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30 January 2011

Ask Mecha: so, what exactly do you DO with a weird crush, anyway?[More:]This isn't about my friend at work but rather another friend of mine.

He's married; I've known him for ages. We're both attracted to each other in a sort of "oh, if we were only different people we'd so do each other" sort of way. We have dinner once every couple of months and send each other a lot of making-the-rounds internet jokes.

I so don't understand it. Every time he calls, my heart pounds in my chest like a motherfucking bass drum and I immediately rearrange my schedule to accommodate his. I get so happy when we're together. I think he sees me as a welcome relief from his busy family life--we flirt and talk a lot, but it's never gone beyond that.

And the thing is, I don't want it to. Even if he weren't married he would make me insane if I saw him more than I did, between the religion that's important to him and his non-existent attention span. He's a poster child for ADD; I'd kill him on the third day. And he'd probably be very uncomfortable with my lack of religion.

So, why do I feel this way, and what should I do about it? Cut him off? What would that accomplish? That heart pounding drum thing is nice, and I would hate to lose it. He's a great friend, anyway. (And he fixes my computer.) How do I deal with something like this? It feels like a tennis ball that I keep throwing against the wall; it comes back, and I throw it again. My arm is getting sore, but I'm going to throw it just one more time...

Yeah, yeah, I know, find someone else who fills that need. Working on that. But in the meantime?
I just take a weird crush for what it's worth and as long as it doesn't start creeping in to mess up the rest of my life I enjoy it. If it becomes an unpleasant thing then it is time to cut it off like a gangrenous limb.
posted by arse_hat 30 January | 17:14
What arse said. Just make sure your boundaries are super solid, and if it starts to take over your thinking too much or you spend an inordinate amount of time yearning, duck out.
posted by Miko 30 January | 17:35
I'd oh-so-gradually cut out the flirting and then the dinners. I know it doesn't feel like it but you are both playing with fire. Friendships with people who are taken, and who you don't really want anyway for the long term, need careful minding of the boundaries, or they go places that are messy and hurtful for all concerned.
posted by bearwife 30 January | 18:05
I have a weird crush on the grad student teaching my biology lab. I just really like it when he talks about his work, or maybe I like staring at him while he talks about his work, but since I noted the wedding ring and heard mention of the kids it's been on full squash mode. And yet, I have liked anyone in a really long time and it was nice just having someone I liked thinking about. I was making him my study muse with his double doctorate pursuing ways. Le sigh. Now I have to wonder if it's worth going to see him tomorrow to fix my abysmal lab reports. (Can't afford another B+.)

I say play with the chemistry and see what it takes to make your heart race. Just thinking about him or an actual phone conversation? Try to figure out what's attractive about him to you and focus on looking for that. It's always good to know what works for you. Now I know I have a thing for grad students. Huh, did not know that before. It opens up a whole new vista of men who are too young for me.
posted by ethylene 30 January | 20:16
There were a few relationships like that in my past- usually a co-worker whom I really, really get along with.

I have no sisters, so I guess I didn't grow up with a filter regarding women. Any woman my age that gave me any attention at all became romance/fantasy material. (Bear in mind I'm an engineer and didn't have a lot of contact with women to begin with.)

I finally kind of worked out what having a sister was like (through solid friendships with two of my sisters-in-law), and I finally realized that these fluttery relationships I'd had in the past were more of a brother-sister kind of bond rather than a romantic one.

On the one hand, this was a blow to my ego (you mean she doesn't really like me *that* way??), but on the other I'm learning how to have friendships with women without feeling like some kind of dirty old man.

Don't get me wrong... there are moments of that romance/fantasy that pop up once in a while, but I just take them for what they are- fleeting attractions that can help a friendship, but will never lead to anything more than that.
posted by Doohickie 30 January | 21:22
Sigh. I sympathize. It's like that joke where the guy says, Doctor, you have to help us. My brother thinks he's a goose that lays golden eggs. Doctor says, how long has this been going on? Guy says, oh about 10 years. Doctor says, why have you waited so long to bring him in? Guy says, well, we needed the eggs.

See, I know what it feels like to "need the eggs". But that's exactly what those feelings of heart-thumpiness is. It's as real as the eggs. And my own opinion is that it messes up your radar for finding the real thing. It just takes up space in your brain that should be available for someone who's .. available.

Anyway I have so been there and I get it. I hope you can come to some sort of resolution on this. (((hugs)))
posted by Kangaroo 31 January | 07:45
Echoing boundaries, boundaries, boundaries, here. It's really unfair to his wife and family. And it's unfair to you. You deserve someone truly available, and he is not. I've had friends in this situation, and it ends up a real mess. IMHO, it's already gone too far. Frankly, feeling the way you do, with the "heart pounding" and all, you should not be having him fix your anything, and certainly not going out to dinner with you, not alone anyway. It's really not the "cutesy" thing you seem to make it out to be. I think if you care about him (and yourself), you'll cool things off. No need for a scene; just gently back off. He'll get the message. Crushes fade, if you let them, especially if you don't have contact with the person anymore. I know the attention feels good; the fantasy feels good; dare I say, the power feels good (he likes me better than her); but ask yourself, do you really want to be that person? Aren't you worth more than that?

Of course, when a person has no boundaries, they rarely listen to advice about boundaries.
posted by Pips 31 January | 18:57
Kat's home! || It followed me home....can I keep it?