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This one is on a specific question that’s come up many times, where the people I’ve worked with are cursed with something called “one-itis,” which actually comes from the Pickup Artist community.
It’s in reference to an adult who’s basically developed an intense crush on someone, the kind of crush you have when you’re a kid. You become obsessed with one girl (or one boy) and you just love them to bits, even though you don’t really know anything about them. It’s like having a deep burning, yearning love for a stranger.
Well, adults do this too, except it’s a lot more toxic and fucked up than the kid version. Oneitis often occurs to guys with Nice Guy Syndrome. It’s an obsession over one person, and specifically; one person that you’re not romantically engaged with in any way. There is no sex, you’re not in a relationship, there has probably not even been a direct expression of attraction – most likely, there’s been no expression of attraction in any noticeable way.
You may be in a friendship with the person, or you may barely know them, but either way, it’s an obsession.
What I want to talk about today is getting over oneitis.
I used to be a chronic, repeat oneitis offender. I would go from one obsession to another, one crush to another. All throughout my 20s there was always at least one girl a year who I was majorly crushing on, and nothing was ever going to come from it.
For the longest time, I just couldn’t understand why this occurred. It never was a situation that went well for me. I’d fall in love, essentially, in a fucked up way with these girls, who showed no interest in me in that way and never reciprocated, and it was just endless suffering.
What I also wasn’t seeing is that because of my obsession with them, I was making no real effort and putting no energy into creating connections with any other girls. And this is the true curse of oneitis.
How to notice when it’s happening is easy. You think somebody is special. You put somebody up on a pedestal, making them a person of royalty in your world. They are the best. They are uniquely above all the rest. You can’t imagine yourself being with anyone else. This person is just so fucking fantastic.
And so you worship them like a goddess (speaking specifically of guys here but girls do this too).
So you’ve got this person who you worship as a goddess, even though you don’t really know them that well personally, or you think you know them really well personally, but because you see them as so Goddess-like, it’s obvious that you don’t really know them on an intimate level. You’re just seeing what you want to see in them, which is something we’ll talk about today.
It’s an adult crush, it’s a love that’s urequited, it’s oneitis, it’s whatever you want to call it. It’s the obsession with one person, thinking that they’re better than others.
What to do about it
Now, the first thing to do about it is to notice that it’s unhealthy. Having an obsession with somebody who’s got no interest in you and is never going to reciprocate the way you feel, and to have completely lost interest in pursuing a connection with anybody else, is certainly not a healthy state of mind to be in. You know this is true.
This is not a relationship where the two of you have bonded together in equal love and you fight for each other. This is you essentially borderline-stalking somebody. You’re just so obsessed with them. So first is to recognize it is not healthy.
The second thing is to really recognize that you are not in love with the real person. You can’t be, because no real human being is worthy of obsessive worship. They never have been and they never will be. Humans are far too flawed and weak to be worthy of someone’s worship.
Worthy of love? Certainly. But worship? No. You can’t worship a real person, but you can worship an image of a person. You can worship the poster that you had on your wall when you were a teenage boy of Britney Spears, without knowing that she was fucking normal, right?
You worship what you want the person to be. You project that ideal onto the person and end up worshipping the person themselves.
One of the things that you’ll see in somebody who has oneitis is a pattern. There’ll be maybe one or two different girls per year. Maybe it’s that kind of frequency. The obsession moves from one host-body to another. I call it the demon.
When the girl becomes totally unavailable (e.g. gets a long-term boyfriend and stops paying attention to the desperate nice guy), that’s usually the shifter that moves the obsessive guy onto a new girl. They keep developing a repeat obsession; a new crush for new girl, but it’s the same old obsessions. It’s just the same demon but in a different host-body.
The neediness for this magical, ideal girl is getting projected onto one girl at a time. The girl you’re projecting onto is actually a complete mystery to you. You don’t know what she’s really like.
Other people may question your obsession with her. They might think, “Oh she’s ok but she treats you like shit” or “She’s not that great. I mean, she’s nice or whatever but she’s not that awesome a person. Why do you worship her?”
They’re seeing her, while you’re just seeing your demon. You’re seeing your idealized obsession projected onto your woman.
You’ll notice that with oneitis you will ignore the faults of the person. You’ll ignore their blatant disrespect and other forms of malicious or just not so good behavior. You’re not seeing the real person.
And you’ll over-emphasize and highlight their positive traits and strengths. You take the things you like about them and blow them up in your mind and say, “See? She’s the one! She’s a princess!” Whereas if you got objective feedback from anyone else, they’re not going to give that same kind of idealized image.
They can say, “Yes, she’s all right,” or, “Actually, she’s a bit of a bitch,” or, “I could see why you’d like her, but she’s not the best thing in the world.” They’re not going to see her the same way because they are more objective than you are.
Try to start seeing them the way they are, rather than going, “She is so great.”
How does she treat you when you’re around her? Do you feel safe to open up and be yourself (e.g. show your attraction)? Do you feel like she reciprocates your feelings? Do you feel like you’re both putting the same amount of investment into this connection? Do you feel like she really is genuine and authentic with you?
Or do you feel like you don’t want to see what she really is because then you would lose what you wanted her to be.
Start having a look at the fictional, idealized image that you’re bringing to this “connection.” And realize it’s the same idealized image that you brought every one of your oneitis recipients. Every one of those host-bodies was infected by you with the same disease.
The real truth about this disease is it’s not even an ideal woman you’re looking for. That’s not what this oneitis is about. Are you ready for the truth? You sure? Here we go:
You’re secretly looking for a reason to avoid finding a real woman!
There’s no chance of finding an actual partner while you fantasize about your ideal life with the fictional girl. You know that you’re not actually going to do anything to make that life come true. You’re not going to initiate and push this thing forward because you don’t actually want it to come true.
You just want the fantasy. As long as she’s a “maybe,” you get to live with that fantasy. As long as she’s neither a no nor a yes – you’re just living in that maybe-mand: she could be like this, maybe our future could be like that.
You’re off the hook! Not only do you not have to be direct with her about the way you feel, you also no longer you have to pursue other women in any way. You’ve actually removed yourself from the dating pool with this obsession, which I believe is the true purpose of oneitis.
The real reason oneitis exists is to prevent you from having to engage in creating a real, vulnerable, and what you might think of as dangerous connection with a genuine human being.
The pickup artists say that the cure to oneitis is to go out and fuck a bunch of girls. But I don’t believe in that, because I think one of those new girls will just get infected with the host-body disease.
The real cure to oneitis is curiosity.
It’s getting to know people as people. It’s understanding that your neediness for an idealized woman is merely an escape route. You’re trying to avoid connecting with a woman at all because you’re scared of doing it.
If you want to cure yourself of oneitis, start focusing on making genuine connections with people, and I don’t necessarily mean romantic connections. I mean getting to know them for who they really are – including seeing their dark side and sharing your own in return – letting them see who you really are.
Let go of your idealized image of a perfect person. That’s what I did.
What helped me most was living with a bunch of attractive girls, the kind of girls that I could have easily gone oneitis on. I had to smell the toilet after they had been there. I had to hear them complain about things that annoyed me. I had to argue with them about doing the dishes.
And I started to see that there were real people, that they weren’t perfect goddesses or princesses. They were just humans just like me. Some of them annoyed me, some of them I loved, and everything in between.
And then I started to see all people like this. I realized there was no person worthy of a pedestal, that the only time I can put someone on a pedestal was when I’m creating a fictional vision of them that doesn’t exist. And it’s based on a template that came long before they even arrived; I’ve just projected that onto them.
It was hard to let go of that idealized vision because I had to let go of the idea of perfection, and accept that I’ll never find someone who will save me from having to be vulnerable and raw and authentic. I’m going to have to do that. I’m going to have to be an imperfect person for someone else, and there’ll be an imperfect person for me and that’s how we’ll connect.
There’s nothing healthy about oneitis. But it’s natural. It’s not really that person that you’re obsessed with – you’re obsessed with your idealized image so that you can avoid having to connect with a real person. It’s like porn instead of real sex.
Get out there and start having some real sex. Have some real connections with people. See them for what they really are. And this oneitis thing will cure itself.
If you want more on seeing the truth about people check out my book, Nothing to Lose. It’s all about letting go of the fantasies, stories and illusions that we live by, and living in reality. And of course, send your questions to email@example.com if you want me to go on a rant about your particular issue, and I’ll see you guys all next time.