September 21, 2012

Unrequited Like: A Fresh Perspective

[Editors Note: Hey y'all, I just wanted to put a little reminder for you about the Center's Pride Prep party this afternoon at 4. We're meeting in the LGBT Center to have some food, drink, and good times. We'll be making signs to hold on the float at Pride next Saturday so if you want to make your own sign to carry, stop on by! We've got supplies!]

I have had, over my nineteen years, my fair share of experiences with what I’m going to call unrequited like, that is, a crush gone wrong, unreturned feelings, and the like. I wouldn’t really call it “love” because that’s too strong of a word; some of the people for whom I’ve had feelings are people that, quite honestly, I know almost nothing about besides the surface level. Perhaps “obsession” is a better word, though the negative connotation associated with that word makes me loath to use it to describe a crush. To be as gay as humanly possible, I’ll just say I felt like Elphaba in “I’m Not That Girl” from Wicked.

Needless to say, having unreturned feelings for someone is not very fun – it made me doubt a lot of things about myself: was it my personality? My intelligence? My looks? Or was it just that I, as a whole, was simply not desirable?  This little self-pity party was, in retrospect, unnecessary. Maybe it wasn’t anything about me; it is, after all, perfectly possible for someone to be intelligence, attractive, and have a good personality and still not ‘do it’ for everyone.  

So, he didn’t like me back. I got over it. That’s pretty much how that whole deal works, but I have to admit that I’ve held a bit of a grudge since then. I know it’s silly and immature, but I can’t really help but feel some animosity towards the boy who, when I had the bittersweet experience of close-quarters communication, either ignored me or was downright rude. But “hey,” I told myself, “at least he’s talking to you, even if it is a ‘fuck off’ here and there.”

This summer I had the tables turned on me. By that, I mean that instead of being the lovesick mess, I was on the receiving end of an unrequited like. It has changed my perspective about my experience last year quite a bit. I will admit that, when my feelings towards the guy in question were unreturned, I probably played the victim. I’m not ashamed of that, that’s exactly what it felt like from my perspective. But the great thing about perspective is that it can change. Does this mean I forgive my ex-crush for the way that he treated me? No, not entirely, but I better understand why he acted the way he did and how I can act differently so as not to put someone through that same experience.

 It was difficult to decide how to treat the situation, especially after having first-hand experience as the unwanted suitor. I had a difficult time deciding whether it was best to ignore it completely and hope that the clean cut from him would allow him to move on or whether that would, as in my case, simply turn the crush into bitterness. Though it was difficult and pretty awkward for both of us, I found it was better for our relationship in the long run to talk to him about his crush and explain that, while I valued his friendship, I was not currently interested in pursuing a relationship with him. Things still aren’t great between us, but I think it’s important to have the decency to treat him and his feelings with respect, even if it means a period of hard feelings may occur. I hope that, in the long run, closing the door on him will allow him to realize that there are many other suitable doors down the hall.

Being the recipient of an unwanted crush is hard. It’s awkward. It’s tedious. But when you find yourself as the recipient of unwanted affection, try to remember however ‘hard,’ ‘awkward,’ or ‘tedious’ it is to deal with someone liking you; it’s many times more difficult and uncomfortable for the other person.  To continue my door analogy, wouldn’t you rather someone answer the door to tell you that “no,” they didn’t, in fact, “order the tall, fair-skinned, brunette with freckles” and that “someone must have made a mistake” instead of ignoring the doorbell completely?


  1. I could've sworn this blog was LGBT related, not dating frustration.

  2. Be careful not to make a power trip out of the second guy; just because you've been rejected doesn't mean you have to reject.

  3. Thanks for such an honest and detailed look at unreturned crushes. I know posting this must have been difficult for you.