Maybe it’s because it’s 2022 that I feel I have to deal with a fantasy crush right now, before it ruins my marriage.
I grew up with just one brother and met all his friends. When he and his best friend were 21, they were in university in our city and hung around our place a lot. I was 15.
His friend was always polite with me but when my brother teased me, he’d join in a little. Nothing hurtful, so we’d all have a laugh.
That’s when my crush started. He was good-looking, confident, very smart, and also funny. At 16, I was going to parties with boys in my class on “dates” in groups a year later. None of the guys my age compared to my crush.
Whenever he came over to study with my brother, I’d get nervous and excited at the same time. At night, I’d have fantasy dreams about him (though still pretty innocent at 17).
Fast forward, he was at my brother’s wedding, with his fiancée. I knew her from high school, but she was four years older than me so we were never in the same grade or became friends.
Then, years later, I got married at 24, and proceeded to have three children. I was among the young-adult groups and would see the couple periodically... with me always flustered about it.
Here’s the paradox: My husband of ten years and I have been having regular and satisfying sex since we got past the mayhem of babies, night feeds, and perpetual fatigue. We have a decent home life, mostly get along and agree on things, and regularly say we love each other.
So why, when I recently saw my teenage crush at a community event, did my heart flutter, my hands sweat, and I was almost unable to say, “Hello?”
I know he’s been divorced from his wife for a few years, but haven’t heard that he’s seeing someone. Even if he were suddenly interested in me, what would I do... uproot my kids? Never! Leave my husband? Too mean and undeserved!
Meanwhile, my old dreams have returned and I’m very uncomfortable with them occurring in the bed I share with my husband!
How do I shake off a years-long fantasy crush?
Dreaming About the Wrong Man
There are many different possible answers to a dilemma that pits romantic fantasy against practical realities, i.e., the persistent crush vs. married life with kids and responsibilities.
Some of the likely responses from friends, family, outsiders: Grow up! Your arousing dreams are only escapism! Life is real, not a Hollywood movie with lines like “you had me at ‘Hello.’” (Renee Zellweger’s response to Tom Cruise in the film Jerry Maguire).
But there are other kinds of answers which make understandable the reality of being the “kid sister” and admiring the young man’s status and qualities plus your emerging curiosity about romance and sex.
Now, as a married woman, it’s time to look closer at your emotional and sexual life with your husband. I start with “emotional,” because there’s more to a successful union than having sex regularly. There’s sharing deep feelings, including the ones that make you blush... e.g., shyness, humiliation over something, private masturbation, repressed anger.
When a couple can talk about those personal secrets, their bond strengthens.
If that level of connection is missing, while your fantasy still persists, extend your search for answers through talking to a psychotherapist. Increased self-knowledge is very helpful.
FEEDBACK Regarding the young man sure that his best friend “stole my girl” (December 11):
Reader – “All of those involved are young and have been friends. The letter-writer shouldn’t make any assumptions.
“There may very well have been nothing intentional or planned going on, but maybe just a coincidental opportunity. The fact that the “ex” girlfriend contacted him, tells me that nothing intentional happened.
“They are all just friends, nothing more. Yes, there may be some feelings between his friend and the girl he’d visited out-of-town but nothing firm.
“Give the situation time as everyone matures. I’d say nothing, do nothing and just keep contact with both as if nothing happened.”
Ellie - When the wisdom of maturity speaks, the young don’t always listen. They have the urgency of “now” not wait-and-see.
Eventually, the truth will emerge. But don’t expect the hurt guy to accept it easily.
Tip of the day:
Crushes during marriage are imagined escapes. But acting on them can destroy what you value most.