The Surprising Truth About Obsession - And Why You Can’t Stop Thinking About Someone

Updated April 30, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Guilbeault

"The term ‘obsession’ has been loosely used when describing a crush on someone; however, true obsession means something more than just thinking about a love interest. It’s okay to think about someone you love, but when you are obsessing over that person, it might be because you need something and the need hasn’t been fulfilled. Take time out to learn more about what you need and how you can meet that need for yourself. It’s all about self-care and love!" - Dr. Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPCC.

Introduction

If you've recently broken up with an intimate partner or have an interest in someone who doesn't even seem to know you're alive, you may be wondering how to stop yourself from thinking about someone. In this article, we talk about what can happen if you find yourself constantly thinking about someone - and you can't seem to stop.

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When A Healthy Crush Becomes An Obsession

There's a fine line between normal healthy behavior and obsession with thinking about someone constantly. It's normal to think about your romantic partner when you're involved in a serious or dating relationship. It's also normal to have thoughts and memories of romantic partners and important people in your life long after the relationship has ended.

What's not normal is when you start to obsess, ruminate, and the object of your affection becomes the object of your obsession. If you find that you can't stop yourself from thinking about someone long enough to check in to your own daily life and thoughts of someone else are taking over your life, this can quickly become a problem.

Obsessing another person can develop into more detrimental behaviors like stalking, domestic violence, and other mental health-related concerns. To get to the bottom of the question, "why do I keep thinking about someone? You have to ask yourself (and answer) the hard questions to pull out the downward spiral of obsession.

The Truth About Obsession

When you're obsessed with someone, this is normally because you think or feel that they have something that you need and that their presence will somehow improve the circumstances of your life. This is rarely the case. If you're unable to find happiness and contentment within yourself - first, then you'll have an even harder time trying to find it.

The key to learning how to stop yourself from thinking about someone - is to learn to start thinking about yourself. What areas of your life feel chaotic or like they are in disarray? Ask yourself if you healed those issues, would thoughts of the object of your affection be as dominant? Or is constantly obsessing about this person pointing to a larger issue.

What's Behind The Obsession?

When you can't stop yourself from thinking about someone, this is a sign that more serious issues are likely bubbling beneath the surface. Having to ask yourself, "why can't I stop thinking about someone" is a clear indicator that you need to check in with not only yourself but possibly a mental health professional to help you get to the bottom of the issue.

If you're thinking and cannot stop obsessing about someone who you've recently broken up with or have an emotional attachment to, healthy adults understand that this is a normal part of the healing and grieving process; however when your every waking thought is consumed with the comings and goings of another person, this is a serious issue.

What is causing you to obsess over this person's thoughts - especially in cases where similar interests or feelings are not returned. Are you obsessing over this person because you feel that they're your soulmate, "complete" you, or is there another reason?

Healthy adults respect the natural ebb and flow of relationships and understand that people and circumstances change and that regardless of whether you're in that relationship, friendship, career, etc. that you've been obsessing about that, the pain of grief and loss will subside with time.

Relationship Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Another reason that you may find yourself obsessing over your relationship - especially if you're still in it is that you're experiencing symptoms of obsessive-compulsive relationship disorder (ROCD). People who experience OCD struggle with feelings of worth for themselves and their partner and obsessively question the validity of their relationship.

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Symptoms of ROCD are a constant questioning of yourself and your partner. Constantly asking questions like "Do you still love me?" and still not be assured by the answer when your partner confirms that they are - is a sign of relationship obsessive-compulsive disorder.

People with ROCD are obsessed with the concept of their relationships to where the obsession may even become debilitating. ROCD experiencers are concerned with two conflicting aspects of relationships: the fear of being trapped in an undesirable or sub-par relationship while simultaneously experiencing the fear of being alone.

These conflicting beliefs often cancel each other out and leave those with ROCD in a tailspin as they work to resolve their conflicting emotions independently. In most cases, working out obsessive and repetitive thoughts on their own is not the answer.

Those diagnosed with ROCD are normally treated with a combination of talk therapy and medication management based on the severity of their diagnosis and the recommendation of a licensed and board-certified mental health professional. For all guidance regarding medication, please consult a licensed medical professional. 

Common treatments for ROCD include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy with response prevention (ERP), and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT).

Cognitive-behavior therapy helps those diagnosed with ROCD recognize negative behaviors that contribute to their obsessive behavior and provides strategies for developing new coping skills and life skills to replace negative behaviors.

Exposure therapy gradually introduces clients to the stimulating situation, person, or circumstance that triggers their obsession with the guidance of their therapist. ERP therapy aims to gradually reduce the amount of anxiety or obsession a person feels about the originally offending circumstance.

How Counseling Can Help

Well-meaning friends and family members often have their own opinions about how we live our individual lives. While this is okay (to an extent) when it comes to getting to the bottom of deep-rooted issues, a licensed professional is the best way to go.

Mental health counselors act as unbiased third-party that can point out damaging behaviors and thought patterns that may cause you to obsess over someone. It may surprise you that when you can't stop yourself from thinking about someone, the issues behind the obsession are with you - not the other party.

I Don't Understand Why I Can't Stop Thinking About Them
Therapy Can Help - Get Matched With A Licensed Therapist Now.

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Outward expressions of obsession often have to do with unhealed pain within. Most times, the pain experienced during the loss of a relationship or relationship disconnect can turn inward and express itself in the form of a lack of self-worth, confusion, and obsession.

In the cases where culminating circumstances and feelings turn outward, conditions like obsessive-compulsive relationship disorder can quickly develop and cause issues in your life. Clients who attend regular counseling sessions learn new life coping skills and strategies, recognize negative behavior patterns, and break negative cycles.

Where To Get Help

If you find that you're obsessing about someone for any of the reasons we've discussed so far, it's time to get help from a professional. A licensed therapist or other board-certified mental health providers can guide you along your journey and provide you with coping strategies and new life skills to help you deal with persistent issues with obsession.

Taking part in therapy sessions with an in-office provider or an online therapist are both viable options. Many people choose online therapy because of the convenience and cost of attending therapy virtually anywhere. Today's online therapy sessions are conducted via desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices that connect clients and therapists in a confidential environment.

Clients and therapists can communicate via various virtual methods, including text chat, video messaging, audio chat, and SMS therapy. Leading relationship therapy providers ReGain.us provide relationship counseling services for couples at a fraction of the cost of in-office therapy.

The ReGain.us platform operates on a HIPAA and BAA-compliant platform that staff licensed and board-certified therapists. The following are the licensed, experienced, and trained therapists you'll find when choosing relationship therapy on the Regain platform.

  1. Psychologists (Psy. D/Ph.D.)
  2. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT)
  3. Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC/LPCC)
  4. Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW)

All therapists on the ReGain platform have a Master's or Doctoral degree along with a minimum of 2000 hands-on clinical service hours.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the real truth behind what's going on when you can't stop yourself from thinking about someone, you can reach out for help from a licensed professional or counselor to learn coping skills and strategies for healing and recovering from obsessive thoughts.

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Couples that take part in therapy from relationship counseling services like ReGain.US learn new life skills, coping skills, and strategies that stop the flow of unhealthy thoughts. Counseling clients learn how to turn negative thoughts into positive outcomes and, as a result, improve the quality of their lives.

If you or someone you know has an issue with obsessive thoughts, reach out to a ReGain.US specialist to learn how to turn this situation around and stop the obsession with its tracks before it becomes a larger issue.

Ready to get started? Reach out to a ReGain.us relationship expert to get started today!


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