You can’t choose who you love… or lust after. Sometimes you find yourself falling hard for the least likely person. However deep your feelings go doesn’t matter, because when someone’s off limits, they’re really off limits. Think your best friend’s ex-boyfriend, your married boss, or (CRINGE!) your father’s middle aged co-worker who you swear looks just like Daniel Craig. Logically, you know you can’t make a move and you won’t, but now you have the near-impossible task of forgetting about them. Ignore the tingling downstairs, and be strong. You can do it.
Identify why he’s off limits. Some people, like those already in a committed relationship, are not even an option, no question. But are you labeling someone off limits just because he’s not your usual type? Is he older than what you’re normally comfortable with? Figure out why you’ve convinced yourself he’s not for you. Maybe you’ll realize he’s not as out of reach as you thought.
Figure out if you’re just into the drama. Are you the type that loves complicated, unrequited love? Maybe it’s the idea of a forbidden Romeo and Juliet romance that appeals to you. If that’s the case, you need to reevaluate your emotions.
Think about whether or not your feelings are actually about him. Maybe you’re always attracted to the bad boy, and you’ve found yourself trapped in a cycle of unhealthy relationships. If your crush is clearly another iteration of an ex you can’t seem to get over, you need to focus on yourself for awhile instead of jumping from guy to guy. See it as a chance to reset before you start over.
Take a step back. It’s easy to start developing feelings for someone you spend a lot of time with, like, say, a co-worker assigned to an important project with you. While you might not be able to avoid him altogether, you can definitely limit any time you spend with him that isn’t work focused.
Avoid him. If it’s possible to cut off interaction with him completely, you should do it. There’s no reason you need to be asking your best friend’s ex to hang out. If he’s off limits, you need to cut off contact until your crush fizzles out due to lack of oxygen.
Consider the backlash if you were to make a move. Be honest. What are the consequences if you were to reveal your feelings? There’s no guarantee they’ll be mutual, and you could end up hurting someone close to you, and yourself, in the process.
Ask yourself it it would really be worth it. Even if everything does work out how you want it to with your crush, you could still end up losing friends or end up with a reputation you can’t shake. Sure, it might all be worth it for true love. But it definitely isn’t for one night of sex, or a short-lived whirlwind romance.
Confide in someone who can be objective. Sometimes it’s hard to see things clearly because you’re too emotionally invested. Talk to someone who’ll be able to give you the cold hard facts. They’ll probably tell you what you already know, but it’ll help to hear it out loud from someone who won’t accept your attempts at justifying your feelings.
Quit flirting. Seriously. If you have no choice but to see him once in awhile, you’ll just have to find a way to keep it platonic. Flirting openly with someone who’s taken is a bad idea. Obviously, you aren’t responsible for what he chooses to do, but why play with fire?
Focus on yourself. Every time you find yourself daydreaming about your crush, make a conscious effort to occupy your mind with something else. Read a book. Go do a work out. Call a friend to catch up. Anything. Just don’t let yourself pine over someone you’ll never have.
Keep dating. They say the best way to get over one guy is to get under another. You don’t have to go that far, but definitely stay open to other guys who might come along. You don’t want to let a great guy pass you by because you’re hung up on someone you never had a chance with anyway.
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