When I first became aware that I had feelings for this person, I was really scared. For much of last year I tried to put on an indifferent attitude so that she wouldn’t show me much interest. I think in the process I was very callous/rude, and towards the tail end of last year I could tell that she had given up and, further, had probably confided her frustrations to her group of girlfriends.
Last year was emotional torture. On the one hand, I was so happy when she was around, but at the same time I was so scared to look at her or be close to her because of how I was feeling. When she was away from work, I missed her every single day, only to be personally panicking that, when she would return, someone would find out my secret.
At the end of last year, I moved to a different work section of the government agency I work for. It was a move which I thought would make things easier for me. In fact, it has done the opposite. Not only have I continued to miss her, but the feelings have intensified to the point where all I think about at work is her. In addition, I get the strong feeling that she has probably made the decision to end things with me as she no longer instant messages me at work and doesn’t invite me to coffee runs in the morning.
Towards the end of last year, and as a courtesy, she invited me to the final group lunch for the year before work broke for the Christmas break. I was so tormented by how I felt and so conflicted that I declined her invitation. For some inexplicable reason, I instant messaged her promising to make-up for my no-show by setting up a lunch date, for just her and me, in the New Year.
I really want her in my life, but, at the same time, I am so scared that my eyes will betray how much I care for her. I am also torn up about the fact that she thinks I am a bad person who has treated her horribly when, in fact, the opposite is true. I feel like life has dealt me this card that I simply have no idea what to do with. I want to correct the record and tell her this problem I have had, but I am scared that she won’t forgive me and will reject me outright. I am scared that she will think it’s just a convenient excuse.
I also feel the pressure of time because late last year she made an application to work in another part of the country and I have a strong feeling she will get the job and move. When she told me that she had applied, I resigned myself to the fact that I will probably never see her again. It is why I am considering honoring my promise to have lunch with her, but I don’t know how I am going to ‘fess up and explain how I have been feeling. I just don’t know if I can fix this problem . . .
Is this just a case of a stupid crush which I should ignore and move on from? Is it a pointless exercise in trying to drag back a boat that has long sailed? Is it that there are plenty of other people whom I could be good friends with and these feelings will go away in time? The bottom line is that I want this to go away and for my life to go back to normal. Can you please give me some advice as to what to do and even whether it’s salvageable? — Tormented By Girl Crush
What you’re describing sounds like much more than a simple “girl crush,” and you need to do some serious soul-searching and figure out what this woman truly means and represents to you. You say your feelings are “platonic” and not sexual, but you sound like you’re in love with her. Or, like you think you’re in love with her. Or, at least, like you’re obsessed with her. Do you want to be her? Do you want her life? If it’s just friendship you want from her, what is it about a friendship with her that appeals to you? And if it’s so appealing, why do you keep running from it? Obviously, there is something about your feelings for this woman that scare you. Like, to the core. THAT is the crux of this issue here. What is it that you’re afraid to face? Is it your sexuality? Is it that you think you aren’t worthy of friendship and companionship? If you aren’t able to answer these questions on your own with some honest soul-searching, it might be time to talk to a therapist.
I’m curious where, in all of this, your fiancé factors. You don’t even mention him directly in this whole letter — only to say that you’re engaged — and yet, if you are to marry him, we have to assume he is the most important person in your life, right? More important than this colleague you have a crush on. Or . . . maybe he isn’t? Maybe you are having doubts about him and about your relationship — not to mention your sexuality — and this woman is a distraction from those difficult thoughts. Maybe it’s easier to project your emotions on this person than to face what might be a difficult-to-process reality.
Again, only you can answer these questions. If they feel uncomfortable to you — if you don’t want to think about these issues, then that’s a good indication that that’s where the truth lies. Maybe what you’re really afraid of isn’t so much this woman moving away or rejecting you — though, if you’re in love with her, that fear could certainly be founded; maybe what scares you the most is letting the truth reveal itself to you. But that old saying about the truth setting us free is true. It does set us free. That doesn’t mean there isn’t discomfort and even pain in the process of finding it, but even those things are a small price to pay for the opportunity to live a more authentic life.
Regardless of whether you are willing to delve into the discomfort and find the truth, I would NOT recommend revealing to this woman that you’ve been harboring a crush on her for the last year. What would that accomplish? She’s married. She works with you. You have mutual colleagues and work contacts. You need to let this be and not drag her into the maze of your mixed-up feelings any more than you indirectly already have. It would be inappropriate, for one thing, and something I think you ultimately would regret.
The answers that you’re seeking won’t come from this woman anyway, or even from me. They’re inside of you. You just have to muster the courage to look inside and find them. It’s only in finding them and releasing them that they will stop eating away at you. And if you continue denying yourself the truth, you will continue feeling the kind of discomfort and torment you’ve been attributing to this crush. The crush is a symptom. It’s up to you to find the cause. The treatment is simple: Embracing the truth.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.