It’s taken too many years, but I’ve finally accepted it’s just not going to work out for me to be with this person I care for deeply. However, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them every single day. Staying busy helps, but I can’t be in constant motion 24/7. How do I stop letting them occupy so many of my thoughts?
Tired of Thinking
Dude, I have been there, and it hurts. The breakup or rejection itself can be gutting, but imagine icing that cake by having that person on your mind 24/7. It’s not fun, and it can even make life hard to navigate if you share a lot of friends or social spaces with that person. I deeply regret never returning to Go Bar before they closed, but I just couldn’t because I had gotten entangled with a regular there. I consider Go Bar to have been Athens’ only downtown queer space, and I regularly kick myself for napalming my social life to the point where I couldn’t even say goodbye to this amazing venue and super-gay community hub. Even reworking my social circle didn’t really do the trick, because even if I wasn’t running into that person in public anymore, I still had the whole experience playing repeatedly in my mind. That kind of stuff is crazy-making.
Regular talk therapy helped me tremendously with working through the feelings of rejection and judgment that had me focusing on that experience to an unhealthy degree. Your therapist is someone you pay to listen to you, so they’re not going to get bored or annoyed with you talking about that person, like your friends might. They also provide a safe and confidential space where you won’t have to worry about your words making it back to that person. They can help you parse the thoughts running through your head and take them from being negative noise to cues towards parts of your self-perception that can be improved upon. It’s not necessarily the person you’re thinking about all the time, but the way that the experience triggered certain insecurities or fears you have.
You can also just plainly distract yourself with any lapsed hobbies or interests—apparently that new Elden Ring is bussin’. Find something that takes up a fair amount of your downtime or headspace, like RPGs or Couch to 5K or whatever floats your boat. The time you spend lamenting lost love can be applied elsewhere in your life, and to great benefit. I think with a healthy balance of therapy and compassionate self interest, you will one day wonder why you got so bummed in the first place.
There is this girl who keeps staring at me, and I even think I have heard my name once or twice spoken by her and her friends. They’ve also occasionally giggled when I walk past. The girl is really pretty, but I don’t know what to do. I’m really confused and nervous. I don’t know who should make the first move. I also don’t know if she likes me or not.
Wondering in Wisconsin
Hey there Wondering,
The only way to answer your questions is to ask them and find out the answers. I can’t really judge whether or not this person is into you based on the limited information you’ve given, but I will definitely say that I don’t think it serves anything to wonder about every smile and every giggle. It’s certainly fun and invigorating to perceive a long-form flirtation with the objects of our desires, but I believe that nothing will ever outdo directness and honesty. I also would hate it if you build things up in your mind to a point where getting a no from her would be devastating.
The only thing that seems definite here is that you’re interested in this person, so I say go shoot your shot. The worst thing she can say is no, and the worst consequence of a no would be that you are still single and available to date other people whom you may vibe with even better than this person. Go for it.
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