7 Psychological Tricks to Quickly Get Over Infatuation

Updated on September 6, 2018
hallucinogen profile image

As a neuroscientist, I am fascinated by infatuation; it's such a strong, mysterious phenomenon, yet is entirely scientifically-explainable.

Infatuation: A Dopamine Rollercoaster That Can Be Overcome!

Some of us are prone to falling into infatuation. We encounter someone "special" who we click with emotionally and spiritually, and we find ourselves falling for them in an infuriatingly intractable manner.

Infatuation, often referred to as limerance, is a wildly turbulent experience that subjects us to a plethora of positive and negative emotions. Mainly, it causes us to obsess over the object of our adoration and focus on their "heavenly" looks and traits. When we cannot be with this person, the infatuated state is agonizingly painful and must be overcome so that it does not impinge on all other aspects of our lives.

Due to the brain chemicals implicated in attraction (namely dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin), the experience of infatuation is very illusory and unstable. It feels enchanting one minute, and then horrendously depressive the next.

You can certainly free yourself from these feelings, but will need to be proactive in your recovery and resist the desire to constantly lament over this individual. The following list of steps will undoubtedly help you if you are infatuated with someone and looking to reclaim your life and happiness.

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1. Draw An Ugly Photo of Them

Infatuation may feel deliciously spiritual and like you've met your "soulmate", but the truth is much less whimsical; it is mainly driven by strong attraction. Regardless of your orientation/preference, the biological wiring and brain pathways are the same; we are drawn to people who are physically desirable to us.

Since you are thinking about this person a lot, it is likely that you have mentally turned them into a mysterious, beautiful demigod. It will be impossible to get over your feelings if you are constantly visualizing your crush as a stunningly attractive being.

You need to bring yourself back to reality by picturing them at their worst. If you have them on Facebook, draw an even more caricatured version of the least attractive photo that you can find on their profile. Think back to the time that you saw them after a heavy night out, or the time that they showed up to a party in a bizarre outfit with horrendously dyed hair, and sketch a little cartoon for yourself to look at.

This may seem immature and facetious, but it will help your brain rewire itself and picture them as someone 1. more real and 2. less desirable, both of which you want when you're caught up in an obsessive infatuation. This really works, and can put a fun spin on the healing process and reconnect you with your inner wit.

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2. The Game-Changer: Laugh At Their Flaws

When infatuated, we often romanticize absolutely everything about our crush. We rarely laugh at their negative traits/features; instead, we find poignant meaning and seriousness in everything they do and say. This is because, to the brain, there is not much difference between having a crush and having a partner. You are so smitten that your brain is operating as if you were with them.

It's possible to trick your brain out of this illusory, dopamine-charged circuit. If you can relate to the above, you will find this tip unbelievably useful: you must find humor in a lot of what your crush does, and think about them in an almost-cruel way. I can guarantee you that doing this regularly will help you break out of infatuation quickly.

I am not advocating any type of real-life bullying; it can all take place in your own head. When he posts a picture of himself going to the gym, instead of thinking "he is so physically fit, attractive and amazing", reject those thoughts and instead think "there Mr. Wannabe Fitness Boy goes again, unable to get over his own vanity... what a 2017 loser!". Laugh at how he probably took 300 selfies before choosing one to post. Smirk at the fact that he queues up in pro-health cafes to buy his overpriced vegetable juices. He's a normal, insecure human like you, not someone who should be worshipped.

If you find out that she's into partying, instead of admiring her wild streak and glamorizing her even more, turn her into a bit of a joke by thinking "she is a drunken mess, even worse than I was when I discovered alcohol at age 15.. how pitiful!". Think about how she probably drinks vodka and dances to 90s pop with her female friends, until one of them inevitably bursts into tears and ruins the evening. You get the drift!

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3. Give Them A Silly Nickname

Many psychologists advise against creating a mental "character" based on someone you're infatuated with, since it can perpetuate the obsession. However, it can be very useful to supplement the humor method (explained in my above tip) with a fittingly ridiculous nickname. Naturally, it must be based on real features or traits that they possess, as this will slightly alter the way that your brain perceives them and help you become less infatuated.

e.g. If you are obsessed with someone who happens to be from Mexico, start mentally referring to them as " The Burrito-Munching Fool". If you are smitten with a girl who is rather hippyish, think of her as "Buddhism-Appropriating White Girl". Of course, this trick can only be sustained with a suitable dose of humor and creativity, but will be very effective if employed correctly.

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4. Eat Carbohydrates/Sugary Foods

During infatuation, your brain's natural chemicals (neurotransmitters) are out of whack, resulting in an unhealthy level of obsession and fixation. It has been found that serotonin levels are particularly low in this state, mimicking those of an OCD sufferer.

To help yourself fixate less on this "delightful person" who you're convinced is the only thing worth living for, you need to increase your serotonin levels. This will help you leave behind the irrational elements of limerance (e.g. the depressing thoughts and the urge to check their social media 30 times a day).

One way to do this is to take 5HTP, a popular serotonin-precursor designed to promote good sleep and feelings of contentedness. However, many people do not like to take supplements.

An ideal way to naturally increase serotonin is to eat something sugary. Refined sugar can cause a "crash" on its own, so it should not be consumed regularly, but it will not harm you if eaten occasionally to help you through this rough life chapter. Ideally, wholesome carbohydrate-containing foods such as sweet potato, brown rice and lentils should be consumed on a daily basis to keep your blood sugar and serotonin levels optimal.

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5. Bring The Infatuation Back To Reality: Talk To Them

Infatuation is made much, much worse when you are not seeing and dealing with your crush in real life. It's very likely that you've created a fantasy version of this person, subconsciously embellishing all their positive traits and ignoring their negative ones. While my above tricks will work to rewire your brain and psychologically aid you in overcoming a tricky obsession, you also need to take some physical steps towards regaining control of your happiness.

You must try and engage with your crush in real life. This concept is supported by neuroscience; there is nothing like real-life exposure when it comes to getting over an infatuation, as it forms new brain pathways that are completely separate to the horribly obsessive ones that you've been cultivating for months.

You may feel that you've fallen intractably hard and that you're completely lost in this unrequited love affair, but you'd be surprised at how quickly you could get over this person if you shifted everything "back towards reality".

Dreaming about them in your room will only cause you to float further and further away from any semblance of truth, while interacting with them in person will effectively show you that they are a real person with flaws.

This may seem like cliché, generic advice, but it is given out by psychologists and counselors for a reason: it does work, and it takes away the pain quickly.

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6. Avoid Associating Them With Music/Partying/Deep Convos/Fun

When extremely infatuated, it is imperative that you try and have as many face-to-face conversations with them, while sober, in all sorts of moods - when you're bored, stressed, tired or irritated.

The common pitfall is to only engage with your "special person" while intoxicated at parties. This is no good, as your brain will only associate this person with frivolous, inebriated happiness and inhibition. It also means that you're much more likely to have deep, meaningful conversations with them, which won't help you get over them.

Therefore, you must learn to associate them with all of your different moods and feelings, most of which will be negative or neutral in your sober, day-to-day life. Remember, we always want this kept in reality! Life isn't all about deep, spiritual conversations, pretty outfits and strobe lights.

Socializing with your crush exclusively at night will not accurately reflect how you feel about them, or how they would contribute to your actual life. The trick is to make sure that you associate your crush with all of these lonely/sad/boring times, as this will lead to a more realistic judgment of them and, consequently, less obsession.

7. Accept That Most People Don't Get What They Want

When infatuated, it's very easy to believe that this person is "meant for you" and that life is doing you a huge injustice by not letting you be with them. This can take you down the path of thinking selfishly and believing that you deserve them and a mutual romantic connection, almost as if they were an object.

A harsh truth in life is that sometimes things feel inexplicably right for us but we have to kiss goodbye to the possibility of getting them. It doesn't matter how stunning this person looks or how captivating their mind is to you - your connection with them (if there even is one) clearly isn't turning into a relationship. You have to move on from this and start to live for yourself again, setting goals and keeping busy.

You may struggle to accept this and feel aggrieved, as if this pain is unique to you. Looking around, it might seem like everyone else is happily dating someone and you may jealously wonder if they feel this intensely, painfully and strongly about their partner. Worry not, because they probably don't (even if they once did); feelings of infatuation fizzle out quickly, and often they aren't there in the first place.

Some people don't look for infatuation and fall into relationships with people who simply make them feel comfortable. Perhaps they have felt limerance before and now know it never lasts, or perhaps they have never fallen passionately in love with someone before so couldn't even comprehend how you feel. Either way, they aren't living out your wildest dreams, so stop feeling envious and as if you're entitled to be with this person; it's not a human right to date someone who makes you feel this height of emotion.

So, next time you're filled with envy after seeing people content in their relationships, remember that they're not experiencing the crazy, titillating dopamine rush that you're experiencing. Most people aren't, because infatuation is rare, short-lived and illusory - let that console you a little.

Have you fallen into a magical, painful infatuation before?

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Questions & Answers

  • I need to delete the feelings for someone I don’t know. I don't like him. But I need to get over him. He wasn't my boyfriend, I just want to get over him and move on with my life. Its been like 5-6 months with my infatuation and I’m so emotionally tired. Help me, please. What should I do to forget him?

    Force yourself to make a list of goals that will better you as a person (socially/career-wise/fitness-wise). While it'll feel like unpaid, tedious work when you're infatuated, make yourself go about the motions of reaching those goals.

    This will quite literally rewire your brain and, in the next few months, you will reach a point where you no longer have to fake interest in these hobbies/goals. They will become genuinely interesting to you, and your feelings towards this guy will lessen and lessen until he no longer seems fascinating at all.

  • How do I confess my feelings in front of a girl?

    Confessing your feelings to someone can be daunting, especially if you're risking a friendship or uncertain that they feel the same way. I would recommend that you first try and gauge whether she likes you - if she holds eye contact, if she mimics your slang and body language and if she smiles when she looks at you, you have a chance. When it comes to actually confessing your feelings to her, I'd recommend keeping it as casual as possible, while also being meaningful. Don't make it seem like you're proposing to her, in case you get rejected, but also don't turn the whole situation into a joke out of nerves.

  • I have a boyfriend. I’ve been hanging out with his friends, and have developed an infatuation situation. I know I don’t love this person - I love my boyfriend with all my heart. Could my body be mistaking a great friendship as something more?

    It sounds like you are in a happy, committed relationship and truly in love with your boyfriend. However, you may still be infatuated. Take some time to be introspective and understand your situation - how do you feel towards this person? You say you might just be mistaking friendship for something more, but it’ll be obvious over time whether or not you are attracted to them. Is the idea of kissing them wrong and uncomfortable or would it feel right? Or, are you prone to latching onto new friends in the hope that you’ll be accepted into an exciting new social circle?

    Without these details and more information, I can’t tell you whether you’re simply enthused to have a new friend (and temporarily obsessed) OR you’re developing strong feelings for your boyfriend’s friend. Time will tell!

  • Can infatuation be worked through by having sex? I know this sounds a little extreme, but I really would like to know if it works.

    Yes, in theory, sex with someone else that you are attracted to could help you overcome infatuation more quickly.

  • I feel infatuated? What should I do? No texts, no phone calls, I want to move on with my life. Maybe he is married or he doesn't even remember me. And I need to get rid of these feelings as soon as possible. Help me with how to cope with this. Maybe it was love at first sight or I don't know what. But actually, I don't even like him. I refused him and he behaved like a total jerk. He said you are ugly and stupid.

    You can and will recover from this - you need to just keep on living, embracing real life and distracting yourself from thoughts about him. Every time your thoughts wander towards thinking things like "if only i was his girlfriend..", FORCE yourself to do something else. This, and time, will help you.

© 2017 Lucy

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    • hallucinogen profile imageAUTHOR

      Lucy 

      3 weeks ago from Leeds, UK

      @Mags Unfortunately, starting a platonic relationship with someone that you are infatuated with is impossible. You can remain civil, if that's what you mean by a "friendship", but I don't think that is what you truly want. You, like everyone else who is currently infatuated with someone, want to be part of his life in any way that you possibly can. If you choose to be his friend, unless you're both diligent with boundaries (next to impossible), you'll just end up getting to know each other in detail as if you were in the early stages of a relationship.

      You are correct in thinking that this behaviour is wrong and unfair to his wife, but it doesn't make either of you entirely bad people. We are animals driven by our brains that possess some very primitive, reptilian components. It is unfortunately common for married people (like him) to find a spark in someone new and become temporarily infatuated. After all, a long-term relationship is loving but no longer "exciting" like new romance. The truth is that it is very rarely worth ruining a healthy marriage in this way, and that infatuations are ephemeral by nature.

      Having said that, how you deal with this situation is down to you two. If you truly think that you have a deep emotional connection and that he is on the same page as you, talk to him.. life is short. It might be that he is unhappy in his marriage for other reasons than it just being a bit dull - maybe he is already looking to leave his wife.

      However, I think that you are right in thinking that you should nip this in the bud and stop getting to know him. I wanted to dance around the above point not to give you false hope and steer you towards a bad decision, but to highlight that life isn't black and white. You're not completely irrational to want to take this further, despite infatuation being short-lived and illusory. Who knows, maybe there IS a real connection there that would outlive the initial buzz of falling in love.

      What I can tell you is that you WILL be okay if you end this connection. The throes of this infatuation will pass if you commit to closure/mutually decide to cut this off. You will mourn him and feel like you're missing out on a life chapter so spiritually-aligned with your destiny, but you need to let yourself experience those thoughts knowing that they are ILLUSORY.

      Our brain has evolved in this way to confer us with a biological advantage: guaranteed survival of the human species. It spins up a little story for us with the help of potent neurotransmitters, tricking us into thinking that we need to grab onto this new, exciting person like our life depends on it.. just so that we reproduce. After the child has been born/grown up a little, nature no longer cares if the parents stick together, which explains why infatuation fades.

      Good luck. I truly feel for you - it's agonising to let go of an "almost relationship", but this too shall pass.

    • profile image

      Mags 

      3 weeks ago

      I have worked next to a man for months that I connected with immediately. He is smart, funny, fun, interesting, he is a leader in the community and owns a business as well as leads worship at the church. He has introduced me to his wife and I have visited them at church even. One day as we were working something shifted. The conversation became more flirtatious....I invited him to come along with some other co-workers to grab a beer after we were done and he said yes but then said he forgot about something and had to jet but would love to grab a beer later in the week. We ended up meeting that following Wed at a restaurant, we had 2 drinks and some food and he paid. It seemed innocent enough...we laughed a lot, we had good conversation....but I found myself wanting to talk to him more and see him again. A week later we met again at another place for round 2. He mentioned wanting to sit next to me in a booth and I played it off and laughed and said that would be awkward. We got a margarita (one of the big ones) and drank out of the same glass with 2 straws...it was like I was a teenager again I haven't felt this giddy over someone since I was young. Something really sparked that night. We laughed, talked, enjoyed some drinks, then he grabbed my hand...not holding hands just would grab it to make contact...then let go. After walking out to the car we gave each other a small kind of half way peck on the cheek but a little on the lips....anyways it was cute, and we agreed to meet again soon. That Friday, I was on the way to a movie alone (which I typically do) and I couldn't stop thinking of him. I asked him to come. He did. We sat so close to each other, held hands and cuddled, never kissed, but came so close a few times. I know this is wrong. I know this is bad and hurts his wife. But i can't stop. I think about him every day, all day, and he says the same thing about me. He has everything I want in a partner but 2 things...he is married and has no children. (I'm divorced and have 4 children which is why I really don't want to date anyone). It's hard at 37 to find connections. I was certain that after my divorce I would never love again. I didn't want to. This sneaked up on us. I don't think he will leave his wife and I wouldn't want him to, not for me. I have a feeling something is missing in his marriage but I can't be the filler for that. I am getting more infatuated every day and the thought that this could be over any day makes me want it more. I wish I knew how to get through this. It seems clear that I should just cut it off but I can't bring myself to do it. How do I break it off but still remain friends? Is that possible?

    • hallucinogen profile imageAUTHOR

      Lucy 

      2 months ago from Leeds, UK

      He certainly could be, or you might be viewing him through the rosy-tinted lenses of infatuation and warping reality. It is also possible that he finds you attractive but is not truly "infatuated" - so, he flirts back, but doesn't feel any emotional pull towards you.

    • profile image

      Inpain 

      2 months ago

      what if this person, who I'm infatuated with is reciprocating. When I see him, in my building at work, he looks deep into my eye and smiles for a lot longer than normal, sometimes he even says Hi how are you. Every time this happens I get a racing heart, and almost like panic attack symptoms?? I think about him all the time for days at a time, imagining things.....and then it happens again, I see him, he looks at me, and the cycle starts again. I find this painful and too difficult to talk to him, he hold a very high level position (not in my department) where I work but we are both married :( . Do you think he could also be infatuated with me? We really haven't had a conversation except for one time a brief chat when we first met...this has been going on for 2 years and its driving me crazy

    • profile image

      Anonymous 

      2 months ago

      I can't stop thinking about him. I think about him when I wake up, when I go to bed and every other waking second. It's starting to affect my daily life. I also work with him although I don't have a regular interaction with him. The funny thing is I don't even know him enough but I like him more than I should. What should I do?

    • hallucinogen profile imageAUTHOR

      Lucy 

      4 months ago from Leeds, UK

      Infatuation is such a real, powerful phenomenon! Thanks so much for commenting and reading :)

    • Camille Harris profile image

      Camille Harris 

      4 months ago from SF Bay Area

      This is so real. Apparently real for most others, too, judging by the 96% who voted "yes" in your poll! I was infatuated (borderline obsessed, sadly) with someone a few years ago. It took me nearly a year to get over them when we only dated a couple months. I wish I would've read your article back then - could've saved me a lot of heartache! Bookmarking for next time :-D

    • profile image

      paankaj sonawane 

      15 months ago

      this is true i got attracted to model actress searched her on internet i saw her photo she looked so ugly in that photo that moment itself my attraction faded with her completely

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 

      15 months ago

      Lucy, Thanks for the explanation!

      I guess you're talking about being in the "friend zone" but wanting more or possibly having a crush on someone who doesn't even know you exist. People need help with both scenarios!

      Maintaining an unrequited love/obsession for someone keeps a person from living their life to the fullest.

      It may also SCARE the object of their affection should they ever learn about the obsession. No one wants to be labeled creepy, a stalker, or a fatal attraction. :)

      In order for him/her to be "the one" they would have to see (you) as being "the one". At the very least a "soulmate" is someone who actually wants to be with you! (And vice versa)

    • hallucinogen profile imageAUTHOR

      Lucy 

      15 months ago from Leeds, UK

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, @dashingscorpio ! I completely agree with you on the idea that the infatuation stage of a relationship is amazing and does not need to be cut short. However, this hub isn't addressing the beginnings of a romantic relationship - it is addressing unrequited love/obsession.

      I am using the word "infatuation" to refer to a long-lasting, deep, painful crush on someone that you *cannot* be in a relationship with. It is the most painful thing to be convinced that you adore someone, yet not be able to express it to them or act on it. I hope this explains why I've come up with tips to aid someone in "getting over" these strong feelings, as it IS necessary to move forward and think pragmatically when obsessed with someone who does not feel the same way! :)

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 

      15 months ago

      Actually I believe people are more interested in finding ways to keep the infatuation phase or "magic" alive!

      Those first 12 weeks of a {new relationship} are often the times people hold onto in hopes it will return once they get past any issues they're experiencing now.

      It was a time where laughter came easily, conversations flowed, they made each other happiness their top priority, the word "no" was seldom if ever used because neither person wanted to "blow it" with the other, cards and token gifts were given "just because" and sex was off the charts! People love (falling in love).

      Very few people would want to fast forward past that time.

      It's almost a cliché to hear someone say:

      "He/she is not the same person I fell in love with!"

      Essentially they want to {go back} to that infatuation phase!

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