I spent two years crushing on a guy I thought was perfect.
No, the title is not click bait. This actually happened.
We were friends, did the same things, had similar interests and the same sense of humor. So of course, I, or at least the younger, more impressionable version of me, fell “in love.” Our story was picture perfect. He would lean in, I would giggle in the most feminine way I could. He would steal sneaky looks. I would smile back, completely assured of our mutual attraction. The only issue with our romantic saga was that he had no clue that he was in it.
(Side note: Everything in me wants to disassociate the girl I was and who I am now, but honestly, sometimes I’m still like this. I’ve put all my cards on the table; please don’t judge me y’all!)
Eventually, the realization that I had entered a one-sided relationship with my imagination dawned on me and I was left with a broken heart, teary eyes, a bruised friendship (whether he knew it or not), and the faintest trace of bitterness.
I know. Honestly, I can only laugh looking back. The thing is years later, as I talk with my girlfriends and other hopeless romantics, I’ve realized that it’s not just me. Lets keep it real, many women are led into relationships through romantic idealism. And the same can be said for men too! We use this Disney-like hand crafted picture as the measure for each prospective mate we meet. Not only that, but we attribute all those amazing traits to people who either don’t deserve it or people who we don’t know enough because of the pedestal we’ve put them on. Our unmet, uncommunicated expectations, when left unmanaged, can be like poison to any relationship, let alone a non-existent one. And sometimes our expectations for a relationship can hurt more than the actual reality of a relationship.
I can’t say I’m immune. I have two best friends that have had to endure me gushing over one boy to the next while committing those same crimes. At the same time, I’d like to think I’ve gotten a little smarter and a little wiser over the years. I’ve come to appreciate the healthy dose of reality that my friends generously dish when my expectations threaten to get out of hand. And although I will still voluntarily remain an optimistic romantic (no longer hopeless), there are a few truths I have learned to remind myself of when it comes to managing my expectations and about when to step back & let go:
- You are more valuable than you think you are. Let this truth ring through your thoughts on the days when you want to work to make someone see it.
- It’s not foolish to want to be in a relationship. It doesn’t make you any less strong, beautiful, capable or desirable.
- If your best friend wouldn’t treat you that way, he shouldn’t either. Set the standard of how you would like to be treated. Everyone says the right one will put in the effort to exceed it.
- Hold every moment with open hands. If it has not been communicated bluntly that you and your interest have taken a step into a relationship or are married, remind yourself to remain open to whatever the end result may be.
- Don’t rush ahead of where you are now. Every next step builds off the previous. If you haven’t said hi yet, chances are he’s probably not ready to be your boo tomorrow.
- Your feelings will make it seem like you’re closer to your crush than you actually are. Allow yourself to enjoy the process but remember that quality time fosters closeness.
- Feelings change. Fickle feelings are too unreliable to begin constructing a lifetime narrative.
- When someone shows you who they are, believe them. And if you can’t see it, listen to the people around you.
- No man, friend, family member, or person will ever give you all the validation you need. No human being is equipped for that kind of pressure. If you haven’t taken the steps to deal with your own heart issues, do it. Recognizing and relearning your value is an ongoing process and will never stop as you trek through life.
- And lastly, if you make a mistake, if you fail to see the value in yourself and fall, know that the One who is suited to love you, will always be there to wipe your tears.