“How long does a crush last?” you may wonder helplessly. And you’re not alone. In high school, I had a massive crush on a boy from my class. I was consumed by fantasies about what it’d be like if I told him how I felt. Would he like me back too? Would we seal our confessions with a kiss? Every time we hung out, I’d relive those moments in my head later, over and over again.
As the final tests for my senior year drew closer, I couldn’t concentrate on anything other than that gorgeous boy I was obsessed with. I needed to know how to lose feelings for a crush which had consumed me entirely. Panicked, I tried to bury myself in my books to stay busy. I finally spoke to the school counselor who helped me understand how to forget a crush eventually. All these years later, I’m here to share the insights that helped me to not only stop crushing on a friend from school, but also to deal with other crushes since then.
How Long Does A Crush Last?
Not all crushes are meant to turn into long-lasting relationships or some kind of a genuine connection. Some, just end. To understand the ‘how long does a crush last’ query, it’s imperative to know two things clearly: What does a crush mean? And how is infatuation different from love?
Simply put, a crush is a strong feeling of infatuation with a person about whom you may not know much. This infatuation triggers intense emotions and a ready rush, which is why it can be hard to move on from a crush you see every day, or even one who doesn’t even acknowledge your presence. You see a potential relationship with this person, even though there isn’t much of a foundation there for one. Romantic love, on the other hand, is characterized by a wholesome emotional attachment and a strong bond that stems from sharing a journey and getting to know the other person intimately.
Now that you have clarity on how to distinguish a crush from love, let’s circle back to the question: How long does a crush last? According to recent research, it takes up to four months to forget a crush. However, when feelings and emotions are involved, research-backed timelines and estimates don’t always hold. Having a crush on someone for years is not unheard of. Case in point: My two-year-long high school crush.
While reveling in the heady rush of emotions when you’re crushing on new people is exciting and invigorating, these feelings can also become exhausting after a point. Particularly when you’re unable to share them with the object of your affection or in the case of a failed crush.
Can a crush last for 7 years or so?
“How long does a teenage crush last? How long does it take for a crush to fade away completely?” asked one of our readers, a worried mom to a 15-year-old. The word ‘crush’ is typically used to describe when you develop intense feelings but they are fleeting or short-lived bouts of attraction to someone. Yet, it is hard to put a specific timeline on the ‘how long does a crush last’ query. While some crushes dissipate within days or hours, others can last a lifetime. So, yes, a crush can last for years. But the degree of it reduces considerably.
One key factor determining the crush is what stirs up the attraction and the seemingly romantic feelings you have for them. If you’re attracted to someone solely based on physical attributes such as looks or passion in bed, the crush can fade away quickly. Typically, when you start seeing the flaws in the person’s personality, the bubble of how perfect they are bursts, and you stop being besotted with them.
However, a crush that stems from emotional attraction and intellectual intimacy is more likely to be long-lasting and may even leave you with a broken heart at some point. In the case of my school crush, for instance, it was his gentle and kind personality that drew me to him and kept me hooked. Also, it’s harder to stop crushing on a friend than to get over a crush who ignores you or is mean to you.
Related Reading: What Should I Do If I Love Someone Who Does Not Love Me?
Why do some crushes last so long?
If a person doesn’t act on their feelings or meet someone new, the crush can go on for years or even decades. This happens because a lot of people indulge in spinning elaborate fantasies about their crushes in their heads. I, for instance, made it a bedtime ritual for a long period of time to imagine what it’d be like to BE with my school crush.
Every night, I’d paint scenarios where we’d confess our feelings to each other and melt away in the bliss of our togetherness. Sometimes, I’d pretend that I was spending time with him, that I was wearing my favorite dinner date outfit, and he was taking me to this fine-dining restaurant in town or sneaking into my bed at night. At others, I’d have long drawn-out conversations with him – in my head – till I drifted off to sleep.
While these fantasies felt good in my head, they also paralyzed me with a fear: “What if he didn’t feel the same way about me?” I became crippled with negative thoughts around his feelings for me. According to my then-school counselor, Ms. Walters, that’s exactly what makes some crushes last so long and that’s what makes it hard to lose feelings for a crush.
“You get sucked so deep into the fantasy world that taking action in the real world becomes more and more intimidating. The bigger your fantasy grows, the higher the stakes seem. This fear can paralyze you into a state of limbo, making you cling to this blissful imagination of what can be – but may never come to pass,” said Ms. Walters. Now you know the answer to the question: Why do some crushes last so long?
How To Get Over A Crush — 14 Ways
In all likelihood, you’re struggling to move on from a crush who doesn’t like you or with whom you don’t see a possible future. Perhaps, like the past me, you’re stuck in a state of limbo where you can’t bring yourself to express your feelings. Or you can’t forget a crush you see every day, specially since you have to converse with them regularly. Then how to get over a crush quickly in such a case?
One of the key things to be kept in mind while trying to get over someone is that you mustn’t push yourself into it. Everyone has their own pace and it would be wrong to speed things up. That said, it is necessary to start initiating the ‘move on’ phase. Hating your crush or completely removing them from your life isn’t the way to do it.
If you’re wondering how to get started on moving on from a crush, I would advise you to slow down first. As beautiful as it is to fall in love or have a crush on someone, moving on from a crush can be beautiful too. Enjoy the healing process and don’t be hard on yourself. Give yourself at least a few weeks to bounce back, and let the Universe offer you better things.
To help you break free from the cage of your own emotions and longings, let me recount the advice Ms. Walters offered me many moons ago. I present to you 14 tips on how to stop crushing on a guy or girl who has been on your mind:
Related Reading: 20 Signs He Is Not Into You – Don’t Waste Your Time!
1. Express your feelings to your crush
It is time to fess up your feelings, because that is the best way to get over them. “You have to rip off the Band-Aid,” Ms. Walters had said, in a matter-of-fact way. “There is just no other way to begin the process of getting over your crush,” she added.
So, whether you want to stop crushing on a friend, a classmate, a coworker, or that stranger you cross paths with on the subway every day, just tell them how you feel. Ask them out for a coffee date or drinks or maybe just a walk in a nearby park, and tell them that you like them and would like to see where it goes.
They’d either say that they feel the same way and you can take the next step in the relationship, or that they don’t, in which case you’ll have clarity on where you stand and begin the process of healing.
2. Allow yourself to grieve
The best way to bring yourself out of this is to let yourself feel your feelings. This is assuming that you do tell them how you feel and they don’t reciprocate as you had hoped. Lean into the feelings of dismay and allow yourself to grieve.
A crush triggers the same feel-good neurochemicals as love – Dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin. When it ends up unrequited, you experience emotions along the same lines as that gnawing feeling of emptiness after a breakup. When you’re trying to get over a crush who ignores you or has been disrespectful of your feelings, that sense of loss can become even more raw and real.
Embrace it and feel its full extent, so that you can eventually leave it behind and move on, instead of resorting to unhealthy coping skills. How long does a teenage crush last? Not too long anyway. So don’t be petrified of getting your heart broken as you’ll move on to the next crush in no time.
3. Moving on from a crush entails sharing your grief
Bottling up our emotions can seem like the easiest thing to do, especially when they make you feel exposed, weak, or vulnerable. But that won’t do you any good.
- Find support in others: Turn to a close friend or a sibling for support. Spill out your feelings, tell them that you feel sad. Cry if you need to. We promise that soon enough, it will make you feel better
- Don’t vent all the time: This release when spending time with close friends will instantly make you feel lighter and better, but don’t overdo it. Talking about your feelings is essential, but talking about them over and over again and wallowing in the same pain on a loop is like picking on a raw wound
- Stay distracted: “For a wound to heal, you need to let a scab form on it. Likewise, once you have let out the pain and the angst, you have to let them settle before they eventually die down. So, focus your energies on keeping yourself productively distracted if you want to move on from a crush quickly,” Ms. Walters had advised me
This advice has stood me in good stead not only when trying to get over my later crushes, but also in dealing with crushing heartbreaks and breakups.
Related Reading: Unrequited Love: What Is It And How To Get Over It
4. Tell your friends your crush is a no-go topic
Your friends teasing you about the person you’re crushing on, leaving you blushing like a naïve teenager – It just doesn’t get old. Whether you’re 17 or 30, it always evokes the same reactions, and might I admit, feels pretty darn good.
But it also plunges you back into the same headspace of an emotional surge, which can actually make you feel worse after a point. So go ahead and tell your friends that you’ve decided to move on from this one-sided affair and your crush is a no-go topic of conversation here on. Moving on from a crush demands support from all your close ones.
5. A little distance goes a long way
If you’re trying to get over a crush you see every day, distancing yourself from them can be immensely beneficial in taking the edge off your feelings for them. The no-contact rule can be effective in not just getting over a breakup but also a crush. You need a little space from them at this point, to minimize their presence in your life.
- Make small changes to avoid seeing them: In case you study in the same class or work in the same office, cutting them out of your life completely may not be feasible. But you can still distance yourself from them. For instance, if you’ve always shared a bench in class, try to pick out a different spot for yourself. Maybe go sit with your BFF or someone you’ve not spoken to before
- Change your schedule: If you took coffee breaks together at work, mix up your schedule so that you can steer clear of running into them or engaging with them in conversations that bring you back to square one. Just do a few things like this consistently, so you can stop feeling so emotionally affected by your crush.
Related Reading: How Do I Move On From One-Sided Love? Our Expert Tells You…
6. Stop stalking their social media accounts
In order to move on from a crush who ignores you or even the one who’s chummy with you but doesn’t feel the same way, you need to stop stalking them on social media. We’re not judging you, we have all been there. But there’s no way you can succeed in stopping from crushing on someone if you’re stalking their Instagram at 2 a.m. or checking out their stories the minute they get posted.
Seeing them hang out with someone else or looking good in a picture will completely ruin your progress so far. If unfriending or blocking seems too radical, unfollow/mute/restrict their profile until you’ve got a handle on your emotions. Resist the urge to keep going back to their social media profiles, because it won’t serve any purpose other than feeding the very emotions you’re trying to overcome.
When you’re out drinking, put your friends in charge of controlling your phone activity so that you don’t go down the spiral of hearting their 10-year-old photos or, worse, drunk calling them. You need your support system to vigilantly be on your side now.
7. Distance includes no texting
Let me spell this out. Maintain some distance when trying to stop crushing on a friend or trying to get over a crush you see every day. Snap all forms of communication. When your emotions get the better of you, don’t start double texting them just because you thought the ‘no texting rule’ was missing in my advice list.
If, in the past, you texted or spoke to each other often, tell your crush politely that you need some space (or you can say it’s because of digital fasting) and would appreciate it if they didn’t contact you for a while. Trust us, you will feel differently about them in a couple of weeks.
8. Stay productively occupied to lose feelings for a crush
While work can be a great healer when it comes to moving forward in life from a crush, don’t just throw yourself into work or studying. Make time to actually enjoy the activities you like. Be it playing a sport, reading, dancing, gardening, playing an instrument, hobbies can be therapeutic.
- Sign up for a cooking or baking class: If you want to perfect those croissants you like to bake, now is the time!
- Challenge yourself: Set challenges for yourself such as reading a certain number of books in a month or walking a certain number of miles per day to stay productive
- Get organized in your life: Create a routine that involves journaling, meditation, buying groceries, and routinely doing something new with your friends. Keep your day completely occupied
9. Accept that it will hurt
Despite all the professional support and expert advice to help me navigate my first heartbreak experience, it wasn’t easy to get over the immense attraction I felt for him. Dealing with heartbreak is inevitable. I hated that I could no longer enjoy his company without feeling a knot in my gut. That sharing how I felt had somehow changed our friendship. And that I had to now avoid him on some pretext or the other, instead of being able to stay friends.
Irrespective of what stage of life you’re at, and whether you’re trying to get over a crush you see every day or someone you will never get to see again, accept that it will hurt before you heal. Don’t expect things to magically turn around for you.
10. Have fun and stop thinking “Do crushes last forever?”
How long does it take for a crush to fade? The answer to this question depends entirely on you. The longer you stay fixated on your crush, the harder it will be to move on. But do crushes last forever? Well the good news is, they really don’t.
- Believe that it won’t last forever: For a period of time, you will feel hurt and think that it is never going to end. But trust us when we tell you, these feelings will not last forever
- Do things that make you happy: Embrace new experiences, go out, meet certain people who make you feel empowered, hang out with old friends – In short, have fun and maybe even develop feelings for a whole new person
These light-hearted moments will help take your mind off the pain of having to move on from a crush and make it easier for you to make a fresh start.
Related Reading: 17 Signs It’s Time To Stop Pursuing The Girl You Like And Back Off
11. How to forget a crush? Get active on the dating scene
We have to revisit this question: Why do some crushes last so long? It’s because you either don’t act on your feelings or you don’t let yourself meet someone new. Keep these things in mind:
- Life isn’t over: To get over a crush quickly, you have to make space in your heart and your life for the possibility of a new romantic equation. So, once you’ve given yourself time to heal and are in a better place emotionally, get active on the dating scene
- Get on the apps: Download the hottest dating app, write a dating profile that stands out, and get swiping
- Be emotionally available: Go out on dates, and if you meet someone you like, don’t hold yourself back from letting them into your life. Take your time, but let someone else love you and give you attention
12. Take care of yourself
Drink enough water, start a dance class, join a book club, or start committing to that workout routine you had made months ago. While a new hobby will come in handy to distract you and keep you engaged in everything else except your crush, you also need to spend your time nourishing and taking care of yourself.
When moving on from a crush, it is far too easy to mope around with sweaty palms and uncomfortable thoughts about how they don’t like you back. And while that is okay and justified for some time, don’t lose yourself in the process. Continue to stay active in your life and your pursuits without getting carried away too far. Book that hair appointment or walk in the grass with your bare feet. It’s time to come up with self-care ideas that work for your innocent feelings of pain.
13. Incorporate some kind of a life change
We’re not asking you to move from California to Wisconsin, but some kind of a decent life change can help put things into perspective for you. To deal with all these strong feelings that you have accumulated for this person, you need to reframe your mind a bit to realize that this isn’t true love.
- Get that pet you always planned on adopting: Is now the time to get that puppy your friend from work has been telling you about?
- Change your look: It always helps to get some kind of a new haircut, or investing in a skirt or a pair of shoes that you were too afraid to try earlier
- Go on a short trip: Consider taking a weekend off to reconnect with yourself. Or go fishing with your friends even though you’ve always been skeptical about it
These activities are meant to make you realize that there is so much more to life than your crush and the emotional experiences that come with it. It will give you a great sense of well-being to be around those you love, and doing something you were always a little scared of trying.
14. Get professional help to move on from a crush in a healthy way
Even though it was not the love of your life, it still was a real crush that toppled you off track a little bit. There’s no shame in feeling sad because of it, or asking for help to deal with it. In fact, it is possible that crushes may leave a long-lasting impact because of all the uncertainty, and push and pull which comes with that equation.
They’re not a bad person, they just left you heartbroken. You would get help to deal with leaving a long-term relationship; in the same way, consider talking to a professional when you’re trying to move on from a crush. The good thing is, Bonobology has a skilled panel of counselors who are only a click away.
- How to move on from a crush that doesn’t leave your mind? To forget a crush quickly, spend time with people you love, and rely on your support system. It helps you feel stronger and to experience more emotions than just pain
- Unlike celebrity crushes, an actual crush can last for years. And when those feelings are unrequited, it can leave one feeling disturbed
- Try to cut communication with your crush as much as possible. You’re not being petty, you are just preserving yourself
- Take care of yourself by working out, becoming active on the dating scene again, and trying out new hobbies or activities
This advice on how to get over a crush helped me deal with the situation – and my emotions – the right way. After a lull of about a year, my school crush and I touched base and rekindled our friendship. We were friends again, without me having a racing heart when I saw him. We were finally stable. That kind, gentle boy from school remains a dear friend and a part of my life to this day. I hope you, too, can benefit from all the advice I shared and get over your feelings without being scarred from the innocent pain that comes from developing a crush.
This article was updated in August 2023.
Love isn’t a surface-level feeling. Love doesn’t make you feel the immediate urge of claiming someone as is the case in an infatuation or a crush. A crush would make you feel restless, whereas love would calm you down. If you’re in love, reciprocation of the emotion may not be your top priority. When you have a crush, there is a need for instant connection with the person.
There is no right answer to this question because it will always vary with your changing circumstances. If your crush has made it abundantly clear that they are not into you, you should try to move on and find happiness with other people in your life. There is no switch that would magically turn off all your feelings for a person, but if you find yourself in a hopeless situation, it’s time you start slowing down and stepping on the brakes.
If you feel like you are falling for someone too fast yet again, chances are that you never stopped liking them in the first place. It isn’t possible for you to get over someone and then start crushing on them again. Maybe you tricked yourself into believing that you were over them but cannot hide the fact any longer. Maybe the suppressed emotions have finally found their way out now that your crush seems to feel the same way too.
In psychological parlance, an ongoing, lasting crush is referred to as ‘limerence,’ which describes a crush-like stage in a relationship. So, how long does a crush last before turning into love? The more intimately you’re involved with your crush during this stage, the more quickly the crush reshapes into love.