Have you ever been hung up on someone? An ex-partner, a person you’ve gone on a couple of dates with or that attractive friend who gets particularly flirty during happy hour but never actually makes a move? If yes, you’re not alone.
I get a constant stream of DMs from people who want to learn how to move on. But, if I were to venture a guess, many people don’t actually want to move on. What they are hoping for is a chance to win over the person they have feelings for.
If you are currently hung up on someone, ask yourself one very important question: Do I want this person or do I want this person to want me?
Most of us don’t think about this distinction, but there is one, and it’s really important.
If we like someone, sometimes we have to hang in there to find the right time to shoot our shot. This can also look like giving the other person a moment to notice us. However, waiting forever is not a solution. If this is a person you would like to get to know more or have a relationship with, here are two things to consider:
- You might have to be the one to make the first move (scary, I know!)
- You may want to give yourself a deadline. When will you stop actively waiting?
Ultimately, being hung up on someone is, to an extent, a choice. If you want to change this dynamic, you can try setting boundaries around how long you spend looking at their social media pages, how much time you spend together or how much you daydream about them.
Now, if you find yourself in a situation where it’s not so much about wanting them, and it’s more about you want them to want you, the first step is to take a moment for some self-reflection.
- Why do you want them to want you?
- What’s your relationship like with rejection?
- What are you trying to prove? Who are you trying to prove it to?
- Are you currently trying to earn someone’s love? What does that look like?
- Are you going out of your way to be noticed?
- What is the belief or thought driving you?
- If they don’t want you, what do you believe that says about you?
- If they do want you, what do you believe that says about you?
Many of us are worried that if others don’t want us it means we are not worth having.
We have attached our sense of value to the opinions of others. This is why we try to prove to everyone, but primarily to ourselves, that we can have anyone we want. Instead of looking at rejection as a time saver, we often see it as a blow to our ego or pride. This is when we become motivated to pursue people as a challenge or a hobby – for many, it’s just a plea for adrenaline and validation. Chances are, even if you do end up “getting” that person, if you did not want them to begin with, it will feel disappointing and meaningless.
We all want to be loved and to belong (there is nothing wrong with that), but instead of exerting our energy on the wrong people, channel that effort into your relationship with yourself and people who deserve it.
Think about the following:
- What are some ways I can show myself love?
- What makes me valuable?
- Which parts of myself do I struggle to accept?
- What experiences, feelings or beliefs do I need to start validating?
Sara Kuburic is a therapist who specializes in identity, relationships and moral trauma. Every week she shares her advice with our readers. Find her on Instagram @millennial.therapist. She can be reached at SKuburic@gannett.com.