How To Stop Liking Someone You Can’t Date

Updated January 13, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Are you constantly thinking about a person you can't be with? Once you've recognized you should stop liking this person, it does not mean you have to let go of them entirely-but it is something you can do eventually. Create space for yourself and be vocal about your needs. This is a time to find yourself and maintain your own identity while moving forward. If you need help throughout this process, connect with an online therapist

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Tips on How to Stop Liking Someone You Can't Date

  • Keep it appropriate

Keep your relationship with this person appropriate to the circumstances. This means if you like your boss, make sure to keep all your interactions professional and respectful. If you are thinking "Why am I suddenly attracted to my female friend?", but know she doesn't like you back in that way, commit to only being her friend or maybe re-examine if she can be in your life. You cannot stop liking someone if you can't stop imagining yourselves together. Limit your interactions to ones that are appropriate for your relationship, and eventually, your feelings should start to fade, or you will meet someone else.

  • Spend time apart

 You may have tried to keep things friendly or professional with your crush, but you still can't stand that you can't be together. They're always on your mind, and you have trouble keeping your composure when they're around. It might be best to spend some time apart or stop seeing that person completely. Of course, in a work situation, that isn't always possible, but it can be helpful to find some way to maintain distance until your feelings subside.

  • Set boundaries

Setting boundaries is key. Maybe you're falling for a close friend who always wants you to be around, but doesn't know you like them. In this type of situation, setting boundaries can be good. You want this person in your life, but for whatever reason, you can't tell them how you feel. What you can do is limit the time you are together. If you can tell them how you feel and they don't feel the same way, there is a chance you can stay friends anyway. In this case, each of you should agree to avoid things like flirting or making comments that might send mixed messages.

  • Talk to someone about your feelings

Talking to someone about your feelings can help you stop obsessing, and start feeling more normal. Be careful not to gossip or talk to someone that knows the person you like! You don't want to start drama or rumors, so talk to someone outside of that circle or someone you trust.

Dealing with Intrusive Thoughts

Are you feeling plagued by thoughts and memories you can't stand? Perhaps it's a nagging in the back of your mind that seems to intrude when you try to block them out. Intrusive thoughts happen to everyone and can occur during this process. Your difficulty in stopping yourself from liking this person and pushing them out of your mind can make them feel they are more persistent in your thoughts. 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 these "bad thoughts." Avoid putting yourself in situations that could trigger them, for example, excessively taking glances at their social media accounts or watching romantic movies. Be aware of any situation that may "trigger" intrusive thoughts and make a plan to engage in alternative and less triggering behaviors. Intrusive thoughts happen to everyone, in a variety of situations, and the next time they come up, instead of trying to push them out of your mind, just let them come and go.

Be Realistic

This person is not a prince or princess in disguise, and you don't need rescuing. People who have difficulty letting go of someone they liked may be continuing the relationship in their minds through remembering and fantasizing. Fantasy makes it difficult to back away or let go, as it's addictive and causes a "rush." The failure to believe you're caught in a fantasy drives the process. Start by letting go of any delusions you have about being with the person. You really have no idea what it's like to be with a person until you're actually with them. It may be completely different than what you imagined-and not in a good way.

Other Solutions

 A reasonable approach to stop liking someone is to walk away and accept the situation. You may have to mourn what you thought might have been. During this grief process, you may have feelings of loss with the individual you liked. Successfully walking away from them does not involve processing your feelings with them because the likelihood of doing so will further the attachment. There are a few things you can do to free yourself of these thoughts.

One solution is journaling. In your journal, write the person a letter with full transparency of why you can't like them anymore. The message should be clear about why you feel the relationship cannot come to fruition and communicate a firm boundary you will maintain during future interactions.

Another option is redirecting your thoughts. Any time you find yourself thinking about this person, turn your thoughts elsewhere. If you're thinking of someone outside your relationship, consider your current partner, instead. This has shown great results in professional studies.

The stress of liking someone you can't date can be overwhelming at times. If this sounds like you, try practicing some calming techniques like yoga or meditation. Anything that will relax you and keep you grounded will do the trick.

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How BetterHelp Can Help

If you feel you've tried everything to no success, there's still more you can do. Seeking informed professional advice could be the right move as you navigate intense feelings for someone and try to move forward in your life.

The therapists at BetterHelp are trained and ready to assist you. They have therapists available any time of day or night. And they will make sure you're matched with the right professional. With therapy, your problems could be a thing of the past! Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

"Kimberlee gets me! She is so in tune with what I am saying and understands what I mean when I can't even get the right words to express things. She's truly a blessing. In a short time, I have seen her I have grown leaps and bounds. I had given up hope of being whole, and she's giving me practical tools and amazing advice! On my good days I feel better mentally than I ever have my entire life! My "bad" days are less frequent and less intense as well!"

"Karen is so intuitive. When I explain a situation she can pinpoint exactly what's going on and the way through, its amazing. She is so direct where others have tip toed around problems keeping me in the same problematic situation for years - Karen can move me through those problematic situations within one conversation with her approach which is direct but never in an invasive or offensive way . I feel safe with her responses and suggestions."


By moving your thoughts away from this person, cutting your losses, and maintaining your mental health and wellbeing, you're moving forward to a better relationship you deserve. Using these tools will send you on your way to a life free of the person you can't date. Take the first step to a life with fulfilling relationships today.

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