Question: I am a 24-year-old, who’s absolutely besotted by her 30-something neighbour! I keep on obsessing over him the entire day and he’s caught me staring at him quite a few times, and always reciprocated with an embarrassed smile, but the real deal here is the fact that he’s married. And, now for the worst part- my mother is too friendly with his wife while I can’t even face her, courtesy my feelings for her husband. How do I end this obsession, which will take me nowhere?
Answer by Nayamat Bawa: I am glad that you realise that your obsession will take you nowhere. You are absolutely right about that. Getting attention from a young girl can be very overwhelming for any man. This probably makes him reciprocate with an embarrassing smile. But beyond that it means nothing! Moving any further in this direction could also end up causing a marital conflict as no woman would appreciate someone else obsessing about her husband. This may also make her doubt her husband’s intentions.
When we meet someone and feel attracted towards them, we start to think about them. We read too much into their gestures and behaviour towards us and others around them. We think of them in a positive light, giving them a higher pedestal. The thought of us being associated with this near ‘Greek God’ creates a kind of excitement in us. You may find yourself thinking about the person and smiling to yourself or you may indulge in thinking about how it would be if you could get closer to him. These thoughts are refreshing and positive in nature. This acts as a reinforcer and we find ourselves thinking more and more about the person. Thus, causing an obsession or recurrent thoughts about someone.
Presently, the focus of your thoughts is your neighbour. It is important for you to shift the focus of your thoughts from ‘him’ to ‘you’. You should start replacing the thoughts surrounding ‘him’ to positive thoughts about ‘yourself’. Identify the situations which trigger your thoughts about him which could help you to know the pattern of these thoughts. You could then either avoid the trigger or manipulate it in a way that the thought does not occur.
Also, have a cordial relationship with your neighbour’s wife maintaining a fair distance from her husband. Don’t give into the temptation of staring and be confident when around him. This will make you feel good about yourself for starters.
Keeping your mind occupied leaves lesser scope for unproductive thoughts. You could begin with making a career plan (if you already don’t have one) or be more career oriented which would be a priority for most people your age. Having achieved something makes you feel good about yourself. You could learn a new sport or learn anything that you have been wanting to in the past. Explore opportunities to learn and experience more in life. Socialise with friends. Laughing and sharing with friends can make you forget the greatest miseries of all. You could start with going for a weekend get-away and coming back to a fresh start and a fresh new perspective. You would have discovered a ‘new you’ with no scope for anyone else.
However, if it still persists don’t shy away from seeing a professional like a Psychologist or a Counsellor for further assistance.