Do You Suffer From Oneitis?

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Do you suffer from an unrealized crush?

Do you have a break-up you haven’t been able to recover from, even though it’s been months? Years?

Have you ever felt like nobody else could ever possibly mean as much to you as she does/did?

Do you feel as though this is your one chance at true love?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be suffering from oneitis. oneitis is a common affliction, especially amongst geeks, affecting millions of men and women daily. Symptoms can include feelings of hopelessness, heart palpitations, dry mouth, depression, anxiety and an inability to seek out other romantic or sexual relationships. Left untreated, oneitis can lead to complete sexual dysfunction, weight loss, weight gain, impotence, alcoholism, stress-induced smoking, loss of friends and restraining orders.

But don’t worry; oneitis is a completely curable disease. When caught in the early stages, oneitis easily treated. Even the most chronic cases can be treated, and sufferers of oneitis can go on to lead normal, fully functional lives.

"Man, this is even better than that time I caught herpes and went on Valtrex!"


But before we get to the cure, let’s look a little closer at oneitis.

What Is Oneitis?

Oneitis is a common affliction amongst nerds, especially nerds who are relatively inexperienced with relationships. Unlike many similar afflictions, oneitis can be found equally amongst men and women, among homosexuals and heterosexuals. And much to the dismay of everyone around the victim, cases of oneitis can linger for years. 

oneitis, put bluntly, is a crush gone out of control and turned into something that’s a borderline obsession. Sufferers from oneitis become fixated on one person and believe that nobody else in the world could possibly measure up to how perfect they are. In it’s earliest stages, oneitis feels almost exactly like the honeymoon period of a new relationship. Everything they do is fascinating and you just can’t stop staring at them when you think they aren’t looking. You do surreptitious deep-breathing exercises in their vicinity just so that you can properly appreciate how good they smell. The way the sunlight glints in their hair is hypnotic. You look their name up in the phonebook just so you can see it in print. You find yourself imagining all those happily ever afters that you know are coming; sometimes you have the 2.5 kids, the 1.8 cars and the house in the suburbs. Sometimes you’re the arty bohemian couple that’s at the center of the cultural life in the big city and sometimes – not often but sometimes – it’s just the two of you in a chalet in the Swiss in a dream montage that looks suspiciously like the Nestlé White Chocolate commercials from the ’80s.

There may only be five of you who remember this commercial but now the song's stuck in your head. You're welcome.

Unfortunately… this glorious honeymoon period is also entirely one-sided.

Yup. Your crush is utterly unrequited. It’s like being back in junior high again and you can’t stop thinking about the cute girl who sat three seats down from you in Geometry, but she doesn’t know you exist.

But this isn’t any chaste school-boy crush. Oh no. Not by any stretch of the imagination. You may protest that your love is pure but your gonads tell a different story. You have strained your eyes trying desperately to develop x-ray vision in the hopes of seeing her naked. You know exactly how his ass looks when he’s walking versus when he’s running and you can’t help but imagine the quarters you could bounce off of it. You have, frankly, wanked yourself half-blind over a veritable cornucopia of sexual fantasies, including that one involving a Slip-and-Slide, four hula-hoops, an industrial sized tub of lubricant and a copy of Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart video.

Unlike your typical crush, oneitis becomes an all-consuming obsession. At least with typical crushes, you’re still interested in other people. Not with oneitis. When you’re suffering from oneitis, you haven’t just put them up on a pedestal, you’ve elevated them to the state of being The One. She’s no longer just Angie, the hot chick who lives in your dorm, she is your destiny. Your One True Love. She is the one whom all others shall be judged against and found wanting. You have no room in your heart or your genitals for anybody but her.

What makes oneitis interesting is how it overlaps with the Friend Zone without necessarily being a symptom of it. You see, while oneitis frequently affects nerds trapped in the Friend Zone, it can just as easily affect nerds who’ve actually had a relationship with the object of their obsession. Oneitis can frequently be caused by being dumped in the first place.

The Symptoms of Oneitis

Oneitis symptoms can vary from person to person and the severity of the case. However, there are certain commonalities that can be found in every case.

You spend all your energy trying to figure out how to win them over.

People with oneitis will go to incredible lengths on the vague hope of earning the affection of their crush. Most cases involve some variation of performing the Platonic Friend Backdoor Maneuver, deliberately putting themselves in the Friend Zone in hopes that they can slowly worm their way into the woman’s affections. This is especially true if the victim of oneitis had been in a long-term relationship with his crush. He will frequently lie about being over her and being completely cool with her wanting to date other people, just so long as he’s able to hang around her.  Sometimes the sufferer becomes an Orbiter, only there to be used by their crush. In other cases, there is a genuine feeling of friendship and affection on the part of their crush.

This actually makes it worse.

“No, it’s cool. I’m totally down with the burning pit of despair writhing in my gut while you’re busy making out with him.

Others will try more esoteric methods of winning the love of their crush. Many members of the pick-up community got their start due to oneitis, hoping that some magic formula of pre-scripted routines and emotional progression models could move them from Friend to Lover. Still more will make increasingly grand (and ultimately, embarassing) romantic gestures ranging from ordering thousands of dollars in flowers to purchasing romantic getaways for the two of them in the hopes that material demonstrations of their love might work where dogged patience and wishful thinking have failed.

You obsess over her to the point of neglecting other women.

Sufferers of oneitis have elevated their crush to mythic proportions. Oneitis is a particularly pernicious disease because it perpetuates it’s own existence. Many people afflicted with oneitis will romanticize their own pain; to them, their unrequited love is something to be celebrated. Not only does it make them the hero of their own tragic love story, but they rationalize that their pain will either eventually win over their crush’s heart or else make the “inevitable” victory all the sweeter.

Sufferers of oneitis are frequently members of Team Jacob.

This symptom is especially bad in sufferers who have been dumped by their crushes. These poor men feel as though their one chance at love has been ruined and that they will never be happy again. They will frequently self-edit their relationship with her, remaining willfully  all of the bad parts and changing the high points to glorious fantasies usually only seen by Disney heroines.

Because their crush has been elevated to such levels of perfection, no other woman can possibly compare in the mind of a oneitis patient. To this end they miss out on other opportunities for sex and romantic relationships with people who are not only better for them but might actually love them back.

You read meaning into everything she does.

Also known as reading the tea leaves, chronic sufferers of oneitis will assign meaning to everything that their crush does. Does she twirl her hair while she’s talking to you? This means something. Did she agree to go to an impromptu dinner with you? That means something. Did she leave her hand on your shoulder for just a microsecond longer than she normally would? Clearly it’s a sign that she’s weakening! Stay on target… stay on target… 

Sufferers of oneitis frequently have a self-inflicted case of apohenia, desperately seeing patterns and meanings where none exist. Ultimately, everything that she does will be seen as proof that he is making progress. Incremental progress, to be sure, but progress none the less.

These little clues that they see in every movement, choice of words and life choices are part of the self-justification that oneitis victims use to maintain the illusion that they may actually have a chance. You see, deep down the sufferers of oneitis understand that they have no chance. But rather than face up to that harsh reality, they prefer the comforting fantasy that with a little more patience, a little more effort, they can still make that magical fairy tale ending happen.

How To Cure Oneitis

The treatment of oneitis is twofold. To start with, the victim must be brought to realize that the world is full of beautiful women and that by focusing on that one person, they’ve cut themselves off from the love and sex that they could be having otherwise.

A dramatic recreation of this realization.

Some believe in the FTOW theory; that is, Fuck Two (or Ten) Other Women. The idea being that once one has had that much sex they will start to accumulate an abundance mentality and realize just what the world has to offer them, leaving their crush behind.

While I can see merit in this method, it can be difficult to accomplish – especially when the sufferer has little to no experience with women or sex. In my experience, I have found that treating oneitis and break-ups are similar enough that treating them the same way produces desirable results in a shorter period of time. Thus, if you or someone you know is suffering from oneitis, I highly recommend that they follow my prescription for surviving the break-up. Pulling the nuclear option can be the most difficult part of this recovery; it may be that well meaning friends will have to enforce the no-contact rule, removing all means of contacting her themselves. Following this, keeping the sufferer so busy that he doesn’t have time to think of her will aid in the separation necessary, giving them a window into which other women can be introduced.

Oneitis is a terrible disease. But it can be treated my friends. There is always hope and in time, you too will come to realize that while some things aren’t meant to be, there is better to be had out there.

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  1. Sir, you speak the truth! I recently suffered from this affliction.

    My short story:

    In the past year I decided to break out of the nerd shell in a big way. I got eye surgery so I didn't need glasses anymore, I started working out and changed my diet to lose 60+ lbs and started mingling in bars and going to partys to meet women. This past March at a friend's party I struck up a conversation with a beautiful brunette. She was the stuff of LEGEND to us nerds. She had a great body and beautiful face, a swimming instructor/kindergarten teacher and former facial model. She was also a closeted nerd. Lover of Jim Henson movies and all things video game related.

    Fast forward a couple months and we had been dating each other regularly. The sex was good but the fun adventures we had been with hiking and sight seeing etc were even better. How could things been any better? A regular "Beauty and The Nerd". But at some point, she decided to start putting up walls and became more guarded. She put our budding relationship on hold and all looked bleak for me! I didn't know what had gone wrong or how to "fix" it.

    I started to suffer from the dreaded Oneitis! This was made even WORSE by the fact that we remained in good contact after she put a stop to it…. and I even slept with her once more about a month after the "end" when she and I were alone and emotions got high.

    Thankfully, I have a good group of female friends who were smart enough to smack me around verbally and physically to get out of Oneitis. They got me to start using an online dating site and go on a few dates here and there. The key thing these friends of mine kept telling me was to realize your OWN self worth. There are something like 300 million people in the world and over half of them are women. Once you realize that there IS going to be someone ELSE out there that will come to care about you and see you as attractive, you will be fine.

  2. Zachary Palumbo says:

    Tony, there are over 6 billion people in the world! Over 3 billion of them are women!

  3. lol I think when he said "world", he meant the USA, because that is about how big our population is

  4. wasn't onitis a word coined by the PUA community?

  5. Yah. I meant the US of AAAAA when I said that. I think the moment someone truly gets over the Onitis is when they realize their own worth to the opposite sex and that there ARE others out there that will think them attractive.

  6. So…Its possible that typical crush can become oneitis..even if you are in a relationship with someone else already? If you have a typical crush on someone else who is not your significant other, what should you do or what should the significant other do if their boyfriend/girlfriend has a crush on someone else?! please help

  7. This is technically called limerence

  8. Viktormon says:

    Wow, now this hit me where it hurts.

    I've been suffering of this for a couple of years. It was a crush gone out of control, worse was that the girl I crushed on also was my friend, best friend even. She and I went to the same secondary-high-school, and quickly became bitter aquaintaces (we both make terrible first impressions), but after the second year, we had started hanging out, chatting and playing games together. We both had lots of love for gaming in general.

    NOW, not only was she nerdy and pretty, she was also my first close female friend I've ever had, so I quickly found myself crushing on her, and then worse, I got the oneitis. Everything she did and was was holy to me, and I looked for affection in everything she did.

    Though after some problems in school, I won't mention here, she had to leave our school one year early, and had to move away… That's when I confessed.

    Through a desparate email.

    … yeeaaaaaah…

    She didn't feel the same about me.

    Now it's 3 years later, and I've finally been able to have other women on my, uh, "maybe/possible list", though the oneitis still lingers in the back of my head.

    She and I still talk, and we're still great friends, and I've gotten very consious about how I percive her and what she does, thankfully.

  9. I know I'm a chronic sufferer of oneitis, but I'm definitely working toward a cure.

    I read that part about believing "that nobody else in the world could possibly measure up to how perfect they are" and I gagged because I used to think like that. So I'm improving!

    • Dr_NerdLove says:

      Aaaand that's the sound of a whole lot of '90s that I thought I'd succesfully erased from my memory coming crashing back. Gah.

  10. eneeesteeelleees says:

    Stumbled across this site via reddit. Great post. The nestles commercial was the icing on the cake and brought back memories galore. Thank you!

  11. Ron Ritzman says:

    I rewrote the lyrics to the Nestle white chocolate commercial mentioned in this post.

    This chick I can't resist
    The one I must not miss
    She'll be my wife
    Or I'll die
    In all the world she is the best
    This chick I can't resist

  12. Ron Ritzman says:

    Not to worry, I didn't have any one women in mind when I thought of that but back when that commercial was running it did remind me of the "magic of love". I can imagine that guys like me finding out that there is no "one" or "soulmate" is like kids being told there is no Santa Clause. I still hold on to part of the idea of "the one" but a future mate will have to prove to me she is "the one" just as I will have to prove it to her.

  13. What if your oneitis is someone you dated briefly that you work with? We dated for a few weeks. I ended it because I was really insecure at the time and broke it off even though it was going well. I regretted it, tried to apologize and continue dating but alas he would have non of it (rightly so since I am not really ready for a guy like him). Having said that, my head knows it's a bad idea but I feel the oneitis starting. I have to see him almost everyday and we're still flirty. I think it is possible for us to be friends, like I said I'm aware that I'm not really in a good enough place self-esteem wise to handle dating him, but the nuclear option isn't possible…what now?


  15. Is there any way of curing “oneitis“ that does not necessarily imply having sex? Or does it help following the steps from the “Being dumped“-guide, but simply leave out the sex part?

  16. Before I read the article, I thought “Oneitis” was the compulsion to kill all of your alternate universe selves to gain their power.

  17. Oh man, this article speaks the truth! I wish I had read this when I was in school. I was obsessed with the same guy for…. about 7 years, I guess. I freaking worshiped him, put him on a pedestal, etc. Reading this, I can look back and laugh.

    I've spoken with said dude once in the last year and I now think he's an interesting guy, but totally not attractive. What was I thinking.

    The greatest part about getting over oneitis is that any heartbreak after that is put in perspective. "I spend so many years moping after that guy, I can survive a few months of crying over getting dumped from a real, normal relationship." I think so, anyway.

  18. Black Birds says:

    I'm trapped in oneitis. I see his flaws. I see we would be a bad match. I have a great boyfriend already! But lust hangs in the air, endlessly, one day he is warm to me, the next day cold. He's seeing someone else now, we leapfrog over one another and on and on it goes. Lust lust lust.
    I want out. I can't turn it off. Help.

  19. Ugh. I've been on the other side of this, with, worse luck, a Nice Guy(TM). We dated for a month before I realized he was not going to be satisfied unless I ran roughshod over my needs in a relationship in order to appease his every whim. I broke up with him, starting with "I'd like to stay friends" and ending with "never contact me again" because his expectations continued to be ridiculous. A year and a half later, I was still getting Facebook messages trying to get me to get back with him. I'd be scared if I hadn't already moved house and changed my phone number.

    • I knew one of those (and we never dated except in his head) he ended our friendship horribly and in a way I can never forgive him for due to the timing and the fact it was via text message (said text included him never wanting to see or have anything to do with me again, honestly fine by me now). Over the next year or so he tried to access my email account, showed up as a fb friend suggestion in my email (no longer use fb, havn't for years but I still get those reminder emails), stared at me creepily when I was walking around on campus, had a crazy pal of his pretend to be my friend so he could rescue me later (later ditched said crazy), and sent other friends to keep an eye on me and not so covertly text to him, might of set up a hate website I have no idea I was trying to avoid him and his buddies. I have a feeling he even stalked my youtube (I later dropped that too). A little over a year later he sends me a text as if nothing happened, no apology at acknowledgement of what he had done (I ended the conversation after a fairly short back and forth, saying I was fine I was better than when I knew him and no I had not forgiven him). Said it took him forever to forgive me for..I still don't know exactly what for.

      I had erased his number..a normal person does that but apparently he hadn't erased mine; now I am heavily considering a name change after graduation because like you I am worried he might show up one day and try to do something. On the upside, the whole incident has given me great material for a killer stand up routine.

  20. DrThemoWorm says:

    I still, any time I see a girl that I want but I know she's taken, have to remind myself over and over that "There are millions of other girls in this country, she's not the only person who could make me happy, stop feeling jealous and stop self-pitying!"

    It's hard, especially with my tendency to unwittingly have the "Grass is greener" mentality when it comes to relationships. I understand quite well that happiness takes work and it doesn't require a girlfriend. Sometimes I just catch myself fantasizing about what it could be like with this girl or that girl, and that just makes the one-itis even worse :D

    Unlearning habits that took years to develop is HARD.

  21. Hiya! I just want to give a huge thumbs up for the good data

  22. Damn… I have Oneitis. Two years ago I started seeing someone from my work place and he slowly became my best friend. We started dating and the relationship went great until it just stopped being awesome, I didn't realize he was selfish and only cared about his feelings, leaving mine behind. Long story short, I still have a crush on him as we remain best friends. We talk everyday and all day long, we play on Steam all nights, we hang out on each others house to see movies and eat pizza and stuff. We even sleep together and cuddle (we don't have sex).
    I now realize I need to get over this /: I need to re-gain my self worth and as any Elite would say, WORT WORT WORT!


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