Hump Day Crush: Those Next Few Moments

Those first few moments, when everything is just a fantasy inside your head, are all that go into a normal crush.

“Moments” like that can last for varying amounts of time–anywhere from actual moments to years. I know I have silently crushed on people for ages without ever actually interacting with them. Or, at least, never having anything even vaguely resembling meaningful interaction.

But if you never go past that normal crush stage, you’re missing out. While it may be fun and exciting, while it may get your heart racing and your palms sweating, it is still all just fantasy. Fantasy can teach you a little about yourself, but it can teach you a whole lot more when you test it out against reality.

It’s making that leap–from those first few moments to the next few moments–that is the difference between a normal crush and a Grown Up Crush.

In a Grown Up Crush, you take that fantasy and begin, usually slowly and carefully, to shine the harsh light of reality on it. The only way to do that is to actually get to know that crush as a person.

And that requires talking to her.

Sounds easy, right?

Wrong.

Just saying “Hi” can be one of the most difficult things for some people. I know that’s been the case for me more than a few times over the years. Sometimes, it still is a problem–even after I’ve known someone for a while. It’s something that only gets easier with practice.

I remember all too clearly one of my first big deal crushes. It started when I was in sixth grade and some friends of mine got the idea stuck in my head that I was totally in “love” with this girl in our class. Now, back then I had little idea of what love actually was and I had even less understanding of who I was (who really knows anything at age 12 or 13?). What I do know is that the nervousness and panic attacks were real.

And they happened every time I saw her.

While out grocery shopping with the family one day, I saw her come in to the supermarket with her family. As tweens and teens oft do, she and I were both soon as far away from our parents as we could possibly be. For at least fifteen minutes, I wandered one aisle off from where she was, trying to figure out what the heck I could say to her. My brain was locked up with all the horrible what-ifs and maybies of it all. I ran scenarios and discarded them. I tried to get some control over my racing brain and speeding heart rate. My chubby stomach shimmied and flipped in so many non-physical ways I thought I was going to be sick.

Being so wrapped up in all that inner turmoil, I was caught completely by surprise when she reversed direction in one aisle and I almost ran into her as I was rounding the corner.

Off guard and panicked, I squeaked out a strained “Hi.” and made an attempt at a weak wave. It wasn’t much, but it was something and it was done.

She, of course, ignored me. This is how that particular obsessive crush would almost always be. Even when I did mange more eloquent conversation attempts (which wasn’t often during those first few years), she would go out of her way to avoid me.

By the time I got my head on straight, I was well past the point where I should have realized that the reality of who she was didn’t match at all with the image I had the crush on. If I had been able to see that sooner, I could have saved myself two and a half years of utter misery.

More recently, a similar brain lock delayed my first official meeting with someone I had been talking to online for weeks. We had made plans to meet at a local venue and she was going to show up with a mutual friend so I’d be sure to spot her. Well, I did spot her–as soon as she came in. But my anxiety was so high that it took me another two and a half hours to move the ten feet to the table where she was to introduce myself.

Things didn’t go as badly as they could have, but it could have been a much better first meeting. Luckily, in this case, the reality matched much more with the fantasy the crush was based on. I’m at least reasonably good friends with her now and we’ve had some fun times out and about since that first fouled up meeting.

Holding strongly and blindly to our fantasies can have a serious negative impact on our happiness–both long-term and short-term. The only way to take off those blinders is to force ourselves into contact attempts with our crushes. That force is mostly internal on many levels. It is used to push through our own negative patterns and waves of anxiety. It is used to steel ourselves for the inevitable dashing of some fantasies and to help us keep our on our feet when our wildest dreams are confirmed as true.

Blending fantasy into reality and reality into fantasy is a long and delicate process. It starts quite simply, though.

All you need to do is get through those first few moments and on to the next few moments.

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