that’s the whole point. Seeing that that is what your vision is for your ideal relationship and forget ideal was the absolute pinnacle. I mean ideal as in this is what I need as my baseline for being happy.

When you think about all of that, it suddenly starts to feel ludicrous how excited we get about someone in week two because we realize I don’t know this person. I know that I’ve had some fun with them. I know that it was a really great date. I know that I feel butterflies, I feel chemistry, but I actually don’t even know one tenth of how they would be in this relationship.

I have not ticked any of these boxes yet. So that allows us to start to slow down and come back down to earth. And it checks us a little bit when it comes to feeling this excited about a person or this heartbroken if they haven’t texted us for a few days because we go, “I have no business feeling this excited about this person when I don’t know that they can fulfill any of these criteria right now.” In fact, the fact that I’m not getting a lot of investment from them right now, the fact that their communication is patchy, the fact that I don’t feel seen right now is evidence of it being the wrong thing, not something that should make me mourn the fact that I’m not getting enough from the right thing. By having a clear vision about what you want in the future, you can be present today in a way that allows you to not get overexcited about something that isn’t real yet.

And the third thing is we have to back ourselves to find the thing that we’re looking for long term. We have to be able to say to ourselves, the right thing sooner or later is going to come along. So I don’t need to settle for something that’s wrong for me now. It is going to come along. Something better is coming my way and therefore I can bide my time. Now, this is the hardest of the three because it requires a real confidence. It requires a real belief in our own value. It requires a real belief in the opportunities that are out there for us. It requires a longer term perspective. And that kind of belief normally is derived from having some wins in our life. That kind of confidence that the right thing is coming usually comes from knowing in our past that the right thing has come before, or real belief in our value, real belief in what we have to offer, and not everyone has that kind of belief. So that third one is the hardest to achieve the believing that something better is coming. That’s the hardest one to achieve.

The irony of all of this is that when we have these kinds of standards around how we give up our time, our energy, our intimacy, we become more attractive. Someone starts to look at us as someone who has to be won over, and I don’t mean won over in the sense that we were difficult and then we become easy because we get won over. I mean, won over the sense that someone realizes that they have to actually invest in us in order to get the best of us. Without these three things in place, it’s very hard, if not impossible, to have the kind of standard that I’m talking about, because whatever standard we have will only be fake. It will be a game. It will be, “I’m going to play hard to get and go slow as a tactic to get you to think that I’m special.” But the problem is there’s nothing really underpinning it, which is why those tactics often dissolve at the first sign of resistance.

To take something from being a tactic to a standard, it has to be underpinned by something deeper by these three things. Having an abundant life, having a vision for what we want that is unshakeable, and having this belief that something better is coming for us because we know what we have to offer in this world. These are things that are easy to say but hard to do, which is why I have an entire program that helps people to cultivate them, and it’s the Retreat.

It’s happening in October. For those of you that don’t know, from the 9th to the 15th and with me. We’re going to work together on your life so that you can cultivate a life of abundance so that you can create a clear vision that you adhere to no matter what. No matter how exciting something is, you adhere to that vision, and developing a level of belief in your own value that tells you something better is coming because I have something incredible to offer. We’re going to do those three things together, and when we do that, you won’t have to stop yourself from moving too fast anymore. Going slow and valuing yourself appropriately will be an inevitable byproduct of these three things that we work on in your life.

I will leave a link here for anyone who wants to come and be with us in Florida in October to work on these three things. The link is MHRetreat.com. Come over and check it out for yourself, and I hope that we get to spend those six days working on you and your life together.

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6 Replies to “3 Ways to Stop Obsessing Over Someone in Early Dating”

  • Wow, I read this at the right moment and time. I am currently going through this in my current relationship. The two of us have history together, recently broke up with people and are now in casual relationship. We didn’t even know would last this long. To me it seemed to be moving beyond casual, at one point he called me “baby” then “babe.” He made another comment in a conversation and said, “tell them your boyfriend.” Now, we had never discussed moving from a casual to a boy/girlfriend relationship at this point. Now something has happened in his life and I was texting him, heard nothing when he will usually text, ok, thanks, or have a good day. Four days of nothing, I call him, oh he had to switch phones his other one and current one is acting funny. I’m not the only one to tell him (that they texted or called him and no response). I say “I’m just checking on you, I hadn’t heard from you, I know how you can get down on yourself, just keep moving, trusting and try to have faith.”He says okay “I’ll call you later.” In the back of mind I knew he wasn’t but I was kind of watching my phone. When he was talking to me there was no enthusiasm in his voice like before just 4 days ago. But I was down for another day then I saw (sorry Matthew) another you tube video about waiting and constantly watching my phone for any news from him. I was like you know enough is enough, I know my worth even though it hurts to seem like I’m being ignored. However, it really hasn’t been that long. If he really wants me he knows, my phone #, knows where I live and where I work. I’m going to go on and enjoy the rest of my summer.

    1. I agree with not projecting. It is not fair on the other person. I also agree with keep up living your own life so that you do not start to feel needy.
      But I do not agree with not taking an emotional risk: perhaps that person came into my life for me to learn sth?! Getting out of my comfort zone? Getting out of anxiety? Hah! Mr. Wonderful: come and try to break my heart.

  • Oh man, so I’ve just walked away from someone I found irresistibly sexy, who’s made me feel seen and understood on a level I hadn’t felt seen or understood in years. He was only going to be in town for a couple of months and yet I let myself be open and honest with him (I’m recovering from complex trauma, so I thought this would be good practice). We texted for a month and only went on three dates, which happened within a week, and which were wonderful and which made me feel that, if I’d kept seeing him, I’d be profoundly in love with him by the end of his stay. He gave me all the attention and said all the right things and seemed to have many of the qualities I look for in a partner (values, outlooks, experiences I could relate to; he lives at my dream-life location and he even made the effort to pronounce my name correctly, which hasn’t happened to me since moving abroad). Everything in me wanted to say yes to him on some level, and on another level I heard this really quiet voice saying that I’m lying to myself that this short-term thing would be enough for me (or even that I could sustain something long-distance, should things progress in this direction over time). Worse still, I knew in my bones that I’d feel betrayed by myself if I’d kept investing in what felt like erotic CPR that didn’t come with the long-term intention to build something robust and beautiful. And though the decision to walk away gave me a profound sense of peace in my most sober moments, I’ve also been sobbing every day since I left him, replaying our conversations in my head, wondering if I sabotaged what could have been the greatest thing that ever happened to me, questioning whether I’d let my trauma get the better of me, and whether I walked away because I knew it wasn’t right or because I was too afraid to love. And yes, I’m still hoping he’ll text me.

  • You’re entire article, hit me where it counts. I’m trying to not invest in a stagnant friendship/relationship. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. But I know that it is right for me to do so. I have an abundant life I have things I enjoy doing I would just like a partner to do them with. I believe the right one is out there for me and I will find him when I’m supposed to. MJ

  • I’m struggling to slow down the intensity of my feelings in a new relationship, but we have been friends for over two decades and reconnected recently as we are both single now. We do know each other very well and have stayed in touch throughout the years so I’ve had a hard time applying your concept of not knowing them well yet. In fact, I think we are falling i for each other because we do know each other so well and have a new appreciation for those qualities after having grown and learned what we want from past relationships. We’ve both openly spoken about how we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves, but haven’t been very successful yet. Any tips to make sure we keep clear heads and not assume we know each other as well as we think?

  • Thanks Mathew, What if it is the woman acting like that? I surely want a casual relationship actually a friends with benefits kind of. But the men I get want commitment. I tend to behave like that to put them off but they end up returning.

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