I’m doing a little research for a character in Secret Book. Did you ever have feelings for someone you couldn’t have, or thought you couldn’t have?
I don’t mean a fangirl / fanboy admiration for someone, where you love their body of work and celebrate all their milestones and spend actual money for the chance to stand next to them for three seconds and take a selfie.
Photo: Elizabeth West / VisionCon 2014
I mean an honest-to-God, full on, madly in love crush, where you desperately want someone whether they know you’re alive or not. It could be Gary in Accounting or Jared Leto, Zoe in your history class or Emma Stone. Doesn’t matter.
I’ve been exploring this, as it’s come up in the book and it’s something we’ve all been through. It’s happened to me, and I want to get some insight into what other people have experienced, if possible.
First off, what I know. If you’re dealing with a crush, your feelings are what they are, and you may have some permutations of these:
- Excitement at seeing the person every day (or whenever)
- Hope, if there is even an infinitesimal chance you could ever be together
- Desperation when you think about how you can’t, so you try not to think about that
- Happiness, when you daydream about the chance
- Fear, that the person will meet someone else before you have a shot
- Euphoria, when / if the person talks to you / becomes aware of your existence (though not if you just spilled a hot latte on them)
Now, let’s add this unpleasantness. Have you ever had to watch that person walk away with someone else?
That brings a whole new set of feelings:
- The “oh God no” shock you feel when something terrible happens
- Anguish at losing your chance, even if it was only in your mind
- Despair, because you will never have what you wanted
- Depression, especially if you have no other prospects and the fantasy was keeping you going until you do
If you’ve ever had a crush and lived through it, what was it like for you? Did friends or family know about it? If so, did they tease you or patronize you?
Note: If you’re ever tempted to dismiss the feelings of someone who just got hammered by this, try to remember that feelings are what they are. They are real, and the heartbreak caused by losing a crush can be as bad as that experienced when a real-life relationship ends.
Now the flip side: have you ever been the object of a crush? If so, how did you handle the situation? This has literally never happened to me (that I know of), so I’m really curious about it.
Note: If you’re the object of the crush and you’ve just destroyed someone’s dream with your shiny new relationship, please refrain from being flippant about it—i.e. saying the equivalent of, “Oh, don’t be silly. You’ll be fine!” It’s easy to forget how shitty this whole experience is when you’re over the moon, so mind your words.
A better statement might be, “I’m really sorry that you’re feeling bad over this; I hope you can be happy for me.” It acknowledges the person’s feelings and is much less patronizing. And he / she may not be happy for you, so be prepared for that.
Was the person crushing on you someone you knew, or not? What did you think when you found out?
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UPDATED TO ADD: It doesn’t matter what orientation you are or if the crush took place in high school. Anything before that, however, is probably not relevant because I’m writing about adults, and while a crush can be crushing for a child, it typically doesn’t involve sexual jealousy. Puberty or post-puberty is fine.