It’s Called a Crush for a Reason

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.

Only once.  But look who it is!

Only once. But look who it is!


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

Startled cat


  • 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.

Not that I would know about that, or anything. 

Not that I would know about that, or anything.

Image:  Tina Phillips /

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.

It could all come crashing down, because karma is a stone cold bitch.

It could all come crashing down, because karma is a stone cold bitch.

Image:  think4photop /

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?

If you have a story you want to share that you think would be relevant, please feel free to comment.  You can do so without registering.  If you want to share a story but don’t want to post it, you can email me at aelizabethwest at

I will not use any quotes or scenarios without your permission, so make sure you enter a legitimate email address when you post a comment so I can contact you.

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.

14 thoughts on “It’s Called a Crush for a Reason

  1. ooh this is interesting! I will have a ponder about it and come back to you. Kinda because if you used it I would be in a book, a little bit and that SOUNDS AMAZING! :) But you know, also because other people’s accounts of such things help you

  2. I’m sort of going through this at the moment with someone I met through online fandom who has recently decided to disappear off the face of the earth and I don’t know for sure why. I’m trying to remind myself of all the reasons it was never going to work. We’re not in the same country. If the celebs I know he likes are anything to go by, I’m not his physical type. And that’s not all. But we have so much in common, more than I had with any other crush

    The time I’ve knowingly been the object of a crush, it was when I was 18 and in my first year at uni, and the guy was a friend of my roommate’s sort of boyfriend. Another friend of theirs had told me and I hadn’t believed him (it was the sort of thing he would make up) but over time I started to notice. Maybe I didn’t handle it well at the time. I wasn’t interested. I had a crush on someone else in my dorm, but hadn’t told anyone this. I found myself wishing the guy with the crush on me would call and text me a little less, because I was feeling suffocated. When he did admit his feelings, I said that I only wanted to be friends and he thought I was great for being honest about it. I felt really horrible because since I hadn’t admitted to my crush on the other guy, I technically hadn’t been completely honest at all. (Although if you’d asked me at the time I’d have said that taking the other guy out of the equation wouldn’t have changed anything.)

    The end of that story? We did end up together a year on anyway and then he cheated with some girl he’d met online, who he has since married and had kids with.

    Another story – my ex’s best friend once wrongly thought I had a crush on him. I still don’t know why, since it was never true. The way he chose to handle what he thought was my crush was to ignore it. He didn’t mention it to his girlfriend, who was likely to have kicked off, although I know he would have done if I’d done anything – he did tell her when someone else tried it on. He did tell his brother about it though, and the brother mentioned it to me ages afterwards, when we had become friends.

    • Sucks, don’t it? :( But we deserve people who really DO want to be with us (and don’t cheat or disappear). It would be nice if it were the people we wished we could have.

      I love your avatar/nickname. I kind of feel like Regina right now–if I could curse the land, I probably would!

      Thanks for the stories!

      On Fri, Nov 28, 2014 at 6:11 PM, Graphomaniac – Elizabeth West wrote:


      • Update on the above: The disappearing act by this person went on for about six weeks in the end (apart from a couple of times in the middle when he’d decided to start communicating again briefly and then go back to disappearing off the face of the earth). It got to New Year and suddenly he was communicating again as though none of that had happened.

        So yeah, we’re talking again. But it isn’t the same. The disappearing act coincided with something difficult in my personal life which he knows about, and in fairness to some extent he has tried to support me with it since. But it rankled a bit that he’d disappeared at exactly the time I needed him. And I’m confused about how I feel now. Probably best to let it go. If nothing else, we live on opposite sides of the North Sea which doesn’t help.

  3. EEEK. I didn’t realise this was so long ago now (2 months almost!)
    Still, if it’s any help 2 months later, here are my crush stories.

    I had the crush/crush on me(?)

    So this was a much older man who I worked with in a bookshop. He had a long term partner as did I. He was always trying to get me to do better, want more for myself. He hated my boyfriend; the feeling was mutual. He gave me a song, a nickname (which was a play on my name – he used to sing ‘hey…carrie-ann’ to me). I was in my early 20’s, so at christmas wore jingle bells in my hair. He jingled them. He had this way of looking right through me, if that makes sense? And I knew when he was looking at me or something like that, there was just this…feeling.

    Anyway, at a belated christmas party (think was in Feb?) I had my hair up but as the night went on, I took it down and he sat behind me, I was leaning on him and he was playing with my hair. The remaining few at the end of the night went on to a rock pub that is open til 3 am and we had a dance and a cheeky kiss on the dancefloor. I still remember the 2 songs we danced to and it was many years ago now(6, I think).

    The next day, nobody at work mentioned it and I was glad, because it meant so much to me. When he left soon after, I was quietly heartbroken. For a while we had sporadic email contact, I’d sometimes write things and he’d tell me stuff.

    We did randomly meet again, 2 years ago, he took me for coffee. He is much more bitter and cynical (his long term g/f cheated on him) and eventually we fall out because I ask him if he wrote something for me and left it at work (I will give more details if you want) but he never said either way. It was a beautiful thing, the note and he said that life is bad, awful and hurtful. He now lives in Copenhagen.

    • Aww, it’s too bad he had such a hard time and that you never got to explore it at all (though maybe that was for the best!). I hope he’s doing better–and I can’t imagine you now with someone who is so down about life.

      One of the worst things about my crush was finding out that I had a connection I didn’t know I had, and under different circumstances, perhaps I could have had a shot. Dammit!!!!!!!

      • Yes, I hope so too.

        Before we had a big falling out, he was nice and in true AAM style, I asked him if he could give some pointers to my brother re: jobs, as he worked in a similar capacity that my brother was trying to get into (software dev).

        I split up with my then boyfriend last year and mentioned I was going to Paris to see a band. I email him to say this and then say, “I never did buy you a coffee back” and he replied “well with some things I cannot tell yet and some switching around I could maybe meet you”(!!)

        My reply was like…erm no, but amused. And yet – even after our falling out, I wondered if I’d see him in the crowd.

        LinkdIn has a funny sense of humour and along with asking me if I know my dad (LOL!) asks me if I know the above guy. I’m not sure if I have his email still but it’s been more than a year since our last email – I do wonder if he is happier. I hope so. Everytime Copenhagen comes up somewhere (which is surprisingly more than you’d think – newspaper, tv, book, whatever) I think of him.

  4. This one is about a crush on me:

    My then long term boyfriend’s (the boyfriend mentioned above, in fact) friend.

    Yeah…never going to end well, that.

    So this boyfriend had a..not addiction but a dependency on alcohol. And one night the 3 of us are out enjoying ourselves and boyfriend decides to do something daft and we sensible ones are trying to coax him back down. Anyway, as we are doing this, the friend says some things such as you’re too good for him, he doesn’t treat you right, if you were my girlfriend & etc and I just knew, if I looked at him, he’d kiss me. But I didn’t, so he didn’t.

    But it doesn’t go away and I encourage it (oh the shame. I feel so bad now, years later). Triangles aren’t nice shapes, they are sharp & pointy. Eventually I tell the boyfriend and he and his friend have words and don’t speak for some time.

    That boyfriend and I break up at some point (can’t remember if it was any time near the above situation or not now).

    • Triangles aren’t nice shapes, they are sharp & pointy.

      Oh this should be on a pillow, seriously. I may steal this for a story.

      Ugh, it sucks to be friends with someone whose SO you like. This hasn’t happened to me, fortunately. And it’s just as bad to be the recipient of unwanted attention (I won’t ask about the encouragement–you seem to have punished yourself enough).

      Thank you for sharing these stories. :)

      • Steal away :)

        I used to see his friend sometimes when I worked in my last job – if I got the bus, I’d walk into the front of the building, usually I’d go in via the back.

        I never said anything to him. I often crossed the road. It was horrible. The joys of living in a city where the 6 degrees of separation rule seems to be 3 instead.

  5. I know this is years later but here’s my story.
    I once had a little crush on a guy in college. I kept it from him for a long time because I knew nothing would ever happen. He was an RA in the dorm and 3 years older. A few years after I left, I finally got up the courage to write him a letter and told him that I had had a little crush on him at school. I told him I knew nothing was ever going to come of it and that I hoped it wouldn’t change our friendship. He responded by completely disappearing.
    But happily, we reconnected a couple of years ago on Facebook and our friendship has never been tighter.

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