You might have heard the word “oneitis” before and wonder what it means. For a good idea of the the term, think back to English class and 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 giant mammal. The more culturally literate among us know: it didn’t end well for Captain Ahab.
Ahab had a bad case of “Oneitis.” You might have a case of it, as well. Except instead of a whale, you have “oneitis” for a woman.
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 (although it can). He is just emotionally attached to and invested in dating one particular person and puts all of his time and energy into that endeavor.
Using other terms, oneitis is a crush. The guy “falls for” a woman, whether or not she has any interest in him at all. In most cases, she has no interest and might even have a boyfriend.
Oneitis is rooted in evolution and brain chemicals. We’ve evolved to associate pleasure with sexual attraction, which is important for the survival of the species. So, when you see your crush, you get a hit of dopamine. And, over time, the more you see her, the more you get more addicted to her and associate pleasure with your crush. This leads to what’s called the “halo effect” where you can no longer see that person’s flaws. So, while oneitis isn’t a diagnosed illness, it is based in disordered brain chemistry.
And, when you don’t see your crush, your dopamine hit doesn’t come and you can get angry, upset, and even desperate. Yes, you are like a junkie who needs his drug “fix.” However, in this case, it’s in the form of a woman.
The Oneitis Problem
Oneitis creates attachment to a particular woman. Attachment, to women or anything, often leads to anxiety, lack of rational thought, and ultimately poor outcomes.
In dating, attachment results in 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.
Ultimately, 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 (or even available to them).
In addition, having feelings of love for someone who doesn’t love you back is ultimately problematic. Love is a two way street and holding out for someone who would never date you is mentally damaging to yourself.
The 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 quickly falling head over heels in love, you’ll have to curb it.
I’m all in favor of love. But, love is 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 (or not very much) isn’t love. It’s attachment, which is bad.
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, 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 back. In fact, un-returned expressions of love can be 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. Once you meet several and develop shared feelings, then you can commit.
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.