Circumstances in love don’t always play out the way we want them to. Sometimes he has a girlfriend. Sometimes he’s leaving the country. Sometimes he’s just not interested.
Sometimes the problem isn’t getting a guy to like you, but rather getting yourself to stop liking him.
I’m not talking about exes here, either. I’m talking specifically about that guy in your life who — although you’ve never been together — won’t get out of your head.
No matter what the case is for you, you know one thing: You have to get over these feelings.
Here’s how to get over him:
1. Distance yourself.
The first and most important thing you can do is get distance. If he’s someone you’re frustrated about having feelings 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, that’s ideal. This also means not messaging him, texting him or bringing up discussions about him with friends.
It’s impossible to avoid him entirely, however. He’ll pop up eventually. In these instances, do your best to avoid him on a personal level. You can still chat about work, assignments, etc. when needed, but keep personal conversations off the table. Be polite, but engineer some emotional distance to help you get over him.
2. Accept your negative emotions.
Whatever you feel as you distance yourself, it’s OK to feel that.
When we let go of someone (even if it’s just a crush), it’s common to be struck with sadness, grief and other emotions that go hand-in-hand with loss. You’re human, it’s what happens.
What you can’t do is resist your emotions. When you focus on fighting them, you’re still focusing on them and giving them power. It’s a battle you can’t win.
Let them wash over you. Let yourself feel sadness, grief and even despair, if that’s what comes. Sooner or later, the storm will blow over.
3. Surround yourself with support.
There’s nothing more important than having good people around when you’re feeling down. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family. This will give you a secure base and the emotional support you need to pick you 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.
Make sure your friends know you don’t want to discuss that guy. They’re there to support you in your decision to let him go, not to make those memories drag on by questioning you about them.
4. Write a list of qualities you liked about him.
It might seem counterintuitive to write a list of things you liked about him, but I assure you, there is a method to this madness.
Write down the traits that attracted you to him. Instead of having them swimming around in your head, this written list will give you a hard copy. Once you list the traits, try your best to keep them out of your mind. Your mind won’t obsess over his good qualities if you’ve tucked them away for a rainy day.
Also, you now have the beginnings of a list of traits you like in a man. You can continue adding to it as you meet new people, giving yourself targeted traits to look for in a new romance.
5. Write an equal list of things you disliked about him.
This exercise is more difficult.
Create a list, equal in length to the previous one, consisting of traits you do not like about him. The important point here is the word “equal.”
You will find this hard, especially since you may not know him that well. However, you must persist. If you don’t, 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) to you that you didn’t care for and write them down. Do whatever it takes to make your list equal in length.
Once completed, this list will help you take off the rose-colored glasses. You’ll see that, while he had his good moments, he also had just as many flaws.
6. Focus on yourself.
There is no better time to turn the spotlight onto you than when you’re hurting in love. Fill your schedule with enriching activities. Have you always wanted to learn how to dance? Start taking classes. Have you been out of the gym for a while? Go back. Have you always wanted to learn a language? Download the first module.
Not only do these things take your attention off him, but they also help you grow in the meantime, helping you feel good about yourself and become a more fulfilled person.
As you focus on you, understand your mind will continue to fall back to him. This is normal. Each time it does, simply thank it and then remind yourself of his negative traits before turning your attention back to you.
7. Get back out there.
By now, your feelings for him will have significantly 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 with those people. 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.
And then, one day, as you continue to put yourself out there, you’ll turn around and realize 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’ve moved on. You’ll have stopped liking a guy with whom things just weren’t meant to be, and you’ll be ready for bigger and better things to take his place.