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Auntie SparkNotes: I'm a Freshman with a Senior Crush

Auntie SparkNotes: I'm a Freshman with a Senior Crush

Kat Rosenfield

Dear Auntie,

Here's yet another boy problem for you to help with: I'm a freshman in love with a senior. We were in the school play together and I developed a pretty strong crush on him. He's the whole package: caring, talented, funny, and one of the few people I've been genuinely comfortable around (I have anxiety that makes it difficult to befriend people). I asked him on a date a while back (~1.5 weeks) and he said yes and sounded pretty happy with the whole idea. Two days later, he comes back and talks to me. The gist of what he said was "Look, I really like you (maybe even in that special way) but I'm not so comfortable with the age gap. So let's hold off on the date." We were in the school dressing room a few hours later and everyone was changing after rehearsal when I overhear him tell his friend "I had to tell her no," and a moment later, "I feel really bad about it." Then another couple days later, I overhear some of his friends talking. One said he heard about a freshman asking out the guy and speculating on who it was, and another went, "What was she thinking? He's practically a grown man!" They didn't get my name, thank god. But the rest of the theatre group figured out long ago my thing for the guy (and I even had a shipper), and have been really supportive of it. Please send help, and you so much for listening, even if you didn't quite understand.

What, that you have a super-huge crush on a guy who's sweet, funny, considerate, and theatrically talented? Dude! Who wouldn't understand the appeal of that?! It sounds fantastic. (Even Auntie SparkNotes, who is married to the best and handsomest man in the world, is over here like, "Oooh, but could I keep a spare hottie in the garage?" ...Except that I don't have a garage, which makes things complicated. Oh well.)

But as much as I totally understand your conundrum, alas, I'm also not sure there's much help for it. This guy likes you, and he's evidently a very decent dude; he's handled this situation with a level of care and responsibility that speaks quite well of him. But he's also uncomfortable with the idea of dating someone so much younger than him (or at least with the potential social fallout thereof), and that's a problem that only a major change of heart and/or circumstances can solve, neither of which you're in a position to effect. And the thing is, that's okay. I mean, it stinks, but it's okay. There's no bad guy in this scenario, you know? He didn't do anything wrong by declining to date you, nor did you do anything wrong by asking him out — and that's true regardless of what his friends said. Just because your crush is put off by the age difference, that doesn't make it objectively bad; you guys are peers, you attend the same high school, and there's absolutely nothing weird or shocking about wanting to date someone under those circumstances. It just didn't work out this time.

Which, again, totally stinks. And if you want to spend a day or two feeling disappointed about it, you're allowed. (You are also allowed to eat those feelings in the form of an entire wheel of cheese.) But once you've processed the part where you had a letdown and it doesn't feel good, I hope you'll focus on the part where you did a super-brave thing in going after what you wanted, which is something you can hold onto and be proud of no matter what the outcome. Do you have any idea how cool and rare that level of confidence is, even in someone twice your age? Because it's freaking awesome. (And it's no wonder your friends are supportive; they're probably impressed as hell by what a bad-ass you are.) And while you didn't get the guy this time, the next time you're interested in someone, you'll always be able to remember how you asked someone out and got rejected and not only survived the experience, but handled it like a champ — and knowing how resilient you are, you won't be afraid to try again.

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Topics: Life, Advice
Tags: auntie sparknotes, relationships, dating, advice, gossip, age gaps

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About the Author

Kat Rosenfield is a writer, illustrator, advice columnist, YA author, and enthusiastic licker of that plastic liner that comes inside a box of Cheez-Its. She loves zombies and cats. She hates zombie cats. Follow her on Twitter or Tumblr @katrosenfield.

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