I Have a Crush on a Guy I Don’t Even Like and Can’t Get Over It!

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I’m really attracted to someone I work with. I’ve had feelings for him for years however I’ve always hidden this. I need a man to pursue me and I’m incapable of flirting! As he’s never asked me out (despite previously showing interest in my hobbies, staring at me, etc.) I felt his attraction wasn’t strong enough and it was better to keep a distance.

Because of my defensiveness, I don’t think he even likes me, despite seeming to when we first met. He also really objects to the fact that I’m a feminist and insists on opening doors,etc even though I object.

This and the fact that he finds me opinionated and I find him rude, means I don’t see a point in trying to date and I doubt he’ll ever ask. I don’t think I can put in the work necessary to reverse his opinion of me – I’m too afraid of rejection. Currently, if asked, most people would say I dislike him and I’m sure that’s what he thinks. I take comfort in this as I don’t look desperate!

I just wonder how I can get over him? I’ve tried dating others and focusing on his faults but it’s been years and I always end up focusing on him again! He’s smart, gorgeous and funny and although I’d never admit it publicly, in many ways my dream guy.

I argue against his patronizing, traditional, view of women, whilst secretly wishing he’d buy me flowers and make me his girlfriend and his wife. I’d be humiliated if he ever guessed any of this and I doubt I’d like it in reality. I just keep fantasizing about it.

I’m 29 and I really want children soon. How can I rid myself of this stupid crush and focus on more suitable men?

Scarlet

I’ll admit: my head almost exploded from reading your letter, Scarlet.

There were so many twists and turns, it was like riding a roller coaster while watching a soap opera while dropping acid. To briefly recap:

You’re attracted to a guy that you find rude.

You think he doesn’t like you because you’re an opinionated feminist.

You don’t see a point in trying to date him.

You don’t think it’s worth the effort.

You’re not a good flirt and are afraid of rejection.

Most importantly, he’s had years to ask you out and has never done so.

Naturally, you want to know how to get over this man you don’t like who shows no interest in you. Because even though everyone thinks you dislike him — and you admit he’s traditional and patronizing— you keep fantasizing about him and want to marry him.

If your head is spinning, Scarlet, you’re not alone. But I’m going to do my best, in spite of the fact that hard to give advice to someone who doesn’t know what she wants.

What you’re experiencing, alas, is not altogether unusual. It’s just love/hate relationships seem to happen a lot more on the silver screen than they do in real life. From my own personal experience, most of the women I’ve liked, I actually LIKED.

But here’s the thing: I suspect you really DO like him, that you are attracted to him, and that, more than anything, this scares and bothers you. Attraction is a funny thing, an involuntary feeling that defies all logic. And you, like all the readers who are reading this and shaking their heads at your plight, can’t help how you feel about this one guy.

Because what you’re attracted to and what’s good and healthy are two separate things that only occasionally overlap.

What you — and they — have a hard time understanding is that attraction is just a feeling. It’s not your destiny.   You do NOT have to marry the person you find MOST attractive in the world. In fact, I’d dare say that you’re better off not even trying. Which means that there are millions of happily married couples who — gasp! — are MORE attracted to other people than their own spouses – and yet their relationships work. How can that be?

Because what you’re attracted to and what’s good and healthy are two separate things that only occasionally overlap.

If you were to snap your fingers and marry this guy tomorrow (Don’t worry, you’re not. This is just a hypothetical.), you’d be really excited and maybe even happy that you landed a smart, gorgeous, funny guy. But I can promise you, it wouldn’t take too long to see that if this guy had retrograde views of women in the office, it would certainly spill over into your marriage, rendering your love/hate relationship into a hate/love relationship.

This, by the way, is how a majority of divorces happen — two people marry because of attraction and discover they’re incompatible when it’s too late.

You have the distinct advantage of realizing this in advance and recognizing this as the lustful, ill-fated crush that it is.

You also have the distinct advantage of this guy not being remotely interested so hopefully it should be easier to move onto a guy who IS interested in you.

Finally — and perhaps most importantly – you’re 29 years old. Here’s what that means:

  • Go on a date per week until you find a boyfriend who treats you like gold and also wants marriage and children.
  • Date him for 2+years to ensure you’re making a smart choice for the next 40 years.
  • Move in for six months, if it’s still good, get engaged, if it’s still good, get married.
  • Spend a couple of years married to enjoy life before children come along.

That means you don’t have to panic — and it also means you should start proactively dating other men to put this crush behind you ASAP.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Jeremy

    Oy.   This letter made my teeth ache.   The OP’s dyad conflict is so deep she is drowning in it.   The person she is, the person she thinks she should be…..which one is she?   The only thing I find more frustrating than a dysfunctional Idealist is a dysfunctional Guardian….

     

    Who are you, OP?   Are you the person you are, or are you the reflection of how you want others to see you, the persona you’ve adopted and invested the value of your “self” into? Are you the staunch feminist who doesn’t want a man to open her door, or the traditional woman who needs a man to pursue her?   The one is anathema to the other.   And worse yet, the man who would be good for the one type is anathema to the other!   So how can you choose a man who would be compatible with you until you decide who “you” actually ARE, how to reconcile the two halves of your personality that are at each other’s throats?   That is so much the better question than how can you get over this particular man…

     

    Of course you are having trouble getting over him!   You believe you “shouldn’t” want him, but the entire problem is that you can’t reconcile your “shoulds” with your internal wants.   You will need to find your version of a middle ground, because trying to subsume your “shoulds” will drown you in guilt and trying to subsume your “wants” will drown you in frustration.     Realize that in the short-term, you will tend to overcompensate toward your “wants,” but that in the long-term your compatibility will hinge much more on your “shoulds”.   One thing that might be helpful is to hire a dating coach for objective opinions…

  2. 2
    Emily, to

    Scarlet, I think this goes beyond attraction. You’re completely infatuated, and because you’ve never dated this guy and really gotten know him, the infatuation has stayed strong for years and probably will continue. Can you change jobs? I know it’s easier said than done, but as long as this guy’s taking up this much real estate in your head AND you have to see him every day, it’ll be hard to date other people and not make the inevitable comparison, and your attraction for them won’t be as strong. Get away from him and start getting over him.

  3. 3
    Lynx

    If it’s been “years” and you’re both still single, maybe neither of you are ready for a committed relationship with anyone, much less one another.

  4. 4
    Ceres

    One date per week? That is quite a lot. I’m a 27-year-old woman and I rarely get asked out at all. How do you find that many people?

  5. 5
    mgm531

    I have a different take on the situation.   People are often times not as rigid in their beliefs as they age as they may be when they are young.   Idealism will only go so far in the real world.   She says she is a feminist….until she’s not.   She says he has a “patronizing, traditional, view of women”, which may be true….until he doesn’t.   Having rigid beliefs about how the world ‘should’ be can be in stark contrast to how the world actually is.   This can apply for both her rigid view of feminism as well as his ridiculous and out of touch views of women.   It’s not being a rude, chavaunistic pig to hold the door for a woman (or man for that matter).   It’s just being polite.   It’s not being anti-feminist for wanting someone to give them flowers or to care or protect them.   It’s called just wanting to be desired and being vulnerable, which are very human traits, male or female.   Life is sometimes a balance, a compromise of contradictions between two extremes.   The OP has chosen to live in one extreme while viewing her infatuation in the other extreme.   Truth be told I would wager that neither one of them is really as extreme in their beliefs as they may claim or appear to be.   To that end I would probably offer counter intuitve advice:   Give it a chance and make a move.   Take the risk, albeit with hyper awareness for red flags such as blatant sexism and mysoginistic tendencies.   To be sure, she should absolutely make sure she is comfortable with who he is and who she is while with him, but also be open to allow him to become the person he is, rather than the person that she thinks he is.

    1. 5.1
      Mrs Happy

      I agree with mgm531. Make a move (or clearly encourage one from him). It’ll either work or not, and either way, you’ll get brain space because the infatuation will lessen.

      What you are experiencing (conflict about how to be female in this modern world) is really common. The like and simultaneous dislike of a member of the opposite sex you’re infatuated with, is also really common – so much so, it’s a routine plot in books, TV series and movies. Neither precludes a great relationship between you two.

      Are you sure you can’t flirt? I always thought I didn’t flirt, until a male friend told me I pretty much constantly flirted with all men, and it was like breathing for me. Perhaps ask someone whether you flirt, and how to improve doing so.

      1. 5.1.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        Remind me: why should she make a move when this confident, charismatic guy has voluntarily not made a move in years? He’s NOT INTERESTED. The OP’s move will just provide an embarrassing coda to this unusual tale of unrequited love.

        1. Mrs Happy

          She says she is a feminist so she may be comfortable making the move, though I myself would prefer to set the scene which would entice him to (see below).

          I think she should make a move, or entice him to, for the following reasons.

          1. She is really attracted to him, 2. he is her dream guy, 3. she is infatuated by him.   Those 3 reasons alone are enough that I think something should be attempted, but I’ll continue with some more.

          4. He used to like her, and maybe (probably, because attraction doesn’t die in these situations) still does. I think this, because he used to stare at her, discuss her hobbies, she thinks he used to like her, and he holds doors open.   5. Her behaviour to date has led him to conclude she does not like him, and 6. This conclusion is wrong.

          7. It seems very possible they each of them believe the other doesn’t like them enough to go on a date.   He doesn’t seem confident to me – staring and conversing about hobbies for a while years ago but not getting to the “let’s go out” part, and though another interpretation could be, he doesn’t find her attractive, I think that is less likely, than he just wasn’t confident enough, and then she got defensive (because he hadn’t asked her out) and then he thought “she dislikes me”. 8. You only get this one life and it’s rare to be this stimulated and obsessed by someone – 9. In the future you’ll regret not having done something more active than writing to Evan.

          The saddest thing, aside from the plethora of missed opportunities here, is her reluctance to put in the work to entice him to change his opinion of her; she is too scared of rejection.

          I’d change my behaviour towards him; this is what I’d do:   Thank him for opening doors and say you now really appreciate men holding doors open, be friendly, smile, flirt (go watch your namesake in Gone with the Wind, Scarlet, and learn), bake some choc chip cookies and give him and other colleagues some, then ask him what he likes and happen to bake that for the workplace next time, present yourself more attractively with hair, makeup and slightly sexier clothes (within workplace parameters), e.g. wear a sexy bra and show the pretty strap or some cleavage just a little leaning near him, (or show some legs if you have good legs, I don’t), set up after work group drinks and go and get some outside work action feeling between you started, and then build on that at work the next week, ask if he has a girlfriend and if he says no, wonder aloud why not, as he seems such a catch.

          This are just off the top of my head suggestions, I’m sure your girlfriends can brainstorm more, and better ones specific to the situation’s details.   I’d normally not do all of these at once, but in this case, because you have to reverse his preconceived notion of you, you’ll have to put extra enticing effort in.   If after I’d put in weeks or months of lots of enticing effort, he still hadn’t asked me out, I’d give up, but I’d feel better knowing I gave it a shot.

        2. Jeremy

          Mrs Happy, I have no doubt that your advice will work to get her a date with this guy.   Frankly, I had a wonderful “fly on the wall” moment listening to female-on-female advice here 🙂

           

          But honest question – *should* we be giving this woman advice to pursue this man?   To what end?   Evan’s concern was that the guy wasn’t interested.   Mine is what would happen if he is.   I kind of think that this is a “be careful what you wish for ’cause you just might get it” type thing.

           

          Does one need to stick one’s hand into the fire to learn that flame is hot?

        3. Emily, to

          Jeremy,

          Does one need to stick one’s hand into the fire to learn that flame is hot?

          So you would feel this way about someone (have you? because some people never have), and in an almost-never-happens-in-one’s-lifetime-moment, the other person is also interested and available … and you don’t pursue it?

        4. Jeremy

          Yes, Emily.   If I somehow found myself feeling that way about a woman who was totally inappropriate, I would avoid it like the plague.   Not because I’m afraid of it, but because I’m not an idiot.   Not that I’m calling you or anyone else that – it’s about differing priorities/motivations, as I’m always writing.   Your primary motivation is to experience meaning through sensation, sensation through meaning.   For you, throwing away that intense of a sensation is akin to throwing away your raison-d’etre.   But for me, whose motivation is the fabrication and execution of goals, such a thing BE the thing that throws away my raison-d’etre.

        5. Mrs Happy

          But he is not totally inappropriate for her.   Why not go for it?

        6. Emily, to

          Jeremy,

          If I somehow found myself feeling that way about a woman who was totally inappropriate, I would avoid it like the plague.

          What if it wasn’t inappropriate? What if both of your were available?

          For you, throwing away that intense of a sensation is akin to throwing away your raison-d’etre.

          Yep. I can’t understand someone not wanting to feel that way. A fountain Diet Coke, homemade chocolate cake and a person you feel intensely for. What else is there? 🙂

        7. Evan Marc Katz

          A happy marriage without the crazy chemistry that fades after 18-36 months biologically. You’re essentially holding out for something that doesn’t exist.

        8. Emily, to

          Where in any of my posts did I imply I thought it lasted? I’d say it lasts more like six months, but you ride the train as long as you can. And then, at some point, the train stops and, if so inclined, you look for something more substantial.

        9. Yet Another Guy

          @Evan

          A happy marriage without the crazy chemistry that fades after 18-36 months biologically.

          I have been thinking about chemistry versus compatibility a lot lately.   However, the thing that you wrote that has been on my mind is about judging the relationship, not the person.   A lot of us fail to adopt this mindset until it is too late.

        10. Jeremy

          Emily, if my goal is a happily coupled long-term relationship, the absolute worst thing I could do is indulge myself in one or more flings of pure passion.   Because that would condition my brain that love equals passion, or at least that enjoyment equals passion, much like a drug-addiction.   That whenever I feel down I’d crave that chemistry.   That the balance of feelings that exists in a marriage is somehow less than ideal, like the foolish protagonist in “The Post-Birthday World.”   The notion that, “hey, go for it, what’s the harm in having a little fun before you settle down” is, IMHO, so very harmful to those with less than iron self-discipline.

           

            “A fountain Diet Coke, homemade chocolate cake and a person you feel intensely for. What else is there? ”   LOL.   A series of well-laid plans that took some thought, some effort, clicked into place, achieved improbable goals, and left the world wondering how you did it, knew to do it.   Coke and brownies?   Pshhht.   Rational here, remember?   😉

        11. Emily, to

          Jeremy,

          That the balance of feelings that exists in a marriage is somehow less than ideal, like the foolish protagonist in “The Post-Birthday World.”    

          You know it’s 2 stories in one, right? One in which she follows her passion and goes with the snooker player. In the other, she stays with her long-term, steady partner, who ends up leaving her for a woman he is more passionate about. No foolin’. I read the whole thing. I thought it was very well-written, but I know you probably prefer statistical manuals.     🙂

          Rational here, remember?  

          Yes, Mr. Spock. I remember.     🙂

        12. Jeremy

          Really, he left her in the end? Hardly surprising given the personality of the author.   I love fiction,   Emily. It’s my favourite way to unwind. I just don’t love stories about people doing silly things without learning they are silly, or worse yet learning an even wronger message.   We are watching a show on Netflix called “Shtisel” which is about an idealistic ultra orthodox young man trying to navigate his desires and expectations. And my wife always has to tell me to calm down because I get so pissed off at the idealistic dopaminergic foolishness. It’s my trigger   the same way rationality is for you, same reasons.

          I like brownies too, though I’d take fresh apple pie over them any day. What’s the deal with women and chocolate?

        13. Emily, to

          Jeremy,
          I just don’t love stories about people doing silly things without learning they are silly, or worse yet learning an even wronger message. ..   I get so pissed off at the idealistic dopaminergic foolishness. It’s my trigger   the same way rationality is for you, same reasons.
          Ah, now I get it. We are very different. I love reading/watching stories about people doing outrageous things to upend the banality of their daily lives. I just watched the Showtime miniseries “Escape at Dannemora,” a true story about a civilian woman who worked in a prison and helped 2 convicts escape. She was possibly having an affair with both and trying to get out of the box that was her life. Doesn’t excuse what she did, but when you witness the drabness of her daily existence, you understand it. Why would you want to read about people staying in the box? I don’t need to read to witness that. I just go to work and chat with my co-workers about their lawn treatments. 🙂
          I like brownies too, though I’d take fresh apple pie over them any day. What’s the deal with women and chocolate?
          Chocolate is the closest we get to a properly served, sensual experience.     🙂

        14. Scarlet

          Hi… I’m Scarlet (OP)!

          I think I should probably have mentioned that he did hint a few times at work parties that I should come back to his place, to which I simply changed the subject. After that he walked away. I was half expecting him to ask me out but this was also before he knew I was a feminist and we argued. He also added me on Facebook within days of meeting me. (From this I take it that there are levels of attraction: I want to sleep with you isn’t the same as I want to date you?)

          Anyway, I actually now have a boyfriend who is great, I met him online and apart from some minor jealousy issues (making comments about the other guys I’ve been with and guys who message me etc.) he’s lovely. I’m actually over the original guy completely! Ironically he’s actually being more attentive than before, maybe because I no longer feel the need to act hostile?

          However, I have started fantasising about my (married) boss who exhibits many of the same traits (in a more ‘gentlemenly’ way)! The key difference is that we actually get on very well and for some reason I’ve never resisted him being chivalrous, he compliments me a lot and makes me feel good about myself. He’s flirty yet respectful and I like that.

          I’m trying to just ignore this but am thinking maybe I fear commitment or ‘don’t want to be happy’?

          Whatever the reason my relationship is good and I’m hoping to ignore the distractions.

        15. Jeremy

          Thank you for the update, Scarlet.   I hope you continue to be happy in your relationship.   A word of advice, which I hope you won’t find presumptuous: Instead of ignoring the distractions, why not introspect about them?   Or perhaps get some therapy?   Therapy does not imply that there’s anything wrong with you, it’s just a clearing out of junk from your mind. Mental floss, if you will.

           

          You wrote that the “distractions” might be because you subconsciously don’t want to be happy or you fear commitment.   These are all possible, but it’s also possible you’re inventing excuses that sound plausible but let you off the hook for what you truly fear.   Like maybe the notion that who you think you are isn’t who you are deep down, that what you think you should want isn’t what your subconscious wants.   If that is the case (big if), the solution isn’t to ignore your wants, it’s to bring your “shoulds” into harmony with your internal wants.   Which is something a good psychologist can help you with.   Ask me how I know.

        16. Emily ,to

          Scarlet,

          I actually now have a boyfriend who is great … I’m actually over the original guy completely! Ironically he’s actually being more attentive than before, maybe because I no longer feel the need to act hostile

          It’s probably because your needs are now satiated with the boyfriend and your energy is different. You’re not subconsciously putting out a vibe that you want him to respond to you and it makes you more attractive. You’re not putting out the “feelers.” It’s kind of like … it’s easier to get a job when you have a job.

  6. 6
    Clare

    Gosh, I remember something like this.

    When I was working at a big law firm, I had a crush on one of the married lawyers who worked in my department, and I’m pretty sure he had a crush on me. It was perfectly innocent, and neither of us ever behaved inappropriately, but there’d sometimes be smiles exchanged, or I’d get a funny note on my desk, or he’d make a mildly flirtatious comment or give me a compliment. It made me a bit uncomfortable because I knew it was inappropriate, and I had to see him every day.

    The crush was also particularly hard to get past. I eventually moved jobs, and cities, don’t have him on Facebook and rarely think of him any more.

    I think the reason that it was so hard to get over are the same reasons I think the OP finds it hard to get over her crush:

    * We were not compatible (he was funny and charming, but had we ever dated, I think I would have found him a bit arrogant and repressed), but that didn’t alter the fact that there was  chemistry  between us. You can’t control chemistry and attraction; it’s to do with pheromones and a whole lot of things we have no control over. This kind of chemistry is independent of compatibility and whether or not you even like the person.

    * Neither of us would ever have acted on the attraction. Yet we had to see each other, and often work closely together, all the time. This simultaneous push and pull created a tension which is very fascinating and absorbing. It’s all this unexpressed energy (some of which is sexual) which you cannot help but be preoccupied with because it’s all in the realm of “What if?” You wonder what it would be like to be with that person because you know it will never happen. It’s pure fantasy and escapism.

    The good news is that once you get a bit of distance from this person and have a real relationship with someone whom you have genuine feelings for, this crush more or less evaporates on its own.

    1. 6.1
      Emily, to

      Clare,

      Yet we had to see each other, and often work closely together, all the time. This simultaneous push and pull created a tension which is very fascinating and absorbing.

      I was in a similar situation that you described, only the guy was highly sexual in his comments and leaning all over me and trying to touch me, asking me to walk around (in essence, disappear) with him on company property. He was married. It was never going anywhere, but the chemistry was so strong, it took me hours to come down off the high after interacting with him. I changed jobs. It was that distracting and that painful when I came down off the high to realize the whole thing was a waste of time. Like you wrote, getting a bit of distance will help.

      1. 6.1.1
        No Name To Give

        That level of chemistry is so deceiving that I don’t even want to experience it again. It’s not to be trusted.

        1. Emily, to

          No Name to Give,

          That level of chemistry is so deceiving that I don’t even want to experience it again. It’s not to be trusted.

          I do want to experience it again but with someone who’s available.

      2. 6.1.2
        Clare

        Yeah Emily, I sympathise. :/

        It was all extremely distracting in a way I did not  want  to be distracted. I was married at the time, too. Like you, it would take me hours to get rid of all the energy when I would come home from work.

        The guy’s wife worked at the same firm too, and there was a hostile vibe from her to me.

        Although I initially enjoyed the flirtation, it eventually made me so uncomfortable that I was on the verge of confiding about the whole thing to HR and asking whether I could be transferred to another department.

        Eventually I just resigned from the company.

        1. Emily, to

          Clare,

          It was all extremely distracting in a way I did not  want  to be distracted. I was married at the time, too.  

          I’m not trying to be judgmental, but that scares me. To be married to someone who is feeling that way about someone else. I’m not talking about finding someone else attractive. There are plenty of people I find attractive in the moment and then don’t give them another thought. I’m talking about a feeling that rocks you to the very core — I can count on my hand the number of times I have felt that way about someone — and   a person you spend far too much time thinking about. Did you tell your husband about this guy? Would you have wanted him to tell you if he felt this way about someone else?

        2. Clare

          Emily,

          Yes I did tell my husband about this guy. I told him about the fact that there seemed to be some kind of weird flirtation going on and that it made me uncomfortable. I was honest about it. My husband was not happy about it at all… however, he trusted me and knew that I would never act on it and knew that it was not something for him to be threatened over. I could see that it bothered him, but to his credit, he remained calm about it.

          I’m sure it was part of the reason why my husband supported me completely when I said I wanted to resign.

          The thing is, I knew in a part of myself that it was just a “chemistry” attraction. It wasn’t love. It didn’t mean anything. So I honestly didn’t ascribe any meaning to it. That is part of why it made me uncomfortable. In that sense I don’t think it  rocked me to my core. It was just a flirtation that I recognised was inappropriate, that I tried not to encourage, and that I moved away from when I could.

        3. Emily, to

          Clare,

          The thing is, I knew in a part of myself that it was just a “chemistry” attraction.  

          I knew that, too. I’d talk myself out of it when I wasn’t at work, but then I’d see him or, heaven help me, interact with him   … and my body turned on my mind.

          Yes I did tell my husband about this guy. l… however, he trusted me and knew that I would never act on it and knew that it was not something for him to be threatened over. …

          I was intensely infatuated with this guy. It sounds like your situation wasn’t quite as drastic. But I wouldn’t want to be with someone who felt intensely for someone else whether he acted on it or not.

    2. 6.2
      No Name To Give

      Don’t we gals all have that one crush who, in our “fantasy life” in our head, we’d be with happily ever after, but in reality know there’s no way in hell it would probably ever work? And it’s usually that guy way above our league. And if you don’t think he is, there is always someone here to remind you that he is.

  7. 7
    Noone45

    Humans are weird. I’m convinced this planet was created as an alien reality show.

    1. 7.1
      Mrs Happy

      No it’s just the meme of DNA propagation. Driving force on the planet.

  8. 8
    Chris

    This situation, where women (and men) are strongly attracted to unavailable or inappropriate people is called limerance I think.

    Anyhow, there is another factor here, and that is they are work colleagues. Isn’t it now accepted that work colleagues should never date, even if they are both single and are of the same general rank? The man, in particular, is at risk of sexual harassment charges should anything go wrong. This may be one reason why he never did anything.

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