Embracing the Normalcy: Celebrating Crushes without Shame

"In a world that often feels like a giant hydraulic car compactor, relentlessly compressing the complexities of human emotion, I proudly embrace my ability to crush, and crush hard. Whether single or not, I find genuine joy in the simple pleasure of having a crush. It's a sentiment that clings to me like an unyielding force, indifferent to my relationship status—my crushes are, for better or worse, uncrushable.

The term "crush" is a beautifully elusive concept, akin to those elusive feelings it encapsulates. Unlike heavy-handed terms like "infatuation" or "obsession," the word "crush" is delightfully vague, leaving room for the unpredictability and nuance of human connection. It's, in the immortal words of Jennifer Paige's 1998 soft-rock anthem, just "a little crush." Importantly, a crush doesn't demand reciprocity or viability. It can be directed toward a distant celebrity or a married next-door neighbor. Crushes often manifest as one-sided admirations, quietly existing in the realm of personal enjoyment, rarely disclosed or made public.

As I reflect on the phenomenon of crushes, my musings are prompted by the omnipresent influence of TikTok. The platform is currently ablaze with discussions on "micro-cheating," dissecting actions that may be considered shady within relationships. The debate surrounding what constitutes "micro-cheating" has become a contentious topic, with some actions undeniably suspect. Secret messaging and dishonesty about relationship status are clear red flags. However, a surprising number of voices argue that merely "thinking or daydreaming about someone you have a crush on" should also be placed on the spectrum of betrayal.

In a world grappling with the definition of fidelity, let us not forget the innocent joy of a crush—a soft, whimsical interlude that adds a touch of fun to the complex tapestry of human connection. As the world debates the boundaries of micro-cheating, perhaps it's time to celebrate the harmless allure of a little crush."

"In the landscape of TikTok, where one might expect a sea of socially liberal attitudes among the predominantly under-thirty user base, there emerges a surprising convergence of values that lean towards the socially conservative. Judgmental eyes are quick to scrutinize actions, creating an environment where seeking solace or connection outside a relationship during rocky times is deemed demonizable. The platform seems to crave strict, defined, and black-and-white rules, a stark departure from the assumed liberal ethos associated with the younger demographic.

As a person navigating the realms of dating in their forties, this rigid moral stance feels dangerously naive. Experience teaches that the spectrum of attraction is layered in countless shades of grey—far more than a mere fifty. The crush, in all its nuanced glory, stands as the ultimate emblem of this ambiguity. Personally, and without intending to further provoke TikTok's moral guardians, I find myself able to harbor a crush for nearly anyone I've dated or shared a romantic moment with. These crushes don't consume me entirely; they linger like the gentle heat left by smoldering cinders.

In the aftermath of relationships, I don't often find myself entangled in horrendous break-ups laden with bitter words and actions. Perhaps that lack of animosity towards exes is part of the challenge. It might be neater and saner to be able to crush my crushes, but the truth is, I've only experienced an ick so profound that it extinguished a crush entirely once. It occurred when someone I was dating displayed a disheartening response to being asked for change by homeless people in central London—an automatic goodbye.

The bitter reality unveils itself: monogamous individuals in relationships find themselves harboring crushes with astonishing regularity. You likely have a crush on someone right now, just as someone probably has a crush on you. Is it wrong? Along my journey, I've encountered kindred spirits who revel in a constant ambient stimulation, deriving a peculiar pleasure from the perpetual state of unsatisfied arousal induced by micro crushes. It's as if, in defiance of Freud's "Beyond the Pleasure Principle," this ongoing tension is, unexpectedly, pleasurable."

"Am I toeing the line of micro-cheating by entertaining simultaneous crushes on 44 different individuals? It's a distinct possibility. Am I adhering to the traditional norms of monogamous dating? Absolutely not, and I believe it's the only ethical approach when you happen to be a serial crusher. Does my penchant for developing crushes extend to individuals already in relationships? Unquestionably. Do I act on these feelings? No.

In a world still tethered to the concept of exclusive, singular love—where ownership of our partners is coveted, and we strive to be 'the one' rather than 'one of a few'—the notion of embracing a connection with someone who openly admits to having a crush or two appears radical. Yet, in this admission lies a certain honesty that challenges the conventional narrative. The harsh reality is that individuals committed to monogamous relationships find themselves susceptible to developing crushes on a frequent basis. It's plausible that you have a crush on someone right now, just as someone likely has a crush on you. While not everyone succumbs to infidelity, it's a safe bet that a significant majority at least experiences the occasional crush.

Is this inclination wrong? It's a daunting question to confront within the confines of a monogamous relationship. Perhaps, instead of navigating the intricate parameters of micro-cheating, couples should muster the courage to candidly ask each other: Do you currently have a crush on someone?

By TikTok's stringent standards, daydreaming about a crush is deemed a sin. However, in the eyes of many others, daydreaming is simply a fundamental aspect of human nature. It's time to engage in thought-provoking conversations, challenge preconceived notions, and recognize that the complexities of attraction exist in shades of gray, not confined to black-and-white definitions."

"In a world where the conventional ideals of exclusive love dominate, the candid exploration of crushes challenges the status quo. Acknowledging the prevalence of crushes within monogamous relationships is a testament to the complexities of human connection that extend beyond rigid boundaries. Whether micro-cheating or merely indulging in daydreams, the honesty in admitting to the universality of crushes opens a space for authentic dialogue between partners. Perhaps, instead of fixating on the parameters of micro-cheating, couples can foster greater understanding by daring to ask the simple yet profound question: Do you have a crush on someone? As we navigate the intricate landscapes of love, it's time to embrace the nuanced shades of gray that define attraction, recognizing that the human experience is not confined to simplistic black-and-white definitions but thrives in the rich tapestry of diverse emotions."