The question Please take this seriously as I really need some genuine advice. I have a crush on someone who I feel completely consumed by whenever I see or even think about them. We’re both married and we only talk face to face, never online. I have to admit that he has never given me any reason to think he likes me in that way. I daydream about running away and having lots of sex with him and making him tea, but I know it’s just a fantasy.
I genuinely love my husband and I’m happy when I hear his key in the door after a day at work. We have had some tough times. A while back we were both misunderstanding, hurting and blaming each other, but we’ve made it through and are better than we ever were.
This crush came along during that difficult time in my marriage, and I think it helped me cope. However, I don’t want to ruin my friendship with my crush by confessing my feelings. I just want to feel normal around him and not be so obsessed with seeing him. I know I need to stop going to places where I might bump into him, but it’s not easy.
Can you give me some mature advice? I’m too old for this at 52 and feel very confused. It feels like a black hole that I get sucked into whenever I see or even think about this person.
Philippa’s answer You say, please don’t take this lightly. Of course I won’t. I really feel for you, but I am going to give you the opposite advice and ask you to please take your feelings for your crush as lightly as you can.
I often give the following guidance for an inconvenient obsession because if you follow it, it works: don’t be your feeling, instead observe the feeling. This makes the obsession less all-consuming because it means that there is a part of you, the observer part, who is just coolly observing and isn’t consumed by it. By merely observing your obsession, you can split off from it. So, this is not a black hole that sucks all of you down into it. It is a hole over there, that you are not going to fall into. This won’t be the work of a moment, but will take daily practice. Also, decide to really concentrate on something else, such as noticing all the sounds you can hear, or taking your awareness to your breathing. Obsessing will feed the inconvenient feeling, concentrating on other things starves it. You can steer your mind. And, yes, until you are more in control, don’t plan to bump into him as often.
You need an explanation to make sense of the feeling. This will help parcel it up into a metaphorical box, so it won’t keep sabotaging your life. You have been through some challenging times with your husband, and having this crush helped you to cope because it’s possible that this person represented a form of escape from the difficulties you were facing in your marriage. Having this fantasy where you don’t go through all the realities of a real relationship was a way for you to run away from the bad times you were having with your husband. Today, you no longer need that fantasy.
Another narrative that might help you make sense of it all is that your crush has qualities that you want for yourself. We often fall in love with people who are opposite to us in some way and have facets to their character that we unconsciously feel we’d like to have in ours. Well, good news! You can develop new sides to yourself that he may represent, you can allow his influence, and you don’t have to break up two marriages to do it.
With a story that makes sense of how you feel, you can demote your crush back to a friend. You know that the grass is not always greener on the other side and that this crush was only a solution to problems in your imagination.
Just because we get married doesn’t mean we stop fancying other people, but love is a lot more than fancying someone and having sex. It’s building up a bond over time that becomes deeper because you have worked through conflicts and differences, because you have a shared memory bank and built up appreciation for each other for sticking with it through bad times as well as good. Sure, you fancy your crush, sure he is a very nice person, but just because you fancy him and like him a lot doesn’t mean you need to have a sexual relationship with him. It’s good and fine that there are people on this earth that we feel better for having bumped into, that we find attractive, better for having shared things with them and passed the time of day with them, but we can’t cop off with all of them. Try to think of this person as someone you can appreciate rather than someone you are going to break up two marriages for just to act out on a fantasy. Take these feelings of having a crush lightly.
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen is a tale of two sisters capable of feeling deeply. One controlled her feelings and the other was controlled by her feelings. Whose way was best? Read the book and decide.
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