Auntie SparkNotes: How Long Is Too Long To Pine?
I need advice on my unrequited love, which I believe falls under your field of expertise. So I have a crush on my classmate Brent. We have been going to school together for about a year and our relationship has grown from casual acquaintances to friends to a hardcore crush on my part. He is hilarious, smart, confident, and very sexy, and I have a great time being around him almost every day. While I never thought he returned my feelings, I allowed myself to fall for him anyways. I was okay with this for a long time, because I just enjoyed being around him and saw it as an opportunity to improve my flirting skills. He is so smart and witty that I feel like I have become a more interesting person just by being around him.
Lately though, I have started to feel that my crush has become too serious as I have started to become sad that I do not get to be with him. I'm not in high school anymore, and I feel like I might be too old for these silly infatuated crushes. The thought of giving up my crush on him or avoiding him makes me even more sad, because being around him makes me so happy. But is it worth it to be happy around him if it means I will be sad when I'm not with him? My mood swings have left me utterly confused and unable to make any decisions. I feel stuck in this ignorant bliss that I know will only end in pain. My question is, how long is it appropriate to pine over a guy who obviously does not return your feelings? And if I must give him up, how do I move on from someone I think is ideal? I've tried to make myself think about all his flaws, of which he has many, but I have already accepted and grown to appreciate them. Help?
Alas, Sparkler, I have bad news: if pining is what you're doing, you've already been doing it too long. It means that the desire to be more than friends with this guy has poisoned any pleasure you once took in the friendship itself. And when that happens, what you have isn't friendship anymore: it's a toxic drain on your energy and emotions that'll only get worse with time.
But hey, you knew that! It's why you wrote! And I'm delighted to tell you that your ticket to a happier, healthier place is just one quick (albeit painful) realization away—because for all your talk about how this guy is ideal, you're forgetting about the enormous, unignorable flaw that makes him anything but:
He doesn't like you back.
Which means he's not only not ideal, but actually the least appropriate person you could've possibly pursued.
Because you must realize, darling, that the person you want to be with is a person who wants to be with you. If nothing else, he's got to meet that bare minimum criteria. And I'll be honest: the fact that you don't seem to realize this is the thing that really worries me.
It's one thing to realize you like a guy who doesn't like you back. But indulging in those feelings, putting the guy on a pedestal like this, and then worshipping at the base of that pedestal because nobody else will ever compare and the mere proximity to him makes you a better person? UGH. You might as well hang a sign around your neck that says, "I don't believe I deserve good things." Falling on purpose for someone who doesn't love you back isn't just masochistic; it's the ultimate act of disrespect to the awesome person you are. Do you really believe that you're worth so little, that the best use of your time—and the best it'll ever get for you—is a one-sided crush on a guy who doesn't return your feelings?
And here's the bad news: the more you continue this relationship on its current terms, the more your dignity and self-regard is going to keep draining away. You need some distance, at least for awhile, so that you can gain some much-needed confidence and perspective. You need to spend less time with this guy, who makes you feel interesting only by association, and more time with people who make you feel like the best version of yourself. Forget about basking in the reflected light of your crush's wit and charm: what makes you shine? What are you great at? Who among your friends makes you feel interesting, accomplished, and admired? Where are the people who like you just as much as you like them?
Please find them, and make them the people with whom you spend the most of your time. Because even more than you need to get over one crush in particular, you need to get over the lack of self-esteem that has you using the word "ideal" for a dude who doesn't love you. That's baloney, my friend. You deserve better than that, and you've got to believe you deserve better than that—so that the next time you find yourself crushing unrequitedly, you have the confidence to remind yourself that you have better things to do than be interested in people who aren't interested in you.
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