Last year I landed my dream job.
The only problem is I have developed a crush on my manager. I’m in no danger of acting on anything: we’re both women but she is straight, has a long-term partner, is about 10 years older than me (I’m 22) and she is pregnant.
I feel like this is partly the reason I’ve allowed it to continue in my head – it’s safe, I get the rush of having a crush without any pressure to “make a move”.
I’m not worried I will do anything or that anyone will notice. But I am embarrassed and concerned it’s becoming an obsession away from the workplace: I have found her partner on Instagram and looked through all his photos of them together and have dabbled in other bits of internet “research”.
I need to put an end to this before I let it go too far. I don’t want to make a fool of myself.
What I have to tell you won’t really help in the short term but it does put things into some sort of context. I have noticed that many young gay men and lesbians go through a phase of unrequited love. Not a crush, but a full-blown operatic love that consumes their entire emotional being.
I went through it myself and, looking back, I’ve tried to understand what it was all about. Part of it is certainly what you describe – it’s safe – but there is another element that is probably connected to not feeling worthy of love. Sobbing into a pillow bemoaning the fact that this woman will never return your feelings is, let’s face it, slightly masochistic.
What helped me move on was being rejected so that the connection could turn into a friendship – but that isn’t an option for you. It might be helpful for you to talk to someone; or maybe you need to socialise more with women who will respond to your advances.
It is also useful to remember that you have created this situation. This woman has done nothing to encourage you. These feelings are ones you have chosen to cultivate. You may tell yourself that you can’t stop thinking about her but you can. It won’t be easy but you can do it. Whatever happens next, you will survive it. Even if you end up humiliating yourself in front of the office, there will be a day when you tell people about this and it will just be a sweet anecdote about a young woman who had so much love to give but couldn’t figure out who should get it.
Unrequited love is like flying a plane in a flight simulator; it feels real but you won’t get anywhere. Hopefully when you meet your next love it will actually get off the ground.
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