How To Move On And Stop Liking Someone You Can’t Date

Medically reviewed by Melissa Guarnaccia, LCSW
Updated May 9, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Maybe you have strong feelings developing for one of your close friends but you don’t want to jeopardize the friendship, or maybe it’s a new person in your life that’s not available at the moment. This is not an uncommon occurrence.  

Once you've recognized all the reasons that it might be better to move on from this person, rather than cause a nasty breakup, lose a friend, or make your work life more complicated, considering these tips on how to stop talking to someone may help you move forward with your life and look for new romance in the dating pool.

Romantic feelings can be powerful

A guide to letting go of your crush

Unrequited love is relatively common and can be overwhelming, especially if it happens when you don’t expect it or in a way that might impact the relationships you have with your friends and family. It can be difficult to keep your mind off your crush, especially if you see them often.

So, how do you get over someone you never dated in the first place? You may want to create space for yourself and be vocal about your needs, for instance. This is a time to find yourself and maintain your own identity while moving forward. Keep in mind that it can be a process to stop liking someone, and a relationship expert like a therapist may be able to assist you.

Keep it appropriate

It may be wise to keep your relationship with this person appropriate to the circumstances and avoid things or situations that might spark romance. If you tend to have romantic feelings for your boss, for example, make sure to keep all your interactions professional and respectful. If you find yourself thinking, "why am I suddenly attracted to my friend?" but know they don't have same feelings, then you may want to commit to just being good friends. When figuring out how to get over someone, it can be helpful to limit your interactions to ones that are appropriate for your relationship. Try to limit physical contact as well. Eventually, your feelings may start to fade.

Spend time apart

Even after trying to keep things friendly or professional with your crush, it is natural for it to still bother you that you can’t be together if you have developed feelings of romance. Perhaps they're always on your mind and the time you spend thinking about them is getting frustrating, or you have trouble keeping your composure the moment they're around. In that case, it might be best to spend some time apart or stop seeing that person completely, although if you plan to cut ties, you may want to explain your reasoning first; it may worry your friends if you suddenly stop calling. You may also find it helpful to unfollow your crush on social media as well; social media platforms might algorithmically recommend them to you if you are in the same circle of friends, so you may need to temporarily block or mute them as well. Of course, in a work situation, it may not always be possible to completely avoid the person, but it can be helpful to find some way to maintain distance until your feelings subside. Consider taking up a new hobby to introduce yourself to a different social group.

Set boundaries

Setting boundaries is key. Maybe you're falling for a close friend who always wants you around but may not know you have romantic feelings for them. In this type of situation, setting boundaries can look like limiting the time you spend together and only asking them to join you when you feel comfortable. The goal is to set concrete limits that help you manage your emotional responses and avoid unnecessary stress from mixed messages and potentially false hopes.

Discuss your romantic feelings

If you decide to tell someone your real feelings, and they don't feel the same way, there may be a chance you can stay friends anyway. In this case, each of you should agree to avoid conscious flirting or making comments that might send mixed messages. Setting new language rules - being specific about what you are and are not going to refer to each other as, for example - might help you to improve your well-being.

Have an honest conversation about what you both want from your relationship, whether it’s platonic or romantic, and consider whether it would be best for you both to spend time apart to allow romantic feelings to fade. Try to note any lifestyle differences that might make it difficult to start a romantic relationship with your crush.

Discuss your feelings with a friend or loved one

Talking to a friend or loved one about your feelings can help you stop obsessing about the object of your affection and provide you with emotional support. Consider finding a close friend or family member to discuss your feelings with who can help you work through them and find support in moving forward.

This could be tricky territory, though. For instance, you might want to avoid gossiping or spilling your secret to a friend that's close to your crush. You may also want to steer clear of starting drama or rumors, so consider talking to someone outside of that social circle who you trust.

Be realistic about prospects, personality, and lifestyle differences

People who have difficulty letting go of someone they like may be continuing the relationship in their minds through memories or fantasies. Fantasizing may make it more difficult to forget your new crush since it can cause a rush of feelings.  Instead, consider letting go of any delusions you have about being with the person. Try to stop thinking about them as often and distract yourself from any thoughts that arise. Look for objective ways to remind yourself why this person is not for you by reminding yourself of behaviors, values, or lifestyle differences that are incompatible with your way of living. You might also look for productive ways to spend your time that might let you process your emotions and develop feelings that are appropriate rather than allowing any negative thoughts about why things won’t work out take over.

One method for doing this is journaling. Write the person a letter explaining your feelings without the intention to send it. Ideally, the message should be clear about why you feel the relationship cannot come to fruition. It should also communicate a firm boundary you will maintain during future interactions. You may also try daily journal entries marking what you are doing instead of focusing on this person or keeping a running log of your emotions and thoughts for a certain period of time. This may let you see yourself grow and help you track patterns in your thinking.

Other solutions you can try

A reasonable approach to ending your feelings for someone is to walk away and accept the situation. You may have to mourn what you thought might have been. During this grieving process, it’s normal to have feelings of loss. There are a few things you can do to process these feelings, though. The stress of liking a person you can't date and having unwanted feelings about and around them can be overwhelming at times, and it can also be challenging when you stop loving them and begin to move forward. If you’re feeling anxious, try practicing some calming techniques like yoga or meditation. Anything that will relax you and keep you grounded may do the trick.

Working through intrusive thoughts about a crush

If you’re actively trying not to think about someone, chances are you’re doing just that. Maybe you’re feeling plagued by thoughts and memories of your crush. You may constantly wonder whether your crush likes you back. Perhaps it's a nagging in the back of your mind that seems to intrude whenever you try to block the person out. Your difficulty in stopping yourself from liking this person and pushing them out of your mind can make those thoughts even more persistent and may even cause you to question your other relationships. These unwanted and persistent thoughts are called "intrusive thoughts".

It’s common to experience intrusive thoughts at one point or another, and it can be a challenge to try to get rid of them. There are some things you may want to consider trying, though. For example, avoid putting yourself in situations that could trigger thoughts of your crush, such as excessively looking at their social media accounts or watching romantic movies. Instead, engage in activities that help you focus your mind on other things, such as reading or playing a favorite game. When the thoughts do inevitably come, try to let them pass naturally as opposed to forcibly pushing them out of your mind. Spending time on activities you enjoy can be helpful.

Romantic feelings can be powerful

If you feel you've tried everything to forget your crush and stop liking them with no success, there may still be more you can do. Seeking informed professional advice could be the right move as you navigate intense feelings for a crush and try to move forward in your life. It can be difficult to talk about your romantic feelings with a stranger though, particularly in person. Online therapy may provide a solution by making you feel more comfortable expressing yourself. This form of therapy can also be more convenient since you can skip the commute and get mental health services right from home. 

Internet-based therapy has been proven effective in helping people with relationship problems and can come in many forms, from family therapy to individual therapy. A recent study showed that couples undergoing online counseling felt more in control over the process and more comfortable expressing their feelings with someone in a web-based environment. They also reported an enhanced therapeutic alliance as a result of the online setting, which is a significant predictor of successful therapy. 

The therapists at BetterHelp are trained and ready to assist you. Online therapy can often be more affordable than in-person therapy as well, with prices ranging from $65-$100 $260-$400 monthly (based on factors such as your location, referral source, preferences, therapist availability and any applicable discounts or promotions that might apply) to have sessions with a qualified therapist. When you’re ready to begin, you can answer a few brief questions to make sure you're matched with the right professional. With therapy, your romantic problems could be a thing of the past.

Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar issues:

Counselor reviews

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Takeaway

Deciding not to pursue a crush and to move on to someone else can be a hard choice, but it’s also one you can be proud of; remember that your relationship status does not define your worth, and it’s okay to have mixed feelings about both new friends and old friends with whom you have a lot in common. 

If you’re wondering how to stop liking someone, consider redirecting your thoughts away from them, cutting your losses, and maintaining your mental health and well-being to manage any great sense of loss or frustration from the healing process, perhaps with the help of a licensed mental health professional. We hope you have found this article helpful and that it may empower you to move forward to a better relationship in the future. 

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