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How Long Does a Crush Last?

by Kimberly Delarosa

The first crush I had was in school. His name was Jonathan and I thought he was perfect. I can still remember the way he smiled at me whenever we were in class together – like I was something special. Every time we would have recess, he sat next to me and we would just talk. He told me how much he enjoyed my company, and I blushed. Jonathan was kind, wore white t-shirts, and had dreamy eyes.

He was considerate and even appreciated my obsessive passion for heavy metal (I mean come on!). Unfortunately, his family had to move unexpectedly and before I knew it, my crush was leaving and I would never see him again. I dramatically swore off love as I closed the curtains of my childhood bedroom and blasted “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor on my stereo. We tried to keep in touch through phone but who were we kidding, it would never last.

That experience taught me something very valuable when it comes to romance. Love can sometimes crush your heart but it can also leave lasting memories. And almost every person in the world can remember their first crush—that one person who made them feel like they could fly.

Crushes can have an enormous impact and are considered a stepping stone to exploring love. When you have a crush on someone, you feel it intensely. It can sometimes be the only thing you’re thinking about. Not to mention the fun flirting! Yet I began to wonder if having a crush feels so right and wonderful at the moment…why are they called crushes?

Could it be that the relationship is doomed to fail? Will this person bring you nothing but pain? Or does it just validate the notion that when you step into love, it’s going to hurt? Licensed Psychologist Dr. Carly Claney breaks down the illusion of the crush and why they “hurt” the heart when it comes to love.

“Crushes hurt because crushes are so full of fantasy, potential, hope AND they're often one-sided and without a lot of reality to ground them,” she says. “Crushes can feel all-good because they don't have the normal realities and complexities of being in a relationship with someone to keep them grounded.”


We take the best parts of our crush and create a world entirely fictional in the hopes that maybe this can one day be a reality. That is until reality comes in and slaps you in the face to take you out of your haze. We don’t think of them as the imperfect human beings that we all are. Sometimes we are so focused and obsessed with the fantasy that when the crush haze is gone, the fall can feel pretty devastating.

So how long does the heartbreaking crush phase last? According to licensed therapist Jessica Small, it depends on the timing. “An unrequited crush can last a very long time because the relationship never moves past the lust stage, however, a relationship that has movement will typically stay in the crush phase for weeks to months,” she states. “My advice is to enjoy a crush! When people can fully enjoy themselves without rushing to the next stage, they’re able to allow their relationships to develop organically.”

Related articles: What is Self-Abandonment?

Having a crush can seem like a bad way of toying with your heart. Some people try to not have crushes or will do whatever they can to avoid getting their hearts broken. Yet it’s those crushes, awkward conversations, and butterfly-in-the-stomach moments that are essential to developing a healthy dating lifestyle. We often think that having the crush experience is childish although in reality is a right if passaged for developing confidence in the dating realm.

“Crushes are essential and completely natural for our dating life,” says Samantha Moss – editor and content ambassador at Romantific – a community that offers advice for women struggling to find love. “Having a crush helps us to build our confidence and decrease the isolation we feel. It also improves our insights when it comes to a relationship.”

The first crush experience unknowingly helps you discover what you want in a partner. Although our love was very short-lived, Jonathan was indeed a great lesson in love. In a way, he set the bar for the future men that I would come to know. And through the archives of my dating and love life, he will always be someone I remember. That’s the thing about your first crush – you just never really forget them.



Dr. Carly Claney, licensed psychologist

Jessica Small, M.A., LMFT with Grow Self Counseling and Coaching

Samantha Moss, editor and content ambassador for Romantific


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