Why Can’t I Stop Thinking About Him? 18 Possible Reasons

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why can't I stop thinking about him

Are you finding it hard to forget someone? Well, social psychologist and Harvard professor Daniel M. Wegner spoke about how the complex mind works in his pathbreaking study years ago. Wegner apparently found out that while his subjects tried hard to suppress thoughts of white bears, it led them to think of white bears more. So, applying his results to our love lives probably answers the burning question, “Why can’t I stop thinking about him even if I try my best to?”

In this article, we’ll look at the possible reasons why you can’t stop thinking about that guy you just met or even your ex you just decided to part ways with. We’ll also look at how obsessive thoughts work and offer you some answers to the burning question, “How do you stop thinking about someone?”, with expert insights from senior psychiatrist and mindfulness-based relationship consultant Dr. Shefali Batra (MD in Psychiatry), who specializes in counseling for separation and divorce, breakup and dating, and premarital compatibility issues. So, if you’re someone who keeps thinking, “Why am I obsessed with someone I barely know?” or “Why can’t I forget the guy I just met?”, read on…

18 Possible Reasons Why You Can’t Stop Thinking About Someone

So, why do we find it difficult to forget a few people? Is it our hormones, the complex mind, or something about the mystery surrounding the person? A Reddit user shares her story of being obsessed with someone she barely knows, “We’ve texted on and off since he left. Mostly light and funny texts. I love how we always have random things like that to talk about. It’s been a few months since he’s left, but why can’t I stop thinking about him?

If you think about it, I barely know this guy. I don’t even know what he does every day now. We’ve only spent such a short time together. Less than 5x before he left. I shouldn’t be thinking about him and our time spent together. But I can’t stop.”

Related Reading: 9 Reasons You Miss Your Ex And 5 Things You Can Do About It

Dr. Batra explains what makes us obsessed with people we barely know: “If you’re always asking yourself, “Why am I so attached to someone I barely know?”, well, remember, call it love or infatuation, emotional or physical attraction, there can be several reasons as to why you can’t stop thinking about him. While you can’t always blame yourself or worry yourself sick, you need to also watch out for signs of this becoming an obsession.” Here are 18 such reasons why you can’t stop thinking about someone:

1. You have raging hormones

Dr. Batra says, “One of the prime reasons why you may have obsessive thoughts about a person, especially someone you’ve just met, maybe that the hormones are raging and you have a serious crush.” Whether it’s a crush or love, when you can’t get someone off your mind, it could just be the work of the happy hormones dopamine, oxytocin, and adrenaline. In fact, a 2010 Rutgers University study proved that being in love with a person is very much like drug addiction, as love activates the same areas of the brain that drugs do.

2. You share old memories with him

If you often ask yourself, “Why can’t I stop thinking about him?”, remember, sometimes, you may find it difficult to forget a person because of the old memories associated with them. Dr. Batra explains, “You may have old memories of someone, such as an office crush or an ex, that go back in time.” Here are some instances:

  • You may have helped a work crush with some work and you may still remember that
  • Your boss may have dropped you home someday, and that memory may have been etched in your mind
  • You may have warm memories of an enjoyable vacation with your ex
  • You may have happy memories of celebrating your birthday with your ex

Related Reading: Do I Like Him Or The Attention? Ways To Find Out The Truth

3. He has an admirable trait

Dr. Batra says, “Often, we fall for an admirable trait of a man that we find interesting and then build up our entire perception of the person on that trait. This may be one of the reasons why the halo effect of that admirable trait prevents us from forgetting someone.” One of my friends, Kate, had a huge crush on her boss. He was a world traveler, and Kate loved reading his blogs and even followed all his social media handles. She was so attached to him that even after he left the country to settle overseas, Kate kept in touch. This, in spite of knowing that they would never be in a romantic relationship.

obsessive thoughts about a person
We often miss people because of some admirable traits they possess

4. He’s good at something that inspires you

Are you asking yourself, “Why am I so attached to someone I barely know?” Well, apparently, when we see someone excelling at something that we like, we end up liking the person even more and can’t get them off our minds. So, in such instances, he could be good at a sport, at singing, or even at debating. The skill may resonate with you, and that sticks with you even if the person has left. As a result, you may be in a situation where you can’t focus on anything but constant thoughts about him.

Related Reading: 9 Expert Tips To Cope With Depression After Breakup

5. His compassionate nature

One of the answers to your burning question, “Why can’t I stop thinking about him?”, is that you’re probably addicted to his compassionate nature. Often, we develop strong feelings for men who show their compassionate side and those who are far removed from the stereotypical masculine alpha males that we see being glorified in the media. Dr. Batra feels, “When you see he is compassionate like nobody else has ever been in your life, you may get attached and start missing the person even when he isn’t there.” His compassionate nature may be evident in:

  • The way he treats his family and friends in times of need
  • The way he helps unknown but needy people (for instance, by arranging for food during natural disasters or medical emergencies)
  • How he cares about stray animals

6. He is not the same as the others around you

Novelty is often alluring. So, there are high chances that you may be in love with someone or develop a strong feeling for someone just because that person, as Dr. Batra says, “…is undoubtedly different from the others in your life.” A coworker of mine, Alice, who’s a brilliant academic, joined a gym and found the trainer incredibly attractive. While the trainer was not intellectually compatible with her, she found herself daydreaming about him all the time.

This is a classic case of being attached to someone simply because they are so different from everyone else around you. In this case, the trainer introduced Alice to a whole new world of fitness that she wasn’t acquainted with earlier. Alice, who was otherwise engrossed in her world of books and lectures and surrounded by professors, found this incredibly novel and attractive.

Related Reading: 55 Beautiful Ways To Say I Miss You Without Saying It

7. You share common interests with him

Dr. Batra says, “One of the major reasons someone might occupy the mind is when the guy and you share some common interest that binds you both in a strong bond.” So you two may both be country music freaks or may both love reading, and may have shared a lot about your personal likes and dislikes. That bond may be preventing you from forgetting him when he’s gone and you may be left wondering, “Why am I obsessed with someone I barely know?”

8. He helps you on a daily basis

Often, we miss people who have been of great help to us, and consistently. Dr. Batra too agrees, “It’s possible to be attached to someone who does something for you or offers you some sort of support consistently.” Now, this could be a psychologist who listens to your personal rants and offers you help, or a doctor who’s helped you through your struggle with a chronic illness. These people tend to occupy the mind long after their job is done.

Related Reading: When Do Guys Start To Miss You After A Breakup? 11 Scenarios

9. He is your comfort zone

When you wonder, “Why can’t I stop thinking about him?”, ask yourself if he’s your comfort zone. Dr. Batra says, “When you feel at ease with him, you form a bond that makes you miss him when he isn’t around.” This could be an ex-boyfriend who was your go-to person for all the problems in life, or a supportive boss, coworker, or friend you developed romantic feelings for.

10. He doesn’t judge you

Dr. Batra says, “It’s when he lets you be yourself and doesn’t judge you for your quirks that you feel attached to him.” This is also when you can’t stop missing him when he’s gone. A neighbor of mine, Sasha, was always judged for her weight. Bordering on morbid obesity, she almost stopped going out and socializing, till her coworker, Bradley, started spending their office lunch hours with her. He never judged her for her weight, and Sasha finally felt she was treated like a human being with feelings.

When Bradley left the company, Sasha began missing him a lot. She always thought theirs was a platonic bond but when she was unable to get him off her mind, she began to realize she had feelings for this guy. These feelings were rooted in the fact he was the only one in her circle who was non-judgmental toward her.

Related Reading: 21 Psychic Signs Someone Misses You

11. He plays ‘hard to get’

A study by University of Rochester professors proved what many of us already know: Playing ‘hard to get’ actually works on the complex mind of humans and people consider those who are easy to impress as less valuable. So, it’s highly possible that the particular person is on your mind because he’s not giving you any attention, deliberately in some cases. Even Dr. Batra agrees, “If he’s playing hard to get, that could be a reason for you to get hooked onto him.” But this is a complicated situation, as he may also not be that much into you.

12. He shows you that he likes you

If you’re wondering, “Why cant’ I stop thinking about him?”, it could be because he genuinely likes you and makes it evident. So, it’s quite possible that you end up forming an attachment with him and he tends to occupy the mind because he keeps you happy and makes it obvious. So, he could be:

  • Taking you out on fancy dinner dates
  • Showering you with gifts
  • Calling and texting you regularly
occupy the mind
One of the reasons for missing someone is that they showed you they like you

13. He has a calming effect

Dr. Batra says, “At times, we are attracted to people who calm us down amid the chaos that life throws at us.” So, it’s quite possible that you may be constantly thinking of someone just because their presence and conversations calmed you to some extent.

Related Reading: What To Do When You Miss Your Ex? Expert Tips To Ease The Pain

14. He makes you laugh

Now, this one’s a no-brainer. It’s common knowledge that men who make women laugh tend to occupy the mind and have a better chance of gaining their attention. Some women may develop an intense attraction for such men in a short span of time.

Dr. Batra agrees, “If he makes you laugh with his jokes, he’s your funny zone, and that is what you may be missing when he’s not around.” And even if you’ve just met or just started a new relationship, you may be left wondering, “Why am I obsessed with someone I barely know?”, when he isn’t around.

15. He cares about you

If he cares about you and it shows in his actions, it is bound to melt your heart. This care may reflect in his words, thoughts, or deeds. He may go out of his way to help you or be with you, and that may make you miss him when he’s gone.

Related Reading: 29 Signs He Cares Deeply About You

16. He’s unattainable

Dr. Batra says, “It’s human nature to want something that one cannot have, and in this case, when you find him unattainable, you are bound to get attached to his thoughts and crave him furthermore, leading to an obsession.” A friend, Rita, was obsessed with her coworker, Adrien. Now, Adrien had all the qualities of a good husband and had a loving wife and two kids.

He had everything — a house, a car, and a beautiful family, and was doing well in his job too. But Rita grew a fondness for him that slowly developed into her being obsessed with him. He was everything Rita wanted in a partner, but he was also out of her reach. She found herself constantly thinking of him and had never felt such intense emotions for anyone else.

17. He gives the vibe that you can trust him completely

When a man makes you feel you can trust him, it’s only natural to gravitate toward him. So, the moment you feel you can share all your secrets with him without worrying about him spilling the beans, you are bound to get attached and think of him when he’s gone.

Related Reading: 75 Love And Trust Messages For Distance Relationship For Him

18. He’s mature

Dr. Batra says, “Maturity and commitment are both traits that make women fall for men quickly.” So, if your man is mature and offers you stability and commitment, it may get you attached to him quickly. Maturity, in this sense, would mean:

  • The ability to make mature decisions, such as budgeting and housing
  • The willingness and ability to take care of his family
  • The ability to express his emotions in a healthy manner and communicate like a mature man

Signs That Obsessive Thoughts About A Person Might Be A Problem

Before we get to the question, “How do you stop thinking about someone?”, let’s look at why such obsessive thoughts aren’t good for you. Now, we’re not saying that a bit of an obsession isn’t natural when you’re just in the early stages of getting to know a guy or when you’re deeply attached to someone. But such obsessive thoughts can get unhealthy if they become overwhelming and all-consuming, leaving you with little time to focus on yourself.

Related Reading: Why Are You Obsessed With Someone You Barely Know — 10 Possible Reasons

Dr. Batra has listed a few such instances from our daily lives when such obsessive thoughts may become toxic to our own existence:

  • You’re unable to partake in activities of your daily life because you’re thinking about him all the time
  • You’re stalking him on social media platforms and wanting to know about his whereabouts incessantly
  • You feel anxious in your daily life and are actually physically uncomfortable when you do not hear from him or know where he is
  • You lose out on work and social commitments because of your preoccupation with him and can’t focus on anything except constant thoughts about him
  • You’re losing out on your own self-care activities because you’re only focused on him, and are thus losing track of your physical and mental health
  • You’re double-texting him even when he leaves your message on ‘seen’, thus hampering your self-esteem
Stories about love and romance

How Do You Stop Thinking About Someone?

Now that you know a few sure-shot answers to your question, “Why can’t I stop thinking about him?”, let us focus on how you can handle this situation gracefully and the next big question, “How do you stop thinking about someone?”

A Reddit user shares what such a situation can feel like and asks for suggestions: “It seems like when I get a crush, I get it hard. Unless I’m preoccupied with something, my mind automatically goes back to them, even though we’re not dating or anything. I can describe it as a sense of love, yet I’m convinced that it’s different every time. I’m waiting for my crush’s answer to homecoming, and I literally can’t stop thinking about it.”

Related Reading: How To Say Goodbye To Someone You Love

Dr. Batra advises, “When you’re wondering how to stop thinking about someone obsessively, allow yourself to feel the emotions with poise and ease yourself into or out of it, based on which direction you want to steer your relationship.” However, if you feel he isn’t giving you the same vibes or that he isn’t going to get back to you, you may really wish to quit thinking about someone. Because if you can’t focus on anything but him and his thoughts and he doesn’t feel the same or isn’t worthy of your attention, it’s not a peaceful place to be in, mentally. So, here are a few tips on how to get your mind off someone and find closure for yourself:

  • Realize why he isn’t ‘the one’: A quick tip to deal with this is to be clear about why he is not good or right for you and reduce contact with him (or limit contact to some extent at least)
  • Understand that it’s not you: Realize that everything may not always be about you. It could be that he’s just not interested in you
  • Believe that if he loves you, he will be yours: What is yours will come back (if it ever was), though this may sound like a cliche
  • Focus on self-care: Remember that you have to focus on your own wellness. Spend time setting a good self-care routine to sort out your physical and mental health and follow it. This will help divert your focus to yourself
  • Devote time to personal development and build self-confidence: Take up a new new hobby, such as learning a new language, or new skills, such as painting or martial arts. Self-improvement always helps in getting the focus back on you
  • Speak to a trusted network: Speak to a trusted friend or family member about this and engage in open communication. At times, spending time with a close buddy or a trusted social circle can solve all your problems
  • Seek professional help: When you’re wondering how to stop thinking about someone obsessively even after trying everything, find closure by seeking professional help or online therapy, using CBT and other techniques, and addressing your mental health

Key Pointers

  • A few reasons why you can’t stop thinking about someone are the hormonal surge, the memories, his ‘hard to get’ nature, and his calming effect on you
  • Obsessive thoughts about a person may be harmful when you’re stalking him all the time, you ignore work or social commitments, you lose out on self-care activities, and you lose your self-esteem
  • A few tips on how to get your mind off someone include being clear about why he’s not the right one, realizing he may not be that into you, and seeking online therapy to address your mental health

We hope you found an answer to, “Why can’t I stop thinking about him?” You see, when you miss someone or can’t get him off your mind and are always left questioning, “How do you stop thinking about someone?”, there can be tons of reasons behind it. We aren’t saying our list of reasons for obsessive thinking or tips on how to stop thinking about someone obsessively, offered in this article, is exhaustive but we’ve tried to collate the most common reasons behind such obsessive thoughts.

While it’s important to ignore such people when they aren’t good for you or aren’t that much into you, you can tone it down a bit in case the liking is mutual and spend some time in self-care activities instead. That helps bring down the level of missing him to a healthy level that won’t interfere with your daily routine. So, stop obsessing and start living for yourself!

FAQs

1. What does it mean if you can’t stop thinking about someone?

If you’re always asking yourself, “Why can’t I stop thinking about him?”, it may mean that you have developed a healthy or unhealthy attachment (depending on whether the person is good for you) with the person. It could be because of the person’s inherent nature or his proximity to you. It could also be because the person has been playing ‘hard to get’ or is actually unattainable.

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