By Ashley Laderer
Having a crush can be a sweet, exciting feeling, but when it doesn’t work out that can all come crashing down. Whether your crush isn’t on the same page as you, they move on to someone else, or you just aren’t a viable match, it can really hurt. Even if you just chatted on Bumble or never officially dated them, it’s completely valid to feel upset. But you don’t want to be hung up on them forever, right? Here are some expert-approved ways to get over a crush.
Give yourself permission to be in your feelings
Even though you weren’t in an established relationship with your crush, that doesn’t mean that you won’t feel hurt or a sense of loss. Relationship therapist Dr. Dana McNeil suggests giving yourself permission to embrace your feelings and “grieve what you hoped would come of this crush.” It might feel like you shouldn’t be that upset, but it’s normal to want to have a pity party for a few days, and you should feel validated in doing so.
Stop checking their social media
Seeing your crush pop up on social media can bring up painful emotions. “If you find yourself wasting a lot of time looking at their stories, or notice that seeing their posts brings up negative feelings of disappointment, jealousy, or insecurity, it’s healthiest to unfollow or mute them until your feelings cool off,” says relationship counselor and dating coach Samantha Burns. By not allowing your crush to unexpectedly come up on your feeds, you’re giving yourself less opportunity to dwell on them.
Tap into your support system
Just like in any other situation when you’re feeling hurt or vulnerable, you can lean on people in your inner circle. “Spending time with friends or family who are supportive and understanding can help heal your heart and help you move on,” says psychologist Dr. Danielle McGraw. Venting about the situation can allow you to process your feelings, and your loved ones can help put things into perspective.
Do things for yourself
Don’t let this setback stop you from having fun. “Occupy yourself by doing new activities and being social,” McGraw suggests. This is also a chance for you to get out of your comfort zone, dedicate your time and energy to something productive, or try something you’ve never done before––all of which can be welcomed distractions that give you a sense of accomplishment. Plus, who knows what else could come of it. “Maybe you’ll meet someone that you’re attracted to while doing a new activity,” says Burns.
Remember that a crush doesn’t define your self-worth
Unrequited feelings can cause a blow to your self-esteem, Burns says, but ultimately, whether or not someone likes you back doesn’t define if you’re dateable or desirable. If you find yourself speaking down to yourself while trying to get over a crush, Burns suggests repeating a positive mantra—something like “I’m a catch and someone will be lucky to be with me!”—to challenge these thoughts. “Positive affirmations can increase your self-esteem, not let rejection bruise your ego, and help you look forward to meeting that special someone who recognizes how incredible you are,” Burns says.
Turn it into a learning experience
Get introspective and think about your crush and how it all panned out. “Now is the time to figure out if you’re making yourself vulnerable to the wrong people and potentially setting yourself up for hurt,” McNeil says. For example, if your crush simply wasn’t into you, you might have been misreading cues from them.
In other situations, the crush might have been a bad idea with potentially negative consequences. “Sometimes it’s just not appropriate to have or act on a crush with someone in power, like a senior leader at your company or a professor,” McNeil says. Or, if your crush is already in a monogamous relationship, it’s likely that it wasn’t going to work out in the first place—or if it did, it could cause pain and hurt feelings.
Put yourself back out there
The saying that there are plenty of fish in the sea really is true. “When you’re ready, try to date again,” says McGraw. “Meeting new, awesome daters can help you realize there are great people who will love you and will make you feel worthy.” Putting yourself back out there will remind you that your crush isn’t the only potential love interest who exists.
It isn’t always easy to get over a crush, but it’s always possible. Take active steps to move on and be patient as time heals you, and then it’s on to the next!