So, you have a crush. You’ve caught feels. You’re a bit, or a lot, infatuated.
But, alas, it’s just not going to happen.
There might be all kinds of reasons why you know that things aren’t going to develop between the two of you, or why you know that it wouldn’t or couldn’t work out.
But just because your brain knows on a rational level that you need to stop crushing, that doesn’t mean that your heart is going to listen.
Or at least not straight away.
Getting over a crush can be easy enough when you only see them once in a blue moon. Out of sight, out of mind really does tend to ring true in these cases.
But when they’re your workmate or your classmate and you see them regularly, maybe even multiple times a day, you’re constantly reminded of their presence and it’s harder to keep your mind off them.
If you’ve developed a crush on a friend of yours and you’d hate to lose that friendship, or even on someone who’s already in a long-term relationship, then it can be particularly tough.
If you’ve managed to fall for your sibling’s fiancé, or something equally rom-com, you’ve won the prize for the most inappropriate crush, and potentially one of the hardest to get over. Because this ain’t Hollywood, and getting over it is all you can do.
But, impossible as the situation might seem when you’re in the clutches of a crush, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
You can get over your crush, and you will.
All you need are a few tried and tested strategies to help you get the better of your feelings and move on.
1. Accept the situation
You’re fully aware that nothing can ever happen between you, but you’re probably still clinging on to a strand of hope.
You might daydream about them suddenly coming to their senses, or about circumstances miraculously changing to mean the two of you can give it a go.
You probably haven’t admitted it to anyone, least of all yourself, but you’re still holding out hope that it might happen… one day.
The first step to getting over a crush is acceptance.
You need to admit to yourself that you’ve been hoping, and put those hopes firmly behind you.
Only once you’ve accepted the hell out of the situation will you be able to work through it.
2. Talk about it
Whatever you do, don’t bottle your feelings up and expect them to just magically disappear.
It’s important to reach out to your friends or family and talk about what you’re feeling.
A crush might seem trivial, especially if your friends are going through breakups of long-term relationships, but that doesn’t make your feelings meaningless.
They’re still very important.
Putting what’s going on inside your head into words can help you to process it, get some perspective on it, and work through it.
If, for whatever reason, this isn’t something you can talk to your friends or family about, then a therapist or counselor could be the answer.
Also, remember that you don’t have to spend all your time with your friends picking your crush apart.
Get it off your chest, but then move the conversation along.
Talk about other things. Talk about them. Discuss your favorite series, your plans…
Set the world to rights, and you’ll feel a lot better afterwards.
3. Imagine what it would have actually been like
Crushes are mostly based on fantasy, imagining what could happen between the two of you in a parallel universe…
…one in which they aren’t your best friend’s ex, or your boss, or don’t have major commitment issues, or whatever the issue may be.
You live out the fantasy in your head, but you normally stick to the good parts.
So, now it’s time to imagine all their flaws. Think about their bad breath in the morning, or how messy they are, or how unbearable your fantasy father-in-law would be.
That should help to bring you back down to earth and give you some cold, hard perspective.
Once you’ve accepted things, you need to give yourself a chance to mourn the relationship.
Sure, it may only have happened in your head, but that doesn’t mean the feelings weren’t real and that it’s not going to be hard to get over it.
So, rather than just pushing on through and trying to forget all about it, give yourself a chance to mourn and grieve.
Have a night in. Watch sad films. Cry if you need to. Then stick your favorite tunes on, dance around, and draw a line under it.
You might have lost interest in meeting other people since you’ve been crushing, but by not dating and closing yourself off to other possibilities, you’re only making the situation worse.
Odds are that whilst you’ve been busy fantasizing about your dream honeymoon with the wrong person, you’ve let several opportunities to pursue the right person slide and not even realized it.
Much as you might not feel like putting yourself out there, be open to the idea of dating and make sure you give the people you meet a genuine chance.
Whatever you do, make sure you don’t catch yourself mentally comparing them to your crush.
Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of internet dating, but it’s a fantastic way to meet like-minded people you wouldn’t ever cross paths with in real life.
And, it’s a brilliant way to keep your mind occupied, meaning less time for dwelling on your crush.
Of course, no one needs a romantic interest in their life, and you’re more than capable of getting over a crush without getting involved with someone else, but casual dating can be a wonderful distraction, and give you the confidence boost you’re in need of.
After all, your confidence might have taken a bit of a knock as a result of your unrequited feelings, so reminding yourself that you’re attractive to others can be just what you need to get your confidence levels up, and remember that you deserve the very best.
Who knows, you might even meet someone special.
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6. Limit the time you spend around them
In an ideal world, you’d cut off pretty much all contact with a crush…
But if their presence in your life is unavoidable or you’d like to maintain a friendship with them, you should still try to limit the amount of time you spend around them until you’re back on an even keel emotionally.
There will be times when you’re obliged to be with them, but do yourself a favor and keep it to that.
Take control whenever you can.
Say no to that invitation. Avoid places where you know they spend time. Don’t go out of your way to see them or spend time with them.
7. Be strong
Crushes can take place entirely in your head, but if things have already happened between you and you know it can’t continue, then that’s a crush too.
If you’ve been intimate with them, you will be very tempted to do so again.
Whilst you might try to kid yourself that being physically intimate is enough for you, that desire springs from your wish for something more.
The more you’re physically intimate, the more you whip up the storm of hormones that clouds your judgement and stops you from moving on.
8. Take a break
If you’re obliged to spend a lot of time around your crush, you’re not going to be able to escape them permanently…
…but you can find a bit of temporary space.
Get out of the city. Take a day trip. Take a weekend trip. Take a two week holiday.
Take yourself somewhere they’re not, preferably with a few of your best friends in tow, and have a brilliant time.
Physical distance can be really mentally refreshing and help you to get some perspective on the situation.
9. Stay busy
What you don’t need right now is a lot of time available to dwell and daydream.
You need to keep busy and keep your mind occupied.
Make plans with your friends in the evenings. Fill up those weekends. Join a new exercise class.
Do more of the things you already love or try something brand new.
10. Move forward with your life
Are there any plans you’ve had on the back-burner?
Do you have a big dream you’ve been a little too scared to chase?
Have you been, consciously or unconsciously, holding yourself back and avoiding change, so that you can keep spending time with the object of your affections?
Well, this is the moment to bring your focus back onto you.
Have you been dreaming of a career change?
Is there a side hustle you’ve been mulling over?
Now’s the time to take the bull by the horns. Now’s the time to take those forward steps that you’ve been putting off up until now.
Make sure that you’re the one playing the lead role in the film of your life, and make things happen.
Your priorities will change as your life does, and you’ll soon find that you no longer feel quite the same way about your crush.
11. Unfollow and unfriend
This one might seem a little trivial, but seeing their pictures pop up on your feed can really ruin your day.
It can leave you dwelling on who they’re with or what they’re doing. You may end up going down a rabbit hole and spending hours stalking them on Instagram.
It’s hard to press that ‘unfollow’ button, but you can do it.
You’re taking yourself out of temptation’s way, and saving yourself from unpleasant visual surprises.
Future you will thank you. They probably won’t even notice you’ve unfollowed them.
Do you do a lot of Instagram stories and find that you’re always checking to see if they’ve watched them?
Are you posting in the hope that they’ll see it and realize what a wonderful time you’re having without them?
If so, you can stop them from seeing your stories and posts, too. That way you’ll post for you, rather than with an ulterior motive.
12. Think about the root causes
Is this the first time you’ve found yourself getting attached to someone who’s unattainable?
If not, then perhaps it’s time to have a long, hard think about the reasons why you develop these feelings.
Do you always want what you can’t have? Is it the thrill of the chase? Are you scared of commitment?
There might be lots of different reasons behind it, but if this is a recurring pattern, treat it as an opportunity to dig deep and get a better understanding of why you do the things you do.
And next time you feel a crush coming on, don’t allow it to develop as much. If it can never be, then take these steps as early as possible, before you get carried away.
If there’s a chance something could happen, then take a deep breath and tell them how you feel.
If they say yes, then wonderful things could unfold. If they say no, then you’ve saved yourself an awful lot of heartache.