How Long Does a Crush Last (According to Experts)

Do you know how long a crush can last? A minute, a day, a whole week, an entire year?

The word “crush” is typically used to describe an intense but short-lived feeling of infatuation. But what if that feeling lasts for a long time?

To determine how long your crush will last, we asked mental health professionals and dating experts to share their insights.

Chase Amante

Chase Amante

Founder, Girls Chase

Crushes don’t have a set time limit

A crush might be over in a week, or it still might be holding strong a decade later.

  • The #1 thing that determines whether a crush ends or not is whether the person with the crush acts on it.
  • The #2 determinant of whether the crush ends is whether the person with the crush meets someone else.

If you never act on a crush, and you don’t meet anyone else, that crush can just go on and on.

What a lot of people do with crushes is construct these elaborate fantasies in their heads. There’s no need to feel bad about it; most of us do it. You imagine the chats with this person, the dates, opening up about yourself, the connection, the intimacy.

It feels so good—in your head.

But the more elaborate this fantasy gets, the harder it can be to take action in the real world. Real world isn’t fantasy, and if it doesn’t go well, your fantasy will pop. So it starts to feel like higher and higher stakes. This paralyzes people.

I’m a dating expert with some pretty substantial dating experience. But once upon a time, I was a lonely guy who crushed on the same girl for eight years. I could not get her out of my head. You’ll be surprised at how many other people there are in that same boat.

If you take action on a crush, and something happens, that can end the crush. You might realize your crush isn’t into you at all, and that ends it. Or you get to know the crush a little better and discover this person is nothing like your fantasy. That, too, might end it.

Related: 30+ Signs She Doesn’t Like You More Than a Friend

You might also actually get together with your crush. Then it’s not a crush anymore—now it’s a relationship.

Something else can happen too: you meet somebody else.

And in fact, this is one of the saddest things to happen to “mutual crushes” where neither party takes action. Sometimes you will have two people with crushes on each other, and both suspect it, but no one does anything about it. Sooner or later, one of them is going to meet someone else and detach from that crush. The other person ends up left behind, still pining for someone who’s moved on.

If you don’t want to be the one left pining, here’s my suggestion: Stiffen your spine and go ask your crush out. If the answer is no, okay, at least now you’ve got an answer. Now, go meet someone else.

A crush can last for hours or it can also last a lifetime

From personal and clinical experiences, I’ve found that a crush can last for hours, or it can also last a lifetime. When a crush is based on physical factors alone—such as attractiveness or passionate sex—the crush may fade more quickly if factors such as negative lifestyle habits or toxic personality characteristics surface.

However, if a crush is based on emotional attraction—which may also include physical factors—the crush is likely to be more long-lasting. In situations where a romantic partner is seen and adored for who they genuinely are, “I have a crush” surges may never end.

As well, the term “limerence” is often used to describe the infatuation, crush-like stage of a relationship. Of course, a limerence stage can last a very short or long period of time, but, on average, this state generally lasts between three months and 36 months.

The more contact and sexual intimacy people have during the limerence stage, the more likely it is that the crush will fade more quickly.

On a neurobiological level, a crush involves surges of feel-good neurochemicals such as dopamine and serotonin that eventually tend to plateau. However, depending on the partners and how they feel about each other in the long run, the feel-good neurobiological effects can be either short-lived or very lasting.

Chris Pleines

Chris Pleines

Dating Expert, DatingScout

A crush has no set time limit or expiry date

It can last hours, days, weeks, months, or perhaps, even years; there is no set timeframe for a crush. A crush is a fantasy of what you imagine that person to be like—you like the idea of that person. It is pure attraction.

That attraction can steadily build over time and grow into something deeper, or it can dissipate and fade as you get to know that person better.

A crush could last as long as you make it

Some feelings could linger for a long time and not develop into something else, especially if the type of crush you hold for a person is mainly because of admiration.

You may keep on “crushing” on the person—which is basically admiring them for their special trait—for as long as you want to make it.

A crush could either develop or dissipate depending on the level of attraction

A crush could last a day and fade away or months and then progress into something deeper—it will all depend on how deep your attraction is with the person. It could either devolve or develop into more intense emotion depending on how your interactions will progress.

Chona Green, Psy.D.

Chona Green

Licensed Clinical Psychologist, The Green Garden

A crush can last for as long as you nurse the crush

A crush lasts for as long as you nurse the crush—the more attention you give to your crush, the more infatuated you become with that person.

Related: The Difference Between Love and Infatuation

A crush is nothing more than a fantasy about a person, often, a person who is unattainable. There is a strong physical or sexual attraction to the individual but no mental or emotional connection. Substance does not exist with a crush. Therefore, you maintain your crush because of the physical attraction and idealization of the person in your mind.

You have made up a narrative of how this person is, and you are attracted to that fictional story.

How do I get rid of my crush?

When you are able to genuinely connect with another person, your crush will diminish. It is important to note that a genuine connection means that you are in a relationship with someone who is satisfying your needs. You are finding fulfillment mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Related: 28 Signs of Good Chemistry Between a Man and a Woman

However, if you feel that your needs and values are not being filled, you will continue to search for that feeling of “completeness” in your crush since you only have access to the idealized version of them, which is often imagined as perfect.

Jacob Brown

Jacob Brown

Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, Grateful Heart Holistic Therapy Center

Crushes that include that sense of Limerence can go on for years

Crushes can take many forms, from a passing fantasy about a celebrity to the checker at the grocery store to a lifelong sense of desire for and connection with your spouse.

But the core of a crush is an emotional response known as “Limerence.” Limerence is a combination of physical/sexual attraction and a deep desire for an emotional connection.

Crushes that include that sense of Limerence can go on for years and be an essential part of our life. Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of a crush outside of their primary relationship – fearing that it threatens their relationship or it means that they’re not happy with their partner.

I encourage my clients to enjoy the crush – see it as reaffirming that they are sexual beings outside of their relationship.

It’s important to know that it’s ok to have a crush on someone outside your relationship; that it doesn’t mean you’re unhappy in the relationship you’re in, and it doesn’t mean you have to act on the crush.

You can just enjoy the excitement of feeling attracted.

Lachlan Brown

Lachlan Brown

Psychology Graduate | Founder and Editor, Hack Spirit

The duration of a crush depends entirely on the intensity of the crush

If you were dating someone for a few months, it might fade away more quickly, as opposed to if you had a crush on someone or were dating them for one or several years.

Having said that, a crush can’t really be quantified by numbers. I do believe in love at first sight, and the intensity of a strong connection can build up rapidly and be very hard to forget once it’s gone.

If you have fallen in love with a crush, then getting over them isn’t a matter of snapping your fingers and saying “abracadabra!” and you can’t just flirt and date with new people as a solution, either.

Sometimes the only real way to get over a crush is to go through the pain. And call me a romantic, but sometimes the pain of a lost crush never completely goes away.

Related: How to Get Over Someone You Never Dated

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a crush turn into love?

Yes, a crush can turn into love over time. As you get to know someone better and spend more time with them, your feelings may deepen and develop into love. But not all crushes turn into love, and it’s important to respect the person’s boundaries and feelings if they don’t return your affection.

How can I get over a crush?

Getting over a crush can be challenging, but here are some tips that may help:

Give yourself time: It’s okay to take time to process your feelings and allow yourself to be sad or disappointed.
Focus on other things: Engage in hobbies or activities you enjoy to distract yourself from thoughts of your crush.
Limit contact: If possible, try to limit your interactions with your crush to give yourself the space you need to move on.
Talk to someone: It can be helpful to talk to a trusted friend or therapist about your feelings and get their support and perspective.

Can a crush become something more serious?

Yes—although it’s important not to rush into anything without considering the consequences. If both people are mature enough and genuinely interested in each other, there is no reason why an intense attraction cannot develop into something much deeper. 

However, if either person has doubts or reservations, it would be wise to refrain from proceeding to avoid possible confusion or misunderstanding.

Are there any negative effects of a long-term crush?

If left unchecked, long-term crushes can lead to an unhealthy fixation where the focus becomes disproportionate compared to other aspects of life, such as work and family. 

In addition, unrealistic expectations can form, resulting in results that are hard to achieve (if at all), which in turn leads to frustration and disappointment that also affects future endeavors.

Can talking about my feelings help me get over a crush?

Talking about your feelings is always beneficial, whether you want to erase them or just explore/understand them better— it allows you to objectively analyze your thoughts instead of letting them override rational decisions. 

Plus, talking through personal issues can often times provide closure which helps further progress any post-crush healing process, eventually leading toward resolution.

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