At their inception, crushes are thrillingthe swarm of butterflies invading your stomach every time you breathe the same air as that person, the ridiculously long mental list detailing ways to get their attention, packing up the contents of your home so that you can permanently move into their social media feeds and better keep up with their every move.
For a while you might even convince yourself its only a matter of time before you and your crush are actually walking down the street hand-in-hand and calling each other sweetie, you know, instead of just in your head. But, if youre anything like me, in reality, your crush actually has no idea you exist and/or is deep in their feelings for somebody else (how dare they!) thereby living up to their title and leaving you feeling, well, crushed about a love that never was.
Despite what some might have you believe, even though your dreams of raising eight children together never actually panned out, getting over a crush is still pretty freaking hard. After all, one-sided or not, feelings were still involved.
If its any consolation, while this article cant mend a crushed heart, what it can do is detail expert tips meant to show you how to get over a crush and move the eff on.
1. Do something to make yourself feel special.
Okay, cutting bangs in stressful situations is usually a no-no, but Jane Greer, PhD, a relationship expert and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship says updating your look, splurging on a fancy meal, or even trying a new workout routine might just be the temporary mood booster you need to jumpstart the moving-on process.
Its hard feeling like you and your crush didnt grow old together because they didnt notice you or preferred someone else, so to start treating that bruised ego, she suggests doing something to remind yourself that you deserve the best because you do.
2. Allow yourself to lean into the heartache.
You know youll get over this. Remember how much you lusted over your middle school chemistry partnerwhose name you totally cant remember now?
But bottling up your feelings is going to do you jack in the emotional department. Feeling what you feel, without judgment is the only way to get to the other side, says licensed marriage and family therapist Lesli Doares, author of Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage. Berating yourself for having feelings isnt going to help.
While you dont want to agonize over this crush forever, its important to give yourself the time and space to fully experience painful emotions, says clinical psychologist Suzana E. Flores, PsyD, author of Facehooked: How Facebook Affects Our Emotions, Relationships, and Lives . Doing so can help you to properly examine your emotions in order to release them, she says.
3. Spill your feelings to a friend.
Sometimes youve just got to talk it out with someone you trust. So, make a date with a friend, open a bottle of wine, and let loose. It really does help you get out to the pain, says Barton Goldsmith, PhD, author of The Happy Couple . Often by talking about everything, you can get more clarity on the situation and hopefully be able to move on faster, he says.
4. And while you’re at it, ask them to lay off talk about your crush.
If your friends are familiar with your crush, ask them to pull back on talk about your crush so that you can more easily get them off your mind.
\”After all, your friends have had crushes beforetheyll get it.\”
There are absolutely zero benefits to hearing about the party your friends saw your crush at or hearing about the promotion your crush just got at work. Its hard enough already to keep from fantasizing about them at all, your friends dont need to add to the struggle.
Of course, telling your friends what they can and cant say might not go over well, so Greer recommends putting it this way: Hey, I dont want to even think about them, so it would really help me out if you kept talk about them to a minimum. The less I know and hear about them, the better for me.
Chances are, you wont get any push back after that. After all, your friends have had crushes beforetheyll get it.
5. Toot your own horn.
Sure, you feel like youve been knocked down a few pegs, but that makes the moving-on process the perfect opportunity to remind yourself about all thats going well in your life says Greer. Youre intelligent, youre a hard worker, and just because the person you wanted wasnt feeling you back, someone else will and theyll see you for the greatness you are.
Stand in front of the mirror and gas yourself up. Seriously, says Greer. Look at yourself and say, I am a complete and valuable person whos excited to meet somebody who I can share my best self with.
Even if it feels cheesy or weird, remember its the truth.
6. Go big on distraction.
It’s not easy to stop the brain, so distraction is a fine way to get through this, says Brandy Engler , PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in relationships.
The alternative is sitting around and obsessing, which is seriously unhelpful. Obsessing or ruminating are just ways to get stuck in your head, Doares says.
So, spend time doing things you enjoy. Go all out at yoga class, hit up happy hour with your friends, or plan a girls weekend away. Spending time doing things you enjoy isnt just a distractionits reminding you that there are still things you enjoy that dont involve your crush, Doares says. The more enjoyment you have away from your crush (or thoughts of them), the faster you will move through the grieving process.
7. Stop looking at their social media accounts.
Seriously, this is important. Not only does continuing to follow or check in (you know what I mean) on your crushs social media accounts put them right there in front of your face, youre also seeing an airbrushed version of their life, abs, etc.which isnt reality. Youre not seeing the full picture, Doares says.
Knowing youre not alone in having an unrequited crush can make it easier.\”
Plus, following a crush on social media can keep you from moving on since constant exposure to their posts gives the illusion that they are still a part of your life when they are not, she says. If straight-up unfollowing them would raise suspicions, hide your crushs posts from your newsfeed to give yourself time to heal.
8. Try to limit contact with your crush, if you can.
Your ability to pull this one off depends on when you tend to see your crush. If you work together, its going to be tough; if theyre a friend that you wish was something more, you can dodge their invitations to hang for a while. Every time you see that person, its going to cause an emotional zinger, Goldsmith says. Those zingers arent comfortable. Why would you put yourself through that? Also, keeping them be out of sight for a bit allows you to experience other thingsand peoplein your life while youre trying to move forward.
9. Repeat this to yourself: Youre not the first one who has gone through this.
When youre going through a heartache, it can feel like youre the only person, ever, who knows what this feels like. But the reality is that most people have experienced this on some leveland reminding yourself of that fact can make you feel less alone in the whole thing. Knowing youre not alone in having an unrequited crush can make it easier, Doares says.
10. Bust out your journal.
Sometimes your friends arent available to chat about this, or maybe you just dont feel comfortable verbalizing your feelings for your crush. Whatever it is, writing things down on paper can make you feel better, Goldsmith says. Its a great exercise, he says. You can even rip out the pages and trash or burn them after the fact for added effect.
11. Stop idealizing your crush.
Heres the thing: Crushes are usually based on a fantasy, not fact. Sure, your crush seems perfect, but nobody is.
In reality, they have annoying habits just like everyone else. Theyre not perfect, Goldsmith says. Reminding yourself of that can help you take the fantasy part out of the whole situation.
Once you ditch the heart eyes you had for your crush, says Greer, you’ll be able to “take a step back and take a good look at them.” Getting a peek at how needy they actually are or realizing they have a tendency to speak with their mouths full will help you see them as more human, less godlike, and, in the end, way less crush-worthy.
12. Dive into a new hobby.
New is always good, Doares says. It gets you out of the old routine and doing something that requires attention and effort. A new hobby can help connect you with people who arent familiar with your crushand that can help you move on, she says. Plus, you can get so wrapped up in learning or doing something new that you wont have time for thoughts of your crush.
13. Analyze your personal history with crushes.
If you’re constantly wrapped up in the drama of a crush-gone-wrong, thats not good. A crush, as opposed to a relationship, is based somewhat in fantasy or unrequited feelings, Doares says. It could be that youre constantly picking people that are unavailable because you love the chase or youre nervous about being in a real, reciprocal relationship. Whatever it is, figuring out whats driving thisand fixing the underlying issuecan save you a lot of hurt in the future.
14. Go on a few practice dates.
Yeah, youre probably not ready for anything legit in the romantic department at this point. But going on dates is a good distraction and ups the odds that youll meet someone who is into you the way you deserve. Goldsmith recommends looking at these as practice dates since youre likely not emotionally available right now. And, if you happen to meet someone new, exciting, and into you, its just an added bonus.
15. Give yourself some closure.
Sure, this wasnt a full-on romantic relationship, but you still had feelings for your crush and they dont just dry up overnight. Thats why Engler recommends giving yourself some closure around the whole thing. Maybe its getting rid of things around your place that remind you of them, or stopping going to a place that you feel like was yours.
Whatever is it, creating meaning and a narrative about the relationship and its ending helps people get closure, Engler says. You don’t need the partner for closureyou can do it on your own.
16. See a therapist.
If you try everything on this list and still feel stuck, and its impacting your work and everyday life, it may be time to consider talking to a therapist, Doares says. Ditto if you have to see your crush all the time and you just cant let your feelings go.
But in general, youve got to cut yourself some slack. It can take a little time to get over this kind of thing, Goldsmith says.