When you fall in love with someone, you begin to imagine your life with them and romanticize about being partners. But what if nothing goes as planned? If our love isn’t reciprocated, we may need to learn how to stop liking someone without avoiding them. It may seem difficult but it’s not impossible. Being in love with someone who is romantically unavailable is distressing. On top of that, seeing them with someone else can take a toll on you.
Now that you’re here looking for a solution to what feels like hell on earth, the first thing you need to know is this emotional turmoil doesn’t last forever. It takes a lot of courage to be able to remove yourself from an unhappy situation. We’re glad that you have already taken the first step toward your well-being, by recognizing the need to move on.
How To Stop Liking Someone You Can’t Have – 13 Ways
Do you spend thinking a lot of time about someone you can’t be with all the time? It’s not necessary to completely and immediately let go of someone, but you can do it eventually. You’ll be able to make room for yourself in your head and heart. You’ll rediscover yourself and retain your individuality as you move forward.
How to stop liking your crush when they’re committed to someone? How to stop liking someone who rejected you and just be close friends instead? These questions started to perplex us at high school and manage to follow us into our adulthoods as well. Most of the time, we learn something new about ourselves in the process of moving forward, and the other times, we end up repeating the cycle of falling for the same kind of people.
Since you are here and want to know how to stop liking someone you can’t have, it means you’ve accepted the fact (to some extent) that they don’t like you back. It’s a huge step forward. Whether you’re in love with your best friend or attracted to a coworker, we’re going to show you how to stop liking someone without avoiding them altogether.
Related Reading: What To Do If He is Keeping You As A Backup But Never A Priority
1. Mourn your unrequited love
You meet someone daily and you fell head over heels in love with them. Just give yourself the time and space to heal from the fact that they don’t love you back. You can’t do anything about this. You can’t force them to love you. Cry it out. Take your time and let the grieving process teach you important life lessons. For example, you can’t always get what you want. And that other people’s emotions are not always a reflection on you.
Here are some steps to survive the stages of grief:
- Accept it. No amount of love is enough to make someone love you back
- Don’t bottle up your feelings. Talk about it with the people you trust, or put down your thoughts in a journal
- Distract yourself by developing new hobbies or going back to your old ones
- Start liking yourself. Fight negative thoughts with positive ones
- Focus on your current relationship with your friends and family. Don’t neglect their importance by drowning in your sorrows
2. No more letting them live rent-free in your head
We’re all guilty of doing this. This nature versus nurture study suggests that we’re attracted to people who are off-limits because of an innate survival trait that tells us they’re of high value. Fantasizing about your crush when you can’t be with them is tantalizing. Sexual and romantic attraction are the culprits behind the rosy scenarios that play in your head before you go to bed. That’s until you’re snapped back to reality during the day.
Take a look at Tom from 500 Days of Summer. Tom is devastated when Summer decides to break up with him. The movie cleverly depicts the pain of unreciprocated love and teaches Tom that you can never live in the past. The same way, you can’t stop fantasizing about your own romantic world in your head and keep living in it day and night. It won’t help you move on.
3. Acceptance is key
You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Not this advice again.” If the internet, your old friends, and your mom, all of them are handing out the same advice, it’s because it works. Getting over your crush does not have to be a herculean task, it can be gentle and simple. One that does not leave any emotional baggage or resentment behind.
When you are moving on and trying to get over such a person who couldn’t reciprocate your love, you need to cultivate acceptance. Here are some productive ways you can do that to manage your intense feelings toward them:
- Resist the urge to talk negatively about yourself
- Don’t blame your shortcomings for their rejection
- If it’s the “right person, wrong time” situation, don’t try to challenge the current unchanging circumstances
- Love yourself more than ever
- Don’t push someone else away just because you can’t have that one person
- Spend a considerable amount of time meditating
- Have meaningful conversations with yourself and your loved ones
- Don’t think that people finding out about this will make them think less of you; everyone has gone through heartbreaks and rejection
4. Stalking is self-sabotage
*Sighs* This is just as bad as stalking an ex on a regular basis. At least when it comes to your ex, you’ll stop stalking them because you’ll either get over them or you don’t wish to get back together with them. But in the case of a crush, you have hope – as little as it may be. The temptation to constantly check their Instagram stories is real, but it’s also painful and detrimental to your health. Ask yourself, do you really want to see them posting pictures with someone else on social media platforms? This will just double your pain.
Some tips on how to stop liking a person you can’t have:
- Don’t bother to look up the relationship status of your crush
- Sign up on a dating site and replace the habit of stalking them with swiping left and right. It’s better for your own sanity to not let your romantic feelings get the better of you
- If you’re not ready to date other people, that’s okay too. You can state it clearly in your bio that you’re only using the app to get over someone, and that all you need is some new company and conversations or even sex (you might find that there are lots of people looking for exactly that, but who had no idea how to express this need)
- Or chuck dating, and replace it with any activity of your choice. Just make sure it is easy and fun to do for it to stick
Related Reading: 8 Steps To Win Over A Girl Who Rejected You
5. Use humor as a coping tool
This may seem odd to some but it is true that humor goes a long way in uplifting your spirits and overall well-being. Research published in 2021 revealed the role of perspective-changing skills using humor to deal with psychological burdens. Humor creates a buffer between you and the sadness that unrequited love brings into a person’s life. We have been using humor as a way to cope for centuries; you know what they say about laughter being the best medicine.
The quickest way to do this is by watching stand-up comedy, or even better, going for one in person. I once did this after a breakup and purposely sat in the front row, hoping for it to help. I was made fun of, it was a good laugh for everyone (including me), and I was able to look at my life with a non-serious and non-grumpy eye. You can also watch TV shows like The Office, Brooklyn Nine Nine, FRIENDS, The Big Bang Theory, etc. to laugh out loud and forget about your woes for a while.
6. Journal the good, bad, and the ugly
Do you wish things were different and your crush wasn’t taken? Then write about it in your journal. Do you wish you didn’t have to find out how to stop liking a person you see every day? Write it in your journal. Speaking on the subject, psychologist and relationship expert Devaleena Ghosh previously gave Bonobology her professional advice, “A habit of regular journaling is known to reduce a significant amount of emotional distress for most people. There are a lot of benefits to journaling with consistency, especially when you’re down in the dumps.”
Treat your journal like a safe space where you can speak your mind in the tone that you want without having to worry about offending anyone. You can brood over your emotions, express your love for your crush, and talk about their shortcomings too (trust me, it helps). This is one of the effective ways to keep your emotions under control.
As psychosomatic beings, what we create in our minds and feel strongly in our emotions manifests in our bodies. Use this to your advantage, as journaling your unwanted feelings openly will help relieve your pain. A few weeks of reflection about your situation in a journal will hasten your process to fall out of love. And that’s our note on how to stop liking someone and just be good friends with them. It’s a good start so far, isn’t it?
7. Keep reminding yourself that this is temporary
When we go through any emotional upheaval in our lives, we tend to lose sight of the big picture. It is important to remind yourself every now and then that it’s not always going to be this way. Avoid taking this rejection seriously. You will find the love you’re looking for. At Bonobology, we believe in a happy and imperfect love.
If you’ve been in love with your best friend for a while, then it’s going to be difficult compared to a fleeting crush. But it’s still temporary. Your feelings may not be reciprocated from this individual, but that is no reason to get pessimistic about your love life. There truly are plenty of fish in the sea. Focus on eventually starting to see other people whom you can actually be yourself with, who see and appreciate you for who you are.
Even if you’re someone who currently feels they’re destined for failed relationships or dying alone, remind yourself that your luck can change in an instant. No matter what situation you find yourself in, wake up every morning and consciously remind yourself that this is temporary and you’ll get over that person. When you feel better, you attract better.
8. Limit your interactions with the crush
It’s only logical, isn’t it? You can’t learn how to stop liking someone and just stay friends while also hanging out with them all the time. It doesn’t work that way. If you’re constantly bumping into your crush at work, it’s like a walking reminder of the fact that you cannot date them.
When your crush likes someone else, there are many ways to set emotional boundaries in a social setting without making anything glaringly obvious and awkward. Depending on how deeply you feel for them and the pain it causes you, set a new tone of friendship with them. If needed, bring it down to a bare minimum interaction.
Here are some ways you can set boundaries with someone you have romantic feelings for:
- Stop seeing them one-on-one. Meet them only in a group setting
- If they are in a committed relationship with someone else, don’t be petty toward either of them. Remind yourself that they don’t deserve a bad treatment just because you couldn’t get what you wanted
- Don’t do ‘couple things’ with your crush like watching romantic movies or having dinner
- Maintain physical distance
- Don’t buy expensive gifts for them
- Avoid spending time with them excessively
- Stop calling them as frequently. Don’t send them random text messages
- At the same time, be civil with them and don’t shut them out entirely. If, at a certain point, you do feel like putting the connection to rest, talk to them about it before you pull the plug
- If that seems too much, prepare a reasonable excuse for your change in behavior
Related Reading: How To Cope If You Have A Crush On Someone Who Is In A Relationship
9. To know how to stop liking your crush, get professional help
Unrequited love makes for an interesting story for a book but in real life, it makes one miserable. Have there been a few instances where you haven’t felt like coming out of your bed? If you find it difficult to function on a daily basis and are isolating yourself from social connections, then it’s time you get professional help. Don’t wait to hit rock bottom to reach out for help; pick up on the early signs of depression.
At Bonobology, we have the best experts available for you to seek help during this turbulent time in your dating life. Our panel of experts has you covered and will be more than happy to share their insight on how to stop liking someone you can’t have.
Apart from learning how to stop having feelings for someone, you can even address the other serious issues you may have been ignoring. Maybe you have a fear of dealing with rejection that has been rampant in your dating life? Therapy is a safe space for you to talk about any insecurity you may have.
10. Break away from physical contact
We’re specifically referring to the flirtatious kind of friendship. Yes, they are fun, as long as feelings don’t come into the picture. But when you want to know how to stop liking someone you can’t have, continuing a friendship like this is problematic.
Friends-with-benefits is not an option either. Want to know how to stop liking someone and just be friends? Don’t confess your feelings and definitely don’t start a “casual” sexual relationship with someone else. And stop waiting for them to break up with their partner in order to make a well-timed move.
It may feel great at the moment, but be honest with yourself, doesn’t that leave you with a void when you have to see them with their partner? Not being able to love your love is a wound, don’t scratch it every now and then. That’s not how healing works. Believe me, you don’t want to be settling for less than you deserve.
11. Snooze your feelings from time to time
Would you fall in love so hard that you avoid the obvious red flags in a man or woman? Hopefully, no. In the same way, if you spend a lot of time wallowing about not being with your crush, that’s just as problematic as avoiding the pain altogether. The point is, a healthy balance is required. It’s impossible for us to always make time for our emotions as they arise. We live in the real world, where responsibilities demand our attention.
If you catch yourself avoiding important tasks, then it’s time for you to take a break from feeling things. Or you’ll spiral down a negative pool of emotions. Here’s what you can do:
- Some people allocate a period of time in the day to cry and scream into a pillow or journal all their heavy emotions. See if that works for you
- Grounding is a simple yet effective way to regulate yourself during this time. The key to knowing how to stop liking someone without avoiding them lies in your acceptance of this moment
- For the times you can’t practice grounding physically, close your eyes and create a visual and sensory stimulus as close to the real one as possible
Related Reading: 9 Tips To Stop Loving Someone Who Doesn’t Love You
12. Indulge in the pleasures of life
A great, well-known tip on how to stop liking someone you can’t have: Go have sex with someone you’re physically attracted to. As they say – when you can’t get over someone, get under someone else. Try to do this when you are ready and are seeking intimacy, but rebound sex is great too. Perhaps a sweet summer fling can do you good, just like in high school.
Some other things you can do when your feelings are not reciprocated:
- Traveling alone or with someone else like your friend or sibling
- Helping people and doing charity work
- Meeting new people at local events that you resonate with and making new friends
- Try some new lifestyle differences like trying a different restaurant for dinner or learning a new language
- Finally, when you are ready, join the dating pool and find your ideal partner
13. Channel this clarity to catapult into your best version
This can be one of the best times of your life if you use it constructively. If you want our advice, then spend time setting life goals and do a life review to understand how far you’ve come in your life. Here’s how you can get your mind off your crush:
- Start by giving yourself credit for the little things and the progress you’ve made so far
- Knowing how to stop liking someone in theory is different than acting on it and being a part of the process. Acknowledge the emotional challenges you’ve been through over the last few weeks or months
- Become someone you could be proud of and celebrate the little wins of overcoming the obstacles with self-love
- Next, use this newfound stability and space to improve your overall health
- For most of us, there is always room for improvement when it comes to our physical or mental health. So move your body more often, do a few workout sessions in a week, meditate, or join a yoga class
- Liking someone who doesn’t like you back can be excruciating for you. It’s crucial you don’t let the feelings of rejection consume you
- Mourn this loss, but know that this is temporary
- You can stop liking your crush eventually by meeting new people and making new friends
- Stop meeting this person one-on-one and try to journal your feelings every day
- When you’re ready, try to be friends with this person instead
If they are with someone else, that’s a big enough reason for you to move on and focus on your well-being. And with that, we have reached the end of this article. This is all there is to know on how to stop liking someone you can’t have. We wish you all the intrinsic motivation and self-love that is needed to get over your crush. We’re always wishing you a warm dating life; may you love well and be loved in return.
This article has been updated in April 2023.
There are several ways for you to stop liking your crush, it is always a good idea to start with the basics. Get comfortable with the idea that you cannot have them; this will take time. Grieve the loss of what you hoped for by talking about it to your friends.
The simplest way to get over your crush is by looking at your crush through your best friend’s lens. Reconsider your crush based on your friend’s opinion and truly consider their input. When we don’t know what’s best for us, our friends always do. Everyone has shortcomings, look for your crush’s shortcomings and you’re halfway there. Or, you can be friends with your crush instead.
It’s difficult to get over someone if you see them on a daily basis, but it’s not impossible. To get over your crush you see every day, start by venting about it to your best friend in moderation. When you see them in person, remind yourself that they’re just one person in a sea of available candidates, and that they have value in your life beyond their capacity to give you romance. If nothing else works, lean into the heartache and try asking out your crush.