Having a new crush can feel fantastic. You look forward to seeing them and feel energized, even euphoric, when you spend time together. Depending on the situation, there might even be a chance that the feelings are mutual.
When your relationship with your crush doesn’t go anywhere, you might feel, well,crushed. And that feeling is far from fantastic.
Maybe your crush involves someone off-limits, such as a married friend or professor. These crushes are pretty normal, but they’re still tough to get over, even when you know from the start you can’t get involved.
You might feel even more devastated when your crush is available but doesn’t return your feelings.
In the end, it may not matter why your crush goes unfulfilled: The heartbreak still feels the same. If you’re having a hard time moving on, these 14 tips can help.
Before you can begin getting over a crush, you have to admit it. It’s common to deny romantic feelings at first, especially if you’re crushing on a good friend, your supervisor, or anyone you consider out of reach.
Acknowledgment and acceptance are important first steps in the healing process. Crushes are normal, even ones on people you know you’d never pursue.
Pushing down your feelings can prevent you from working through them in productive ways. Instead, they might linger, causing more heartache.
“Accepting how you feel and allowing yourself space to emotionally process and release those feelings can help you begin to feel differently about a person and eventually move on,” explains Kim Egel, a San Diego therapist.
The agony a crush can cause is pretty universal.
If you never tell your crush how you feel, you may not face actual rejection. But it still hurts when your hopes come to nothing.
Fortunately, crushes usually don’t last long, although you might feel like you’ll be miserable forever. It’s pretty common for the strength of your feelings to decrease within a few weeks or months.
The amount of time it takes to get over a crush can vary, though. You can take care of yourself in the meantime by:
Crushes often involve idealization, especially when you don’t know the person well. You might focus on their positive traits, paying less attention to the things that aren’t so great.
Although you and your crush may get along fabulously in some ways, time often reveals sharp contrasts in key values. Maybe you’re vegan and they eat meat, or they’re very spiritual and you’re not.
“Being transparent with yourself will serve you well here,” Egel says. “Looking truthfully at the reality of the situation is essential for moving forward.”
Set aside the things you like about them for a moment and ask yourself about their other traits. Do they align with what you want in a long-term relationship?
Take the time to sit with these feelings. You may need more time to come to terms with deeper emotions from longer-lived or more serious crushes.
Allow yourself to look back on moments when you felt sure they returned your affection, sparks you felt, or the dates and intimacies you hoped for. This is a grieving process, so it’s okay to feel sad and frustrated or wonder why things couldn’t work out.
It’s important to express your feelings so you can work through them. But lingering on them can keep you from taking steps to develop a relationship with someone who’s available and romantically interested.
Talking about your crush constantly or spending a lot of time revisiting the pain of rejection makes it tough to move on.
When you feel trapped in a negative thought cycle, try:
- mindfully accepting feelings that come up, then letting them go
- mentally “setting aside” distressing feelings until you can explore them productively
- distracting yourself with your favorite activity
If you’re having trouble working through emotions, sharing them with someone you trust can help. They can help you get more perspective, especially if you’re trying to honestly explore how strong they are or consider reasons your crush isn’t an ideal match.
- talking to loved ones
- talking to someone you trust who also knows your crush
- writing out your feelings in a journal or letter, which you don’t have to send
If you’re already in a relationship
People in committed relationships can still develop crushes. This can be a confusing and distressing experience, but it’s not uncommon, and it doesn’t mean you need to break up. It can help to talk to your partner about the crush. Explain that you’re working through it and don’t want to act on it.
Being honest can strengthen trust and lead to a deeper bond. What’s more, if the crush is a mutual friend, you might choose to see them a little less. Your partner may not understand why if they don’t know what’s going on.
It’s OK to admit it: It’s tempting to look at a crush’s recent photos or see if they’re dating anyone. But once they turn you down or you decide not to pursue them, it’s best to limit your digital involvement.
FOMO — that unique fear of missing out that social media tends to cause — happens with crushes, too. Using social media to peek into their life makes it easy to fantasize about sharing that life.
Staying digitally connected to a crush through Facebook or Instagram can, accordingly, worsen feelings of sadness about missing out on a life with them.
You don’t need to take permanent action, such as unfriending or blocking them, but it can help to unfollow them and avoid things like:
- checking for new posts or comments
- snooping for relationship status updates
- posting things designed to attract their attention
While you’re at it, remind yourself that social media posts are often edited, idealized snapshots — not accurate portrayals of daily life.
When you spend time with someone and share vulnerabilities, it’s easy to develop feelings of closeness and attraction. These positive feelings can develop into a crush, even when the other person is romantically unavailable.
Traits such as kindness, intelligence, and a great sense of humor can fuel a crush. But you don’t have to date someone to continue enjoying these aspects of their personality.
Don’t deny the positive feelings they evoke. Instead, consider them a benefit of your existing bond if it feels like something you can realistically do. Many people believe romantic love represents a pinnacle of relationship achievement, but you can have strong, close relationships without romance.
Forming a friendship when romance isn’t possible can be a great way to stay close to someone you care about — when you gointo it with the right attitude.
A friendship built on the mindset of, “Well, if we can’t date, I guess friendship is the next best thing,” may not work out. If you go into the friendship secretly hoping they’ll eventually like you back, you might both end up hurting in the end.
Instead, value friendship for its own merits, not as a less appealing alternative to a relationship. All relationships can have significant benefits, and friendship is just as essential to life as romance. Some consider it even more essential.
Telling your crush how you feel is generally a judgment call on your part. If you’re close friends, you might worry about losing their friendship and decide to wait for the crush to pass.
If the crush is mutual, though, telling them how you feel could kick off a relationship. Even if it’s not mutual, most adults can handle disclosure of romantic feelings with grace and compassion. After all, they’ve probably experienced something similar themselves.
If they turn you down, it’s best to just go on treating them like you typically would. Avoiding them might suggest something’s not right between you, which could lead to workplace difficulties or questions from friends.
Giving yourself a little distance can help soothe the sting of rejection. If you tend to spend a lot of time together, explain you want to stay friends but need some space for the time being. This is a healthy response, one they’ll likely understand.
You might feel frustrated, annoyed, and confused over why they can’t give it a shot with you, especially if you’re close friends. Remember: You can’t force attraction or love, and they can’t help their feelings any more than you can.
When trying to work through any relationship grief, from a failed crush to a nasty breakup, distraction is key.
It can seem like everything reminds you of your crush, especially if you’re friends or have a lot of common interests. This often hurts even more, since you can’t turn to your favorite music or shared activity.
If that’s the case for you, now is the time to try something new. Take up a new hobby you’ve wanted to try. Start a new show instead of nostalgically (or miserably) watching a show you enjoyed with your crush.
Friends and family who know what you’re going through can also help take your mind off your crush by offering emotional support and suggesting new distractions.
Developing feelings for someone new can serve as one type of distraction. While there’s nothing wrong with tossing yourself back into the dating pool, try to do so with intention and clarity.
For example, identify what you want in a partner beforehand. Asking yourself what you found attractive in your crush can provide some insight here.
If you have a pattern of moving from crush to crush, try looking at what lies behind this. Immediately redirecting unrequited feelings toward someone else unlikely to return them isn’t the most helpful path to moving on.
If you keep developing crushes that don’t work out, it might help to explore possible reasons for this, on your own or with a therapist.
Spending time on activities you enjoy won’t eliminate your romantic feelings, but it usually helps increase self-love and confidence. It can also help improve your mood and overall well-being.
It’s easy to fall into patterns of thinking that suggest you’re incomplete without love or a relationship. But it’s possible to be content, even happy, without a partner.
You absolutely don’t have to give up on finding love. Working on becoming your best self and regularly doing things you enjoy can help you live a rewarding life until you dofind someone who’s right for you.
Therapy can help when your normal function is compromised, Egel suggests. She explains therapy is often a good option when you struggle to do things you usually would or have a hard time finding joy in your daily life.
Talking to a therapist can also help when you:
If you’re trying to get over a crush, take heart in the fact that most people have been where you are. Crushes are common, and you’ll probably go on to have several more.
Just remember: A failed crush has nothing to do with your worthiness or who you are as a person. Sometimes, it’s just as simple as incompatibility with the person you fall for.
Realizing there’s no chance of a relationship doesn’t always prevent a crush, or help you get over one.Whatcanhelp is time. It may not seem like it right now, but before long,your feelings likely won’t feel so intense. They might even fade completely.
Crystal Raypole has previously worked as a writer and editor for GoodTherapy. Her fields of interest include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health. In particular, she’s committed to helping decrease stigma around mental health issues.