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Ridiculous middle-aged crush- need to get over it.(46 Posts)
First of all, I know how ridiculous this is going to sound. (It's also similar to a recent thread on here, which was very helpful to read.)
At 44, I have developed a huge crush on someone who works at a place that my son and myself attend every week. I think that the feeling was pretty much mutual- meaningful eye contact, chats etc.
I hardly know him- almost certainly married & children. But I got totally carried away with him in my head. It was just nice that someone looked at me like a woman and not just X's mother. I don't think I imagined it- deeply sexual eye contact, makes an effort every week to talk to me etc. And the conversations were longer and longer- he was digging a bit for details about me etc. Of course, this then developed in my head into a whole full-blown thing.
I hardly know him but much to my mortification I sent an FB message this week (very innocent, ostensibly- he did something nice for my son.) (But of course you don't need to be a genius to see the intent behind the message.)
I am praying it went into the 'Other' folder because essentially it means: I found out who you are, I like you.
Honestly, I know I'm over-reacting a bit but I feel mortified. I don't even know why I did I- I can't handle a FB message, never mind an affair.
No reply, of course (thankfully).
I just want to not feel like this. I know I need to work on my current (long-standing) relationship (sex life not good; my SO appears to not have any emotions ). I don't know what I'm asking, really- how to get over this, I guess?
Obviously I won't be attending this place again (for a long, long time) and so the chances of me running into him are nil.
I feel dreadful- stupid, embarrassed, idiotic. But i did/do like him. Ugh. Any tips/hints on how to deal with this would be helpful. (I do have a history of silly little crushes in the last two years or so; I think I am just coming out of a post-natal haze and realising there is a woman here, not just a mother.)
Sorry to ramble. I can't blame him, really. Yes, he encouraged me a bit but I'm sure it was all harmless to him and he didn't give it a thought.
I want to:
i. Not feel like this about him;
ii. Stop acting like an idiot; and
iii. Not do this again.
Thanks if you got this far.
I hardly know him- almost certainly married & children. But I got totally carried away with him in my head.
Hang on to that, MAC, this man is not available. And neither are you. This is why all this is sooo exciting.
Be glad there is still a woman there (you). But still a sensible one (which is why you're posting here).
The present relationship tends to look a bit grey in comparison but may not if it's risked over an infatuation. Can you talk to your SO?
Mid 40s - dangerous time. Not unusual. Don't beat yourself up, but also don't underestimate the ability of the imagination to furnish an entire palace with matching curtains.
all the best.
but also don't underestimate the ability of the imagination to furnish an entire palace with matching curtains.
Oh yes. This. Ugh. And the worst thing is, I know it. I know how dangerous it is and how common it is, really. But I still do it/did it.
I have tried to talk to my SO but he is very emotionally unavailable (as he admits; has had counselling in the past). He does love me (I think) and is an amazing father (we are also best friends) but I am very low down the priority list.
I guess it was nice to be with someone who appeared to be really interested in me, even if it was illusory and I was kidding myself (I am fairly conventionally attractive and look a lot younger than I am, so I think I was probably just eye candy in his working day).
Thank you. You've really helped me to clarify things a bit more- especially why it seems so exciting (probably for him, too). I know it's very normal (I didn't realise HOW normal, actually) but it has really made me feel idiotic, embarrassed and actually a bit lonely- I realise how much a miss a bit of excitement/romance whilst also knowing how transitory and deceptive this can be.
Do men do this? I have no idea....
OP I wrote a post similar to yours last year.
I ended up having an EA with the man. It's been one unholy mess. After lots of soul searchng I ended my unhappy marriage (to a emotionally detached man). The OM is stlll with his OH which added to the pain.
You've sent a message on FB (which he would have got btw) I can see where this is heading. Don't do it Either try and work on your relationshp or leave if your SO isn't interested in doing the same. Life is to short to settle.
I'm sorry, MexicanHat. That sounds awful for you.
Yes, I can see where this is heading too and I really want to stop it. I can (relatively easily) stop seeing him- it causes a degree of social awkwardness and a loss to my son (my son loves the place where he works, as do I) but it has to be done. And there is no way I will send a message again. (I would like the ground to open up and swallow me about that. What the hell was I thinking?!)
I guess I just want to stop feeling like this. I know with no contact these feelings will pass, as nothing can fuel them; I just want to be over it. I want to stop feeling anything and never, ever do this again.
I guess it will take time. I need to work on my relationship with my SO but it's so hard when a man is not really available, emotionally (as you know).
Thanks for sharing your story. I'm sorry you went through all that.
I think I know why I sent the message- to kind of push it so that something would happen, either way. (This has been going on for a good few months now.) And no reply is essentially an answer- which is thoroughly good, as that's that, really.
Thank you OP. I am very happy now. I was very unhappy in my marriage and the EA gave me the strength to leave. The OM wasn't the person I thought he was - because affairs aren't real life, they are fantasy.
The only way to go now is no contact. It does take time but you will get there I promise. Please take my advise. I regret the upset I caused to my STBXH when he found out about the EA but he knows our marriage wasn't working. I should have had to courage to leave the marriage earlier and none of the events would have happened.
I'm sure there are lots of men who find you attractive.
Don't be lonely, keep talking. You are not idiotic.
How to talk to your SO too? Maybe it needs to be a more honest and riskier talk - a best friend deserves as much. Maybe he's depressed, maybe afraid. Maybe something similar has happened to him. He has to understand that you need to be higher up that list or rather that you both do, together.
On the other hand maybe this experience (your internal experience) is unavoidable: do not act on it though. Certainly if this man is married that should be enough, however you feel about your own relationship. Never underestimate the agony of affairs, whatever people say about their respective partners. You haven't yet crossed a line - don't cross it. You're too decent a person.
Sorry to sound preachy. Consider your hand held, if you like.
Very glad you're happy now and that you came through it.
Yes- that's what I can't bear- the idea of hurting my SO who, at heart, is an extremely good, loyal and kind man and doesn't deserve this (and neither does my son: I have been terribly distracted).
The only way to go now is no contact. It does take time but you will get there I promise.
Thanks. Yes, I totally agree. It is going to be hard though.
Of course you did OP. I understand as I did something similar. It is of course possible that he is on holiday with his family and that's why he hasn't replied. I think you probably know that his interest is reciprocated.
Consider your hand held, if you like.
Thanks so much. Oh God I'm crying now.
Yes, I will talk to my SO; not sure how, yet, or a way in.
Sorry, must get my head together for work but I'll come back later. Thanks, I so appreciate this.
On a quick break.
One thing I was thinking about....I have actually 'known' him for years but it's only fairly recently that he has shown any real interest.
Now, the next thing I'm going to write sounds like I'm blaming him, which I am totally not as I have been just as bad (if that's the right word).
But...he kind-of started it (I hadn't really noticed him all that much until he started giving me a lot of attention- staring, smiles, charm etc.) I'm not blaming him; I'm just wondering...why? Surely, like me, he must have known that this would (at best) lead to nothing and (at worst) be a bloody terrible mess.
He's not a young man; my age. We all know where these things lead.
I am excruciatingly shy (honestly!) and never initiated anything; he is always the one to talk to me (I can barely speak) and I try very hard not to stare at him (also don't want to hassle him at work).
So why? Same reasons as me? I.e. middle-aged attention-seeking; thrill of the chase; like the attentions of a pretty person....?
I suppose I just don't understand his motivation. I don't 100% know he is attached (no wedding ring) but I presume so (there was certainly a wife on the scene at least until the last couple of years).
I guess the 'middle-aged married man seeking attention' story is as old as the hills but I am just left wondering why. I guess I will never know but I feel slightly...narked? Played? Which is ridiculous and unfair.
I dunno. Need to kind of write it all out then let it go. I guess it's not a question of blame and doesn't really matter anyway; the key is to do nothing from now on.
But he started it! Bah. :P ;)
Amazing things do happen. But normal life usually intervenes. Can you look on this as a bit of a wake-up call? Perhaps you do need to reconnect with your SO. Or possibly explore other options but not leaping out of the frying pan into the fire.
This has bubbled along for months you say so not exactly a flash in the pan. I think something is definitely lacking in your 'real' life and you can't lay this all at the feet of this OM.
No need to feel idiotic or embarrassed if you gain something from an experience.
Incidentally about the FB thing - or any occasion when you reconsider and feel a pang of what was I thinking - don't overthink it. More than that, play dumb. Keep a straight face and let whoever else is involved think you meant it as read or heard. No undercurrents, no clever subtle subtext.
Yo for normal life
hey MAC, nothing has happened! So no blame is needed.
I honestly think the 'middle-aged married man seeking attention' story though old, is perfectly serviceable. Of course he likes your attention. One of these days one of the women he pointedly smiles at may decide to take him up on it, which might not be what he really wants. We are not naturally monogamous - at times like this we have to decide to be. He could at least respect the fact that you're not single.
Keep in mind that this isn't really about him anyway, it's about you: how this attention makes you feel about yourself. There is an erotic element which you could relish, if you can disentangle it from Mr Roving-eye, who I think you will find is a distraction.
What is happening to you, and can you bring a new element to your own relationship? Or do you need to review your circumstances? Bearing in mind that you do have responsibilities. But don't be cross with yourself - take a deep breath and a good hard look at what this means for you. Don't bury it.
Oh god you are me up till a few weeks ago. I met someone at something (sorry for being cryptic) in may.
Was a one off appointment but of course I then knew where he worked and that one meeting made me a bit obsessed with him.
Thankfully I never caught his name so even though I thought about him all the time and tried to work out if I was brave enough to invent a reason to go back to his work I could not facebook stalk him.
I met him again purely by change in July when I was behind him in the bank! I thought i would die on the spot that after all those weeks he was there but thankfully again I missed his name and never made a fool of myself by being all "hi, do you remember me....."
Anyway the point of this is that in the last week or so the feeling have all went as soon as they came on. I'm happily married with dc and I think it was the excitement of fancying someone again that sent me loopy.
Thanks everyone. I don't think I'm really blaming him as such (trying not to); I think I'm just a bit....I dunno. Indignant? From a vanity point of view I guess I expected more but that isn't really what I wanted anyway. So really it is far better that he didn't do anything further.
But no, nothing happened so no need for blame anyway.
To give him a bit of credit he has no reason to know I am not single- no wedding ring, debit card says Ms., I'm not married, never sees my partner with me.
Anyway...this struck me a lot:
*Keep in mind that this isn't really about him anyway, it's about you: how this attention makes you feel about yourself. There is an erotic element which you could relish, if you can disentangle it from Mr Roving-eye, who I think you will find is a distraction.
What is happening to you, and can you bring a new element to your own relationship? Or do you need to review your circumstances? Bearing in mind that you do have responsibilities. But don't be cross with yourself - take a deep breath and a good hard look at what this means for you. Don't bury it.*
I think what it means is that I am a much more sexual person than I have let myself be. My SO and I have never had a brilliant sex life (although it had been better before having my son): he has always had impotence issues which improved with counselling.
I have been lucky enough in the past to have had a great sex life with other men (although not good emotionally) and so I think this is the element that I miss.
My DH just doesn't have a strong sex drive - I don't blame him, we are all different. Apart from the first few months or our relationship, which were pretty adventurous, we have never really 'clicked' sexually and are now down to a quickie missionary a few times a month which is rather nice, but driven and fueled by very explicit OM fantasies.
I think the pre-baby me is emerging again and it is a much more erotic being than I have recognised before.
One alternative is that I have a very deep need to be seen as attractive and desirable (I guess we all do): I make a lot of effort with my appearance and I have always had male attention, but I seem to need it more and more as I get older. I can't say I'm very proud of this.
Thanks everyone for asking such good questions.
Lucky escape, bluemonkey! Thanks for sharing your experience.
Thanks donkeys- good advice there, esp. about FB.
saferniche you should go into counselling if you haven't already!
Thanks all. I can't tell you how much better I feel now; talked down from the ledge somewhat. I don't feel as freaky and stupid.
Just on a practical note, if you can bear to look at the message again, Facebook do 'read receipts' which tell you whether and when the recipient has actually opened the message or not. (In the inbox box on the left it will have a tick by their name and then under your message it will say 'Seen 20 August'. At least then you will know. He might not check his fb very often.
Thanks Gred. I've archived it and can't bear to look. bites fist We're not FB friends so it may well have gone into 'Other' and not read, I dunno.
I'll give it a week or so and look if I can bear to, when the shame has died down a bit. On the surface it was a nice and innocent message but does heavily implicate me in doing a reasonable amount of investigating about him. Although he is quite a public figure (locally, not famous!!) and so it wasn't hard.
phew, thank goodness!
Well, embrace the erotic - don't feel shame. I'm almost too English to suggest Relate's sex therapy and certainly too English to have attended when I could have done with some help, but there it is in existence nevertheless. Your SO needs to know how much you miss a satisfying sex life - a very sensitive subject for him in the circumstances but better that he doesn't realise this later in some far more distressing way.
And vital for your peace of mind that no one else gets hurt in the process. That would NOT enhance your mojo or the general good in the world!
I had couple counselling recently and the only result was a desire to kill the analyst, slowly, using an equivalent amount of cash as her exorbitant fees to set fire to her consulting room. I am still married, however.
So no, not I....
OP I get you. I too make an effort to always look nice. I do lots of exercise to stay slim and think I always make the best of myself. My H never complimented me, never told me I looked nice, infact I may as well have been invisible. It was the OM telling me how stunning, beautiful, funny etc. I was that sucked me in. I realise now that it's because he also wanted to know he was still attractive and I was simply stroking his own ego.
Mexican- yes, this is how I feel now- invisible. But yes, I think the OM stares etc. so much to get back a reflection that he too is still attractive (which he is, very).
Saferniche you touch on something very important to me. I will sound unbearably priggish and pious here but in my working and personal life I have always tried to do the right thing; I also do lots of volunteering and so on, vegetarian. Obviously I am no saint but I try to add good mojo to the world and do I think this partly explains why I am so upset- it's not the kind of thing I do, or should do. The damage to my self-image if I did anything would be unbearable and not something I could live with- possibly smashing two families and causing so much hurt. And having had it done to me in the past I know exactly how it feels.
Again this does sound pious but it is a powerful force in preventing me from acting further, so I need to keep remembering that.
OP, I am your same age. I think the name you have given yourself is instructive.
You are attractive but why put yourself down using terms like "middle aged" which imply you are not?
It is a dangerous age. I sometimes feel like it is my last gasp before I head into my fifties and oblivion (this is just now I feel).
It is hard as I have for a large part of my life defined myself by my looks <cough cough> to have to involuntarily give up the affirmation I get from occasional male admiration. Hence the need to re-double my efforts to hang onto that feeling. I have started paying a lot more attention to my grooming of late ...
not pious at all, and I'm sorry it happened to you in the past too.
Good for you. In fact, MAC, you are an Epicurean, a pleasure seeker.
'To be valued and esteemed is agreeable just because one's life is thereby more secure and full of pleasure. Hence we consider that dishonesty is to be avoided not simply because of the troublesome turn of events which it leads to, but much rather because its presence in one's heart prevents one ever breathing freely or finding peace.
... One cannot live pleasantly unless one lives wisely, honourably and justly; and one cannot live wisely, honourably and justly without living pleasantly.'
and that is via some bloke called Cicero, so nothing new there.
blueshoes - far from oblivion, I promise you ;)
blueshoes, yes, it is a dangerous age....50 is round the corner.It is hard, to know that there will be a day (pretty soon) when the looks and slimness really will go and with it one of my main sources of self-esteem. Sad, but true.
saferniche Eipcurean, ah, how nice. I actually think I should also read some of the Stoics- lots of wisdom there.
I can identify this too but I try to see the positive side of being attracted to other people. I would rather have someone i am attracted to be around than not at all. I t just reminds us we are alive! My DP has admitted he finds another school mom attractive but oddly I don't mind. I trust him. I find other people attractive too but what stops me going any further is how i would feel if my partner cheated on me. Plus i would probably have a breakdown as could not live with the guilt.
You are right about the danger zone 40's, though have been shocked at so many couples splitting up in the final years of my sons primary school.
Oh, I think being attracted to other people is fine - entirely human. And a good thing if you can share it with your spouse too - this has a tendency to neutralise the flutters. Doesn't protect you though from mid-life crushes or the sort of fantasising which would embarrass a teenager. Especially your own teenager.
Hello MiddleAgedCrush. Your messages remind me of how I felt before breaking up my last relationship (no DC thankfully). I felt sexually unsatisfied and had loads of crushes. My partner now things are completely different, and I never would get these crushes. It IS to do with unfulfilled sex drive, or at least un-noticed erotic aspects.
Thanks kerstina and delilah. Interestingly my partner does know a bit about the OM (I did discuss his attraction to me in a jokey way) and this did take the sting out of it , a little. But no, the fantasising hasn't protected me from falling in a fairly embarrassing manner.
Anyway...interestingly (to me, anyway) I spent a lot of last night and early this morning having conversations in my head with the OM about how it couldn't happen, was a bad idea etc. etc. for all the reasons we have discussed above. Which makes me sound like a lunatic but actually shows that I have moved from thinking this might happen to knowing it won't. Which is a healthy development, I think.
Obviously, this isn't anything I would ever actually say to the OM but it's helping me to get a sense of [cliche alert] closure.
If I were you - don't put yourselves in a situation where you're alone with the OM whatever you're telling yourself now. Which you know anyway. Good luck!
Thanks- yup, I just can't see him anymore, at least not for a very long time. I know I would be back to square one if I did.
BTW upthread, I meant that you should be a counsellor, not be in counselling- hope that was clear! Sorry if not. And thanks for all the advice- much, much appreciated. You are very wise.
I knew this - don't worry! I wish I were: wise instead of just wiser.
Hi again OP. Yes, you would be back at square one. I went NC for well over a month and then OM contacted me via email on my birthday. This resulted in us being back in contact for a month as friends. For the first time I thought about his OH and how she would feel if she knew and what a total rat and game player he really was.
I had already deleted his text number so I then deleted and blocked him on Outlook. It put me right back to square one and I was so low I felt physical pain. I've now been NC for well over a month again and have put plans into place which means I'll never have to see him again. I finally feel strong and empowered and tbh I pity him because I know he will never be truly happy or satisfied. I also pity his OH because she obviously has no idea about our 5 month EA and of the kind of man he really is.
Btw I had conversations in my head too but it didn't stop me I hope your stronger than me x
Thanks MH. I am sorry for your pain. It comes through in every line.
I am reading the Baggage Reclaim NC book and it is very helpful and makes a lot of sense. I need to stay strong, though.
Emotionally unavailable men, eh? Ugh. But perhaps I was doing the same thing.
I know what you mean about physical pain though. Now I know I can't see him again my stomach clenches.
Just to update:
One week with no contact. It's hard, but getting easier. Today has been tough- I would normally see him. But I have been OK. Sad, disappointed, but OK.
Natalie Lue's 'No Contact' book and the fantasy one (forgot the title) have been invaluable- essential reading.
Thanks for all the advice and hand-holding. Nowhere near 'there' yet (still having fantasy meet-ups in my head) but I am trying hard to limit the mental space I give this.
Hope all who are reading and who contributed to this thread are doing OK. Thanks again. xxx
I'll try and update if I have anything else of use to add (and to stop myself from backsliding).
OP, thanks for the update. Hang in there!
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Yup, over-thinking and over-analysing is what I do....but it's getting easier.
Thank you. I feel like a better person, at least. Or a bit better, anyway.
Quick update (mainly for myself, but thanks to anyone who reads!)
Three week no contact. I really miss him at the moment. Obviously I'm not going to go and see him but God, it's bad today. Don't know why today, particularly. Got a lot of general work/life stress so maybe I'm fixating on him to distract myself....dunno. Wish I knew when I would stop feeling like this.
I suppose it's just disappointment; disappointment about something that was never going to happen anyway. Or disappointment about an idealised situation and the loss of that ever happening, probably ever again?
I think I am mourning the thing that never happened and might have been; but also it's like a break-up. It's like when you end a relationship/freindship and you REALLY know you mustn't /shouldn't contact them but you kind of want to....to see if they still like you, or think about you....I know he doesn't though.
I still keep wondering what was going on in his head which I know is futile. I will never know, and the answer appears to be 'not much'. So it's a silly question to ask. But I still wonder.
I live very near where he works and keep thinking I might bump into him (possible but unlikely and I sure as hell won't go there! Obv.). Can't quite let it go, even though I know I have to.
Will very probably see him in 6/7 weeks or so....yikes. I'm sure it will be fine (he is unfailingly polite) but I hope to be almost over it by then. Hopefully.
I am very busy which helps, but I feel like a big emotional hole has been left, which again is silly because it was all of my own fantasy creation anyway. Well, I'm sure he liked me/found me attractive but all the rest was in my head.
Read Natalie Leu's book about dreamers and fantasists (forgot the name) and it was really good- it helps to see it in black and white. This thread also helps enormously and I keep coming back and reading it- so thanks.
Oh, and I'm in counselling. Keep repeating patterns with my emotionally unavailable father-- keep picking the same kind of man- either literally unavailable or emotionally withdrawn.
it's taking a long time, isn't it? What a headf**k. But you're not picking this man, it's all a fantasy. You're picking the fantasy. How exhausting your imagination must be! It will fade, honestly, and look very silly in a year's time (in fact you'll forget it). AS LONG AS YOU STAY CLEAR. Boundaries, my girl, boundaries ;)
TBH it all looks a bit silly now, and me a grown woman and all!
Yes, it's the fantasy I pick; I need to keep telling myself that. Interestingly it's kind of running its course; there was so little to go on that it's getting quite boring to go over the old events; without any fresh meetings, it quite literally goes nowhere so there is no new fuel.
One of the lessons is to not repeat this pattern again.
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