Big Wild Love: Let Go For It®: How Can I Stop Obsessing Over a New Love Interest?

Hi Jill,

I have put myself in quite a spot lately. and am wondering what kind of tools you have in your arsenal to combat obsessing.

I met a great new someone at a dinner party just before New Year’s and we hit it off famously and were nearly inseparable until the middle of this month when, after losing an important family member and suffering two bouts of the flu, I put myself on (the wrong) birth control pill and had a pretty messy/ugly meltdown in front of new guy. He very politely pushed me away as a result. I figured out it was the pill that upset my emotions and stopped taking it immediately and tried to explain, but I fear the damage was already done with the guy.

Spending the week feeling shame and regret from being a hormonal grieving female is one thing, but there was so much good stuff in the first two months that going from 60-0 is ruining me. I have meditated out my wazoo and reached out to friends, but I’m still heartbroken and regretful and don’t know how to disengage from social media or stop checking my phone for a missed call. Trying to leave space and let it go.

How can I do this and stop obsessing over why/how everything transpired and stop obsessing over what his story about it all might be? And stop checking social media (what a silly digital world we have these days, it is just awful!)? I have so many bigger fish to fry, including a big presentation to prepare for at work and creative side hustle and community that requires a lot of my time. Any advice you are willing to give I’d be so grateful.

Thanks,
Obsessed in Ohio

Dear Obsessed:

First of all, I’m so sorry for all of your losses and illnesses over the past few months. Goodness. That’s a lot to have to deal with. I hope you get a much-deserved break… from these things, and from what you’re going through with this guy.

So let’s talk about him. Boy oh boy, as a woman who’s spent decades of her life dating, I sure do know where you are. I’ve been there so many times and it sucks. Big. Although, I must say, you’re quite eloquent in your note about it – such beautiful writing! (Sorry, can’t let that pass by without praise!)

Okay, so here’s what I’ve got, first a few things to think about (that you didn’t ask for, but I can’t help myself!!! 😊)

  • Do you ever wonder why people come into our lives? Maybe they’re supposed to teach us something? Or why they leave – sometimes so abruptly? Maybe they’ve done their work and it’s time? Maybe the universe, which is always working on your behalf by the way, even if you don’t realize it, is trying to spare you from something? Maybe he was supposed to be a reminder that feeling love again is possible? Maybe if you kept going with this guy, you’d find out he was something awful, except then you’d be, say, two years in and not two months in? Who knows? Just some stuff to think about it.
  • Have you considered that maybe he’s not the person YOU want? In my opinion, his response to your “messy/ugly meltdown” seems to be rather cruel. Not that you should feel a LICK of shame for your meltdown (you didn’t do anything shameful, so please let that go, sounds like you were just having a human moment and hormone shit is out of our control, I get it), but feels kind of cruel of him to give you something else to grieve in this moment. I could understand, maybe, if you didn’t apologize or acknowledge your actions as perhaps inappropriate, but you did. You showed him something about who you are in relationship – not perfect (who is?), but open and considerate and not afraid to acknowledge your mistakes or say you’re sorry. You know, I once dated this guy (can’t even remember his name, dear lord), but we were hanging out for a few months when I think I said something he didn’t like. I don’t remember clearly, BUT what I do remember is him taking off and my best friend telling me this, when I was obsessing: “If it’s that fragile, is it really worth it?” Good question. I never forgot it.
  • He’s giving you important information about who he is in relationship, so pay attention. Wouldn’t it have been nice for him, when you explained the meltdown, at that point, to sure, share his feelings/thoughts and then put his arms around you and say, “It’s okay, I’m sorry you’re struggling.” And mean it. Some men would do that, you know? Maybe you need one of them? Rather than obsessing over why he’s not calling, consider that maybe HE didn’t behave appropriately enough for YOU. After all, relationships are sometimes hard and complicated. Yeah, he had some good stuff in the first two months, but he is, again, showing you something about himself. Is what you’re seeing in him what you want from a life partner?

These are just some initial thoughts. Keep in mind, too, that some men are just intimidated by strong, thoughtful women. They prefer to be with someone less layered and that’s okay. Better to find out sooner versus later.

In these situations, Obsessed, it’s rarely if ever about you or who you are or what you’ve done. So, don’t take it personally, even though it feels supremely personal. It’s always about the other person. And even though you may have behaved in a way that you’re not so proud of, it’s still not about you. Make sense?

Now, your question: How can you stop obsessing? Took me long enough, right?

Well, first, take yourself off of the hook. Please. Let go of the shame or the idea that you did anything wrong. You really didn’t. And I would tell you. You just had a human moment. At 55, I am so hormonal all the time, apologizing like mad to my husband Dan or giving him a heads up: “You know, I’m feeling irrationally stressed and irritable today, please don’t take anything I do personally … “ We work through it. That’s what people in a healthy relationship, even if it’s a young one, do.

This was an opportunity for your guy to show you his stuff. Ask yourself: Would you have behaved the same way, if the shoe were on the other foot? How’d he do?

Second, ask yourself what you have to learn from this? Is it giving you information about what you want the next time? Has it offered you any epiphanies? What do you want/expect of a partner and of yourself in relationship? I do believe that every experience we have in love is setting us up for the next one, and then the next one and then the next one, until, well, we find “the one”. And he is out there for you. He is. Maybe now is not the time for you to be in relationship, with so much going on? Timing is critical. Maybe that’s a factor?

Third, look forward and not back, once you’ve gone through this exercise. There’s a lot of life waiting ahead, you don’t know what’s waiting for you around the corner. All of this loss should remind you of that … where there is dark, there is light. You’re on deck. 🙂 Keep being your best you.

Lastly, but most definitely not least importantly, take your power back. Remind yourself of all the reasons why you LOVE yourself (including your imperfections) and want someone to be there for you, even if and when you do act inappropriately and apologize. So what? That’s life.

Rewrite the story you tell yourself about love – and that’s it’s infinitely possible. Remember that you don’t have to be perfect or never make mistakes to have love. And if you don’t believe that, work on cultivating more self-love. That is the answer.

Believe that you’re amazing and any man would be LUCKY to have you. Write that simple sentence on a piece of paper and tape it all over your house. I did that once, with an issue I was struggling with. It was a trick given to me by a shaman. I put this note everywhere and you know what? It kinda worked!

Put your attention back where it belongs – on your own genius, your fabulous life, your presentation, your creativity, and your trusted circle of pals. And if he comes back, so be it. Also contemplate that, perhaps, it wasn’t your outburst but the fact that he was growing insecure in your light, because that can happen.

Whatever you do, Obsessed, don’t let anybody dim your aura. Vibrant women need special men. Keep looking. You’ll find him. Whether it’s this guy or someone else.  And when you do, he won’t be scared off so easily. It won’t be so fragile.

Rooting for you!

Xo
Jill


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Jill Sherer Murray is an award-winning writer and speaker who studies creativity, relationships and self-growth. She is also the founder of Let Go For It®, a lifestyle brand dedicated to helping individuals let go for a better life. Jill’s TEDx talk as well as her advice column, Big Wild Love: Let Go For It® were created in service to her loyal and growing fan base, who seek support in the act and the art of letting go for the love they desire and deserve. Follow Jill @letgoforit on TwitterFacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.

2 replies
  1. Violet
    Violet says:

    Wow, I am glad I stumbled upon this. Obsessed- I went through a hormonal trauma (inserting an IUD) last year also. My body totally rejected it and took six months to offset that trauma with birth control pills. During those six months my personality changed drastically – from being confident, driven and ambitious to low-esteem, fearful, and ultra sensitive. The hormones put my digestive system out of whack. My partner of 1.5 years broke up with me all of a sudden. He has an anger issue, but for the most part, he controlled it, but at the end, he ultimately lashed out at me on some trivial matter. I spoke with my therapist. She said his behavior resonates the Borderline Personality Disorder. It was also from 60-0 overnight. I kept obsessing what I had done something wrong because he told me for some small things that I commented which he twisted. I felt accused and unjust. I wrote him long letters to explain my rationale when I was away for two weeks (I needed a break and thought a cool-off period would be good for us). After I came back, he told me he doesn’t want any fights, and he had no feelings for me anymore (how was writing letters and reasoning things considered conflicts? I never scream or yell at anyone). Three weeks before the breakup we were vacationing, and he told me how much he loved me and all. I showed the letters to friends, and they all said they were completely calm and reasonable. Unless the person has mental issues, these should not be taken as an offense. He did reach out a few months after with a completely different tone and attitude, but I chose not to respond because I was too scared to deal with his anger again.

    Jill mentioned about this – “If it is that fragile, is it worth it?”. There is no smooth sailing even if you found the right person. A good relationship takes work. Jill was also right about this – Men could get insecure in your light. My friend, who is a venture capitalist, experiences that all the time. She is 40, beautiful and successful, but single for most of the past ten years.

    On top of that, I left a very unethical company earlier that year, and my friend passed away unexpectedly right after my hormonal trauma. My home was scaffolded for construction for months during the winter time. I was depressed and miserable. 2017 was probably the worst year in my entire adult life. A big patch of gray hair showed up in a short period. And wrinkles came out after not being able to sleep for a long time. I felt like I aged 10 years in 9 months.

    As someone who works in software engineering, I am very logical and analytical. When people say things happen for a reason, I shrug on the comment. However, I do agree to some degree that certain people come to our lives for a reason. I keep asking God why. In retrospect, I think I tried to control too much of things that were out of my control and put myself into misery. I have been trying to live the moment and stop getting ahead of myself. I know, it’s easily said than done. But, I have to change my mindset to not feel like a failure all the time. Let it go and let it flow.

    Reply
    • Jill Sherer Murray
      Jill Sherer Murray says:

      Hi Violet! Thank you so much for your thoughtful note. I’m so sorry that you had this experience–and so glad that my BWL column is helpful. The things we go through for love. Sigh. 🙂 What’s so wonderful is that you’re taking the time necessary to explore your beliefs and why you brought that relationship into your life. This is where the magic happens. When we go through a hard experience and evaluate our role–why we were drawn to it, what it has to teach us, and how we can use it to let go so we don’t make the same mistakes going forward–only then do we enjoy the payoff. As I say in my column, each lesson takes us to the next one and the next one until we make choices that deliver to us the things we want most in life. I have a friend who once told me to “Be where your feet are.” Sounds like you’re doing that by staying in the present moment. And none of this is about failure. It’s about information. Through each experience, you’re gathering data you can use to inform different choices. None of it is a waste or a failure–and you certainly aren’t either!–as long as you do your work around it. And it sounds like you are. You’re practicing what I call “Radical Self-Love”… Keep going! Let it go and let it flow. YES! xo

      Reply

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