This is a piece about dating– specifically about dating crushes versus dating people you were already friends with. I compare the similarities and differences in the formation and continuation of said relationships.
As a self proclaimed mostly gay- bisexual, this has been a weird year for me. I’m finding my attractions mostly aligning with men, cis ones.
IN THE YEAR 2020
Before this year, I think I actively avoided the species, but alas COVID. You see in the early days of the shutdown, the lesbians took to hunting and gathering for they could see what was coming. There was a mass cuffing and so my people [bisexuals] were forced to flee the land of women, left scarce of any resources.
I HAVE A CRUSH ON YOU [AND YOU]
Now in the early days of the shut down, my crush-laden eyes were out. Those eyes that see from a distance in the dating world.
For most of my dating life, these eyes have led me. I form a crush and whoa! Tunnel vision. Once I have a crush, it’s hard to notice anyone else, even far more fitting suitors. Even ones that gift you flowers or actually text you back. Ones that know your birthday without having Facebook. For lack of a better term, they call them the lovers stuck in the ‘friendzone’ and man, did I blow it a few times there.
Monogamous minded I call it, but it’s more like monogamous blinded. Once I truly have my sights set on another, my focus for all others is diminished.
I LOVE THEM, I LOVE THEM NOT
But what forms it? What makes that attraction go that way? Stay that way? And more importantly how on earth do you stop it?
I mean I know when I have had friends-turned-lovers, there is always a moment. There’s this moment where you just look at each other and the world feels broken for a minute. It’s confusing. They kind of make you feel like you’re going to throw up from the confusion.
But you don’t.
Because there’s trust.
And it’s only just a moment.
Not days, weeks, or months of agony.
But you just know.
No, the crush isn’t like that. Crushes crush.
SECRETS OF THE MIND
I have written on the subject of attraction and the thing that always baffles me about attraction is the mind’s unwillingness to release it’s secrets of why to me. My own brain won’t tell me why we like this person!
Brain: Him Me: Okayyyyyyy…. Brain: Him Me: I heard you the first time-- but why on earth does it make sense to want him? YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW HIM! Brain: Him Me: Literally one. Give me ONE good reason. Brain: Him him him him him him him him him Logic: Hahahaha Bye Mish
THAT DAMN CRUSH
The problem with the crush from a distance is the lack of knowing who the hell you even like.
Think of Frozen– ‘You can’t marry a man you just met!’ [Note to self– see Frozen if you can get past the flashbacks of performing the songs over and over for your Pre-K class circa 2012. Find out if she ends up marrying the man she just met in the end]
Now don’t get me wrong, my sixth-people sense can be spot on sometimes. I have had MANY crushes and the vast majority of them turned out to be my best friends. MY BEST FRIENDS!
The crush-laden eyes saw something in them– they were attracted to these people. They just got it a little wrong. You see, attraction, as I’ve said in previous pieces, is not always a sexual thing. The brain confuses us sometimes. We meet a new person we’re attracted to and bam! We think it’s sexy.
Then it isn’t. Then friendship comes and the crush dissipates. Or friendship doesn’t come and the crush dissipates. The point is as you get to really know the person, your view changes and becomes unclouded.
UNCLOUDED, PEDESTAL SHATTER
Once you’re unclouded, sometimes you find the person isn’t all they were cracked up to be. That’s not to say they’re a bad person, but you realize you don’t jive that way or more importantly, you realize they aren’t really what you want in a partner.
It isn’t fair to you to put another person on a pedestal, but honestly it isn’t fair to them either. It is really difficult to live up to that hype and that kind of pressure can drive anyone over the edge. You’ll find that no one likes to fail and if the person does end up liking you back, they’re going to feel that they can never live up to your expectations.
Honestly, they probably won’t. Our brains build visions of grandeur, but not everyone is a prince.
MY BIG LOVES
Now I am so very fortunate to have three big loves in my life. These past partners have given me the experience of feeling and giving the kind of love people dream of– and for that as I said, I am fortunate.
CRUSHES TURNED MORE
Two out of those three started as immense crushes on my part. Both of them were love at first sight. Now, unlike the other crushes, these two were oddly exactly what I pegged them as. It was a warranted pedestal and for the most part, we treated each other like gold.
Relationships have their problems so I won’t go further on their endings, but the point is they were exceptions to the rules about crushes. Somehow my brain hit the nail on the head and they were it. The friendships developed fast and wow, chemistry at the same exact time. Lucky finds. I do not think these are in any way typical and, in fact, I don’t believe it is healthy to follow the too strong feelings of a crush anymore. I think if I felt one coming on too strong, I’d run at this point.
The third of my big loves was different. We were friends, truly friends before we dated. We were actually friends for years. I can’t really picture anymore what really set us on fire, but the chemistry changed and like Beauty and the Beast, there was just ‘something there that wasn’t there before.’
The differences in these big loves came in the formation. Now, they all developed into their own unique love– but the feelings of calm and comfort I felt with these people were the same.
The feeling of being completely you with another is groovy.
In forming the relationships with those crushes, I was a nervous goddamn wreck. Truly nervous. Every single thing they did would make me nervous. Every word. I hung on with baited breath when we both went our separate ways to work, to eat, to sleep. Did I wait double the time he took to text me to text him back?
I am intense when I have a crush, intense enough that I KNOW I can’t handle that from another person. I have unfortunately had it the other way and ran scared.
In the moment though, when I’m the crusher, I crave nothing but that person in any form– in text, touch, or photo.
Usually my crushes are terrified, and also usually I feel out of control.
My two crush turned loves somehow developed into calm though. We found calm and I truly loved them romantically and just all of the above. I say it that way because you never un-love someone all the way, or at least I know I don’t.
The difference with the friend-become-lover situation is the comfort was always there. The comfort is not forced or even developed, but it exists in the realm of all you’ve had before. It exists because you already built a level of trust and that foundation makes it easy. Oh man, it was easy to finally fall for her once I fell for her. I already knew it all. We’d run to each other in times of need on the quad before. We relied on each other already. The rest was easy. I think love forming is supposed to feel that kind of easy.
So many blips along the way. In reflecting on my solo dates, I found a lot of mentions of blips. Now, ‘blip’ is a term I’ve defined here before, but I will again if you missed it.
The blips are the people who you really thought were going to be something. These are the crushes turned more, the ones that failed. Man, I’ve had a lot of blips. Y’all know I love love and so sometimes the sparky-chemistry things feel like more.
My radar blips hard for some people and when I do get them (and I won’t be coy, I have before) it always ends in the plane coming crushing down. Crushes crush.
The blips are often the ones we learn the other stuff from. I learned how to love with my big loves, but I learned how to date with the blips.
HATE THE PLAYER. HATE THE GAME.
Now, I know a lot about dating, since I’ve been playing that game before even rugby. The thing is with crushes I can’t follow the rules.
The crushes break my brain rules you see, my dating rules. Now the rules exist for a reason. The rules ensure we take it slow, get to know people before we fall for them or LEAP for them if you’re me.
With dating, you just have to play the game. Even if you don’t want to, our brains work the way they work and psychology is what it is. Slow and steady win the race. People, I run. 15 minute miles, but I finish.
When you rush, you break it. When you crush, you do the same.
FUTURE MR/S CRUSH
Now as for the future, I can’t expect to know if another crush is ever coming and I can’t stop one. I have tried different things for crushes– try to get closer and be friends! That works sometimes. Avoid like the plague! That makes them think I’m mean or hate them sometimes. Tell them! Lie to them! Make eyes at them in the ruck!
All in all, none of that worked and I ultimately had to wait them out until they just went away.
Now, I’m fortunate to be crush-free [wish there was a patch for that] and dating in the land of comfort and ease. I burp more than I would normally admit on the internet and my sports-yelling is insane. I prefer long shirts to pants and I can find a way to burn absolutely any recipe. I hate talking on the phone more than anything so I text ferociously– he likes me anyway. That’s the kind of dating I prefer.
In summary, crushes crush, time heals most, and some men are not that bad.