Years-long crush, need to get over it
May 20, 2007 2:58 PM   Subscribe

My window to get over a crush of many years - how to stay on track? How to deal with mutual acquaintances?

I am a woman in my mid-thirties, and getting over my first intense crush. Some would call it limerence. I need help to stay on track with this and not slide into crush-mode again.

I've had an intense crush that has been building over many years. He lives out of the area now, visited recently, I had intense hope that he would reciprocate when I had a chance to see him,but hopes were dashed, again. I opted to avoid him for the rest of his visit. Now, my chances to see him on his visit are at an end, and I feel .. relief! I'm free! I can think about something other than him! I fear this state of affairs will slide back into crush-territory, and want to avoid this, as it is a hellish experience, complete with depression and feeling physically ill from nervousness. I had believed myself to be over this in the past, and had it start up again - thus I turn to the wisdom of random strangers.

The man I have a crush on has intense personal charisma, and I feel that I must avoid him at the expense of avoiding events where I know he will be present. I left a party that I knew he would be at later to stay out of his presence. Several people I know (but not so well as to want to explain the crush situation), were suprised I was leaving and practically begged me to stay. I would have very much liked to stay, but knew this would not be good for getting over the crush.

He and I have mutual friends who have probably noticed I was avoiding him. I'm not sure what reaction I could expect if I told them why. What explanation could I give? Is it usual for people to explain that they have a crush and have to avoid someone? How do I keep from thinking of him when other people discuss him?

I feel stupid that I coud only deal with my intense attraction by avoiding him, we used to be in the same social circles but not in a way that I can really talk with him about this. I wish that I could have still interacted with him without the crush interfering, as there is something we both participate in that he is intergally involved in. It is very painful to me to not be able to do this, but it is also where the crush began, so I don't see how I could possibly participate the way I used to.

He has been a great positive influence in my life in some ways in the past, and I want to remember that and hold onto the good memories, but I also need to get over and stay over the crush. How do I do this? I know, time -- but I've gone 6 months or more thinking I was over it before, only to have it start up again.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (17 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
The following is based on my own experience. it may or may not be useful for you.

1] Work out what it is about the other person that you like so much, and then look to yourself to fill the need. What is it about him/her that feels so good?
2] Avoid the other person like crazy. Any time you see them you'll find it starting over again.
3] Take care of yourself. Treat yourself to a new pair of shoes, or whatever. Feel good about yourself. Start to regard yourself with the same feelings as you felt for the other person.
4] Read Love 101.

Hope some of this helps. I crushed on someone for a year, to the point it was affecting my work. Once I started doing the above, I felt much better about myself, and was way less into the other person.
posted by Solomon at 3:08 PM on May 20, 2007 [2 favorites]

You ultimately don't have control over your initial emotions, but you do have control over your actions.

Meet new people. Not just men you might want to date, but make new male friends, and female friends. You will find that the new friends may fill some of the needs the crush did. (What Solomon says is true: ultimately you have to look to yourself. But whatever need you are looking to the crush to fill can be minimized by getting your mind into people other than him.)

Remind yourself that your value does not come from anyone else's acceptance or approval. You are valuable because of who you are as an individual.

When you catch yourself obsessing on him, tell yourself: I will NOT give my power away to this person! Then focus on something else.

None of this will be easy.
posted by The Deej at 3:21 PM on May 20, 2007 [2 favorites]

He's a crush and never reciprocated, so you never got to know how it would have been if you'd had something together, which means you built this ideal picture of him untainted by the complicated realities of a relationship, and you've just got to take him off that pedestal.

Keep the good memories, keep your admiration for his personality, but recognise you're making a mistake when you're projecting on him the capacity to hold the key to your happiness. No one else but you does.

Ideals of all kinds, including unrequited crushes, can be a way to avoid doing the things you could be doing right here right now to be more satisfied with your life. Find out what that is and work on it, and the crush will fade.
posted by pleeker at 3:43 PM on May 20, 2007 [14 favorites]

The Deej is completely right: "Remind yourself that your value does not come from anyone else's acceptance or approval." Do a lot of whatever it is that makes you feel talented and valuable, or, even better, discover new things that make you feel talented and valuable. Not only will it boost your productivity, it'll also give you concrete evidence that you individually are a great person, and that any guy would be lucky to get your affection.
posted by tepidmonkey at 4:28 PM on May 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Essentially: the idea is to do things that make you smile and think, "I'm doing just fine without him now."
posted by tepidmonkey at 4:32 PM on May 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

A few things:

1. This *will* pass. You'll meet someone else, or you'll move on in another way.

2. Until it does, it's totally fine to just avoid him. And ok to tell close friends why you're doing so. That's what friends are for! Maybe they can even help you out by telling you something about him that will make him less attractive.

3. You say at one point he was a very good influence on your life. I wonder if this has something to do with the crush - people often develop strong crushes on individuals who have had a positive impact on their lives - you identify this person with that positive change. Maybe you need to more "own" this change you made, if that makes sense.
posted by lunasol at 4:37 PM on May 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

This may not work for you, as this person does not live in your area anymore, but what has worked for me is NOT avoiding the person. I have learned to "desensitize" myself to crushes. After all, a crush is simply a feeling, anyway.
posted by konolia at 5:12 PM on May 20, 2007

I forgot to elaborate-when you have a crush you build someone up in your mind way past reality. Real people burp, fart, say stupid stuff, and otherwise are imperfect. To get over a crush you just start looking for the imperfections instead of imagining the perfections.
posted by konolia at 5:14 PM on May 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Seconding lunasol's third: turn him into kind of a muse to inspire you to greater things.

It worked for Dante with Beatrice, after all.
posted by jamjam at 5:46 PM on May 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Thirding lunasol's suggestion; I had a crush once which lasted me several years. I think the best thing to do would be for you to get involved with some activities that you might like where you can find like-minded people and hopefully get over your crush. And yes, if you want to get over him, and don't feel you can by seeing him, then don't see him.
I hope you find someone soon though!
posted by hadjiboy at 7:02 PM on May 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

You have to remember it is all chemical. Your brain is sending a signal and you are responding. Possibly, if you break it down to the science, you might find it easier to accept the things going on in your head.

You might also try one of those reminder bracelets that you can rotate from wrist to wrist. The idea being that the bracelet reminds you not to think about him. Each time you find yourself thinking about him you move the bracelet to the other wrist. The end goal being to have the bracelet remain on one wrist for as long as possible. I haven't tried it but have often wondered if it would work.

Then there is the easy fix... find someone else.
posted by bkeene12 at 7:34 PM on May 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

I agree with the Deej. Avoid him as needed, date other people. Don't be embarassed--this kind of thing happens to a lot of us.
posted by adamrice at 7:40 PM on May 20, 2007

1) Be up-front with your friends about your entire range of feelings about this. They're your buddies (even if they're his too) and this is what they're here for.

2) If you're keeping anything that reminds you of him--letters, trinkets, gifts, etc., then for god's sake, get rid of them. Don't be sentimental or prepare for future sentimentality. One day you will see this as far less important than you do now. If you don't think you ever will or refuse to see it that way, then you're not really ready to let go of your feelings for this guy.

3) The most horrible, wonderful mistake I've ever made was telling the object of my crush that I loved him. I knew better, but I had already talked to a friend, and she was urging me to. The sensation of having years of hermetically-sealed hopes and wishes open to the air, and seeing them get dashed coldly to the pavement, is unforgettable. It felt like someone crumpled up my whole life and threw it away.

I felt used, somehow. Years later, I realized how much control I had given him just because I was crushing on him so hard. I did that to myself. If you want to be able to get over this guy while he's still around, then you have to take back control of the situation when you're in his presence. I went cold and refused to give him the approval that his charming ways begged for, but opinions will surely vary on the most appropriate thing to do.
posted by zebra3 at 6:45 AM on May 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

Anyone who tells you that you can't replace someone is lying, stupid, or naïve (and believing in true undying love counts as naïve). You're fixated on this guy because you haven't found resolution and apparently never will. And since you don't seem to be considering just telling him how you feel - the obvious but difficult play since it brings your fantasies to an end - you probably ought to just do the other thing: replace the guy with...other people. In that regard The Deej is spot-on. Your friends will help if you just tell them how you feel - they're your friends for God's sake. But if the mutual-friend situation is too trying, start meeting other people.

Is there some activity you really enjoy? Go do it with strangers. Some place you like to visit where Mr Big won't turn up? Get there, take someone. Whoever this guy is, he's not The One, and the only way you're gonna prove that to your own satisfaction is doing better.

You'll do better. Taking this fellow off the pedestal is step one.
posted by waxbanks at 7:34 AM on May 21, 2007

The man I have a crush on has intense personal charisma

I used to fall for guys like this until I realized that 95% of them had cultivated this charisma to mask incredible personal flaws like alcoholism, infidelity, and worse. Think about it - a nice, normal, stable guy doesn't have to crank up the charm because he's got nothing for which to compensate.
posted by desjardins at 8:54 AM on May 21, 2007 [3 favorites]

Think about it - a nice, normal, stable guy doesn't have to crank up the charm because he's got nothing for which to compensate.

Cool! I can finally feel good about being charmless!
posted by The Deej at 10:46 AM on May 21, 2007


Ding ding ding ding! That's exactly it.
posted by lunasol at 6:15 PM on May 26, 2007

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