How To Get Over A Crush (Even When It Feels Impossible)

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Having a crush sounds sweet and fun, until you realize crushes can only ever end in one of two ways: you'll either be one of the lucky few who falls for someone you happily find out feels the same way, or one of the sad souls with unrequited feelings, leaving you with a wounded ego and a broken heart.

Whether you have a crush on your friend, someone at work, that cutie you keep seeing at the grocery store, or someone you shouldn't be crushing on because they're already taken, if your crush doesn't lead to the first scenario (which would preferably involve dramatic music and a passionate kiss), you'll eventually have to face facts, lick your wounds, and move on.

How can I forget about my crush?

While they may linger in your mind for quite some time, it’s pertinent to distract yourself so you can forget about the object of your affection. It also means being honest with yourself and your feelings rather than trying to deny them.

“You suffer when you don't give yourself permission to feel your emotions. Fighting the feelings you have for another person will cause them to intensify over time, which can lead you to feel out of control with your crush," says counselor and therapist Christine Vargo. "When you actively acknowledge your feelings out loud, you will move through them. Getting over a crush will require you to move through your feelings versus beating yourself up for having the feelings in the first place.”

You can forget your crush and move on from them by doing things for yourself, trying new things by yourself or with friends, and distancing yourself from the person you like.

RELATED: How To Stop Crushing On Every Person You Meet

How long does a crush last?

While some psychologists suggest that a crush can last for four months, that’s not necessarily true. Having a crush on someone doesn’t have a time limit; you can have a crush on someone for a week or for years!

But the important thing to remember here is that having a crush isn’t the same as being in love; for love to be real, it has to be reciprocated.

Is it possible to get over your crush?

It’s entirely possible to get over your crush, and perhaps become attracted to someone who actually does see a future with you. Of course, the process of moving on isn’t easy and can be painful, especially when you’ve invested time and patience into the hope that they will return your feelings.

Psychologist Sandra E. Cohen, Ph.D. suggests getting to the root of your feelings. “Ask yourself these things: Is it worth it to keep wanting something (or someone) you don’t have or is too hard to get? Is this a repeated pattern, maybe something that started early in your life?" she says.

"Getting over a crush is hard if there are old hurts or longings getting in your way, or if you’re scared to open up to someone really available. Is it time to consider what would make you happy and why you find yourself in this situation, maybe more than once?”

Still, don't give up on yourself because, at the end of the day, you should be the most important person in your life, not someone who can't see how great you are.

Why can't I get over my crush?

Most people dedicate their emotions to this person, holding out hope that their crush will turn into something more. But when your attraction is unrequited, it’s a major blow to your ego.

Nobody wants to be rejected or feel like they aren’t good enough for a person. But that doesn’t mean you are to blame; feeling rebuffed is a completely normal response.

Adds Vargo, “Give yourself permission to get curious about the reasons you are feeling drawn towards this person. They are reflecting something about you that needs your love and attention. Do they have a quality or characteristic that you wish you could cultivate?”

How To Get Over A Crush

1. Talk it out with someone you trust.

When you know a crush isn't going anywhere, you may feel tempted to keep your thoughts and feelings to yourself. You don't want to be embarrassed by anyone knowing you have awkward, one-sided feelings. But, as is usually the case, telling friends and family what's going on with you can be freeing.

Your friend might be able to help point out how a relationship with your crush wouldn't work anyway, which can help you see the bright side of things. And when a friend knows about your crush, they can also be there to support you and make sure you don't do (read: text) anything you might (read: will) regret later.

2. Have a good cry.

There's nothing quite as therapeutic as having a good cry. While having a crush obviously isn't the same as being in a relationship with someone, the pain you feel when you find out those feelings aren't returned can be similar to the pain following a breakup. Letting your tears fall will help you feel better.

If it makes you feel more comfortable, you can watch sad movies or play sad songs to get your tears started. Sometimes we need to watch something sad to be able to really express our own sadness.

Some of the best sad tear-jerker movies to watch include "Titanic," "The Notebook," "Terms of Endearment," and "A Star Is Born." Or, opt for some sad songs like "Don't Speak" by No Doubt, "Shallow" by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, "Ghost" by Halsey or "The Night We Met" by Lord Huron.

3. Distract yourself by streaming television.

Distract yourself with those shows you keep meaning to watch or catch up on others that have just gotten away from you. Besides, there's really no better cure to move on from a crush than to find a new one.

With so many movies or TV shows at your disposal, you should have a new celebrity crush in no time. Watch feel-good comedies like "New Girl" and "Schitt's Creek," or check out a few series you've yet to binge like "Selling Sunset," "GLOW," or "The Tudors."

4. Pamper yourself.

Do something to remind yourself of how beautiful and wonderful you are.

We tend to forget when we realize someone doesn't like us that it has nothing to do with us. But I'll say it again: they may not like you like you, but that has nothing to do with you not being good enough!

Take some time to relax and remind yourself of how awesome you are. Pampering ideas to try include putting on a face mask, giving yourself a manicure, lighting a scented candle or diffusing essential oils, taking a bubble bath, sleeping in, or indulging in your favorite junk food.

5. Focus on your favorite hobbies.

Now is the perfect opportunity to spend time checking off the books on your reading list or go back to finishing that paint job you keep meaning to finish.

All of that time you've been spending thinking about your crush and dreaming of a love that will never be can be put to far better use. So, dive back into those activities and hobbies you love most.

6. Try something new.

Doing something new can be a great distraction. Find something more productive and fulfilling than someone you've never even dated to focus all of that passion on. Besides, you might also meet new people along the way (even if it's just over Zoom), and meeting new people will help you move on as well.

Some ideas for new things to try include keeping a journal, hiking, taking up gardening, learning a new language, or learning to cook like a gourmet chef.​

RELATED: 20 Best Songs About Complicated Love & Confusing Relationships

7. Tell your crush how you feel.

I know, I know — it sounds crazy. And, if we're being honest, this tip isn't for everyone. But if it's possible, tell your crush how you feel. If you can't do it to face-to-face, consider sending a carefully written email, text or handwritten note.

It's easier to get over someone once you've been able to get your feelings out. You'll have made sure they know and definitely do not feel the same way, and can move on feeling a solid sense of closure.

8. Exercise.

When you work out, you feel better about yourself and better, in general. And once you feel better, you'll be less likely to pine for someone who isn't interested in being with you.

Plus, exercising releases endorphins, naturally occurring chemicals in the body that relieve pain and produce a feeling of euphoria. Who couldn't use some of that, especially when it comes to your mental health?

If you're not a regular exercise-machine already, try going for a walk, doing yoga, jogging, or dancing.

9. Remind yourself of the qualities you don't like in your crush.

Chances are you put your crush up on a pedestal and couldn't see anything bad about them. They may be pretty great, but no one is perfect. One helpful way to move on is to remind yourself that your crush isn't somehow an exception to that rule.

Vargo suggests playing out the fantasy of being with your crush. “Imagine how you would feel were you to actually be with the person. Build your story around the idea, and notice and acknowledge your feelings. Similar to asking a child how she/he/they would feel if they were to get the toy they desperately want, giving yourself space to feel into the fantasy is allowing your brain to complete the story,” she says.

Without being mean, make an honest list of things you don't really like all that much about your crush. There's nothing like bursting your own bubble to help you remember there will be someone better for you in the future.

Having trouble coming up with ideas? Some less than ideal characteristics include never asking you how you are, never initiating conversations or dates, not treating your friends kindly, or not having common interests.

10. Make a change.

Don't be the same person who sat there passively waiting for someone to like them back. Without thinking of anything too dramatic or permanent, consider making a change that may jolt you into a new view of your reality.

These changes don't have to be drastic and can include things like coloring your hair, buying new clothes, rearranging your furniture, or painting your bedroom a new color.

11. Distance yourself from them.

I'm not saying you need to cut contact with your crush forever (although, if they aren't a close friend or co-worker, that's an option, too), but it might help to distance yourself for a while.

You may also want to consider literally getting rid of anything that belongs to them. That means returning, regifting, recycling or throwing away any gifts you don't need, any holiday cards they sent you, any pens they lent you, and any sweatshirts you "forgot" to return.

It's also a good idea to delete all of those pictures and screenshots you've saved so you can look at them whenever you feel like it. And don't forget to remove traces of your crush's social media from your phone or computer; you might feel tempted to stalk their social media accounts and cause more pain.

12. Let go of any lingering resentment.

It might seem easier to hate this person for not liking you the way you like them, but holding onto resentment for someone can be damaging to your own well being.

You need to let it go — let all of the feelings go — in order to move on.

So, write down all your feelings, put them in a balloon, and let them float away. Or, write their name on a piece of paper and then burn it. You can also make a list of the things they've done to hurt you, and then forgive them for each one.

And when you find yourself thinking resentful thoughts, redirect your brain by asking yourself what you're grateful for in this moment.​ It might also help to think about how your crush is helping you learn a lesson.

“When have you felt a similar energy towards another person in your past relationships? You will be taught the same lessons throughout your life until you've learned them completely. Consider how this person is teaching you something about yourself at this moment in your life,” Vargo proposes.

If at any time you feel sad and those feelings of sadness become overwhelming, please don't hesitate to see a therapist or counselor. Even during the current pandemic, talking to a therapist is possible via telehealth appointments.

Suggests Cohen, “Let yourself be sad but determined to find someone available who wants you. Reach out to a therapist who can help you understand your fears and to get in the love you deserve.”

No one said getting over a crush would be fast or easy, but you can make the process faster and easier.

Doing the necessary work to make that happen will be worth it, because, out there, waiting, is the right one for you. And the only way you'll be able to find them is by moving on from the wrong one first.

RELATED: 50 Crush Quotes About Catching Feelings For Someone New

Estee Kahn is a writer and amateur photographer who writes all about love — dating, relationships, friendships, yourself, and family. Follow her on Instagram.

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