That thrill when your crush walks in the room.
The butterflies in your stomach when they smile at you.
The constant daydreaming about your future together.
We’ve all been there before.
Crushes are exhilarating but can also be all-consuming.
Though the feelings seem endless, infatuation has an expiration date.
The rollercoaster of emotions eventually levels out, and the object of your desire becomes just another person.
This guide will walk you through the science of why crushes fade, how long they typically last, and, most importantly, 15 tactics to get over someone once the spell has been broken.
How Long Does a Crush Last?
Let’s start with the bad news: there’s no definite answer. Crushes can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months on average.
But some unrequited romances have been known to drag on for years!
The duration depends on a few key factors:
- Intensity. A fiery, consuming crush that has you daydreaming 24/7 is likely to flame out faster than a mild attraction. Still, an intense physical and emotional connection can potentially develop into something more long-lasting.
- Proximity. Out of sight, out of mind. Crushes tend to expire quicker if you’re not seeing or interacting with your crush regularly. But if you work or go to school together, that daily dose of eye candy can fuel the flames.
- Hope. A sliver of hope that your feelings could be reciprocated may keep the torch burning. But radio silence or clear signs of disinterest usually help quash crushes faster.
- Your mindset. If you’re proactive about redirecting your thoughts and not obsessing over your crush, the feelings may diminish sooner.
The agonizing truth is that there are no guarantees.
You may have to wait it out for four months…or four years.
But don’t worry; time (and a double scoop of self-care) heals all wounds.
What Are the Stages of a Crush?
A crush is a rollercoaster of euphoric highs and emotionally drained lows.
Most follow a similar pattern that psychologists have broken down into four main stages:
This is when you first notice your crush, and those fluttery, tingling feelings start up. Caused by a flood of dopamine, adrenaline, and serotonin, you feel energized and giddy at the possibility of a new romantic connection. Try to enjoy the thrill of this honeymoon phase while you can!
Once mutual interest is established, the infatuation stage kicks into high gear. You obsess over every interaction, immerse yourself in daydreams of future dates, and even imagine wedding vows. Reality is replaced by idealized fantasies. This emotional and mental preoccupation helps forge an imaginary bond.
When hints surface that it may be one-sided or your fantasies are proven false, disappointment follows. Self-doubt, insecurity, and longing quickly replace the excitement. You second-guess everything, and the rollercoaster comes crashing down.
With time, the sting of rejection or unrequited feelings fades. You regain the perspective that it was just an infatuation. The focus shifts back to your well-being versus pining. This is when you can restart the cycle with a new crush or take a relationship break!
Now, let’s talk about how to speed up the recovery process…
15 Ways to Get Over a Crush
The grip of infatuation can be hard to escape. But there are strategies to help you get over that crush faster so you can move on emotionally and regain your sense of self.
Here are 15 proven methods to break the spell:
1. Cut Off Contact
Removing your crush from your day-to-day life is key to starving the infatuation. Limit any communication and interactions to only what’s essential. Unfollow, unfriend, or mute them on social media. The less you know about their life, the sooner the obsession will wither.
2. Remove Reminders
Now is the time for a cleansing purge. Box up any gifts, photos, playlists, texts, and other mementos. Having constant reminders of your crush makes it impossible to move on. Consider doing a digital cleanse, too – delete those photos clogging up your camera roll.
3. Fill Your Calendar
Idle time lets your mind spiral into unproductive obsessing. Fill your calendar with activities and obligations to prevent this. Say yes to more hangouts with friends, pick up extra shifts at work, and schedule that dentist appointment you’ve been putting off for months. Staying busy accelerates your road to recovery.
4. Meet New People
Nothing cures a crush quite like a new crush. But even new friends can lessen the sting and provide a healthy dose of perspective. Push yourself outside your comfort zone to meet new people, whether through classes, clubs, volunteering, or reactivated dating apps.
5. Start a New Project
Dive headfirst into a new hobby, skill, or personal project to redirect your energy in a positive way. Learn a language, instrument, craft, or style of dance. Train for a 10K or assemble a photography portfolio. Having an absorbing new passion or goal can help fill the void.
6. Write It Out
Pour all your feelings onto paper in a journal or letter you never send. This cathartic release helps you process the emotions and begin letting go. If needed, you can even write a symbolic break-up letter to your crush to finalize the end of the fantasy.
7. Vent to Friends
Bottling up your feelings often makes them fester. Confide in a few trusted friends who can lend a sympathetic ear. Talking it through can offer fresh insight into the situation. Just be sure not to fixate – too much venting just feeds into the obsession.
8. Practice Self-Care
In difficult times like these, prioritize activities that nourish your mental, emotional, and physical health. Get regular exercise, eat nutritious foods, reduce stress, and engage in relaxing hobbies. When you’re operating at your best, you have the strength to take control.
9. Flirt with Others
A little innocent flirting can remind you that there are plenty more fish in the sea, including those excited to flirt back! You don’t have to dive into dating, but exchanging some coy smiles with new crushes can reassure you that romantic prospects exist.
10. Seek Closure
In some cases, a heart-to-heart talk to gain clarity on where you stand can provide closure. This may mean confessing your feelings but be prepared for any response. Not every crush ends with closure – accepting that is key.
11. Fake It Till You Make It
Plaster a smile on your face and pretend you’re over it long enough, and soon, you’ll realize you’re feeling it genuinely. Actively notice the positive everyday moments versus moping. Going through the motions eventually restores normalcy.
12. Widen Your Perspective
When a crush feels all-consuming, remember there’s a big world out there – billions of people and endless possibilities for connection. This person is just one blip in your lifetime. Visualizing the bigger picture helps minimize the importance of this temporary fixation.
13. Wait It Out
Time really does heal all wounds. As the days pass, you’ll think of them less and less. Those intrusive thoughts lose their grip and fade without you having to force it. Letting the natural course of time run its magic works.
14. Remember Your Worth
Rejection stings, but don’t let an unrequited crush bruise your self-esteem. Remind yourself this says nothing about your value or lovability. The right person for you is still out there. Boost yourself back up by focusing on your positive qualities.
15. Be Grateful
Practicing gratitude for supportive friends, family, your health, and all of life’s blessings can prevent you from wallowing. When you’re thankful for what you have and not resentful over what you lack, getting over a crush gets easier.
How Do You Know If It’s a Crush or Love?
Determining whether exciting new feelings are just a temporary crush or the real thing can be tricky. Here are some ways to tell infatuation and love apart:
- Idealization – You put your crush on a pedestal and overlook flaws. Love sees the whole, real person.
- Intensity – Crushes tend to be accompanied by adrenaline, anxiety, and constant nervous excitement. Love brings calm and comfort.
- Physical focus – A crush emphasizes attraction and chemistry. Love values emotional intimacy above all.
- Fantasizing – Crushes involve imagined futures and obsessive daydreams. Love exists in the grounded present.
- Superficiality – Crushes can form based only on appearance and surface-level details. Love requires truly knowing someone’s core self.
- Jealousy – Mild crushes can still stir up jealousy if there are hints your crush likes someone else. Love promotes trust.
- Imbalance – A crush centers mostly on your own pleasure versus selfless caring. Love creates an equal partnership.
- Impatience – A crush demands instant gratification. Love develops naturally over quality time together.
With patience, some exciting crushes (who reciprocate your feelings) can mature into deeper, lasting love. But infatuation fueled solely by projection and fantasy is unlikely to stand the test of time.
Is It Still a Crush After Four Years?
You’ve daydreamed about them daily since 10th grade. Their name still makes your heart flutter. When you run into each other, it feels like no time has passed. Though the years have gone by, your feelings never faded.
Is it still just an intense crush, or has it developed into something more? Infatuation is often short-lived, but some all-consuming attachments can defy the typical lifespan. Only you can decide if four years of longing signifies unrequited love or just an outsized, lingering crush.
Though crushes can feel endless in the moment, they come and go like any other phase of life. By understanding the science behind them and employing strategies to move forward, you can survive the rollercoaster ride. With time and self-care, those feelings that once overwhelmed you will be a distant memory. But for now, cherish the sweetness of having a crush, and know it too shall pass.