The Development of a High School Crush

“When I first met him, it was the end of sophomore year, and my friends told me not to like him, or just not talk to him. And he thought I was really mean…so we didn’t like each other for a long time.”
Jasmin Gervin, BHS senior, laughs at herself. Her boyfriend, Quinn Bouma, is in math class right now, and she feels a little guilty.
“Well, one of my friends decided that we would be really good together. She kind of like implanted a little seed in my head. And I guess I was happy every time I saw him. We put little notes on each other’s car. And then like he wrote me one on a Friday, and I was driving home and I couldn’t stop smiling. And then I was like..oh…I like him. And then he asked me on a date and I was pretty sure he liked me. And then prom, and we started dating the week after.”
Junior Mariah May’s story is a little different.
“We were hanging out after school, and I was watching him do something and I realized I just loved their passion. I liked that person for like five months, and I would say like four out of the five were like…obsession. I described them as this pretty much the most amazing person ever, they had no flaws,” she says.
May laughs: “I would do the most obnoxious things just to get them to acknowledge me…but that didn’t work so well.”
Ninety-eight percent of Americans have experienced unrequited love, according to a study performed by psychologist and Florida State University professor Roy Baumeister.
And this isn’t just some silly crush, but a deep emotional longing and connection. According to Baumeister, people experience about one unrequited love per year while in their “dating years.”

For the 36 percent of high school students who have never been in a relationship, that’s four unrequited romances over the course of high school.
According to research performed at the University of Michigan, teenagers in dating relationships have higher levels of self-esteem and self-confidence. Gervin confirms this, saying that being in a relationship feels much better, and that her feelings have only grown for her boyfriend.
“I’m more…it just feels like I know this is good now. I’m not planning on breaking up or anything. It’s even more now, because we know we’re both…we know how the other feels, and it feels better,” she said.
Another senior, Nathan Breigenzer, agrees.
“There’s more there now. Stronger feelings,” says Breigenzer, adding that feelings for someone who actually becomes your significant other are very different from unrequited ones.
“If you like someone, like just a crush, it’s kinda there, but if it doesn’t develop into anything, you don’t have a chance to let those feelings grow much. The more time you spend with someone, the more you care about them,” Breigenzer said.
But it’s far more likely for someone to reject one’s feelings, and according to the Baumeister study, it takes about three months to get over a rejection.
May describes how she started to feel after being basically ignored when she revealed her feelings to her “significant interest.”
“It was like…’I like you, but I can’t even try anymore,’” May says.
Now, she adds, “I see them and I just kinda laugh at myself…oh, it’s okay, it doesn’t really matter.”
High school is filled with repeated rejection and most high school relationships last less than a month anyways. Most studies say that it just takes time.
Local substitute teacher Kacey Peach gives her advice to students getting over rejection:
“Time is the great healer. It will get better. Don’t be the 40-year old still stalking your high school crush on Facebook,” says Peach.
May agrees.
“Don’t let someone else’s opinion of you get you down,” she said.


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