Wondering how long does a crush last and whether there is anything you can do to make that feeling go away? Well, you’re not alone. In high school, I had a massive crush on a boy from my class. He wasn’t the most handsome or the most popular boy in school. But he was gentle, kind and compassionate, and something about him just tugged at my heartstrings too powerfully.
I was consumed by fantasies about what it’d be like if I told him how I felt. Would he say he has felt the same way about me too? Would we seal our confessions with a kiss? What would that feel like? Since we were also pretty good friends, we’d spend a lot of time hanging out together. And I’d relive and savor the moments over and over again.
This went on for two years. As the final exams for Grade 12 drew near, I began to panic as I was having a hard time concentrating on anything other than that gorgeous boy. How long does a crush last? I wondered frantically, as I tried to bury myself in my books but to no avail.
Then, I spoke to my English teacher, who hooked me up with the school counselor to help me work through my feelings. The counselor helped me understand how to get over a crush. All these years later, I’m here to share the insights that not just helped me stop crushing on a friend in high school but also deal with other crushes along the way (including the ones I developed while being in committed relationships).
How Long Does A Crush Last?
To understand how long does a crush last and why, it’s imperative to know clearly what a ‘crush’ means 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 get over a crush you see every day or even one who doesn’t even acknowledge your presence. Love, on the other hand, is characterized by a wholesome emotional attachment and a strong bond that stem from sharing a journey and getting to the other person intimately.
Now that you have clarity on how to distinguish a crush from love, let’s circle back to the question of how long does a crush last. According to recent research, it takes up to four months to get over a crush. However, when feelings and emotions are involved, research-backed timelines and estimates don’t always hold.
Case in point: my two-year-long high school crush. While reveling in the heady rush of emotions when you’re crushing on someone 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 an unrequited crush.
To get over a crush who doesn’t like you or to whom you can’t express your feelings, then, becomes essential to save yourself from slipping into the unhealthy territory of obsession.
Can a crush last for years?
The word ‘crush’ is typically used to describe strong but fleeting or short-lived feelings of attraction toward someone. However, it is hard to put a specific timeline on how long does a crush last. While some crushes dissipate within days or hours even, others can last a lifetime too. So, yes, a crush can last for years.
One key factor determining how long does it take for a crush to fade is what’s stirring up the attraction and infatuation. 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’re bursts and you stop being besotted with them.
However, a crush that stems from emotional attraction is more likely to be long-lasting. In the case of my high school crush, for instance, it was his gentle and kind personality that drew me to him and kept me hooked. That’s why it’s harder to stop crushing on a friend than to get over a crush who ignores you or is rude or mean to you.
In psychological parlance, an ongoing, lasting crush is referred to as ‘limerence’, which describes a crush-like stage in a relationship. The more intimately you’re involved with your crush during this stage, the most quickly the feelings dissipate.
This happens because the feel-good neurochemicals such as dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin released when you develop a crush on someone begin to plateau as you get to know the other person more intimately – flaws, quirks and all. On the flip side, if the feelings are intense and mutual, you could graduate from the limerence stage to falling in love and being in a relationship. Either way, the crush ends with growing intimacy.
Related Reading: Loving Someone Who Doesn’t Love You Back
Why do some crushes last so long?
The answer to why do some crushes last so long is also closely related to how a crush ends – with increased intimacy. 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 to imagine what it’d be like to BE with my high school crush.
Every night, I’d paint scenarios where we’d confess our feelings to each other and just melt away in the bliss of our togetherness. Sometimes, I’d imagine him taking me on a dinner date at this fancy 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 away to sleep.
While these fantasies felt good in my head, they also paralyzed me with a fear of what if he didn’t feel the same way about me. According to my then-school counselor, that’s exactly what makes some crushes last so long.
“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 on to this blissful imagination of what can be – but may never come to pass,” said Ms Martha.
How To Get Over A Crush – 11 Ways
How to get over a crush? If you’re looking for answers to this question, in all likelihood you’re struggling to get over a crush who doesn’t like you or with whom you don’t see a future. Or perhaps, like me, you’re stuck in that state of limbo where you can neither bring yourself to express your feelings nor get over a crush you see every day.
To help you break free from the cage of your own emotions and longings, let me recount the advice Ms Martha offered me many moons ago in these 11 tips on how to get over a crush:
Related Reading: 20 Signs He Is Not Into You – Don’t Waste Your Time!
1. Express your feelings
One of the best answers to how to get over a crush is to fess up your feelings. “You have to rip off the band-aid,” Ms Martha had said, in a straight, 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 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
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. Even if you’re trying to get over a crush who ignores you or has been disrespectful of your feelings, that sense of loss can be very raw and real.
Embrace it and feel its full extent, so that you can eventually leave it behind and move on.
3. Spill out your feelings
Bottling up our emotions can seem like the easiest thing to do, especially in case of emotions that make you feel exposed, weak or vulnerable. But that won’t do you any good. So turn to a close friend or a sibling for support. Spill out your feelings, tell them how you feel. Cry if you need to.
This release 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.
“For a wound to heal, you need to let a scab form on it. Likewise, once you have let out the pain and angst, you have to let it settle before it eventually dies down. So, focus your energies on keeping yourself productively distracted,” Ms Martha had advised me.
This advice has stood me in good stead not only when trying to get over future crushes but also in dealing with crushing heartbreak and breakups.
Related Reading: Unrequited Love: How To Deal And What To Do?
4. Tell your friends your crush is a no-go topic
Your friends teasing you about the guy or girl 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. That’s definitely not the answer to how to get over a crush. Tell your friends that you’ve decided to move on from this one-sided love and your crush is a no-go topic of conversation here on.
At least for as long as you get over them.
5. Try to maintain your distance
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 not just in getting over a breakup but also a crush.
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 for a change.
Or 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.
Related Reading: 8 Ways To Make One-sided Love Successful
6. Social media stalking is a no-no
To get over a crush who ignores you or even the one who’s chummy but doesn’t feel the same way about you, you need to get off the social media stalking bandwagon. There’s no way you can succeed in stopping crushing on someone if you’re stalking their Instagram at 2 am or checking their Stories the minute they get posted.
If unfriending or blocking seems too radical, unfollow 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 mobile activity so that you don’t go down the spiral of hearting their 10-year-old photos, or worse, drunk calling them.
7. Distance includes no texting
I’m going to spell out that maintaining distance when trying to stop crushing on a friend or get over a crush you see every day includes snapping all forms of communication. Just so that when your emotions get the better of you, you don’t shoot them a text on the pretext that there was no no-texting rule mentioned in my how to get over a crush advice.
If, in the past, you texted or spoke to each other often, politely tell your crush that you need some space and would appreciate it if they didn’t contact you for a while.
8. Stay productively occupied
Ms Martha’s advice to me on how to get over a crush included keeping myself productively occupied. “I know you have your exams coming up but burying yourself in books when you’re emotionally fragile isn’t going to help. So, take some time to indulge in activities you enjoy.
“It’ll not only help you heal but also improve your ability to focus and concentrate on your studies,” she had said. Whether you’re a student or a working professional, you too can benefit from it.
Don’t just throw yourself into work or studying, make time to enjoy the activities you like. Be it playing a sport, reading, dancing, gardening, hobbies can be therapeutic.
Related Reading: 12 Signs It’s Time To Stop Pursuing The Girl You Like And Back Off
9. Accept that it will hurt
Despite all the professional support and expert advice to help me navigate this first near-heartbreak experience, it wasn’t easy to get over the immense attraction I felt for him. Dealing with the pain of heartbreak is inevitable. I hated that I could no longer enjoy his company without feeling a knot in my gut. That my sharing how I felt had somehow changed our friendship. And that I had to now avoid him on some pretext or the other.
Irrespective of what stage of life you’re at and whether you’re trying to get over a crush you see every day or some unattainable by all measures accept that it will hurt before you heal.
10. Have fun
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. So, embrace new experiences, go out, meet new people, hang old with old friends – in short, have fun.
These light-hearted moments will help get your mind off the pain of having to get over a crush and make it easier for you to make a fresh start.
11. Get active on the dating scene
To find an answer to how to get over a crush, we have to revisit the question of why do some crushes last so long – when you either don’t act on your feelings or meet someone new.
To get over a crush, 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.
Download the hottest dating app, create a killer dating profile, and get swiping. Go out on dates, and if you meet someone you like, don’t hold yourself back from letting them into your life.
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 high school crush and I touched base and rekindled our friendship. That kind, gentle boy from high school remains a dear friend and a part of my life to this day. I hope you too can benefit from it and get over your feelings without being scarred.