Do you get obsessed too quickly in the early days of dating? This is often dangerous because it places WAY too much of our happiness in trying to attract and keep someone (even when we don’t really know them yet).

Thankfully, this kind of “anxious dating” is something you can actually solve. In today’s video, I dive into where this obsession comes from, and give you 5 things you can do to stop falling for someone too quickly and self-sabotaging in early dating.


Hello, everyone. I am Matthew Hussey, the author of the brand new book, Love Life, which became the New York Times’ best seller a few weeks ago. I’m also a coach, specializing in confidence and relational intelligence, who, for the last 17 years has been helping people find the healthy love that they want.

So, today’s video is based on a question I got from one of my Love Life members. And if you don’t know, I have a year-round program where I coach people who want to find love. If you want to make me your coach, officially, then I’ll leave a link below for you to check that out. It is

But this particular Love Life member asked me about obsession in early dating. What can you do if, whenever you meet someone you like, you immediately become obsessed, get too carried away, and then risk ruining the whole thing, either the enjoyment of it because you just feel anxious all the time or actually sabotaging it by being the person that we become when we get obsessed?

So let’s talk about this. Why do we get obsessed in early dating and what are the five things that you can know today that will help you the next time you find yourself in this situation?

By the way, it would mean a lot to me if you would like this video, subscribe to this channel, and hit the notification bell, so that the next time I make a video, you get notified, and you don’t discover it three months later, and think to yourself, “I really could have used this video back then.”

So, let’s talk about this idea of obsession in early dating. What are the five things that you need to know?

Number one, identify the feeling that you have. When we are out there meeting someone, falling for them very quickly, and then very quickly becoming anxious about the fact that they’re not texting us or worried that they might not like us as much as we like them, it’s very tempting to think of this as being a sign of how important this person is, a sign of how much our happiness resides with this person and the possibility that they end up choosing us as their partner.

What this feeling actually is, is anxiety. And it’s important that we label it as anxiety. This is a form of anxious rumination.

“I really like them. They don’t like me as much as I like them. And if they don’t like me as much as I like them, my whole life is going to get worse. I’m going to be heartbroken. I’m never going to get over it.”

“They’re not texting me right now. Oh, no. This person that holds the keys to my happiness doesn’t want me back. I’m about to lose someone who is right for me.”

We have these thoughts and they are not an indication of how valuable this person is. They are an indication of the intensity of an anxiety that likely long predated this person.

And you can do a test on that. Is this the first person you’ve ever felt this anxiety with, or is the anxiety a constant in your life? If it is, good news, it’s not that this person is the most important person in the world. It’s that you are coming to the table with a pre-existing level of anxious attachment.

Now that we’ve identified that feeling as anxiety, let’s get to point number two. That anxiety will follow you anywhere you go. It will follow you to a different person in the future. So, if you move on from this person and feel good again afterwards, after weeks or months of feeling of heartbroken that this didn’t work out, that anxiety won’t have gone away. It will just be dormant, lying in wait for the next person. When the next person comes along, if you decide you like that person, the anxiety re-appears.

And it’s not just true that the anxiety will transfer to the next person. It’s also true that that anxiety will follow you into every stage of the relationship with this person if it actually works out.

Think about it this way. When we’re single, the anxiety is, “I’m never going to meet anyone.” When we meet someone, the anxiety is, “They don’t like me as much as I like them,” or, “They’re not texting me right now and that’s bad news.”

If it turns into an actual relationship, our anxiety is now around losing this person. “That they’re going to find someone else. That the next time they walk into a coffee shop and see someone who’s objectively more attractive than me, they’re going to leave me for that person.”

And even if you feel completely safe with this person, like, “They’re never going to leave me for another person.” Even if they manage to get you to trust on that level, the anxiety transfers to, “What if they die?”

So, the anxiety never really goes away. It just keeps finding a new home, a new target. Now that can feel quite defeating, in a sense, to feel like, “Oh, my god. I’m never going to be rid of this anxiety.” We can, of course, start to mitigate that anxiety. We can turn it around. And we’ll talk about that in a moment.

But far from being this horrible conclusion, that the anxiety is going to follow me everywhere, it can actually start to be this wonderful way of getting perspective. In other words, any time our anxiety finds a target, knowing the anxiety is the constant, not the target, we realize that the target of our anxiety, the thing we’re convincing ourselves in the moment, is the root cause of our anxiety, is not nearly as important as we’re making it, and may not be important at all.

Once you realize that when this target goes away, my anxiety will just find a new one, there’s no target that feels that important anymore. It just feels like this long and almost farcical cycle of hopping from one thing to the next, and every time, telling ourselves a story that the thing I’m focused on now is the most important thing in the world to be worried about. And when there’s no longer that thing to be worried about, we try to convince ourselves or anyone who will listen, “Oh, no, no. You don’t understand. This one is the most important thing in the world to be worried about.”

And I want you to hear yourself telling yourself that story each time, to become aware of that story, and almost to start to laugh at it. Like, how can everything be the most important thing in the world to be worried about? How can everything be this worthy of my anxiety? How can I keep convincing myself every time, “No, no, no. This time, it’s really important. This time it’s really scary.”

Realize that if your anxiety is the constant, then the targets become a farce.

Number three, we have to recognize that behind the anxiety that we feel, when we get obsessed with someone in early dating, is a need. The anxious obsession feels objectively like a bad thing. But embedded within it is just an unmet need. There’s a, kind of, cry for help that, you know, we get obsessed with someone because we like them. And liking someone isn’t a problem. But when liking someone, when being on a date, and realizing, “Oh, this person’s great. I really like them or I admire them or I respect them. I’d like to spend more time with them if they’re open to that.” When that crosses over into, “I’ll die if they don’t text me back,” something’s happened there. It’s no longer just an admiration for them as a person or a, kind of, excitement about the possibility of another date with them. It’s turned into a sense of danger that if they don’t reply, if they don’t like me, if this doesn’t progress, I won’t be okay.

Beneath all of that, there’s this need that’s being expressed. It can be a need for safety, a need for consistency, a need to feel wanted or acknowledged or seen or worthy, that there is a need there. And the need is trying to express itself. But what happens with our anxiety is the need gets transferred to something — or in this case, someone on the outside.

There’s nothing wrong with the need by the way. We all have these needs, and especially when we have been through a lot in our life—we have certain traumas from childhood or relationships. We can come out of those situations really needing a sense of safety, really needing a sense of peace or consistency. There’s nothing wrong with that. But where we get ourselves into trouble is that that internal need transfers itself to an external target. We suddenly nominate someone that we have known for five minutes or three dates, as the sole provider of this need that we have.

“Your job, person that I’ve decided I like, is to make me feel safe. And the way you’re going to make me feel safe is to communicate as often as I want you to communicate, to tell me all of the things as often as I need to and as intensely as I need you to say them, to reassure me and to demonstrate that you like me as much as I like you, preferably a bit more, because that will really make me feel safe.”

And if this person does not provide these things in precisely the way that that voice inside of us needs, then our anxiety goes through the roof. And then a version of us, of course, comes out that has the ability to sabotage situations.

Here’s the really tricky part. We start saying and doing things that push away healthy, secure people because secure people feel that something is going very wrong if they are suddenly being made responsible for too much of our happiness, too soon. But it has a very insidious effect with people who are not well-intentioned or people we might think of as toxic who realize the amount of power that they can have over us by saying and doing the right things.

So, if our anxiety demonstrates an extreme need, and they can fulfill that need by showing up in very grandiose ways early on, by saying exactly what we want to hear, we feel a false sense of safety with this person who is saying things that really, they have no business saying right now, in the same way that our need that has nothing really to do with this person, has no business being quenched by this person.

So, an out-of-proportion need is being met by a totally false sense of security from the outside, and that’s how we find ourselves getting our hearts broken by the love bombers, the manipulators, the narcissists, the sociopaths, the people that are looking for precisely the right intensity of pain, anxiety, and need to come along and be the answer for.

So, bottom line, we have to stop nominating people on the outside as the answer to that anxiety we feel on the inside because the obsession that we have for this person in dating is nothing more than the expression of our internal anxiety and that need that wants to be met.

Now, like I said, it’s okay to like someone. We don’t have to become indifferent to protect ourselves. We can openly like someone. We can even openly want more with someone. But any time it strays into a feeling of pain, that’s out-of-proportion with how well we know this person or how long it’s been going on for, we have to go back to that reminder. “Ah, this is anxiety and that anxiety is coming from a need.”

How, in this moment, instead of asking for validation, reassurance, and intensity from the outside, do I start to create a home within myself?

So, I want you to write this down if you’ve got something you can write on right now. Number four, create a safe home within yourself. I want you to tell yourself, “If I want to make someone else a part of my home, that feeling of home, I first have to create a home within myself.”

So, number four, we have to create a safe home within ourselves.

I want you to take a scenario where maybe you feel a little nervous or a bit anxious, take a party that you find yourself at on your own. Imagine the feelings that you get being at that party—not knowing anyone, wondering what everyone’s thinking about you, feeling embarrassed or awkwardly shuffling around, and trying to look like you’ve got something to do, like checking your phone as a way of looking cool at the party when, in fact, you’re not really checking anything. You’re just trying to look like you’re not that strange person standing on the sidelines.

Feel that feeling, that lack of safety, that desire to be comforted. That desire, that very quickly gets transferred onto the room, and that thought of, “I wish someone would come over and make me feel good right now. I wish someone would come over and welcome me into this party, that they would reassure me, that they would find me interesting, that they would save me from the sidelines.”

Now, notice that that is us trying to find a home outside of ourselves in this party. When, in fact, we don’t need to go anywhere or talk to anyone to create a home within ourselves. The feelings that we are seeking on the outside, we can create on the inside.

Now, how do we do that?

Well, let’s recap for a moment. We’ve understood so far in this video that the desire for someone to come over, the desire for people to come and make friends with you, that is anxiety. We’ve understood so far in this video that in this situation, that kind of obsessive thinking of, “I need someone to come and make me feel better. I need people to be friends with me. I need to raise my status in this party and not look like the sad, weird person on my own.”

That is anxiety. It’s not representative of something that’s truly important. You’re not going to die. You may not care about any of these people or even see any of them again. None of this right now is actually important.

So, the thoughts aren’t real. It’s all anxiety. So, we label it that. We recognize that beneath that anxiety is a need, a need to feel safe, a need to feel accepted, a need to feel loved. That part of you isn’t you as a whole. It’s just a voice within you. One of many. What it’s doing is it’s looking for reassurance on the outside. What we have to do is give ourselves the reassurance that we seek. We have to be the safety we’re looking for.

The temptation is to identify with it and to think that, “Me and this voice are the same thing.” But actually, this voice is the part of us that is scared. You could think of it as the inner child. You can even think of it as like a screaming toddler that is anxious or afraid or just trying to get a need met.

But it’s not the adult in the room. And if you think about a child screaming in the back of the car, you wouldn’t turn to that child and say, “Hey, here’s the keys to the car. You drive then.”

You acknowledge that, “Oh, there’s a scared child here. How do I turn to meet them in a way that is effective, productive, compassionate, loving? How do I give that child what that child needs?” Which is different, by the way, to what that child wants. We’ll come on to that in a second.

So, let’s move on to point number five. What does the child need? What does that voice inside need?

It’s looking for safety on the outside. But what if could give it a feeling of safety on the inside? What if we could talk to that part of ourselves in a loving voice? First, acknowledging them and connecting with what they feel, “Hey, you met someone you like. It feels scary all of a sudden. I get it. You really want to find love and I know you’ve been burned in the past. And this brings up so much for you. And I understand. I understand why you’re feeling what you’re feeling.”

And of course, by the way, by being us, we are the ones uniquely placed to know everything we’ve ever been through that’s made us this way. That gives us this amazing vantage point from which to give ourselves compassion, to view ourselves holistically and contextually and say, “I get you. I know why you feel this way. I know why you feel so obsessed right now and so anxious right now. You’ve been through a lot.”

You’re looking for safety because you never had any. You know what that story is. So, you can reassure yourself that that part of you isn’t crazy. It’s just reacting to its history. But that part of you also isn’t you.

So, you can speak to it in a loving, compassionate voice.

“You’re going to be okay. And even if this person doesn’t text back, we’re still going to be okay. Why? Because we’ve been okay in the past. We’ve successfully survived this life so far, we will survive it again, and this person isn’t the most important person in the world. We’re just afraid. It’s okay ”

You give yourself that love, that affection, that presence. But what we also do is we’re firm with that part of ourselves. That’s what being the adult in the room is. That’s what being the parent is. Remember, it’s not about just giving that voice what it wants. It’s giving that voice what it needs. And what that voice might need right now is a firm hand, is us saying, “I know you want to turn this into something really important but we’re not going to do that. I know that you want to keep thinking about this person over and over but you know what? We’re going to go do something else. We’re going to go work out. We’re going to go hang with our friends who have been around much longer than this person we’ve known for five minutes.”

“We’re going to do something we love, engage in one of our passions. We’re not going to sit here and ruminate about this person. And no, we’re not going to go and call all of our friends and tell them how amazing this person is and oh my god, this could be the one.”

“We’re not going to do that either. We’re not going to entertain these things. We’re going to accept it for what it is—someone that I had a great time with, someone that maybe I have an admiration or respect for, based on how well I know them right now. But also, someone that I don’t really know. But who I’m looking for to get to know more, providing they feel the same way. I’m not going to allow the thoughts to go any further than that.”

We have to know when to cut ourselves off and say, “This is no longer productive. This is just anxious rumination by another name. Namely, that this person is the one for me.”

“No, no, no. I don’t know that yet.”

The next time you hear that voice go, “This person is the one,” go, “You’re anxiously ruminating. That’s what this is.”

All right? So, we have to be firm with that voice at the same time as being compassionate and affectionate with that voice.

So, let me know what you thought of this. Leave me a comment. I’m excited to read them. What spoke to you most about this video? Are you someone who obsessively ruminates about someone when you first start dating them? Do you get carried away too quickly? How does that affect you? And how has this video helped? I’m excited to read your comments.

And by the way, thank you to everyone who shares these videos. It means so much to me. I can’t do this work on my own. I want to get these messages to as many people as I can, people that may not know that there are tools out there to feel better. There are messages that can soothe the pain that they’re feeling right now. For everyone who shares this video, with your platform or just with your friends and family, thank you. And I promise to keep delivering videos like this that can help you going forward.

And for anyone who wants to share more time with me, in September of this year I’m running my Live Retreat, for six days, from the 9th of September until the 15th, in Florida. We’re going to be together, all in one resort. Is going to be an amazing experience. 

If you want to continue your growth work with me in a very immersive way– live, in person– then I encourage you to apply. The link is Go check it out. We’re down to a small number of spaces now. There’s only so much space in the room, and it’s not a very big room, is an intimate program. So, come join us, and I hope I’ll get to see you there. 

Thank you so much for watching this video, as always. I look forward to reading your comments. And I will see you next week. 

Be well my friends, and love life. 

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