ROMANTIC AND SEXUAL FEELINGS: CRUSHES

Crushes is yet another topic that always comes up when we talk about the kind of sexual and romantic feelings young people may have during their growing-up years. Having a crush means having sexual or romantic feelings towards a certain, special someone. Many young people develop crushes. Having a crush can be very exciting. Just thinking about or catching a glimpse of the person you have a crush on can brighten your whole day and you may spend delightful hours imagining a romance with that person.

Sometimes young people develop crushes on someone who isn’t vey likely to return their affections — a film star, a rock singer, a teacher, another adult or a friend of an older brother or sister. This sort of crush can be a safe and healthy way of experimenting with romantic and sexual attractions. These crushes are ‘safe’ because, no matter how much we may pretend otherwise, deep down we know that this unattainable person won’t really return our affections.

So we don’t have to worry about real life problems like what to say or how to act. And, because we’re making it all up, we’re free to imagine things turning out the way we want them to, without worrying about whether that person will like us back. In a way having a crush on someone unattainable is a way of rehearsing for the time in our lives when we will have a real romance.

But having a crush on someone unattainable can also cause a lot of suffering. One year some of the girls in our class developed crushes on a certain rock star. They plastered their bedroom walls with posters, wore badges with his face printed on them, pored over fan magazines, and generally had a great time sharing their feelings about him with one another. When the rock star got married, they were, naturally, somewhat disappointed, but one girl was more than disappointed. She was really upset. She had become too involved in her crush and the rock star’s marriage was devastating for her. If you find yourself developing a serious crush on someone unattainable, it helps to remind yourself from time to time that your crush isn’t very realistic and that this person isn’t very likely to return your affections.

Not all crushes are unrealistic. You may develop a crush on someone near your own age who you actually know through school, church, temple or some other group. If that person is interested in you, the crush can be especially exciting. But yearning after a person who doesn’t return your affections can be painful. If you find that your crushes are causing you problems, it helps to find someone — a friend, a parent, a teacher, another adult or a counsellor-with whom you can discuss your feelings.

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