Experiencing a crush is immensely life-affirming. The butterflies, the excitement, and the hope of what could be are all-encompassing. Crushes inform our hearts what we are capable of feeling. When you experience a crush, everything else around you seems to disappear; stresses get alleviated, and you’re on “cloud 9.” things don’t bother you as much as they used to. When your heart is in a blissful state, you feel as if nothing can go wrong. It’s human to have crushes, and I encourage you to feel all the feels and not push the feelings away. Crushes are healthy.
On the flip side, an unhealthy infatuation is not recommended. An infatuation is different than a crush because, with a crush, you have enough data about the person to know who they are, whether this means you have personally spent time with them or you know someone who has. An unhealthy infatuation occurs from a distance.
Travel back in time to your early teens, high school, or 4th grade, as it was in my case. Now, think about that person who you just thought was the cutest thing you ever saw, you got a little (or A LOT) nervous around them, and perhaps you sent them a special Valentine? Yep, that was probably your first crush.
Mine was Brian (not to be confused with “Bryan,” my husband) … anyone sensing a little foreshadowing here? Brian had the most adorable bowl cut and a face I could stare at forever. He was a guy’s guy (oh wait, I mean boy’s boy) who loved sports and was very “manly,” yet he was also sweet and very smart. To be honest, thinking back, there wasn’t necessarily one solid reason I had a crush on him…. I just did. It was one of those unexplainable things- an energy or chemistry (as I call it today, but at the time, I had no idea and didn’t think twice about it.
All I knew was that he was the one I couldn’t wait to see when I got to school… this went on for years and got stronger in 6th grade when I showed up in Spanish class excited to tell him about the dream I had about him the night before and like any other 7th grade boy who had no f’ing idea how to respond to that, he said “cool!” I was hoping and expecting him to sweep me off my feet, throw me into a dip and smack one on my lips in front of the whole class, and senora Sturtz….um, but that didn’t quite happen – not at all. I was devastated and embarrassed that I was vulnerable enough to share my dream with him. I got NOTHING…. but that didn’t dissuade me from being vulnerable again in life because being vulnerable is KEY! This crush continued and continued, and we finally kissed at our senior year of high school graduation- it was one of those life-changing moments I’ll never forget- I felt it all. It was one of the moments in my life when I was completely present, and I never wanted it to end! It was above and beyond what I could’ve ever imagined and then…. it had to end just like most young adult romances. Cut to we both went our separate ways off to college and then life and lots of other boys came my way, and Brian was just a sweet memory from the past (although I did run into him during my travels abroad in Amsterdam when I was twenty-one years old and man did he look good!).
I’m telling this story because it is an example of a healthy crush. No harm done. Send me your crush stories- I’d love to hear them!
Crushes are there to show us what our hearts can feel. As we get older and we learn how to have adult communication and adult experiences, crushes get more profound and more impactful on our lives. Here is the “ticker,” though. There is a difference between a healthy and innocent crush and an unhealthy infatuation with someone. It’s essential to know the difference because it can impact your entire life. If you think you have a healthy crush, but in actuality, it’s an unhealthy infatuation, it could be detrimental.
A few red flags to look out for to discern between a healthy crush and an unhealthy infatuation:
You have a lot of data about your crush. For example, you know this person and have spent a reasonable amount of time with them, getting to know each other, or at least knowing people who know this person very well and can vouch for them.
You “know” this person from afar. In reality, you don’t know that much about this person, but you are drawn to them regardless and think you know them, but you don’t. You need to be careful and aware if you feel this is happening. The mind likes to play tricks on people when their heart starts feeling a pitter-patter; sometimes, the mind leaves the building, and all reason is thrown out the door. Have a balance between your head and your heart. Yes, you should always trust how your heart feels; however, see if it is based on reality or based on who you THINK this person is, but you don’t know them. An unhealthy infatuation is a waste of time and energy and only keeps you from finding someone who has potential.
Whether it’s a crush or an infatuation, how do you know when it’s time to move on …. And how DO you move on?
I want you to be gentle with yourself. You will know when the time is right, when the time is right. Ways to know this:
You have confirmed and validated that this crush will not turn into a relationship because the feelings aren’t reciprocated (note to self: you are a rock star, and this has nothing to do with you- you just weren’t right for one another). Rejection is protection (from the Universe) and redirection- remember that!
This Person Drains Your Energy:
Spending time with this person leaves you feeling distraught and hopeless, versus feeling alive, held, and loved (which is what you deserve and what comes with a healthy crush.
They Have Found Someone New:
You have seen that they have moved on, and so should you.
Trust and Believe:
This is the key to your healing. You need to trust and believe that there is someone better out there for you. You need to trust that the Universe will bring you this (feeling) or something better for the highest good of all concerned. Be open to that truth, and it WILL happen for you, I promise!
Moving on from a crush can feel like a great sense of loss. Take the time to grieve. Feel your feelings and don’t push them away. Take as much time as you need to grieve, and know that the antidote for getting over a crush will be time or someone better suited for you.
Open up your heart. The Universe needs to know that it’s open for biz.
Acknowledge your resilience. You have moved on from a past crush or relationship, and now you are stronger and wiser, so you can most definitely do it again and emerge even stronger and more empowered this time.
It would be remiss if I didn’t mention that crushes never have to end when you have found the right person. Yes, there are different phases of relationships. Still, at the heart of a successful, romantic, authentic forever relationship, you also need to like the person, not just love them, but let’s get back to that crush.
My parents have been married for almost fifty years, and I can say with confidence that what I witness and what I see and know in their presence is that they still get butterflies when they see each other at the end of the day. They say the kindest, sweetest and romantic things to each other; they write each other the most beautiful cards. They have an epic love that still consists of that crush they had long ago. This is the type of love that doesn’t come around every day. However, you can have it, your best friend can have it. Your dentist can have it, your hairdresser can have it, and your mailman can have it. Why? Because it’s everyone’s birthright! You never know, the next crush you have might just, could just be the one… happy love journey ahead to all of you!!
Jaime Bronstein is a relationship therapist, coach and host of “Love Talk Live” on LA Talk Radio. She was named the “#1 Relationship Coach Transforming Lives in 2020” by Yahoo Finance. For the past 20 years, Jaime has been teaching her clients how to heal their past, love themselves unconditionally, how to be vulnerable, tap into their inner strengths and intuition, and live more authentically to achieve their relationship goals. Jaime is highly sought-after to share her relationship advice on various media outlets such as KTLA, ABC, NBC and CBS News, PEOPLE, Thrive Global, and Bustle. Jaime empowers her clients to become aware of the fact that they were born to have love in their lives – not just any love – the right love for them. Jaime has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Boston University, a master’s degree in social work from New York University, and a certificate in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica. Jaime’s book on manifesting love is currently in the works. Find her online at www.therelationshipexpert.com and catch her on-camera radio show. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. To check out some of Jaime’s work, click on her sizzle reel link: https://vimeo.com/371954437.