“How can I stop addictive thoughts about someone who’s wrong for me?”
When we really like someone but know there are signs of problems, we’ll often overvalue them for their charisma and charm . . . and set ourselves up for massive future heartbreak.
If you find yourself getting fixated on someone too quickly—trying to make them fit into a relationship based on who they could be—then watch this week’s video (taken from my Live Retreat) to figure out when someone is truly worthy of your investment.
QUESTION FROM THE AUDIENCE
“How can you stop the addictive thoughts about a man who’s not right for you?”
Firstly, we have to ask ourselves: “Where are these addictive thoughts coming from?”
If he’s not right for you and you’ve truly accepted that, then why the addictive thoughts?
What this person is really asking is, “Logically, I know he’s not right for me, but emotionally, that’s not become a truth for me.”
And if you want to understand on an emotional level, it’s incredible what happens to us as human beings when we start to like someone. We decide so quickly how wonderful they’d be for us, and then based on that fantasy, we start having these addictive thoughts.
This has nothing to do with reality. Nothing. And to be self-referential about this, the one thing I know is I may have a lot of thoughts about someone I have a crush on—someone I want to talk to and ask out—and there might be an addictive quality to wanting to ask them out. But once someone says “yes” or “no,” if they are not interested, my interest stops there. It’s no longer interesting to me if that person’s not interested . . .
If I go on a date or two (or three) with someone and then they ghost me, but I really liked them, it may be upsetting, but after that, if this person isn’t interested, this is not attractive to me.
And we have to assess the part of ourselves that is somehow doing this mental gymnastics where someone who’s not actually paying attention to us, we’ve still somehow made right for us. Someone who’s not giving us what we need is somehow still right for us. That, to me, is like a lack of acceptance of what you actually need.
Because, look, I’ve had crushes on people who, for whatever reason, couldn’t give me what I wanted. They might have been super sexy, they may have had this way about them—sometimes it’s the way someone moves, it’s the way they smile, it’s their charm, it’s their charisma, it’s something. But even then, someone can have all of those things, and if they don’t have the part that is: “I want to really go for it with you. I want to have a great relationship with you. I want to pursue something and that’s what I want,” I’m not under any illusion that there’s anything that exciting about this person. They might still be sexy to me. I might not be able to kill that part immediately, because they might still be super-sexy, but I’m not holding on to these addictive thoughts about what they could be, because they’ve literally shown me they can’t be that.
So that addictive thought comes from, firstly, a massive overvaluation of what someone is bringing to the table, because then you literally have to make shit up to fantasize about them that much. You have to concoct an idea of how great you’d be together that doesn’t exist.
Like, what? Because you’re attracted to them and you had a good night? Because you had a good connection? That means what? I’ve experienced enough people in life . . . not just women, men, too . . . whom I’ve had a great time with. They’ve been fun people. I’ve developed quick friendships with them. I’m like, “This is a really cool guy. I like this guy a lot. Super charming.”
There are some people who can charm you so quickly. And you’re just like, “This person is so great to be around.” And then you realize this person’s a nightmare.
Have you experienced that? Hands up if you’ve experienced that.
So is the charming part really that compelling? It’s not. I grew out of that because I’ve had enough experiences of super-charming people that I definitely don’t want to be like in life. Frankly, I’d rather be more underwhelming at first and allow people to know me and know what I’m all about and bring real value than be Mr. Charming in the first minute of meeting me then you learn very quickly that that’s all I’ve got to offer.
Of course, we’ll work on both, because why not? That’s what my whole Impact program is about. It’s another tool in your belt. But I don’t overvalue people’s initial charm anymore. Or my initial connection with someone. Because I have learned I can have an incredible time with someone who is terrible for my life, right? And many of you have experienced the same thing.
But to me, maturing is realizing that was an incredible time, but it was not and is not an incredible investment. There’s a big difference between those things. So the addictive thoughts are based on this very narrow perception of someone, and all you have to do is extrapolate that out.
A friend of mine just texted me yesterday. She’s a very well-known person, and the man she’s with basically had an issue with her and her career and didn’t want to be with her because of that. He was telling her, “I just can’t be all in,” and she broke it off because he said that. And now, this week, she’s questioning: “I feel like I need more information. I need to talk to him more.”
I said, “You can talk to him more, but when someone’s literally telling you, ‘I can’t be all in,’ where does this go? Where does this go but more of that? More of the thing that made you break up with this person in the first place?”
We have these addictive thoughts because we allow our minds to play tricks and we don’t allow ourselves to think of the reality of someone. Do you really want to get obsessed with someone because they’re super-charming or because you think you have a great connection with that person? If you have a great connection with them, let the relationship prove it out.
You don’t get to decide on your own: “We would have something really special together if only you could come around . . .”
What?! There are two people in that equation. The number of people every week who come up to me and have decided on their own . . . they’re matchmaking themselves. It’s like when people are obsessed with matchmaking other people. People assume I must be like that, but I’ve got no interest whatsoever in matchmaking people. The idea of it bores me to death.
But some people are just like, “I love matchmaking people.” Some of them will go, “Oh, I think this person would be great with this person,” and they’re all about pairing up.
So this situation is like saying about yourself, “I would go great with this person and they would go great with me. So why can’t they just realize it?” That’s not a unilateral decision. That’s for two people to decide.
So the addictive thoughts are based on fantasy, not on reality. It’s far better to route your thoughts toward what’s really going on instead of an idea you’ve created in your mind, but I know that’s not always easy.
Sometimes we’re in a relationship with someone where we could be expecting to hear from them all day, and excited to hear from them all day. When they send a text, they could have not been thinking about us the entire day, and then in a bored moment, they send us a message saying, “Miss you.”
Now, that’s their reality. Our reality could be: “I’ve been excited to hear from this person all day. When I get a message saying, ‘Miss you,’ it confirms all of this story. I want to believe that this person has been thinking about me and that we have something.”
So that’s where it gets confusing, doesn’t it? Because you could easily construct a story in your mind, which is why you have to base what you do on the average of people’s actions: “How does this relationship really make me feel? Do I really feel like this relationship has the level of communication and connection I really want? Does it have that? Can I really get the amount of quality time I want with this person?”
We have to look at the average of this dynamic and see if it meets our needs.
The book Attached talks about three different attachment styles: anxious, avoidant, and secure. And I disagree and agree with the book at the same time. The book makes a case that whatever you are is what you are. So if you’re an anxious—you’re constantly needing to be reassured—that’s what you are, and you should find someone who’s willing to constantly reassure you.
Now, I happen to be halfway on that scale. I think that we are different, and that there are certain things about us . . . I know that I was brought up in a family where we’re big on affection. We’re big on closeness, we’re big on depth, and I’m in that sense, I’m a little needy.
Like, I want to be close to someone. I like affection. I don’t want to be in a relationship where I’m constantly away from someone. At this stage in my life, I know the kind of relationship I would like to be in and the kind of attention I would like to receive and give.
That being said, I don’t think it’s someone else’s responsibility to make us feel okay. That’s OUR job, and we shouldn’t use what we believe is our default attachment style to burden someone else and say, “I am this and you have to always make me feel that.” I think that’s a dangerous place to go.
But I think there’s truth in both: We have to work on ourselves at the same time as understanding that there are certain core needs that vary between us. And I should look for someone who leans in the direction of the kind of affection, attention, closeness, and connection I gravitate toward.
But these addictive thoughts about someone who’s not right for you . . . how are they any different from having addictive thoughts about a drug?
Is anyone in this room gonna argue that cocaine is a positive thing for people’s lives? But what happens with that? People get addicted to those thoughts with it. No one’s logically going, “It would be a good thing for my life if I took that up again,” right? But we can still have addictive thoughts about it.
And so part of it is just recognizing that when something feels good in a moment—when it gives us a hit of dopamine—that does become an addiction. It’s no different from social media. You have addictive thoughts about Facebook, you have addictive thoughts about Instagram. That’s why we go to these things like they’re crack now. Now we think, “Where’s my phone? I haven’t checked it in 20 minutes. I wonder if I’ve got any new likes on my photo.” You think those aren’t addictive thoughts? That’s addictive thinking.
So this isn’t just people; we do this with everything. Whatever is going to give us that hit of dopamine is going to take us back there. And of course, the only guy you’ve been talking to in the last six months or a year or five years that you’ve had a connection with, who when you talk to is kind of fun and sexy and exciting, gives you a rush of dopamine.
Oxytocin makes us feel something, and that drug is literally a chemical release, so we crave it. But we have to start seeing it the same way we see other drugs in our lives. I don’t have to convince you that those drugs are bad for you, do I?
And yet I spend half my time on stage convincing you that going back to a certain guy is bad for you. We somehow put that in a different category.
But if your experience of a man is that you go there, you get your heart broken every time, he constantly drops in and out of your life, it’s never consistent, it’s not stable, and this person can’t even tell you, “Yes, I really want to be with you and stick to it” . . . not to mention, your feeling of this is: constant high, hangover, high, hangover, high, hangover . . . then why am I having to convince you that this person is a bad drug for you?
It always seems like a fun idea in the moment, doesn’t it? Especially when you’ve had a couple of drinks. It’s no different, is it? It’s another drug.
I hope you enjoyed that clip. Now, it might be that you watch these clips from me because you’re currently asking yourself how to make your dating life easier. You’re struggling with seeing someone and it’s not going anywhere, you’re never meeting anyone to even get to the point of seeing someone, or you’ve just come out of a relationship and you’re trying to heal.
Regardless, what you really want deep down is love in your life. But dating today is a minefield, which is why I want to help you escape all of it and just get to the part where you actually find the love you really want in your life, because that need is not going away for us.
I have put together a one-hour free training called Dating With Results that shows you a roadmap for getting rapid progress in your love life so you can finally meet your person. All you have to do to watch it is go over to datingwithresults.com. Like I said, it’s free. All it costs is a little bit of your time, but it will save you years of your life. I’ll see you over there.