Remember as a kid, when crushes were all the rage? You’d fall in love on the playground, chase the person around a tree for 10 minutes, be smitten all through the morning, and boom… broken heart by lunchtime? The next few days you’d play safely in your friend group, and then… when you least expected it, someone would catch your eye and you would be crushing all over again! The thing about having school aged crushes is that there were very few consequences. The “dating” pool seemed endless, not that you even knew that was a thing back then, because scarcity was not a term you were familiar with. The heartbreak could be overcome with a quick cry, a little outburst, or even just a game of tag to get that heart racing and provide the necessary distractions. Le sigh… we are adults here, or at least I am trying to be, and as the title suggest, adult crushes are much more complicated.
In my demographic of people, the norm seems to be that crushes as adults are frivolous, and often taboo subjects to even mention. The married crews would never talk about an office crush, and the unmarried or non-monogamous seem to have left the world crush to childhood. Once you reach a certain age, you either date someone, or move on. And with the exception of celebrities (or those equally out of our range) a crush is seemingly taboo. Grown adults don’t have crushes, or at least we only talk about the one sided things once we reach relationship status.
Well, I am here to tell you, I have no other term for what I am going through right now. I am absolutely smitten over a guy who is emotionally unavailable and has been honest in telling me so. He in no way is leading me on. But is that stopping me from pursuing him in earnest? Not a chance. I like him, he makes me feel absolutely amazing, and in short, I am dealing with an adult crush.
Here’s the complication. I know this is a crush. I know, the possibility of getting my heart broken is almost certain. And I know, that it won’t be healed by just running around the block, or playing with my friends. Crush or not, the stakes are higher as an adult. I can’t just brush these feelings aside, because to me, they are absolutely real. Albeit one sided, hence the term… crush!
The thing is, I loved having crushes as a kid. My yearbooks are filled with my “secret” code of the boys I fell for. Ok… fine… I’ll tell you. I would put Chapstick on and kiss the boys I liked. Invisible kisses to my lovestruck heart. But here’s the thing, as an adult, talking about crushes with my friends doesn’t work. I miss the days that I could go on and on about a boy, and have my friends say “go for it” or the ones who would talk sense into me that he was out of my league or dating someone else. Now, when I talk about “boys” it seems to have more gravitas. Seemingly I should have some inherent wisdom not to crush on someone unavailable. And that I should just move on, and date someone who is ready, willing, and able. And while that sounds like solid advice perhaps you missed the part where my heart is taking the lead?
This isn’t some happy go lucky crush that was the highlight of my non-monogamous days. Reason being, the risks back then were low. It didn’t matter if the person liked me back, because I had someone I was in love with at home. I could take or leave the pleasure, in fact, I could just enjoy the butterflies, because that was always my favorite part. So, having a monogamous crush? Yeah, this really bites. It’s complicated, it often hurts, and I feel lonely much of the time. And then boom, the second I read a message from him, I forget everything, giggle like an idiot, and push (probably) way too hard for him to hang out with me. But, just as a little girl on the school yard many moons ago, there is just no telling me or my heart what to do. I am crushing, even though it is so complicated.
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