Alternate Title: Be Still My Foolish Heart? (Anything to drag Hozier into my chats)
I’m not talking about unrequited love, I’m talking about how we create crushes on people we don’t *really* have an actual interest in. You might think you don’t do this, but I promise you know someone who does. People far and wide that I’ve talked to do this thing where we fixate on someone we know we can’t have. We harbour these little (or big) crushes on people who are long since gone, maybe they live in another city, maybe they’re in a relationship. Regardless, we’re only interested because they’re off limits. We’re not harassing them, or being a problem for their relationship, chances are they have absolutely no idea we harbour feelings for them at all, we do it for entirely selfish reasons. We do it, mostly, so that we can think romantic thoughts without having to deal with the actual anxieties and stressers of having feelings for someone.
In my case, I never showed an interest in the person who I later, having moved to Scotland, decided I had a big crush on, when I lived in the same city as them. I was actively uninterested in them the entire time I knew them in Canada, and once I left I found myself thinking oh actually they’re great and wouldn’t they make such a great partner? In reality, there are a wealth of people around me who would also make wonderful partners, but I’m too focused on this person in a far off land, that I’m not genuinely interested in, to bother looking around me. The best part: when I went home at Christmas my crush disappeared. Not the actual person, but my crush, the actual feelings I had just disappeared, I had no interest in seeing them or knowing what they were up to. As soon as I was in the airport going home I was like hey? What’s going on? Why did that happen? And why am I NOW only just starting to think romantically about them again? Seriously?!
In part, this is why when I came back to Scotland I initially was off of all dating ever. And then why I re downloaded Tinder. It’s time for me to stop harbouring feelings for someone I don’t have a genuine interest in (even writing this I’m thinking…but do I?) I also started talking to people about this. I have one friend who I *KNOW* does this. I’ve known for years and as soon as I started doing it I texted her and was like “oh my god it’s happening.” But then as I talked more and more to other people, it turns out this is something we ALL DO.
I know multiple people who have done this for years. People who harbour some sort of questionable crush on someone who treats them poorly, or who shows no interest in them, or who wouldn’t be at all what they’re looking for if they actually dated, just because it’s a convenient thing to do. Convenient is maybe the wrong word. They do it mostly out of habit at this point, maybe originally something happened to make them thing “huh, they’re cute”, but they never acted on it. Usually it’s someone where it would be weird or inappropriate now, a family friend or someone from a close knit friend group. I think for them, it’s born more out of habit than anything else. It also gets complicated for us when we then start to date someone, and you’re forced to contend with this long-held habit of ruminating over someone you probably don’t actually like, it feels weird to always have this sort of idea of a person on the back-burner, waiting to come back to if the actual relationship you’re in now doesn’t work out.
Is this the adult version of having a crush on celebrity? Do you remember when you were a teen and were convinced you would marry a Jonas Brother, (or whoever was really cool and hot to you as a teen)? As much as I joke about Hozier, I don’t do this with celebrities anymore, but apparently now I do it with people who I actually know? I don’t convince myself we’ll get married, but I spend the time I used to spend thinking about celebrities now thinking about crushes and wondering what they’re doing, or what it would be like if they were here.
So what do we do? Coming clean about our feelings seems redundant because I’m 100% sure in my situation, and about 75% sure in the situations that my friends are in, that we don’t really have feelings for them. Is it just a question of catching yourself having the thoughts and trying to quell the habit? Is it really a harmful thing? Do we really have to do anything about it if it’s not harming anyone? If it’s not holding you back from dating, or if you don’t want to be dating, is it okay to continue down this path of slightly confusing behaviour? Or, is it just an innocent form of escapism?
Have you been in this position and moved past it? I imagine I could, but I think I would always remember in the deep of my subconscious this little inkling of feelings towards that person, or maybe I won’t. Maybe I’m just thinking this because last night I had a gin-fuelled dream that he married one of our friends from uni. And the queen was in attendance. And I was the only person there who was unhappy about the whole thing.
PSA: If you are harbouring this type of a crush for me, I have sad news for you, the person I am talking about in this article is probably definitely not you. Also, if we live on other sides of the Atlantic, it’s not going to work out. Also, I met someone here that I quite fancy so sorry, you should have come across the Atlantic sooner.
Have you done this? Do you have advice? Do you want to read more about my chaotic approach to dating? Feel free to browse around my ‘Carrie Bradshaw Series’.