November 28, 2018
How to Get Over a Crush
If you’ve fallen for someone after only a few dates and they don’t feel the same way about you, you’re likely feeling hurt, unworthy and in limbo. The pain of unrequited love can feel unbearable even if you’ve only known them for a short period of time.
And while friends and family will gather around to support you through a relationship breakup, they may not be as sympathetic and enthusiastic if you’ve only been on a handful of dates. It follows that you may feel alone and lack the support you need to take care of yourself, remove and move on.
But fear not. I’ve got your back! You will feel better over time and I outline a few perspectives and strategies to help you move on below.
#1. Please rest assured that it’s normal to think about someone you dated for a brief time — especially if you don’t know them well, as we have a tendency to idealize the unknown. You’re normal.
When you first meet a new love interest, you tend to subconsciously fill in the gaps (all the things you don’t know about them) with details that reflect your personal desires. You make positive, perfection-based assumptions because you want to like them and some of these assumptions are inevitably inaccurate because they’re human and imperfect. The more you learn about them, the less you’ll idealize them. Remind yourself that you’re not really into them — you’re into the idea of them that you’ve created.
#2. It’s time to stop checking their social accounts. The inclination to follow their social posts is also natural, but if it’s causing you distress, it’s not a good idea (more below). Social media, despite its limited ability to foster intimacy, does create and maintain connections. Every time you see photos, stories and funny anecdotes (that went through multiple drafts before publication), you’re prolonging connection with a person with whom you’ve cut ties — and that connection is based on their highlight reel.
Just as following an ex can be distressful, so too can following a crush when your love and interest is unrequited. A recent study found that spending time on your ex’s Facebook page is associated with higher levels of distress, lower levels of personal growth and more negative feelings after a break-up.
You might not be able to quit cold-turkey, but you can wane yourself off a little at a time. Limit yourself to once per day and then gradually reduce your check-ins to once per week, once per month and so on until you’ve broken the habit. One option: every time you’re tempted to click on their page, indulge in a different (guilty) pleasure (e.g. read a gossip column or eat a piece of dark chocolate). I had one client who did ten pushups every time she wanted to check her ex’s page. Over time, the urge subsides.
#3. If you find that lists and/or rational thought tend to ease anxieties, make a list of the things you know about them (first hand — not from social media) and make a list of all the assumptions you’ve made about them. The latter will likely outweigh the former. Remind yourself that you really don’t know this person, so you might want to spend less time thinking about them (and following them online).
#4. It’s also important to ditch the soulmate myth. It’s not realistic. You weren’t meant-to-be. No couple is meant-to-be. Relationships are lasting and fulfilling because you work at them — not because you wait for the one person in 7.6 billion to find their way back to you. The soulmate myth is not only unrealistic, but it leads to unhealthy expectations and relationships; if you believe that fate will lead to happily ever after, you’re less likely to invest in the relationship and embrace the growth mindset that leads to connection and partnership.
I promise that if you want to move on from them, you will. We tend to overestimate how long it takes to get over a breakup, so take comfort in knowing that you’re likely to get a reprieve from this headache sooner than you realize.
Listen to our podcast on the Soulmate Myth here.
Check out Jess’ post on how to get over a breakup here.