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How long before a crush becomes a problem?

(177 Posts)
Mrticklelives Wed 30-Oct-19 20:03:10

I have a crush on my friend who I've known for about eight years.

We were close enough to talk about our lives fairly intimately but not close enough for us to message each other. We know each through mutual friends. We all do a hobby together.

I've always thought he was attractive but we were both in relationships when I met him so it was more of a passing observation than an actual attraction.

He's always treated me with a lot of respect and care, borderline flirty but not enough that I felt uncomfortable. The kids would call it 'banter'.

We are both still with our partners. Last year, we were out with the hobby group and had too much to drink and although nothing happened, something seemed to change fundamentally about the way we interacted with each other. Long hugs and looks.

If either of us had pushed it, something might have happened but we were both smart enough or not dumb enough not to cross that line.

The problem is since then I can't get him out of my head.

I have pulled right back when we see each other. I don't share my life with him. I don't giggle and chat with him like we used it.

I've noticed him pulling back too (good!) he avoids me more than he used to and doesn't go out of his way to talk to me. If we happen to be alone together, he will make minimal conversation.

But then when I'm talking to other people , he keeps jumping into the conversation and saying nice things about me. I respond as briefly as possible because I don't understand why he does that.

I took a break from the hobby for family reasons but when I met up with them, it was pretty obvious he'd been talking about me with the others. One of the other blokes was like 'oh yea, Nigel thinks a hell of a lot of you. He really rates you.' Wtf?

I do like that he thinks that way but it's 100% wrong. I know it, I surely wish I didn't feel like this. It's wrong.

He was my friend before all of this so I still like him as a person even though I know I can't be close with him again like before.

I am resisting myself completely but it's not working! I've tried and for what feels like a long long time now.

I would leave the group but the hobby isn't one you can just up and leave. It costs money and without being too outing, I have big responsibilities.

I think about him a lot even I tell myself everytime it's a no, a non issue and not to keep thinking about it.

I'm really wondered it be a mental health issue?

I really need to talk to people who have gone through this.

How long before my feelings and reactions catch up to my rational brain?

If you read to the end thank you so much.

lipstickonyourcollar Wed 30-Oct-19 20:37:47

I think you are over thinking this. You like him but have said nothing has happened. Isn't it that simple?

Don't worry about it and wait for it to pass.

PammieDooveOrangeJoof Wed 30-Oct-19 20:43:29

Do you think it may be limerance?

Cuddlysnowleopard Wed 30-Oct-19 20:45:17

It will pass. I had no idea how strong this feeling can be until it happened to me (Google limerance).

I'm currently in a similar position. Friend and, both married, always had good friendship, and quietiy fancied him in a general, non worrying way. Then, something just changed and I know he felt it too.

Now, we still meet as families, sit as far away from each other as we can without it being weird, but I know that he listens to my conversations, as he will leap in and agree with me if anyone disagrees with me, even from the far end of the room.

I'm calm in myself now, and it has generally passed.

NormaLouiseBates Wed 30-Oct-19 20:53:51

It will pass, I've had this and I was shocked at how strong the feelings were blush Avoid him as much as possible and make sure you're spending time with your partner doing nice/fun stuff together.

Nthmtn Thu 31-Oct-19 02:51:34

I get it. Out of nowhere comes this unwelcome, unnecessary, intrusion in your happy, stable life. I’ve wept for what used to be an easy “right” nice new friendship (so welcome!) requiring nothing more than an occasional text or phone call, morph into a habitual daily reliance on a call and then into the horror of teenage-type possessiveness which had no place or reason - becoming a total overwhelming need to be so special to him, despite unwavering love and commitment to my true partner. It was bizarre, devastating and debilitating. There was no logical explanation. It sucked me of energy and of course I recognized it is an unhealthy relationship....but felt powerless to make it stop.Never is it easy to have your head overrule your heart. Or your real heart overrule this temporary manifestation.

But it can be done, relatively quickly even though it feels like grief and eternal hell. Trust me on this! It requires a break of at least a month. Not a permanent estrangement, but most definitely a period where you do not communicate, where you go through a grieving process, where you rage at the universe for putting you through this. Where you get used to managing for a minute...then two..then five..then ten..without him consuming your thoughts. After ten days to two weeks, you’ll likely feel you are beginning to claim back control. Then there will be setbacks...but really, this is a microcosm of grief or withdrawal from a much worse scenario that real life WILL deliver at some point, and so it all presumably serves some purpose. Ten, as you begin to return to sanity, you’ll likely find that the obsessive feelings that overwhelmed you, naturally dissipate. And from then on, your friendship can resume but with a healthy dose of rationality and realism in the mix. In fact, you’ll probably easily be able to identify and roll your eyes at his now-obvious, albeit endearing shortcomings and annoying, selfish habits. And settle into your new version of this friendship without the mystique that “version A” of this friendship delivered.

Good luck. I just came through from the other side and although it was a shitty experience, the friendship is now real, intact, easier and so much better/healthier and well-balanced.

sofato5miles Thu 31-Oct-19 03:13:36

It took 10 months of an emotional affair for me to really get to know him and cut him off. Of course, during that time, we rationalised it, that were only two people who were too close and crushing on each other but, as nothing physical was happening it wasn't infidelity ( on his part as I was separated)..

I shudder, SHUDDER, now with shame and embarrassment.

sofato5miles Thu 31-Oct-19 03:15:36

And, during that time I would regularly cut him off for between a month and two months. It was never long enough. In the end i just got to really know him.

Mrticklelives Thu 31-Oct-19 06:42:47

Thank you guys. I'm so tired of feeling like this about him. I can't have him and I do accept that.

We did have a very long break from seeing each other before the night out. I think that's why we were so clingy with each other when we were drunk.

No nothing happened, but we pretty much admitted that we wanted to do something with each other because we're both normally respectful of each other's relationships. But that time we acted like we were a couple or on a date. I think we were both filled with guilt after that. If I'm over thinking it, its because I don't want it to happen again and I feel like I can't trust myself if I take my eyes off it.

We had another break recently. (Like a summer recess) but it didn't make a damn bit of difference.

@sofato5miles I get this. It's weird because I already know him quite well. I've tried picturing him with skid marks and stinky feet, and stinky oops but my brain and I don't care, he's lovely. If I found out he was a cat/dog strangler, that might work! But he isn't, he's just a really nice person I'm lucky to know him.

@45Cuddlysnowleopard

Your experience sounds similar to me. Why do think it changed for you?

I have to see him later. I will keep telling myself to remain calm, keep head down and ignore.

I googled limerance but it seems more like a mysterious stranger type description. I'm not stalking him!

Loopytiles Thu 31-Oct-19 06:50:09

It’s a crush and you made some poor choices, and are seeking to improve your boundaries. Suggest “Not Just Friends” by shirley glass.

What do you mean you “can’t” walk away from the hobby/responsibilities? Sure you can! It’s just a hobby! If you stop doing your role, someone else would do it or the club would close - no big deal.

You could also tell your DH!

Or - if you can handle it - stay, avoid interacting with him, and don’t drink alcohol around him!

Also, there’s no “we” - “clingy” due to not seeing each other for a while - you’re romanticising. You simply chose to act on your attraction.

Loopytiles Thu 31-Oct-19 06:52:10

Talking to OM about wanting something to happen was emotional infidelity and v unfair to your partner.

“i can't have him“. You could date him or anyone else you like, just not if you want to stay in your current relationship and treat your partner well.

Mrticklelives Thu 31-Oct-19 07:28:34

He's not OM, he's my friend.

We don't have and we aren't having a romantic or emotional relationship.

I said in my OP, I can't leave the hobby and that's correct and the context behind my post. You don't have to accept that but that's the background.

Looptiles what you've said isn't accurate for my situation. Part of the reason it's hard to talk to people about this situation is because they want to go straight to the default scheming OW stereotypes where people pretend they aren't trying to have an affair but then they actually are. No!

I know that my feelings are not on the up and up. You act like if we both ditch our partners it would be okay because we'd both be single? I don't think it would be okay even if I left my partner.

I want my platonic friend back!!

Incidentally, I did read that book already because I wanted to understand the psychology behind things. I found it overly hysterical and judgemental, but it had some good points.

Loopytiles Thu 31-Oct-19 09:06:52

He is OM. He is no longer a friend, and you can’t be friends with someone you fancy.

The way you’re currently treating your partner is poor.

flufffroufox Thu 31-Oct-19 09:27:55

It's so emotionally exhausting, I have been in this situation for 2 years. We started as friends just messing about talking and giggling and then the feelings grew out of control. I saw him weekly and I also was not able to stop this as it would if made all the other aspects of my life complicated. The connection between us was intense and I can't explain it and I am a very practical person and not very romantic either. Anyway I was with someone and as difficult as it was I walked away for 6 months. After this time our paths crossed again and I had to return to seeing him weekly the intenseness has changed to a warm affection but the connection is still there. I have accepted my feelings and no longer let them overwhelm me. I'm always going to feel a huge attraction to him I can't turn it off. He just smiles and tells me I'm lovely but we never go further - that just contains our mutual feelings without hurting others. My advice is find someone to talk about your feelings with who won't judge you ( I had my bestie) and find a way to manage your feelings. Be compassionate to yourself some emotions are just so strong.

flufffroufox Thu 31-Oct-19 09:37:19

as for the intense thinking about them I give myself about half an hour every evening to daydream about him. I'm not sure if that's healthy but it helps reduce the intrusive obsessive thoughts i used to have ( that's the dopamine) I had to have antidepressant medication when the feelings were most intense so I could function.

Allthecake89 Thu 31-Oct-19 10:56:49

It's horrible when someone is stuck in your head. It's the reality of not being a dreamy teenager anymore and realising you can't have everything you want. It's greedy lol. I have lovely long term partner and developed a crush on someone this summer. Nothing happened. I just liked talking to this bloke and he ended up stuck in my head. I refused to imagine anything happening between us because it would of been horrible getting over it. I kind of somehow managed to push him to the back of mind. I don't let it come out. Lol

Mrticklelives Thu 31-Oct-19 11:29:34

@flufffroufox

That's so helpful. I'm basically where you are now but without a bestie. That's why I'm posting here. Thanks so much.

@56Allthecake89 I get you. If I'd felt like them when I met him I would have, probably should have, put my guard up.

I haven't engage for a while but ....eugh

NK1cf53daaX127805d4fd5 Thu 31-Oct-19 12:53:21

It's truly horrible when this happens but the only way forward is NC. The hobby can stop and if you're serious about your marriage you'll stop seeing him.

Cuddlysnowleopard Thu 31-Oct-19 13:19:24

I actually think it will pass anyway. I couldn't completely avoid contact, but it has settled down into a warm affection. That is definitely the right phrase. I can see him and chat, the feelings are there, but not overwhelming.

He's definitely not an OM. My DH knows about him, he just finds it amusing.

upups Thu 31-Oct-19 13:48:03

Would it be worth speaking to him about it? You say your relationship is over anyway so just end it and start fresh. You will never know unless you try and if he doesn't feel the same way you can move on knowing that. Sometimes you have to take chances tho. You're more likely to regret not doing something than you are just doing it.

AFairlyHardAvocado Thu 31-Oct-19 14:24:17

We don't have and we aren't having a romantic or emotional relationship.

But

No nothing happened, but we pretty much admitted that we wanted to do something with each other because we're both normally respectful of each other's relationships.

This absolutely is an emotional relationship. It isn't necessarily an emotional "affair" (yet) but it is absolutely an emotional relationship.

A big part of getting over limerance is accepting where boundaries have been overstepped and inappropriate behaviour has occurred.

It's such a big step to recognise these things because while it's hard it helps you stop romanticising what could have been, and start thinking about the real life repercussions of the risk involved.

waterrat Thu 31-Oct-19 15:07:35

It will pass quicker the more you actively downplay it to yoirself. You know exactly why he is saying things about you - he obviously fancies you. The truth is people fancy each other all the time and nothing happens. It's really normal to have crushes and you are over thinking it.

It will fade in time because it will get boring when nothing happens.

Mrticklelives Thu 31-Oct-19 17:09:35

Thanks for the responses. I want to come back and get more advice but I'm on my way to my hobby now so I'll be back after.

Mrticklelives Thu 31-Oct-19 19:38:29

It's truly horrible when this happens but the only way forward is NC. The hobby can stop.

I can do NC from the pov that I get someone to discuss hobby logistics with him but I can't stop. There are financial ramifications.

Would it be worth speaking to him about it?

*We don't have and we aren't having a romantic or emotional relationship.

But

No nothing happened, but we pretty much admitted that we wanted to do something with each other because we're both normally respectful of each other's relationships.

This absolutely is an emotional relationship. It isn't necessarily an emotional "affair" (yet) but it is absolutely an emotional relationship.*

I feel like I need to explain how it went down.

We agreed to stay out late together to chat because we hadn't seen each other for a while. We said our partners should be cool about it because we're 'just friends'. Then later more drink and we hugged in a very sexual way. We stared into each other's eyes. I can't remember (too drunk) but he said something so unusual I asked him straight if we needed to talk. Also too drunk to remember what was said back, but it was along the lines of 'it's not the right time'?

So I did try and now I feel like too much time has passed. And because no one snogged each other, its not as cut and dry. I feel like I started it because I do fancy him but I'm not actually sure how much it's true it is that he fancies me back. The only part I object to about calling it an emotional relationship is while it might be like that for me, I'm genuinely don't know what's going on in his head.

I shouldn't have hugged him or if I stayed out, I should have hung out with everyone else as well, that was the boundaries.

You know exactly why he is saying things about you - he obviously fancies you. It's not obvious to me. He could just be being polite.

It's been nice to be able to get this out. Can't talk in RL.

AFairlyHardAvocado Thu 31-Oct-19 19:51:09

Then later more drink and we hugged in a very sexual way. We stared into each other's eyes.

But my love it doesn't matter if it's an emotional relationship for him too.

You are in an emotional relationship whether he is on the same page or not.

I know it's shit but when it comes to limerance taking responsibility for your part in the overall situation is so important, rather than going over the minutiae of each encounter repeatedly.

That's what limerance is, in part, you manipulating your own memories and experiences of someone so that everything becomes loaded with meaning. It's not real life, it's a fantasy that feels incredibly real.

Look at your comment above in the cold light of day. You were both drunk, had a "sexual" hug and stared into each other's eyes - it's a very romanticised description of two people pissed up and flirting!

I'm not having a go at you (I promise!) just in case it comes across that way but limerance is only stopped with tough love and no contact for however long they are at risk of taking up lots of headspace, which usually means forever.

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