Young People Ask . . .
How Can I Get Over a Crush?
“I’VE written him letters expressing my feelings,” the young woman says. “Whenever I ask him how he feels—he always denies having any feelings for me. But I can tell by the way he looks and acts that this isn’t true.”
Reality means little to one wearing the blindfold of infatuation. The young man in question has tried to be kind in expressing his disinterest, even enlisting the aid of Christian elders. But the young woman just won’t take no for an answer. Even innocent words and actions on his part are seen as veiled signs of affection for her. Thus her fantasy feeds on itself.
Perhaps you, too, find yourself craving a relationship with someone who does not share the same feeling or, worse yet, doesn’t even know you exist. All your efforts to attract his or her attention have fizzled. In fact, you may even have embarrassed yourself trying to do so. Yet you desperately hope that somehow things will change.
If so, more than likely you are experiencing a youthful infatuation, or crush. This is a counterfeit love based, not on a reasoned acquaintance with someone, but on pure fantasy. Indeed, among young people, the object of infatuation often is someone clearly out of reach—a movie star, a popular singer, a teacher, or an older acquaintance.* Fortunately, most simply outgrow these crushes. But for some, terminating a crush causes painful withdrawal symptoms. Is there any way to ease the pain?
You Are Not Alone
First of all, take comfort in the fact that you are not the first to experience unrequited love. Solomon, one of the wisest men who ever lived, fell desperately in love with a charming Israelite girl. He poured upon her some of the most beautiful poetry ever written. He told her she was “beautiful like the full moon, pure like the glowing sun”—and got absolutely nowhere with her!—Song of Solomon 6:10.
You will therefore likely find that many of your peers—and even your parents—have been through the same thing. So there’s not necessarily anything abnormal about how you feel. But while infatuations are common, they can also get out of hand.
The Bible, for example, tells of a young man named Amnon who developed such an overpowering infatuation for a young woman “that he felt sick.” (2 Samuel 13:1-14) Similarly, one infatuated girl confesses: “I can’t eat. . . . I can’t study anymore. I . . . daydream about him. . . . I’m miserable.” Yes, your health and emotional well-being can be adversely affected by a crush. How, then, can you regain control of the situation?
“He that is trusting in his own heart is stupid,” says the Bible. (Proverbs 28:26) This is particularly true when you are caught up in a romantic fantasy. You tend to put on emotional blinders and see only what you want to see. However, the proverb continues: “But he that is walking in wisdom is the one that will escape.” This means seeing things the way they are.
“How do you tell legitimate hope from unfounded hope?” asks Dr. Howard Halpern. “By looking carefully and coldly at the facts.” Consider: How much of a chance is there of a real romance developing with this person? Is he or she already married? Certainly romantic fantasies toward such a one are vain—and most improper. Is the person some celebrity? Then the odds are you will never even meet this person, much less start a romance! Your chances are also dim when some older person, such as a teacher, is involved.
If someone has thus far failed to show interest in you, is there any real reason to believe that things will change in the future? Remember, ‘the heart is treacherous.’ (Jeremiah 17:9) Reading romantic interest into innocent words and actions often amounts to ‘pulling the wool over your own eyes.’ It is a waste of time and emotion. Incidentally, in most lands it is customary for men to take the initiative in romance. A young girl can humiliate herself by aggressively pursuing someone who simply isn’t interested.
Finally, face up to your own limitations as a young person. What would you do if the person actually returned your affections? Are you ready for the pressures and responsibilities of marriage? If not, then “remove vexation from your heart” by refusing to dwell on fantasy. There is “a time to love,” and in your case that might be years later when you are older.—Ecclesiastes 11:10; 3:8.
Analyzing Your Feelings
‘But what about these feelings I have now?’ you ask. Take a hard look at what and how you feel. For example, Dr. Charles Zastrow observes: “Infatuation occurs when a person idealizes the person she or he is infatuated with as being a ‘perfect lover’; that is, concludes that the other person has all of the characteristics desired in a mate.” However, no such “perfect lover” exists. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” says the Bible.—Romans 3:23.
So ask yourself, How well do I really know this person I have set my heart on? Are my feelings based on knowledge, or am I in love with an image? Am I ‘looking at things according to their face value’? (2 Corinthians 10:7) Do I clearly see this person’s flaws, or am I blind to them? One objective look at your dream lover may pull you out of romantic stupor!
Examine, too, the kind of love you feel. The Bible says: “Love is long-suffering and kind. Love is not jealous, . . . does not look for its own interests.” (1 Corinthians 13:4, 5) Is this the kind of love you feel? Or is it what writer Kathy McCoy refers to as “immature love”? Says McCoy: “Immature love can come and go in a moment . . . the focus is on you, and you’re simply in love with the idea of being in love . . . Immature love is clinging, possessive, and jealous. . . . Immature love demands perfection.”
It can be painful to realize that you have wasted emotion on a mere dream. However, Dr. David Elkind makes this observation: “These shocks of disillusion can be useful learning experiences in helping young people to differentiate between physical attraction and personal compatibility.”
Getting Him/Her Off Your Mind
Admittedly, all the reasoning in the world does not entirely erase how you feel. But there are a few things you can do to get your mind off your hurt. First of all, avoid feeding the problem! Reading steamy romance novels, watching TV love stories—or just listening to certain kinds of music—can worsen your feelings of loneliness. So refuse to dwell on the situation. “Where there is no wood the fire goes out.”—Proverbs 26:20.
Try developing some real friendships. A fantasy romance is no substitute for people who really love you and care for you. Do not ‘isolate yourself.’ (Proverbs 18:1) You’ll probably find that your parents can be quite helpful, especially if they are Christians. “They’re the last ones I would tell about my crushes,” said one young man. But for all your attempts to conceal your feelings, they have probably already discerned that something is eating away at you. Why not approach them and ‘give your heart to them.’ (Proverbs 23:26) A mature member of the Christian congregation may also prove to be a good listening ear.
“Keep busy,” exhorts teen writer Esther Davidowitz further. Take up a hobby, do some exercise, study a language, begin a Bible research project. Staying engrossed in useful activities can ease the withdrawal symptoms quite a bit.
Getting over a crush is not easy. But with the passage of time, the pain will subside. And you will have learned much about yourself and your feelings. Perhaps these lessons are well worth the pain of experiencing a heartbreaking crush.
See “Young People Ask . . . Who Says It’s Just a Crush?” appearing in the January 8, 1987, issue of Awake!
[Picture on page 18]
For some, terminating a crush is painful