Yeah, so I had a crush.
That sh*t can throw you.
I thought I’d write about this a little bit. Because when crushes appear in the media, 99% of the time it’s a teenage crush: maybe their first love interest, and usually there’s no real conflict involved. Yes, maybe they have another love interest, or a partner who’s very clearly not right for them, but the vast majority of the time, the crush is concluded happily, right?
The thing they don’t tell you is that crushes don’t go away after you turn 20.
I made a post recently about sex positivity and in it I expressed my desire to speak more openly about sex. Well, I’m putting this under that umberella too, because although it’s not the same, it’s still another fundamental human experience which we never really talk about – unless we’re being shamed for it.
You can still get crushes as an adult. Shocking, I know. And it can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. All it takes is a fortunate little back-and-forth in the line at the supermarket and bam, your insides turn all jelly-like. Kinda scary, huh?
In a teen romance, that stuff is cute. In the adult world, it’s one heck of a problem.
You see, adulthood comes with responsibilities and obligations. You can’t afford to lie on your bed, daydreaming about them until you finally pluck up the courage and phone them and start a conversation like it’s a twee movie. No, in adult life, you have to wrestle other things. Age gaps, distance gaps, culture gaps, living arrangements, family, unrequited attraction, significant others. And that’s the most awkward thing. Because there’s a huge difference between a crush and romantic attraction. They are entirely different emotions, and experiencing that can really throw you through a loop.
Hell, when you think about it logically, 9 times out of 10, you aren’t compatible with your crush at all. It would make zero sense to pursue it and it would cause so much damage. But we all know that emotions don’t work logically, so that squirmy, crushy feeling sits in your stomach anyway, even though you have no desire to act on it.
It’s a powerful emotion. It halts the progression of your everyday life and forces you to reassess. It can consume a good portion of your thinking time, and cause a great deal of stress if you handle it wrongly.
Well, I’m over mine now, anyway. The crush is subsiding, my usual emotions settling back into their comfortable places.
But wow, was that unexpected.
And I wanted to speak up about it because we all need to know that it’s okay to have a crush. It’s a perfectly normal human emotion to have, even as an adult who is already happy and settled.
It’s how you act on that emotion that really matters.
What is a crush? For me, it’s something a little bit above physical attraction, but below romantic attraction. I’m a heterosexual guy and I’m not ace, so there are plenty of people out there who I find attractive. I discover more literally every day. But for me, crushes are actually quite rare.
The way a crush manifests in my mind, it’s like there’s something more to a person. Sometimes, they seem to think similarly to me about life, or maybe they share many of my interests. But I can’t quite nail down what that more quality actually is. They’re a human that instantly draws my attention, my desire to know more about them, to understand their troubles and offer them a bit of support. I want to fight their corner, and I want them to care about me as much as I care about them. It’s like I feel a stronger connection with them than I do with other people. It’s always been this way for me, as long as I can remember: my first crush was on a girl in my primary school, so I couldn’t have been older than 8.
In the interests of fostering a healthy human-relationships dialogue, I’ll be more than happy to talk to you about crushes. Does your crush experience feel similar or different to mine? DM me on Twitter – my account is @dewiwrites. (Or you can always use my ‘contact‘ page.)