Sometimes, getting over an unrequited crush can be harder than getting over your ex. If you think about it, a crush only exists in your head. Yes, they are a real person, but the romantic relationship you made up with them is not, so it’s easy to fantasize about them and idolize who you think they are as a person. That’s why it’s so difficult to know when to give up on a guy or girl you like, as the signs may not be as obvious — unlike with an ex, when you usually know it’s time to cut them loose. If you’re not sure when or even how to move on from a crush, then you’re definitely not alone.
As NYC-based relationship expert Susan Winter tells 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 says. “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.” Here are some signs it may be time for you to give up the dream.
They Barely Acknowledge Your Existence
OK, so you have an undying love for this person and they, well… you’re not even entirely sure if they know your name. No matter how hard you try to get their attention, they just don’t seem to be taking the bait. If they don’t pick up on any of your cues or they seem “oblivious to your presence,” Winter says “this is a clear sign that you're not on their radar. Either they have a partner, or they don't fancy you. Though it's hard to accept, it's best to move on.” Not having someone acknowledge your presence can be frustrating, especially if you see them as a potential life partner.
What can be even worse is if they don’t know you exist at all. Diana Dorell, intuitive dating coach and author of The Dating Mirror: Trust Again, Love Again previously told Elite Daily that many people have fallen for someone they’ve never met IRL. "It's possible to form a strong emotional connection and even spiritual connection to someone you've never met in real life," Dorell said. But you have to be extremely careful, as Dorell cautioned that having a crush on someone you’ve never met before can be detrimental. "Without being able to spend time with someone in person [in] real life, it could be easier to fall in lust or fall in love with an idea of who they are [versus] who they actually are,” she said. No kidding! I’m still trying to get over BTS.
All You've Got Going For You Is Flirty Banter
No joke, there was a guy I talked to for years just because we had great flirty banter. And when I say “talked to,” I literally mean talked to... and apparently, this is a pretty standard situation. “You both flirt, and flirt, but that's it. All the banter and innuendos go nowhere in the real world,” Winter says of what she calls the flirtation loop. “No matter how clearly you give your crush the green light to proceed, they don't take forward action. Even when you suggest a plan to see each other, they don't respond or reciprocate.” The flirtation loop is another one of Winter’s most obvious signs it’s time to move on — and hopefully to someone who actually knows how lucky they are to hang out with you IRL.
Another sign things aren’t ever going to move beyond texting: when you can’t even get more than a few words out of your crush. According to online dating expert Julie Spira, this is a clear sign that the person is not that into you. “When someone isn’t that into you, their responses to your text messages will be short, as in one to three words,” Spira previously told Elite Daily. “By sending a reply with a word or two, if it doesn’t include a cute emoji, GIF, or exclamation point, it’s a sign that the person isn’t into you and they’re responding out of obligation.” Womp, womp.
They’re Getting In The Way Of Your IRL Dating Life
Anyone who’s had a crush can attest to the fact that, for the most part, your relationship with your crush only exists in your head. And that’s totally cool, until your fantasy about this person starts interfering with your IRL relationships. As Winter says of crushes, “Most of the intrigue is in our head. Keeping a firm grip on what's real and what's imagined will assist in determining if the crush is a viable option, or just a delicious daydream.” And if it’s just a daydream, then it may be holding you back from meeting someone, you know, real.
It helps to know what’s real and what’s not by examining your relationship with your crush. You know that they like you if they “they ask about your day and start sending you things they think you'd like,” Cherlyn Chong, a dating and breakup recovery coach for professional women, previously told Elite Daily. “They might also invite you out somewhere with a group of friends, sort of like a date, but something they can also pass off as a friendly gesture.” But if they’re not doing any of this, then chances are your crush doesn’t think about you the same way that you do. And as Winter says, “It's time to break free.”
You’re Becoming Obsessed
Who hasn’t caught themselves inexplicably losing a few minutes of their day fantasizing about their crush? It’s only natural, but if you feel like your brain is wandering to Crushville, U.S.A, a little more than usual, it’s time to reel it in. “If you find you're obsessed with your crush, it's time to exit the fantasy,” says Winter. “Are you boring your friends recounting every little thing your crush did or said? Do you continually replay your interactions? Are you already planning your future together? Do your emotions run high and low according to your crush's attention or lack thereof?” If you answered yes to her questions, Winter says, “You're obsessed and need to move on.”
Todd Baratz, a psychotherapist who specializes in relationships, said it’s best to start dating again when you’re caught up on a crush, as it can help to get your mind off of that special someone. "You’d never turn down your dream job because you were sad about quitting your prior one,” he previously told Elite Daily, so go out and date and be intimate with other people! "This can be extremely helpful in opening yourself up to feeling desire and being desired,” he added. Putting yourself back out there can remind you just how good it feels when someone reciprocates your affection (because yes, you deserve that!).
They’re Not Obtainable
It’s possible you’ve chosen someone totally obtainable to crush on without even knowing it, and it’s not that uncommon. "There’s a psychological component to wanting what we can’t have," dating coach and dating app expert Meredith Golden previously told Elite Daily. "The more unavailable someone is, the more attractive they appear." And there’s nothing more attractive than dating someone who is out of our league — or so you may tell yourself.
Golden explained that wanting to date someone who is unobtainable can make us like them for all the wrong reasons. "Liking someone who is unavailable is safe, meaning, it’s typically not going to advance,” she said. "[It's] all the fun of being interested in someone minus having to worry about an emotional rollercoaster.” But when you’re focus on someone you can never have, then you’ll miss out on the fun of actually obtaining someone.
They’re Dating Someone Else
Even if this is a total Taylor Swift “You Belong With Me” situation where you know they’re supposed to be with you and not their current partner, Winter suggests sparing yourself the drama and finding someone else to crush on — preferably someone more available. “This is a clear sign you should move on,” she says. “Whatever the mental allure, pursuing this individual will prove messy for all involved.” Besides, why would you want to date someone who is taken?
And if they did decide to pursue a relationship with you before ending it with their partner, then that says a lot about them... and none of it is good. "Instead of feeling like you're winning some sort of prize, it's a good idea to ask yourself why they would be willing to lie or cheat on someone they care about," CEO of Regroop Online Life Coaching Pricilla Martinez previously told Elite Daily. "It says a lot about their ability to continue a relationship while they shop for the next one." Sounds like it’s time to move on.
You Put Your Feelings Out There & They Did Nothing About It
If you’ve had a crush on someone for quite some time now, then you might feel ready to confess your feelings to them. Say you wrote them a love letter and they haven’t responded, and it’s been two weeks. You might be asking yourself, what now? Should you give up on them? According to Martinez, there’s nothing wrong with telling someone how you feel, but you should just be prepared for the “consequences” that might come after.
"You can share how you feel with someone and then let them do what they will with that information,” Martinez previously told Elite Daily. "If it's someone you've known for a while, you could be ruining the relationship you've already established with them.” It’s also important to give your crush space and time to process everything, but if they don’t end up reciprocating your feelings, then you know it’s time to leave fantasyland.
I know moving on from a crush is often easier said than done, but remember this: You are a total gem, and anyone would be lucky to go out with you. Find someone who is equally as into you as you are into them, because you deserve the love you give.
Susan Winter, relationship expert
Julie Spira, online dating expert
Pricilla Martinez, CEO of Regroop Online Life Coaching
Cherlyn Chong, dating and breakup recovery coach
Todd Baratz, psychotherapist specializing in relationships
Meredith Golden, dating coach and dating app expert
Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.
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