Unless you’re a dating wizard and can find your soulmate after two swipes (TBH, good for you), then there’s a good chance you might end up meeting someone and liking them a whole lot more than they like you. While, yeah, it sucks when that happens, you can’t force someone to develop feelings for you. Feelings aren't intentional. They just happen. And that’s precisely why figuring out how to get over someone who doesn’t like you back is so difficult. You can’t force them to love you any more than you can find a cure for how to not like someone.
If someone doesn't like you back, it means that they are not right for you. You might not be able to understand why that's the case now, but eventually — a few weeks or months from now — you'll look up and realize that it's true. As NYC-based relationship expert Susan Winter previously told Elite Daily, a crush is all about the fantasy, which is why it’s hard to face reality when you’re crushing on someone. “A 'crush' is the lowest rung on the relationship scale. It's more of a mental dalliance than it is anything real,” she said. “Crushes lie in the land of fantasy. We 'imagine' an incredible romance with this person. Yet, we don't know enough about them to know if that's even a reality.”
Unreciprocated feelings can often be more about what we are trying to prove to ourselves than the person to whom we are professing our love. When you like someone who doesn't like you back, the most important thing to realize is that nobody else determines whether or not you are lovable. It is so important to know how to get over someone you like (especially if they don’t like you back) so you aren't counting on them to prove your self-worth, and here's how you can make that happen.
You Can Get Over Someone Who Doesn’t Like You Back By Distancing Yourself
First of all, let’s assume your crush has clearly communicated that they are not interested in you. Blunt, but honest. If that hasn't happened but you aren't catching any signals from them, clear that business up first. You might feel like you are setting yourself up for rejection, but all you're actually asking for is a little bit of clarity. And while you might feel initial embarrassment, you'll get over it soon. Once you know for sure that your crush doesn't like you back, then you should probably cut off contact with them, at least for a little bit.
According to Los Angeles-based psychotherapist and relationship expert Rhonda Richards-Smith, it may seem like a nice idea to remain friends with a crush, but this may not be the healthiest path for you moving forward. “When an unreciprocated connection remains in a gray area, it only extends your healing process even further,” she tells Elite Daily. “Instead of waiting for the other person to do so, make the commitment to set and maintain firm boundaries when it comes to communication, including social media. Do not shy away from sharing your boundaries with the other person and others around you so they can also support you on the journey ahead.”
If you keep talking to the person who doesn't like you back, it'll be like digging a finger into a new wound. Give your sadness a little bit of time to heal by making plans throughout the next week. Schedule coffee with friends, sign up for a new student special at a yoga studio, or hunker down in a new project. Think about anything else besides a relationship so you remember all of the wonderful things you can do by yourself or with friends.
You Can Get Over Someone Who Doesn’t Like You Back By Revisiting Your Feelings
Obviously, you don't want to dwell on a person when you are moving on from them, but you do need to do a good emotional cleanse in order to heal and move on. After you've taken some time to do everything else but think about them, revisit your feelings about your unrequited crush, and let them all out. Write and talk and think about them until you're absolutely exhausted of them and get so bored with the process that you start to question why you liked them in the first place.
If you need to wallow, that's totally fine. As Dr. Martha Tara Lee, a clinical sexologist and founder of Eros Coaching, previously told Elite Daily, “Painful as it is, it is better to feel fully as part of the process of healing as opposed to suppressing, repressing, and avoiding feeling." Friends can be good listening ears, but it’s always good to ask someone before emotionally dumping on them, as you don't want to treat your friends as therapists constantly. (And if you want to, that means you might benefit from seeking out an actual counselor! Something to think about.)
This is the time to write out all of the embarrassing emails that you would like to send the person to tell them how you feel. Whatever you do, don't send them — it will make both you and them feel bad — but pretending like you can say it to the person also does have cathartic benefit.
You Can Get Over Someone Who Doesn’t Like You Back By Figuring Out What You Want
When you like someone who doesn't like you back, it can feel like you are pinning all of your hopes to a single person. The reality is that if you are looking for a relationship with this person, it probably means that you are looking for a relationship in general. Can you figure out what it is about this person that made you want a relationship with them, and look for that in someone else? Once you know that, you can manifest what you want in your ideal relationship.
Writing down every single thing that you dream about in a relationship can provide you with some amazing clarity that will make you realize how the person you had unreciprocated feelings for couldn't fulfill all of them. (Presumably, you want a relationship with someone who is just as crazy about you as you are about them.) It will also help you understand why it was important to meet with and connect with this person in the first place.
Maybe it seemed like they would be a great artistic collaborator, and you know that you would like to date someone in the future whom you could make art with. Maybe you envied their home or their close relationship with their siblings. Maybe you had great intellectual conversations. Now you know that you want someone whom you can have a home with and who is your intellectual match. Maybe they are really funny, and you know that being with a comedian would make you happy. Sure, you crush doesn’t like you back, but that person you liked will still be able to provide you with some important information about what you do want out of a relationship.
You Can Get Over Someone Who Doesn’t Like You Back By Boosting Your Own Ego
Turn up Lizzo and put on your favorite outfit, because there’s no better way to leave a crush in the past than by prioritizing self love. According to Kylie O’Driscoll, a licensed therapist at Berman Psychotherapy, “One of the best ways to get over someone who isn’t interested in you is to recognize all the strengths and wonderful characteristics you have. It is fairly easy to throw yourself a pity party when someone’s feelings don’t match yours.”
However, you can’t let those feelings win. “When this happens, you are probably not thinking about how great you are, and more likely thinking about what you’re lacking,” O’Driscoll adds. “By focusing on your values and strengths, you have the opportunity to prove to yourself that you’re worthy.”
Gather your closest pals and ask them all to say nice things to you. You’ll be surprised what a solid support system can do for you when you’re feeling down. And remember: You are amazing and definitely don’t need Skyler from your accounting class, no matter how badly you’re crushing.
Susan Winter, relationship expert
Rhonda Richards-Smith, psychotherapist and relationship expert
Dr. Martha Tara Lee, clinical sexologist and founder of Eros Coaching
Kylie O’Driscoll, licensed therapist at Berman Psychotherapy
Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.
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