Hello and welcome to our advice column, Ask MR, where we answer your burning questions, hoping we’ll become the ointment to your life rash. Ask us a question by sending one of us a DM, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “ASK MR A QUESTION,” or simply leaving one in the comments.
“How do I get over a crush? I went out with a pretty girl about a month ago and, afterward, she told me it wasn’t a good time for her to pursue a relationship. I keep thinking about her even though we haven’t talked in over a month. It’s so rare for me to find a girl who likes me, even seemingly in comparison to other lesbians. I can’t help but feel self-conscious about this. It’s never taken me this long to get over someone. I’m lonely and feel undesirable quite often. What should I do? Nothing? Something?”
Who says you have to “get over” a crush? In most cases, crushes are healthy and adorable—and can actually be an informative aspect of the journey to finding your person. And also finding yourself: What do your crushes have in common? Are all of your crushes dog people, or from the South, or incredibly hardworking, or partial to clipping their toenails in the shower? Crushes are like a Build-a-Bear Workshop for figuring out what moves you!
That said, liking someone and starting to experience that fun little flitter in your belly, only to be told that they’re not feeling the same way, really fucking sucks. Especially for those of us in the queer community who have a fear of never finding a longterm partner. I think the heartbreak you’re feeling is a super natural and rational response to that—I’ve felt it myself.
As queer folks, we’ve been conditioned to think we won’t have a chance at getting all of the things that straight people get: love, marriage, kids, the house, etc. And part of that perception is a simple matter of access. I always felt like my chances of finding someone were a fraction of my straight friends’, who could seemingly walk up to anyone. But even if our community is smaller, I can tell you that you have just as much of a chance at love, the kids, the house—if you want those things—as anyone else.
I know how much rejection hurts, and I know it can feel like the chance may not come again or that there’s something inherently wrong with you. But I’m here to tell you that you are worthy and deserving of reciprocal love of all kinds. I don’t know you and I can say that with 100% certainty. Mostly because I still have to remind myself of the same thing fairly often—and its by that reminding that I’ve become far more capable of self-love and self-respect than I have been in the past.
So let’s dig in: What about this person had you crushing so hard? What were the qualities in her that you liked the most? Write those things down and start to figure out what you’re looking for in an ideal mate. Having that knowledge can be really helpful and allow you to create healthy non-negotiables and boundaries for potential partners in the future.
I noticed that you said this particular crush was difficult for you to get over—not because you rarely find a girl that you click with but because you rarely find a girl that likes you. I want you to consider changing this narrative. When you focus only on what you can’t offer other people, your sense of self-worth hinges on your ability to change who you are. But when you choose to focus on what you want to bring to others, trust me when I say your world will open up!
I was in a nine-year relationship prior to meeting my current partner. When we broke up, I was devastated. I resigned to being alone for the rest of my life; I was certain that if the one person in this world who I loved and had spent such a long time with didn’t want to be with me, then no one else would. But as soon as I stopped looking outward and started looking inside of my damn self, that story started to change. It wasn’t easy, but I knew that if I was going to be better for myself and possibly other people, I had to intimately understand the mechanics of my inner life and emotions.
I had to sit with myself (more often than I wanted, tbh) and really dig into the how’s and why’s of what makes me feel like the best version of myself. And the more I dug in, the more I was able to quiet my mind and see myself. I started dating me and hanging out with me. I thought about the ways I could have been a better partner in my last relationship and also thought about how I sacrificed some of my desires because I thought I had to in order to maintain the relationship. The whole process was terrible and great and perfect and something I probably should have done much sooner.
In the end, understanding those things made me realize that I could still be me in a partnership. That my whole world wasn’t wrapped up in the happiness of another person and that perhaps it’s okay to still want to maintain a real sense of “me-ness” in my next relationship and frankly in all of my relationships! This was ultimately how I became happy on my own—by fully experiencing truths that I had kept in a lock box for so long. So when I met my current partner, I was a better me for her because I was the best me for me.
So I say all of that to say this (and I know that you might think it’s hokey): Focus on you, find the things that you love about you and I swear to sweet gay Jesus, you will attract the kind of partner that enjoys all of the weird wonders that you have to offer to this world. But also remember that this isn’t about going on a journey simply to attract a partner. This is about you. Loving and accepting you for all that you are should always be the peak that you’re hiking toward. Yes, along that hike, you might find a fellow hiker who has cute boots and makes you laugh when the walk gets hot and hard and not so much fun, but honestly, that cute booted hiker might just as easily be you.
Ask MR Identity by Madeline Montoya.