Many of us who went to non-coed schools developed our romantic muscle in our teenage years by having crushes. It could be a neighbourhood kid, family friends’ children or even a celebrity. In most cases, we moved from one crush to another with ease. What does having a crush on someone mean? I like The Britannica Dictionary’s definition: a strong feeling of romantic love for someone that is usually not expressed and does not last a long time. In my experience having a crush as an adolescent was great. It was a much needed positive distraction, light-hearted and not laden with the drama of having a “real” boyfriend.
As we enter adulthood we start seeking reciprocity of our feelings. That is the natural progression. However, as things stand when it comes to finding love, plenty of choice and the agency singles have now, often leads to a long and arduous journey to find that one person for you. Over time many feel discouraged in their search. I am sure all of us who have single friends have heard them say that they are “taking a break” in their search. Then they go back to it with a renewed vigour. And then it happens again and again. By the nth time they have whittled down their wish list, and are quite jaded and dangerously desperate. Is this the right state of mind to find the right person for you? Absolutely not.
I encourage all my single clients to not settle for whoever comes their way in this state of mind. The next step is to develop strategies to get out of this state of mind. What has worked wonderfully for many of my clients is having a crush. Yes, it really can be that simple at times. Unlike the teenage years here it’s a voluntary act. To not complicate their lives, I suggest to my clients to pick celebrities to have a crush on.
It could be a famous sports person, business person or even a Hollywood/ Bollywood star. People that they are not likely to meet ever in their lives. This one act of picking one person and thinking about him/her romantically has helped them feel less lonely and has definitely improved their confidence level while they continue going on dates. It’s taken off the edge that comes with not having that special someone in your life. Even though they know that their crush does not even know that they exist!
36-year-old P, a single client of mine seemed quite shocked when I asked her if she currently had a crush on someone. That age of having crushes is over, she said. At that time P was exactly in the place I mentioned earlier: jaded and dangerously desperate. It took some convincing to have her even consider having a crush. We started with her pointing out the kind of men she found attractive. Then we moved on to the why’s of it. She picked a talented Bollywood actor. He came across as a down to earth person. P liked that he had done a lot of alternate cinema. His general demeanour that was publicly available through Instagram appealed to her too. It’s been a month since we zeroed in on this person.
All this while P has been going on dates. The difference it has made in P’s life is very visible to her too. She claims that she is definitely not feeling as desperate as she was when we started. She is not spreading herself thin by going out with or texting any man who shows interest in her like she was doing earlier. P is choosing who she goes out with. Another aspect that P pointed out was that she felt that her vibe was generally more attractive now than it was before. I totally agree with that. When we feel romantic, our vibe does become attractive.
There is no right or wrong age to have a crush. There is also nothing wrong in having a crush on someone. If it helps you get out of an abyss you find yourself in, I’d say go for it. It is perhaps one of the healthiest ways to keep you from making wrong choices for yourself when it comes to love. The other benefit of having a crush at this age is that it gives you an important insight into your needs and desires that helps get clarity on the kind of qualities you seek in your partner. For example, having a crush on this actor helped P get clarity on the kind of partner she wants; sensitive, soft spoken and not overtly ambitious.
Like with any extremes, a word of caution here is to not get obsessive about the person you have a crush on. I highly recommend that you do not pick people in your circle of influence who you are likely to run into or meet socially. The other important thing is to keep making the effort to date people you find interesting and remember that having a crush is indeed a one sided, temporary phase that will enable you to have the patience to find and be with the right person for you.
This is a limited series by Simran Mangharam, a dating and relationship coach, who can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.