A crush is an intense infatuation for someone who you don’t know well, but feel like you have a lot of great things in common with. It’s not always romantic in nature, but it’s still a way of connecting with someone on a deeper level, says psychologist and licensed marriage and family therapist Christie Kederian. It’s important to note that there’s a difference between a crush and love, but they both release the hormones dopamine and oxytocin to your brain to make you feel good.
Crushes are often a precursor to romance, according to New York City-based therapist Dr. Bukky Kolawole, and it can help you develop intimacy skills that are crucial for a healthy relationship. In addition to helping you understand your partner better, crushes can also give you the tools to build a strong emotional bond with them later on, Kolawole told INSIDER.
The key to figuring out whether someone has a crush on you is asking them directly, if they’re receptive, and if it’s something that they are comfortable with. If they’re receptive, you can try flirting with them or going out of your way to be around them more. You can even go as bold as asking them out. But you must keep in mind that if they’re in a relationship, acting on your feelings might leave them with a bit of a mess to clean up.
Studies have shown that a large percentage of adults in established relationships have a crush on or are attracted to someone else. These crushes tend to be rooted in fantasy, but they can also be an important part of a person’s development of intimacy skills, according to research.
In fact, a recent study showed that a majority of people in relationships reported having a crush, and more than half of those in relationships with exclusivity (partnered) had at least one. In addition, crushes were accompanied by increased esteem and excitement, as well as fantasies of escape or future involvement.
While some studies have found that having a crush can lead to an infidelity, others suggest that it isn’t necessarily bad for relationships. Rather, it can be an opportunity to learn more about your partner and what makes them tick, and may even help you to find someone who is compatible with you.
What’s more, having a crush can lead to an increase in oxytocin, the hormone that is responsible for those butterflies-in-the-stomach feelings and the sense of intimacy, Stephanie Cacioppo, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at The University of Chicago, told INSIDER. However, it’s important to remember that a crush may not be healthy, and you should seek professional assistance before you act on your feelings.
The latest teen romantic comedy to hit Hulu’s streaming platform, Crush, is an attempt at reviving the genre by taking its cues from classic films and bringing them into the modern age. The film is directed by Sammi Cohen and stars Rowan Blanchard as a queer high school student who has been nursing her crush since fifth grade.