Oneitis: The Problem and The Cure

moby dick illustrationYou might know a familiar story from Herman Melville. Captain Ahab had a terrible obsession with a whale named Moby Dick. He wanted revenge for what the whale had “done to him” and ended up becoming obsessed with the beast. The more culturally literate among us know: it didn’t end up well for Captain Ahab.

Ahab had a bad case of “Oneitis.” Many guys do too, except it isn’t with a whale.

What Is Oneitis?

Oneitis is where guys become romantically obsessed with one particular woman. This doesn’t have to be to the point of stalking or weird behavior. It’s when a guy becomes emotionally attached to and invested in dating one particular person. And her alone.

He gets a “crush” on one woman and puts her on a pedestal. This can happen whether she has some romantic interest in him or none at all.

Oneitis Problem

Oneitis is a problem for several reasons. First, it creates attachment to a particular woman. Attachment, to women or anything, often leads to anxiety, lack of rational thought, and ultimately poor outcomes. The same is true of dating. A man suffering from oneitis won’t be his best around a woman because he can’t relax. He’s always hopped up and anxious.

Second, it often leads to unattractive behaviors in men like emotionalism, whining, begging, and above all, desperation. If a man feels that a particular woman is the only one in the world for him, he’s bound to get desperate, especially if he feels he’s losing “the one.” Who could blame him? But, women find desperation very unattractive.

Finally, oneitis is very limiting. There are lots of great and beautiful women in the world and focusing on only one narrows a guy’s field of vision to the limiting number of “one.” Guys suffering from it miss out on lots of great dating opportunities because they’re so focused on one girl who may not be all that great in reality.

Oneitis Cure

Fortunately, there are oneitis cures. First, you must detach emotionally during the dating game. While it’s normal to feel an emotional connection to a great woman, keep your dating strategy rational and planned. If you find yourself falling head over heels in love, you’ll have to curb it, Seriously.

I’m all in favor of love. But, love is a two way experience. It’s not an emotion in the head of one person. If she is wildly attracted to you and you fall in love, then great. But, having an overwhelming feeling of love in your head for a girl who doesn’t even like you back yet (or not very much) isn’t love. It’s attachment, which is bad.

So, detach and relax. Remind yourself that no girl is worth the attachment. She is just a human.

Second, make sure, especially if you are starting to have strong feelings, that you continue to be your best self. Women value certain traits in men: intelligence, power, confidence, swagger, humor, good looks, etc. Develop a few of these and remain independent throughout the dating process. Simply loving a woman isn’t enough to win her love. In fact, it can look creepy.

Finally, create options. Captain Ahab focused on one whale and it was the death of him. Quit being so focused on one woman and instead meet, date, and win over lots of them. Remember, you can have fun and enjoy the company of a woman without making a commitment (in your mind or otherwise) to marry them or fall in love with them.

So, try not to be overcome by oneitis in the future (or the present). Detach, relax, be excellent, and create options for yourself. All of this makes life more fun anyway.

About Jonathan Bennett

Jonathan Bennett is a writer, speaker, dating expert, and business owner. His articles have been viewed millions of times, and he has been featured in a variety of publications, including the Wall Street Journal.


  1. Hey, thanks for this article. Very interesting.
    Do you have an idea of the origin of the oneitis?
    Thanks 😉

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