"we could have loved! You know it!"
July 5, 2005 8:31 PM   Subscribe

How easily do you become infatuated with people?

This is mostly a curiosity question. I’ve been single for.. uhhh.. a long time, and I find that I tend to develop crushes or fixations on attractive and/or interesting girls really frequently. I’ve just started dating actively (much of it via nerve and craig’s list) and I’ve found the same thing – almost all the women I’ve met have been interesting, cool, and generally good looking. Because for the most part I’ve found that I feel pretty comfortable with these women and often like them, it’s sometimes been fairly jarring when things don’t work out, even if it’s only been two dates.

On a related note: how do you deal with being constantly surrounded by beautiful strangers? Baudelaire wrote a great poem about this, what, like, a hundred years ago, so I don’t expect definitive answers, just curious about your thoughts.
posted by slipperywhenwet to Society & Culture (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It takes a lot for me to really like someone...it's pretty rare, actually. As for little crushes, those happen more frequently - although not enough lately! Man, I miss college. But honestly, sometimes I find myself "constructing" crushes on people purely out of boredom and needing someone semi-tangible to daydream about.

I don't know for sure, but I think I would rather be in your situation (meeting and liking a lot of cool people) instead of where I am now (not meeting many people and not being too enamored by them).

"how do you deal with being constantly surrounded by beautiful strangers?"

I enjoy it, and smile, and hope that someone smiles back.
posted by jetskiaccidents at 8:57 PM on July 5, 2005

If you're writing them for a while before you actually meet, things not working out after two dates is more likely to feel jarring. I made this mistake back towards the beginning of the year, and ended up investing far more than I should have before meeting her.

If you can, meet quickly. Two good emails, and then maybe two good phone calls. If it doesn't click there, it might still bite, but it will probably be more wounded pride than real attachment and affection.

And it's good to distinguish the two. Sometimes they get confused.
posted by weston at 9:04 PM on July 5, 2005

Pretty interesting question you pose. I'm definitely one for becoming infatuated pretty quickly. I've wondered about it and discussed it with my friends and we formulated a theory last Sunday.

It's because it's difficult for me to connect with people so that if I do actually connect with someone, I tend to think it's this great spectacular occurrence that's no less significant than all 9 planets + 50 stars aligning. For someone to be attractive + interesting + funny + bringing the sex = major miracle.

I'm usually crushed when things don't work out but I find that the sadness/disappointment gets shorter every time I go through it. Also, I agree with the poster above who said that it's more about wounded pride than actual heartbreak.
posted by superkim at 9:41 PM on July 5, 2005

I just graduated from a college with a 3:1 male:female ratio. I now live and work in a fairly metropolitan area. I go out and am social, and I fall for practically every girl I see.

I realize that I should probably apply stricter criteria to who I feel is worth my attention, but for now I'm like a kid in a candy store.

Enjoy it while it lasts. I certainly am. Having possibilities makes life so much more exciting than having none.
posted by adamk at 9:54 PM on July 5, 2005

It's because it's difficult for me to connect with people so that if I do actually connect with someone, I tend to think it's this great spectacular occurrence that's no less significant than all 9 planets + 50 stars aligning.

Yup. Me too. Which means that it's often all or nothing for me. I have gotten some interesting friends out of this cycle since I have had a main squeeze, as he makes it easier not to get fixated on the physical desire part, but an interesting, decent-looking guy can still send me over the moon. It's silly but I don't mind.
posted by dame at 10:03 PM on July 5, 2005

I hardly ever get crushes, maybe once a year if I'm lucky. Actually that's only half true, I hardly ever crush on people but I'll get giddy and obsessive over google maps/some obscure mythology/a new favorite author about every six weeks. But people-crushes take a while to build, I have to already know and like a guy before I'll find him attractive (with rare exceptions).
posted by cali at 10:14 PM on July 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

I used to have multiple crushes all the time in high school, but now that I'm dating someone very seriously, I'm really not interested in other guys. It would be very jarring indeed when/if we break up - I haven't had a crush on another (eligible) guy for 2 or 3 years.

On preview - yeah I "geek out" about stuff, but I never considered it a crush. I guess that's what it is, though :)
posted by muddgirl at 10:17 PM on July 5, 2005

I always find it so surprising when people say that, muddgirl. I love my boy and I'd happy to be with him forever, but I see hawt people and meet way interesting folks that still get me. Slippery, do you find your crushometer goes down when you're with someone?
posted by dame at 10:38 PM on July 5, 2005

I have crushed on exactly three people in the past five years.
posted by kindall at 10:52 PM on July 5, 2005

Response by poster: It's been too long to reliably report. [I'm in grad school, and until this summer, school and other factors made it way too hard to meet people..] But, I doubt that I'll ever be so deeply in love that I don't have frequent passing fancies. I figure that's a big part of a committed relationship and/or love - having some kind of way to deal with those excess desires, whether it’s being monogamous and knowing that you don’t ever act on them, or something more flexible.
posted by slipperywhenwet at 10:58 PM on July 5, 2005

I tend to get crushes on women who remind me of my old high school crush, Dovie. In particular, this is women who are some combination of friendly, affectionate, consistently have a positive attitude about life/people, and look like her in some way (e.g., she's very short).
It used to be I'd get a crush on someone like that almost every year, and usually not have the nerve to do anything about it aside from hugging her.
Since I started dating my long-term girlfriend, I still develop minor crushes, but less than half as often. And I don't want to do any more than talk to (and possibly hug) a sweet woman.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 11:19 PM on July 5, 2005

Historically, I've had crushes all the time - but lately I've given it up. Why? It's a terrible dating strategy, especially in combination with online dating services like those on Nerve and Craigslist.

I realised that revealing you have a crush - even via body language - is a real passion killer for most women, many of whom are inclined to prefer guys who are hard to get.

Also, you should ask yourself why you're finding that practically every girl you meet seems so wonderful. It's as if your criteria for hooking up with a decent mate have not been tuned yet.

That's also a bad move for dating - because it puts the power of choice in the woman's hands. Women are used to the fact that lots of guys are attracted to them. So turn the tables. You are the one evaluating her - and make it bloody clear. This approach is one that most women are far less familiar with. But it works a charm... because the girl realises that you have higher standards than she does... and now she's the one fighting for your attention.
posted by skylar at 11:49 PM on July 5, 2005

I get very infatuated with people I come in contact with every day. Someone I work with, someone I see regularly, someone I don't even talk to. I develop "crushes" on almost anyone mildly attractive or interesting, with no real reason. It always last for long periods of time and it's pretty pathetic really. My way of dealing with it is to never act on it and never discuss it in any way, with anyone, ever.
posted by puke & cry at 11:51 PM on July 5, 2005 [1 favorite]

I'll spot attractive women every other day and look forward to seeing them again through the commute or work or shopping or whatever. The sad thing is that, almost invariably, if/when we actually meet, my interest falls flat in the face of someone who just doesn't hold any more for me than beauty.

My inveterate shyness reduces the chance of meeting, but the consistent results help to stop me from even trying. An illusion is better when you don't know what it is.
posted by NinjaPirate at 3:22 AM on July 6, 2005

how do you deal with being constantly surrounded by beautiful strangers?

I turn the heat it generates into a little generator that gives me energy to do all sorts of other things. I'm with dame, being in a relationship just means that I don't get all bent out of shape with longing if I find I have a passing crush on some random stranger. It's easier to appreciate a crush if you don't feel the need to do anything about it.
posted by jessamyn at 4:57 AM on July 6, 2005 [1 favorite]

yes, but that makes it much less fun
posted by matteo at 5:00 AM on July 6, 2005

I crush rarely and when I do, crush hard. And it's always someone married or otherwise completely unattainable. (Which I'm convinced must have had something to do with it.) This is a pattern I was in for years and years, and which made life fairly miserable, what with all the frustrated longing. But I seem to be growing out of it or something. (Knock wood.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:03 AM on July 6, 2005

I once heard it said that you don't fall for a person when you're in their presence, but when you're not with them and thinking about them. How often do you find yourself thinking about your crush when you're alone?

As for the stranger bit, take a line from the Simpsons: A stranger's just a friend you haven't met!
posted by TommyH at 5:24 AM on July 6, 2005 [1 favorite]

I used to have crushes all the time, often several at once. They rarely went anywhere, though, and I think part of why I liked having crushes was because I was a huge drama queen and liked the ups and downs they brought. Time and experience have (mostly) mellowed out my craving for drama; the last crush I had was almost three years ago... and now he's my husband.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 5:49 AM on July 6, 2005

dame & muddgirl:
Your convo reminds me of my brother and his wife. When they're out walking, she is the first one to point out all Teh Hawtness. Her theory is that if he's not looking to begin with, something is wrong with him so why not join in on the fun?

As for myself, I don't develop crushes all that easily...I can only think of a handful over the past few years. However, if I do get the crush on, then I go straight from friendship to falling madly in love. I suck at that middle parts of just liking her.
posted by jmd82 at 6:44 AM on July 6, 2005

wow - every day - no wonder you folks don't worry about things eventually working out with someone... It's about once every few years for me. Like jetskiaccidents I will sometimes build people up out of boredom, or 'go around the room' in my head and assess possibilities, and I've certainly gone out with people who I've really been kinda neutral about. Real crushes, i.e., getting nervous & excited, daydreaming about them, etc, are hard to come by (but I'm due for one!...)
posted by mdn at 7:19 AM on July 6, 2005

Do dogs, cats and babies count?

I guess I'm the odd one out - I (almost) never get infatuated with offline people (the last one was about 3 years ago, she was ..um.. fascinating). However, I get infatuated with online people fairly frequently, but it's "admiration" infatuation not love.

It's probably because I rarely meet new offline people.
posted by deborah at 9:16 AM on July 6, 2005

I get infatuated with people easily, but not in a romantic way. I will find someone cool, fascinating, exciting and want to be their friend. This happens about once every 4-6 months. I get all geeked out on them, try too hard, look like a pathetic ass, they avoid me and I move on. Or we try to be friends and then they reveal their secret a-hole side so we don't become close friends.

As far as crushes? I actually don't get them often and when I get them, they go away fairly quickly. Usually with a phrase like "and then I joined white pride" or "We hang out on World of Warcraft on Friday nights."

I was really uptight when I moved to SF from the midwest because everyone was thin, beautiful, amazing. So I've taken on this funny fat girl persona. I figure, they all need sidekicks in the ABC sitcom of their lives, so I deserve to be here too.
posted by Gucky at 9:30 AM on July 6, 2005

When I fall for someone, I fall hard - I think part of it is that I've never been the most practical of people, and when I do get that feeling of goodness inside of me, I tend to embrace and run with it, even when the surrounding circumstances should tell me that it may be more work than I should take on (mainly this relates to geographical distance - in the past year or two, I've been spending a few months at a time in a variety of countries, and while the crush/dating is great for when we're both in the same space, the difficulty of trying to make it work when I leave is something I should, but often don't, consider in terms of the intensity I feel and act on).

When I am with someone, I generally don't notice other people. I think that might have to do with my own cheatin' ways when I was a wee lad in high school and early college, which I've vowed never to return to. So far, it's worked for the last seven or so years.

I've recently joined, for the first time, the world of casual dating, and I now find myself constantly meeting amazing people, but since there are multiple people on my radar, no one person takes up all my energy and affection. In some ways, it's probably a bit of a defense mechanism on my part because I am looking to avoid the past hurt I've dealt with that came from investing all of myself into one person and having that fail. For the past few years I've definitely been trying to keep my intensity in check, and dating multiple people at the same time has been the first thing that's kind of worked in accomplishing that goal.
posted by buddha9090 at 10:40 AM on July 6, 2005

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