Crushes are beautiful. Sometimes even more beautiful than relationships themselves. They remind you of a perfect world; two lovers existing in a blissful modern-day fairytale; no disagreements, no jealousies, no tiffs. They say the best thing you can do to your love is to never marry them. In English poetry, the concept of the unattainable mistress has been very popular. The languishing lover, usually the poet, pines for the love of the icy beloved who doesn’t give a hoot about him.
Something similar happens in real life too, even though we may not realise it. Crushes are very often one-sided, more often than we’d like them to be. And this probably is not gender specific; it ails both men and women equally. The reasons could be many—perhaps you are not yourself in front of them; perhaps you two are very different people (a fact responsible for you liking them but also for them not noticing you).
Stealing glances at them; butterflies in the stomach when they come to talk to you, stalking them on Facebook are just the first sensations of love we feel. And they are often so overwhelming, often orgasmic in their headiness that everything else fades into oblivion. Overcome by that feeling, you can never be yourself in their presence. Perhaps you fall silent, perhaps you falter; hopefully you just don’t grin from ear to ear in their presence; you are too busy admiring them, basking in the warm glow of love. Or sometimes you are too chatty, too close for comfort, always available, always the guy staring.
They say we always like someone who we think is better than us or is out of our league—more good-looking, smarter, more successful. While that’s somewhat true about infatuation and the outward signs could confirm that, truth is we often take a liking to someone when we see in them what we desire in life. You may be able to see something in someone that the rest of the world can’t. You like the fact that she can stand up for herself; you like it that she can be so empathetic towards people; nobody else notices it but you do. You value those traits; maybe they come naturally to her but for you, they matter enough to make you fall in love with her. Her parameters of love could be different.
They say opposites attract, and that is one of the first laws of attraction, but it doesn’t guarantee a relationship. You love the way she laughs easily and heartily, something you never do. You love the way she brings life to every gathering. You are in awe of her. But will she be in love with you? Maybe yes, maybe not. She might not notice you, she might never get to know you, considering you don’t talk much. Often it ends as a one-sided feeling.
And then the hurt starts. The self-introspection, the self-blame, the embarrassment. You have to realise it didn’t happen because one of the two of you is better but because you are two very different people. If your natures are different, then your worlds are different, your friends are different, your tastes are different. Love doesn’t happen easily in such cases. A crush is like a beautiful rose bush; let it be, let it bloom away in the distance; don’t try to own it, don’t struggle too much to make it your own or you might ruin it forever. If it’s meant to happen, the wind will carry the fragrance to you.
Why It Hurts So Bad
So when our crush doesn’t reciprocate our feelings, why is it that we are left heart-broken? Have we fallen so in love with that person that we can’t imagine a life without them? Or do we think they were the one? And it couldn’t have been anyone better? But in reality, we grieve not over a lost love but over a hurt ego and a ‘what if’. They rejected us. They did not choose us. They did not develop a liking for us. We failed to entice them, to make them fall in love with us. We see it as a personal failure. At the end of the day, it’s not about them; it’s about us.
We all have insecurities and it’s perfectly okay to have them. Those very insecurities are brought to the fore when someone rejects us. Maybe it’s the hair; or if I had been a little taller; or if I were a tad wittier…the list never ends.
And then there are the what ifs. What if were perfect for each other? What if we got on like a house on fire? What if she secretly liked me? What if she was the one? Could we have been soulmates? The uncertainty is killing. The regret sharp. When it’s a crush that fails to materialize, you can never know. Whereas, in a relationship that eventually fades away, two people have gone through the process of falling out of love. They have tried and they have failed. They have spent good times and they have spent bad times. They have seen each other’s ugly.
But when your crush walks away, you are still head over heels over them. They still make your heart skip a beat. You are still in the most beautiful phase of falling in love—the one where you get tingly sensations in the stomach on seeing them. You did not get a chance to try it out and see if it worked or not. You did not get a chance to grow out of the heady feeling. And that’s why it hurts.
But, of course, it’s a phase that’s short-lived. When a crush fails, the pain is sharp but quick. Like a bandage being ripped off. As soon as we realize that all the hurt is within us, it’s very easy to get out of it. It’s the ego you’ve to nurse. It’s the hope you’ve to rekindle. Because there will be many more, many who like you. You will not miss the person. You will even forget their name. But you’ll nurse that heady feeling, that capacity to like someone so wholeheartedly and purely. As they say, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder and you are a person who is beautiful enough to find beauty. Cherish that. You’ll always find it.