How do you deal with infatuation?
June 20, 2009 8:34 AM   Subscribe

How do you deal with infatuation?

I've met somebody online, and we're meeting up in a week's time. We're getting on really well, and the possibility of a romance seems strong. The trouble is that I'm prone to infatuation. And it seems to be happening again. We barely know each other apart from a handful of emails, but I can't stop thinking about her.

I would be like to be significantly more cool and detached, at least at this stage. This seems sensible and appropriate right now, and will probably lead to a better result when we do eventually meet.

So have you ever suffered from infatuation? How did/do you deal with it? If you don't want to go public email me at
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (11 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
It can be quite a rush to meet someone new and have it "click," even if you only know them online.

My advice is simple: Get out and do stuff. Live in the "real" world. Hang out with your friends. Continue to meet people. This will at least push him/her to the back of your mind, yet you still have time before or after to chat with them.

If you meet and end up hitting it off, then it sounds like you would have the basis for a relationship, where infatuation is pretty normal. That said, my above advice stands: Make sure you have enough "me" time, or at least time for other people. Imagine the space you need when you're, say, six months into a relationship, and try to enforce that from the get-go. Even though you'll want to see them constantly, you have to do other things from time to time. It's healthy.

Don't be the guy who gets a significant other and never sees his friends. Please.
posted by Turkey Glue at 8:58 AM on June 20, 2009 [2 favorites]

I'd pass it off with a laugh directly to her if the evening heats up. Use it as a flirting game. Since it isn't love, it will pass. Defuse it by using it.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:19 AM on June 20, 2009

I've taken that positive energy and overall excited feeling that happens in the early stages of relationships and redirected it towards creative projects that I've been meaning to start. It takes a little mental work at first, but ends up being surprisingly easy once I make the effort.

Then whenever I catch myself thinking too much about the person, I just direct my thoughts back to the creative project instead.

You could try learning a new language or robotics or African drumming. Anything that interests you. This is the perfect time to start.
posted by Brody's chum at 9:46 AM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

Hi there.

I've found there isn't really much you can do about infatuation. It can be a sneaky little bastard too, inviting itself over for coffee (make that a triple espresso) and then keeping you jacked up for about three and a half weeks.

But it seems like you are already headed in the right direction. I mean, you *know* you are obsessing over something you *know* is silly. You don't know this person at all.

So, my advice would be two-fold. 1) I second Turkey Glue and Brody's chum in taking that positive energy and directing it elsewhere. 2) Realize that infatuation isn't such a bad thing - in moderation. It makes you excited, creative, and just alive... and that is awesome.

So yeah, ride the wave, baby, and when things get too scary - slap the shit out of yourself and go hang out with your friends. Best of luck.
posted by zach4000 at 11:41 AM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

My friend has a saying about "when you find yourself in the endzone, pretend like you've been there before". I don't know anything about football, but I think the point is, put on your best face. Realize that being infatuated is probably not the best way to meet someone, but you are. Just tone it down, act as normal as you can and see how things go. Trying to not be infatuated is hard.

Meditation stuff might help.

And realize that meeting in person is really different than what you might expect. She might be real boring, or distant. You might lose your infatuation in a few short seconds. This I know.
posted by sully75 at 11:49 AM on June 20, 2009

Like you, I've often wound myself up in infatuations. For me, it was helpful to figure out why. Here's a little self-analysis that may or may not fit your situation:

1) When I've had an infatuation trigger, I'm often less enamored of the person than something that person brings out in me. It took me a long time as a teen and adult to get to a point where I actually liked who I was, so some of these infatuations were really opportunities I took to recognize pieces of my personality shining through that just felt really good to me. I didn't consider myself charismatic, but someone who found me funny and interesting would temporarily dash that notion. I didn't consider myself attractive, but someone who took an obvious interest in me physically put those concerns aside. I'm not saying these weren't terrific women worthy of a heavy crush on their own merits, but the ones I've really been worked up over have shown me pieces of me that I had totally forgotten were there.

2) Loneliness was another big factor. If I had been outside of a relationship for any significant period of time, any possibility of having someone give a shit about me again would put me on the brink of OH MY GOD IS THIS THE ONE?!?, spinning all those emotions up in anticipation.

3) Interestingly, you note that you haven't met this person yet. Funny how that works, because my biggest infatuations have basically been entirely at arm's length. I'm 35 years old, once-divorced, and it's fair to say that I've never had a long, stable, rewarding relationship with someone outside of the early days of what turned out to be a bad first marriage. Before and since, I've never been a risk taker. I joke with a friend who's going through some post-divorce depression that I spent a lot of time wrapping myself in bubble wrap to go through life without possibility of getting dinged. So, looking back 15 years, it's interesting that my big-time infatuations never lived closer than 100 miles away. Not once. This kind of wraps back to point #1 above, in that I felt free to be a comfortable and easy version of me, who happens to have some charisma, composure and likability with people who are safe. Someone over email? Safe. Best friend of your best friend's wife? Not safe, you're going to run into her again, and god knows if she already thinks you suck and are totally worthless. Point being, it's easier to feel SOMETHING if there's a near-zero chance that those feelings could hurt or embarrass you.

I'm doing much better now, mainly because I actually like who I've become as an adult. I can meet people randomly, ask them out, go on dates with no expectations, and really not give a crap if it doesn't work, because I'm a good person and there'll be another day, another woman and another date somewhere ahead of me. Probably lots of them.

So, thinking about meeting this person in the near future? I say embrace how you're feeling. Put yourself at risk. Maybe you'll get hurt. Maybe you'll come off too strong and be embarrassed. Maybe you'll totally blow it in bed in the most cringe-worthy fashion imaginable. Honestly? All those things are probably good for you to some extent, because emotions you can build relationships on come from experience, and not imagination or fantasy. Don't worry about being infatuated, and "what that means." It "means" you're with someone you want to be with, at least right then and there, at least until that feeling runs out. That's it. Anything else is a benefit, whether the scoreboard has you marching off the field in victory or defeat. At least you're out there taking your shots.
posted by GamblingBlues at 12:44 PM on June 20, 2009 [10 favorites]

Man... Fuck it, just be yourself.
posted by milinar at 1:41 PM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

Funny, I would have never put the words "suffered from infatuation" together in a sentence. I think "enjoyed experiencing infatuation" sounds more like it.

Being infatuated with someone is fun and can be the start of something wonderful. Or else things don't pan out and there's some mild disappointment, which is also just a normal part of life.
posted by collywobbles at 4:42 PM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think a big part of dealing with infatuation is being self-aware about it. I have a friend who thinks that she connects with every new guy she starts seeing in a new and special and amazing way that she's NEVER clicked with anyone before, they have such deep conversations and get each other so well and blah blah blah ... except that's the exact same thing she was saying to all her friends about Guy the Penultimate.

If you know you're prone to infatuation, you can look at this situation with some perspective, and think about what happened last time you felt this way about someone. Did you ride off into the sunset with them? Did they turn out to be not as awesome as you first thought?

Considering this infatuation in the context of the others you've felt may help you to act somewhat more "cool and detached" when you're actually face-to-face with The Object, and it may not. Either way, best of luck!
posted by Devika at 6:38 PM on June 20, 2009 [4 favorites]

life is short. Revel in your infatuation. write her a poem you might never give her anyway. notice the shine the world has that wasn't there before. dig on some goofy pop love songs from the 70's and marvel at how appropriate they are. when (if) it goes, you'll miss it. This will one day be one of the things you look back on when you're old and decrepit and smile about. This is not a defect, it's a rush. And a damn good one! As the whithered corpse of a passionate person, I totally miss that feeling.
posted by Redhush at 8:17 PM on June 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

I always get the infatuation buzz, have learned the hard way now just to enjoy it but recognise it for what it is (something fun and exciting where you mentally fill the unknown gaps with potentially awesome stuff and hope it comes true, not a secret sign from the universe that you should put all your eggs in this basket). So now when I get infatuated, I enjoy the extra energy and excitement, but keep clear in the logical part of my brain that "oh yay, this is infatuation, enjoy it while it lasts".

It's like buying a ticket to a raffle. You might as well get excited and imagine yourself winning the main prize and going on that awesome holiday and enjoy the pleasant feelings that brings - just don't quit your job in anticipation.
posted by Chrysalis at 12:51 AM on June 21, 2009 [3 favorites]

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