This story comes via Evan Marc Katz and it’s a doozy:
In 8th grade I developed my first crush. She was all I could think about but I was too scared to ever talk to her. I was thinking and hoping it would be easier in high school. It wasn’t. There were attractive girls and some even expressed interest in me, however I was not interested in any of them as I still could only think of my crush.
Sophomore year of high school I developed a new crush. Another girl I could not stop thinking about. It lasted about one and a half years and once again I could not talk to her. If she tried to talk to me, I was practically paralyzed.
If figured maybe college would be better. I was approached by some women, but once again I was not interested in any of them.
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In the meantime, I still was still too scared to reach out to my crush and was hoping to maybe run into her somewhere somehow, even though I knew almost nothing about her or how to find her. However, I never felt similarly about anybody else.
I did go to bars or parties but was never interested in anyone to ask them out.
I did go on some dates, usually some suggestions from friends of family, but once again they went nowhere as I had no interest in any of them.
A little under 10 years after high school, a friend did try calling her, but it was too late and she was getting married.
I have tried dating sites like Match and eHarmony and even apps like Tinder, but it never goes anywhere as I don’t feel anything and physical attraction is not enough for me and never was.
It has been over 20 years since high school. I have never seen or had any contact with my crush. I still go on dates and do as many different things as I can, but I have no interest in anyone else. If anything, I recently started thinking more about her than before.
So how can I get over her and finally develop a feeling for someone else?
When I was in high school, I had a crush. She was beautiful, popular, intelligent, friendly and had a terrific smile. She knew who I was and was nice to me, but she was dating older guys that were big-time athletes and that was not me. As I got older and more silver-tongued, I did manage to talk her into letting me crash in her dorm room when I was visiting her college. I was hopeful and thought there was a genuine possibility I might finally have a shot with my crush. In the end, it was not even close. She showed zero interest in anything other than being friendly. In retrospect, the way that played out seems weird, but maybe it was just a more innocent time.
In any case, I get where Michael is coming from and I know what it’s like to look at a woman from afar and think, “Wow, no one else compares to her. She is head and shoulders better than any other around here. If I could just get her, life would be amazing.”
Here’s the problem with that kind of thinking. It’s an idealization that can only be maintained as long as you have a certain level of distance for her. Once you really get to know your “crush,” you will find out she’s flawed like everybody else. Maybe she’s insecure, anxious or her beauty blinded you to the fact that she’s a boring conversationalist. Maybe she drinks too much, is mean spirited or is a big fan of drag queen story hours. I don’t know what any particular woman’s strengths and weaknesses are, but I have met enough women to know that they all have them.
So what Michael is doing is creating this beautiful, flawless angel in his mind and then when he starts talking to real women, he finds they don’t measure up to the perfection he’s imagining. Of course, his crush wouldn’t measure up either if he got to know her. How much sense does it make to keep pining away over his imaginary vision of a woman who’s already married? He’s in his mid-thirties and it’s time to move on. On some level, he has to know that and even if it takes therapy to get the job done, now is the time to break free and get on with his life.