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Best Left To The Imagination……

I really enjoyed this blog today, entitled “A Letter To My Crush“.

I often write about the idea of infatuation, how all of the sudden, the presence of a certain person, thing, or idea can make the world a better place than it usually is. I think that’s because I grow bored without infatuation, the reason that I literally jumped up and down when The Guy I Am Currently Dating gave me the Kindle Fire he got me for my birthday. (and I was pretty excited about the awesome pink case we found to go with it, too. It now looks very much like an actual book.).

Also, I’m the person who will listen to a particular song over and over again for two weeks, watch every single episode of my favourite TV show multiple times, and spend hours each day conversing with the same person, even if that person happens to be in a different city, country, or continent. Infatuation is fun, exciting, and brings something new to life…at least until the novelty wears off.

Crushes, however, are dangerous. I haven’t always notoriously handled them that well, because they end one of three ways. 1)Your crush just isn’t into you. He or she may find you an awesome human being worthy of being friends with, or not even remember your name, but the end result is the same—that lame, pathetic feeling that comes from feeling happy to see someone’s face when they’re just not all that into you. 2)Your crush turns out not to be the person you created in your head. People are rarely like the ideal image of a person we barely know, so create in our heads, making said people even more interesting. In reality, your crush could be rude, a boring conversationalist, self-absorbed, or you could simply be so different that you end up fighting over everything. By that point, however, it’s harder to walk away and admit it isn’t working, because you’re already attached to the ideal you’ve created. Letting go of that ideal often feels like a great loss. 3)Your crush is receptive to your interest and you like each other. This may end up in going out a few times and realising you’re better off as friends, hooking up on occasion and feeling generally confused about life, starting a relationship, or, if you’re me, turning your life upside down because of the intuitive conviction that you’ve met your soulmate. (I’ve met my soulmate at least 12 times. It’s a good thing I don’t believe we’re all limited to one. :P ) While generally a happier outcome than the first two possibilities, it also requires a certain amount of accepting disillusionment. That person is NOT the person you’ve created in your head, and in order to allow the relationship to stand a chance, you need to rid yourself of that idealistic image to which you’ve grown attached.

I don’t really like crushes, and for that reason, most of mine have never been aware that they were, at one time or another, an object of interest in my universe. When I am interested in someone and I want to date them, or I’m attracted to someone in some way, I have no qualms about letting that person know and throwing the ball in their court. But, crushes, infatuations, diversions, whatever you want to call them…I enjoy keeping them that way. I enjoy the illusion of possibility I’ve created in my head, the ideal version of the ideal thing that will simply never exist in the real world. Throughout my many years writing poetry, I’ve had a continuing series called “Intrigue”, largely about crushes and infatuations, and in some cases, the disillusion that occurs when that ideal morphs into a real friendship, relationship…or not. The poem is never really about the relationship itself, but a musing on the quality that inspired the “intrigue” in the first place.

The author of the aforementioned blog and I share the same viewpoint when it comes to this topic. Sometimes, all a girl (or boy) may want out of life is someone to irrationally admire, idealise, and see as the most interesting person in the universe, even if the reality is that you have little in common, and that person is very little like the image you’ve created in your head.

The important thing is to enjoy the possibility of the ideal, without confusing it with reality. If you’ve spent months with a crush on someone who inevitably disappoints you, over and over again, simply for being a real person rather than the one you fell for in your imagination, it’s time to cut your losses. You will lose a friend or an acquaintance or a potential date, or you’ll have to start going to a new coffee shop or change your class schedule or abandon your favourite bar forever. (I still look for a former crush gone awry when reality didn’t live up to the romance of the moment every time I walk into the Cafe Intermezzo in Buckhead.)

Some things are way better when unexpressed and untainted by reality. I tend to think crushes and infatuations exist to remind us of our passionate, artistic, intellectual, interesting sides, to bring out all the aspects of our personalities that tend to stay hidden in the rather repetitive, uninspired, day-to-day world. If you’re an idealist, a romantic, a daydreamer, you always want the world to be a little more beautiful than it is, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it adds to life. It is responsible for movies, songs, poems, blogs, books, and all forms of artistic expression.

The best way to kill the benefits of the tendency to become infatuated with things is to bring it into everyday life. I am currently in a monogamous relationship, but for the many years I only engaged in open relationships, I met quite a few people who didn’t want to know, if I was seeing someone else, who the other person was. That’s very understandable, although I’m not the same way. Yet, the person who didn’t want to know who my other love interest was would obsess over figuring it out. Once, I said, very honestly, “If I talk to you about someone I’m friends with and like and admire, that’s not the person you should be concerned about.” I always approached my “other” relationships with a more idealistic eye; part of what drew me into the world of polyamoury was the ability to have a relationship built a little more on idealism and romance and beauty, and less on the everyday realities of what a long-term relationship actually entails.

Ironically, a few of those “other” relationships turned into friendships that occupy an important space in my life, while I’m no longer in touch with the person I was primarily dating at the time. I’m sure, however, had I pursued a monogamous and more emotionally demanding relationship with any of those people, that wouldn’t be the case. A little idealism, romance, and intrigue goes a long way…but it does not build a long-term, committed relationship.

You know the cute barista that works at Starbucks, the one you look forward to seeing every day? I recommend remembering this blog before asking her/him for a phone number, or planning a date. What you gain from looking forward to seeing that stranger each day is something far more beautiful and inspiring than what might come from taking the leap from silent crush to complicated reality.

Might I recommend buying a Kindle Fire? Or maybe playing pub trivia? :P

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