A crush is the darndest thing. One minute you are doing your own thing and the next you find yourself daydreaming about someone. What is it about them that you like so much? Maybe it’s the way they dress. Or how they smile when they see you. Whatever it is, they can do no wrong and you soon find yourself thinking about them every day, wondering if you could date them.
Crushes that turn into love and a relationship are wonderful. They are what everyone dreams of! Alas, an unrequited crush can be painful. Maybe your crush is dating someone else or the timing is simply not right. Whatever the reason, it probably won’t change how you feel. It won’t stop your brain from thinking about the other person all the time. Needless to say, a one-way crush is not a pleasant experience, and getting over it won’t be easy.
With no end in sight to your crush, you might start wondering how long you’ll need suffer through these feelings. How long is a crush supposed to last, and what can you do to get over it?
First, some good news: crushes, by and large, are temporary. Because they are based on an immaterial, idealized vision of the other person, they do not tend to last when confronted with reality. The images, fantasies, and projections that take place in your mind should start to fade after a few months. That’s how long a crush usually lasts before the feelings dissipate.
Once you realize that you don’t think about your crush as often, you uncover facets of their personality you don’t like, or parts of their life that do not fit the idealized version of them you had in your mind. When that happens, your crush will start to fade away naturally and without much effort on your part.
Now, for the not-so-good news: you won’t always know when that will happen. There is not going to be a date by which you will know for sure that you are over your crush.
You may have read online that psychologists estimate a crush to last for about 4 months. In reality, it is impossible to know what the source for this duration was. And if studies do exist, they are most likely debated in the psychology field and the scientific community in general.
In short, while the pain of unreciprocated feelings should evaporate over time, you could still be stuck on a crush for a long while.
Fortunately for you, there are strategies that can help you get over your crush faster. While these methods are not always proven by science, they do work if you give them a try.
It is safe to assume that people have been crushing on each other since the dawn of time. What is Orsino’s unwavering admiration for Lady Olivia if not Shakespeare’s version of a crush?
Infatuation, idealization, projection… the feelings you are experiencing right now are not dissimilar to those of others before you. This means that there are hundreds of years’ worth of experience available to help you get over your crush.
Here are a few strategies to guide you. Use one, or all of them to put your crush behind you faster.
Contrary to the popular saying, absence does not always make the heart grow fonder. It may apply to people in a long-distance relationship. Or couples who need a bit of space to slow the pace of their relationship.
But not to a crush. Distance is crush kryptonite.
A crush does not rest upon a concrete, solid, or even real foundation. It is based on your idea of what a relationship with that person would be like. Because of the immaterial, almost ethereal nature of a crush, it tends to dissipate when you spend enough time not thinking about it.
You can’t give yourself that time if you keep running into your crush everywhere you go.
Sometimes the fix is simple: stay away from them. Choose a different yoga class if you know your crush will be there. Or get your coffee at another Starbucks than the one they work at.
But even in settings where you have to share a physical space with your crush, like at school or work, you can still limit your interactions with them. Hang out with different people at lunch or sit somewhere else where you can’t stare at them all day.
Your efforts to avoid your crush will quickly be nullified if you keep stalking them on social media. You can’t forget what is always in front of you everyday.
Obsessing over their Instagram photos or the meaning behind their latest status update is counterproductive. Their social media profiles are constant reminders that they exist. As such, they don’t allow you to focus on other activities that could help you move on. Your brain, to do that, needs sufficient time thinking about other things, other people.
Checking their social media is like having a rope tugging at your leg while you try to get away. Sooner or later, you are bound to miss them and go check out their latest updates. You might have been doing well, but after seeing your crush post a picture with a cute girl or guy, your mind starts to race. Who is that? Are they dating someone? You start looking for clues in their Facebook status history, see if you can find out who that guy or girl is, and… well, nothing good comes of it.
If you don’t think you have the self-control to avoid snooping online, then your best option is to block or delete them. Sure, it is hard. But it is in your own best interest. At least until your feelings subside.
A crush is a fickle thing. There is no telling how and when one might strike you. And often, we are not even aware of what made us crush on that person specifically.
Is it something about the way they tie their hair? Or maybe that time at the gym when they were so nice to you.
What you may come to realize, is that your vision of a perfect guy or girl is often built on the most tenuous of details. Once you are aware of that, you realize two things:
Remind yourself that if they didn’t have that one, tiny detail that you liked, you might have never even started crushing on them.
For whatever reason, your crush didn’t reciprocate your feelings. You have every right to feel down. But don’t spend too much time mourning something that was never there. A relationship that was too perfect to exist in the first place.
Relationships might start with such insignificant things as: “He smiled at me when we walked our dogs and I knew he was the one,” but they last because the people in it worked hard at it, compromised, and accepted each other’s shortcomings.
You don’t know if you would have done all that. Even if you did, it still would not guarantee a happy, stable, forever ever after.
That person who seems so perfect right now is someone you created in your head. You haven’t seen them at their worst, nor how they are in private. You see how they dress in public, not how they dress in the privacy of their home.
There is no telling if you would have been compatible with them.
You are, of course, still allowed to feel down about not seeing your crush turn into a serious relationship. But don’t feel too sad, because that relationship would have not been as good as the one you created in your mind.
Many times, the strategies you can use to get over your ex can be used to get over a crush.
Once again: just because the relationship never existed does not mean you are not allowed to feel sad.
In fact, you have every reason to feel blue. You invested emotionally into someone. Maybe you never lost them as a romantic partner but you certainly lost the potential for a happy relationship.
That alone warrants that you acknowledge that you lost something. That you need to grieve. Bottling everything up will only make your crush last longer. All the while feeling guilty about it.
If you already have a set method to deal with post-breakup heartaches, you can do that. If not, here are some things that usually help:
If you do start dating again, don’t compare your dates with your crush. Instead, focus on the qualities you like about them.
A crush can last a very long time. You also now have some strategies that can help shorten its duration.
Let’s try to end this article on a positive note: Can a crush turn into love? The answer is yes. Absolutely.
But not necessarily how you might expect. A crush that lasts longer than four months without any further connection, trust-building, or bonding is still a crush.
Yes, love needs time to grow. But the equation is more complex than simply letting a crush develop, unilaterally, over time.
To be in love with someone, you need to form deeper connections with them. Having the same favorite movie is not a basis for love. Sharing the same values and long-term goals, is. Love implies showing your vulnerabilities and being there for each other in good and bad times. It is more than a happy photo on Facebook. It is the commitment, compromises, work, and understanding that have been done before taking the photograph.
For some lucky people, the person they are crushing on also likes them back. The best way to find out if your crush likes you is to ask them out. If they do, if you have a shot at a relationship, give it your all to make it work. Slowly, over time, and with much effort. That’s how a crush can turn into love.
If the crush is not mutual, it is only a signal to give up that relationship. It should not, ever, stop you from looking for love. Someone else, someone better for you, is waiting. Find them. You owe it to yourself.
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