How to Stop Obsessing Over Someone You Want

Have you ever created an entire relationship in your head before going on a date with someone?

Unfortunately, living in our heads in this way can turn into obsessing, and render us incapable of feeling excited about anything other than seeing or hearing from that person. In other words, they occupy a space in our minds they’ve not yet earned!

In this week’s new video, I share with you the mindsets that can both help and hurt you in dating, as well as the best way to determine if you and this person could actually work out.

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This video is for anyone who gets too caught up on someone, too obsessed, too worked up about the potential of something too quickly. This is such an important video. It’s such a common thing. I am sure like me, you have had times in your past or present when you have done this, and it really is poison to our love lives if we want to find something real and meaningful.

I also want to let everyone know that from the 11th to the 13th, we have our final Virtual Retreat of the year. This is it. This is the moment. Three days of immersive coaching with me live. No, it’s not a love life retreat. It doesn’t matter if you’re single or in a relationship, it’s a life retreat. It doesn’t matter if you’re a woman or a man, everyone can come. It’s for anybody who wants to make 2023 their greatest year ever. Not just for results or success, but for happiness and peace, and confidence. It’s going to be an incredible time. Do not miss this opportunity. This is the last call. Go to to get your ticket. Onto the video.

So many of you know I have a club, the Love Life Club, where every month I answer questions live, do coaching with people in this exclusive group. And this month, one of my members came forward to ask me a question about a guy she had been obsessing over. She started with this, “Have you seen West Side Story?” And I went, Ooh, tell me more. Knife fights, homoerotic police officers, dancing. I was waiting for some drama, baby. But the drama never came. Turns out this was a gentleman with whom she had exchanged some looks at the gym. It didn’t go much further than that. There wasn’t some big ending to the story, but in these looks that she had exchanged with someone, looks that she said carried that sense of flirtation and attraction, not just from her side, but from his, she had built an entire world.

She had asked the receptionist for his name because she didn’t want to ask him or talk to him. So she went to the receptionist at the gym and said, “What’s that guy’s name?” And she ended up getting his full name, and then using that name to go and find out all about who this person was. She even asked a friend of hers who happened to grow up in the same area as him if she knew him. And that friend happened to know him and then gave her lots and lots of information about him. So by the time she was finished with all of this research, she actually knew quite a lot about this guy’s life, his family, where he grew up, the kind of person that he was by somebody else’s account. And I said, “Well, so what is it you want?” She said, “Well, I want to ask him out and I have this whole plan.”

So then she revealed her whole master plan for how she was going to ask him out. And I’m going to time it so that he’s leaving his class at the same time that I’m going into mine. And when I catch him in that moment, I’m going to talk to him about the weekend. And then based on that, I’m going to … And she even had a plan for if he said no or if he said he had a girlfriend, how to give herself a soft landing where it didn’t look like she was asking him out romantically but just as friends. The amount of time and energy that she had spent on this guy was astounding.

This is albeit a story that will make some people go, “Wow, that’s a lot” a very common story. All of us to differing degrees have our version of this. We see someone we like, and it might be someone we see regularly, and therefore have time to consistently build up a story around, or someone we see once in a coffee shop and for that 10 minutes that we see them in the coffee shop, we are thinking about them and the kind of person they are, and what it might be like to talk to them, and where it could go. And all of this thought becomes incredibly unproductive, incredibly quickly because instead of engaging and participating in real life, it has us all of a sudden engaging in an idea of life, a future projection, a hope, a fantasy, a dream of what it could be.

The interesting part was when she found out information on this guy, there wasn’t just a dream element to it. She also heard things she didn’t like. She heard things that she thought might be cause for concern in the future. And so now she’s also future projecting all of those things again. The whole time, she’s never actually been on a date with the person. It’s just thought on thought on thought. I respect the fact that we may in some cases want to do a little bit of homework on someone from the point of view of feeling comfortable about who they are, they’re not in a relationship and that we like the kind of person they present themself as online. To me that is akin to seeing a teaser trailer for a movie and going, “Okay, I’m in. I want to see that movie.”

It’s a different thing when you see the teaser trailer, you start to get excited about the movie and then you go, I’m now going to do every bit of research possible. You know what? Let’s take a look at the reviews. “Jane, have you seen this movie?” You start exploring online all of the different media about the movie. “They had an offscreen romance. He said what on Twitter. I’ve got to find out more.” That is too much. And the more we obsess, the more we think about someone, firstly, the further we deviate from reality.

And secondly, the more we build everything up. So now we have more fear by the time we speak to them because it’s already become this epic drama in our mind with this perfect stranger in the gym. We set ourselves up for more heartbreak. How is it that I could possibly get any form of pain emotionally in any deep sense from someone that I literally haven’t ever been on a date with? Well, it can feel like heartbreak if you’ve had a relationship with them in your mind.

And number three, you are liable to waste an incredible amount of time. This is all time and energy spent on somebody. There are mindsets in love that help people find love quickly or much more quickly. And there are mindsets that derail people constantly and make it hard for them to ever find love. One of the mindsets that makes it hard for people to find love is when instead of going and finding out if someone is available, instead of going to find out if someone might like them enough to go on a date, or has enough chemistry or attraction with them to go on a date. Instead of actually learning what they have with someone, they ruminate about that person, they obsess over that person, they stalk that person online, they go down the rabbit hole of who they are and how good we could be together and how compatible are we? What kind of person are they? They go down that fantasy and all of that is wasted time.

The productive mindset, the good mindset for finding love is to say, “I’m not going to waste my time fantasizing about someone. I’m going to go find out. If I think they’re intriguing, if I just exchanged a fun flirty look with someone in the coffee shop, in the gym, in the bookshop, at my local club, whatever, I’m going to go over and say something.” It doesn’t have to be as extreme as I’m going to go straight over and ask them out, but I’m going to just get my feet wet. This is like going in through the shallow end of the pool. I’m just going to go and get my feet wet. I’m going to participate in a real way in the exchange and see what it is. It might be after months of engaging in her mind in this way with the guy, it might be that she speaks to him and says, “Hey, do you want to do something sometime?” And he says, “I have a girlfriend.”

And you realize, oh my God, months, months of thinking, months of West Side Story, months of playing out this movie that never even existed, only to find out he’s in a relationship, or he is not interested, or he is leaving town next week forever. The people that get results, the people that find love faster are the people that actually go find out in real life instead of asking questions in their mind. And that means being this like stream of water that’s just flowing. You can’t be stopped. I’m just going to go find out. If I hit a rock, someone says no to me, someone says, “Oh, I’m not available.” Someone says “I’m not really interested” then we just flow around that rock and we keep going. What we don’t do is stop the stream altogether and just sit there and go, “We’re just going to chill here for a few months and fantasize.”

That is a recipe for wasted time. And your heart can repair itself. Getting a no, getting a rejection, getting your heart broken, the heart can repair, people get their heart back. The thing they never get back is their time. That is the thing that you will never ever have returned to you. So all of that time fantasizing is wasting the most precious resource you will ever have. And if you want to find love faster, you have to be willing to discard the wrong people quicker. And that means going and finding out in real life. Now, that may be disappointing to actually find out what you might have with someone, to actually find out where it could go or won’t go can be very, very disappointing.

The person who is working with me in my writing said to me, “Matthew, you have to remember. Anytime you’re afraid to put words on the page, anytime you have writer’s block, you have to remember that what this perfect book you have in your mind is never going to be as perfect on the page.” You’re going to write and it’s going to feel like a poor representation of what you had up here. But the only way to get it close to what you have up here is to work it, to write and edit and go through the painstaking process. But at the end of it, you actually have a book. And that book is worth far more than any idea you have in your head. And this is what I want to boil it down to right now, because there are people in life who would rather have a relationship with the fantasy than be a participant in real life.

And the reason that we are reluctant to be a participant in real life is one, because we’re afraid. And ironically, the more we build something up, the more afraid we become. It’s actually we can be less afraid when we don’t build it up. When I just say, “Oh, there’s an attractive stranger. I’ll say something to them and just see what happens. They’re nothing to me right now. They’re nobody to me. I don’t know them. I haven’t thought about it very much.” That’s the best time to say hi before you’ve done the whole

dance in your head that suddenly turns it into, “I’m no longer walking in through the shallow end of the pool. Now I’ve gone straight to the deep end of the pool and I’ve created this high dive that I’ve got jump off of to talk to this person.” And the more you build it up in your head, the greater the collision with reality when you engage with it.

And it’s easier for me to wrap myself up in the blanket of the dream, in the blanket of the fantasy and just enjoy that for a bit longer before I go and douse those flames with a cold, hard bucket of reality. And that’s the thing. When I thought about this woman’s story, I thought she had a moment where she could have gone to talk to him, but instead she chose to talk to the receptionist and find out his name. That is avoidance. And every time you dig a little deeper on someone, and you look them up online, and you go down all of their pictures, and now all of their tagged pictures, and you find out more about them and so on, instead of engaging with that person, it’s always just a nod in the direction of avoidance, of fantasy instead of participating in real life because real life is scarier. Real life might come with a no. Real life might come with a disappointment.

So there’s that fear, and I think that the close cousin to that fear is a kind of disappointment in some way with real life, or a reluctance to engage with life on its terms, reluctant to be present with life. There’s some similarity between it and the person who jumps out of every relationship after six months, because every relationship never lives up to this romantic ideal they have in their head. It sort of becomes an insult to people who are married for decades and weather the storms together and go through difficult periods, and come to make peace with each other’s flaws, and they get through the hard times and the arguments, but they come out stronger. They come out these sort of war wounded veterans who love each other so much and have this badge of honor in their marriage to show for it because they’ve been through all of that. They didn’t bail.

And there are people that just always bail the moment it’s not perfect because they’d rather live with the idea of this perfect relationship in their head than participate in life on its terms. Sculpt a relationship the way that a great book is sculpted by shitty paragraphs and average writing that we work on and we make better and better by doing it. There are no points in life for winning in the fantasy world. But if we can be an active participant in life, if we can see someone and rather than live with the idea of what it could be with that person, we can go and get a yes or a no and then proceed or move on accordingly. If we can do that, then life will be kind to us in bringing us love faster. But if we stall because we become addicted to the fantasy, then we are liable to be condemned to that fantasy, to become a prisoner to it for the rest of our lives.

So here’s the crux of this video. Stop guessing, stop assuming, stop fantasizing, stop future projecting and give yourself a new motto. Go find out. If you want to know if someone could be someone in your life, go find out. If you want to know if they’re attracted to you, go find out. If you want to know whether you could have a date with them, go find out. End the fantasy. Participate in real life. The results when you get them will be real.

Now this video is about the mindsets that hurt us and the mindsets that help us. This is about so much more. When people come to me, they come to me usually about a person. What do I do with this person? But we are the person that we take to every situation. The person that you’re currently talking about may or may not be a feature of your life in six months time, but you still will be. And the mindsets that you have will either help you achieve everything you want or they will consistently sabotage you. So this is about the operating system that we have in place, and most of us go through our whole lives without ever questioning our operating system and upgrading it so that we can get better results in life or be happier.

I said to you earlier in this video, the Virtual Retreat is coming up. I said to you it was the final call, well this is me saying one last time, if you haven’t already, come and join us and upgrade this operating system that is shaping every experience you have of this life, good or bad. What could be more important than investing in it? is the link. Thank you for watching the video. Don’t forget to like, subscribe, hit the notification bell so that you get notified of the next one. Leave me a comment and I’ll read them today and I’ll see you next time. Thanks everyone.

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6 Replies to “How to Stop Obsessing Over Someone You Want”

  • Really insightful. It is hard to realize the time spent in our head. Is there a sweet spot where you leave the door open while in engaging in other relationships? I find that when I give myself an ultimatum it makes me focus on the person even more.

  • Gold as always. Thanks Matthew. I am curious as to whether there is any point in your opinion when you can fantasise? I tried to stop doing that and I think the guy I am seeing felt I wasn’t as invested in it because it came across as I didn’t care about the relationship. He had been analysing it, a lot to the point when he wasn’t in the moment.

    But i also want to thank you. He says I am teaching him to be in the moment more, considering earlier in the year I was obsessing in the way you talk about in this video about a guy on a dating site I hadn’t even met. You’re advice has been so helpful this year and i can see a lot of growth in how i approach dating. So thank you. :)

  • What an amazing call to freedom from unnecessary, confusing and damaging self-induced heart break — unrequited love — but it’s only in my head.

    This is one of the most valuable, insightful, well-expressed messages I have ever seen on love and dating. This message is so on point with situations like this that we allow to happen in our lives. Thank you, Matthew

  • This video comes just in time.

    A couple of months ago, I joined a classical choir for social reasons in my new country, Germany.

    The accompanist (piano) rocked up on Saturday for an all day workshop. I had a chat with him and we were late back to rehearsal, after being called back in. Made a joke that it is OK to be late if you’re chatting to the guy doing the accompanying, as rehearsal doesn’t start back until he is there. He laughed.

    I signed off saying I’d see him at our concert in four weeks. He said he was doing our rehearsal for the next 4 weeks.

    Normally, I’d be obsessing about details & digging for info in the background; tomorrow night I’ll go in looking fresh, and find a way to bump into him before or after rehearsal and have another little chat.

    I’ll be trying my best not to make bad jokes in a language I’m learning about massive Organs. He plays that too. No idea of his name yet, but I will ask him if I catch him.

  • Wow…. heartfelt thanks. This was stunning simplicity and cuts through all of the mind games we sometimes play with ourselves. ‘Go find out’ is now my motto.

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