It's Just A Crush....Or Is It?

3 years ago
Our family spent the Easter weekend in Chicago.  As it was also my son's birthday weekend, we figured it would be a great surprise for him if he got to spend it with his favorite cousins from his Dad's side of the family.  

Visiting family in Chicago normally translates to three related and almost causal events, which I definitely always look forward to:
Son gets to play with cousins.  
Son ends up at cousins' house which means somebody else gets to watch the kids.  
Mommy gets to go out and play with her friends!  
Granted these girls' nights out (GNOs) for me are very few and far between, (the last one we had was in November last year so on average we see each other every five months, or three if we're lucky), a GNO is undeniably always a welcome event for me.  

An Event. Yes, it's sacred time I carve out to be with friends (two of whom are sisters-in-law) so that I can really unwind and take my mind off of worrying thoughts that constantly shadow my identity as a parent.  It is an 'event' because it's one of the very few times I get to be a bit dressy, take a bit more time putting make-up on, and most of all, consume alcohol.


Image by: Drunken Monkey


Somehow, our group always ends up spending the entire evening at this Italian restaurant located less than 15 minutes away from where we all live. (I stay with one of my sisters-in-law when we visit).  It's a wonderful place. Chic but not stiff.  Great food, attentive and friendly service, good mixed drinks that are just enough to loosen us up without making it impossible for anyone to safely drive home, and everything is reasonably priced.  But beyond these logical reasons that keep drawing all of us in, this restaurant has one unique selling point for us. Ok, for ME, and it's time to fess up.
I fancy one of the servers.  
Don't worry.  It's just an innocent crush.  I first spotted him five months ago, in November 2013, and luckily when we returned last weekend, this handsome young man, 'Babe' as our group now calls him, was still there.  (Should I be thanking the tough job market for him staying on?)  
Before you judge me, although frankly I prefer you save your energy because I couldn't care less, let me further explain why this guy makes me feel like a silly teenager once again.  Personally, I think he resembles Henry Cavill. When I first spotted him five months ago, he wore a beard that completely reminded me of Man of Steel Henry during that oil rig scene. Last weekend though, he was completely clean-shaven further revealing a good, strong jawline. 'Babe' also has such a remarkable profile, thanks to that perfect nose bridge. He also has dark, wavy hair, once again invoking his Henry-ness. However, he's admittedly lacking in height.  We all think he's only about 5'6 or 5'7. But who cares, right?  He's more than made up for it with his face. However, like I said, it's just an innocent, silly crush and I just enjoy watching him from afar.  We've never even been lucky enough to have him as our server, so at this point, it's really all been about babe-watching, giggling and having a good time with my girls.  

I understand that there are some who believe that people in committed relationships should not have crushes or feel any sort of attraction towards people other than the partner or spouse.  But isn't that unrealistic to expect? We are human after all and it's normal to acknowledge and appreciate beauty in others when we see it.  In my case, I'm clear that there's no emotional investment or attachment on my part.  I haven't even directly interacted with this guy and only see him twice a year if I'm lucky enough.  I don't fantasize about him or imagine being with him. I really just think he's remarkably attractive.  Ok, maybe even 'spine-tinglingly' handsome.  But that's about it. It's a shallow crush, a strictly superficial admiration that I know I will never act on.  Ever.  And I suppose that's the important part.  I may appreciate and admire this person's looks but by no means do I look at him as a replacement for my spouse.  My admiration for this other man does not translate to my husband's diminishment.  In other words, I'm able to compartmentalize, and it seems to be working in my favor.  I think that's key in keeping these things innocent and harmless, and ultimately, quite acceptable.

You know what else I realized?  It wasn't so much the sight of my crush that I enjoyed the most, but the feelings the whole experience brought me.  For me, it was the strategizing with my friends so that we can have the best view of 'Babe'.  It was the thrill of doing my best to be subtle, to not be 'found out'. It was the feeling of innocence that was brought back by this shallow infatuation.  It was the sense of fun it brought with it that I was able to share with friends and one we bonded over.

We are drawn to people not simply for who they are but more because of how they make us feel about ourselves or our lives.  We seek out situations that bring out a part of us that we want to show up or enjoy experiencing and cultivating; and we tend to retreat or shy away from those that we feel ill-equipped for or that tend to call forth parts of us we don't like or reject.

What we do or how we behave really has nothing to do with others, (whether it's the handsome server or my husband, in this situation) and everything to do with us (me).  Just as is true for any other married person who develops a crush on someone (or even an affair), it has to do with the experience you are seeking, the feelings you want, rather than simply the other person involved.    

The whole time during that evening, what kept popping in my mind was how everything felt like I was in collegeagain, when my closest friends would help 'stalk' my crush and find out as much as they can about him for me; how I'd share my feelings with my dearest friends and always felt supported and understood; how the smallest thrills just made life fun for us.  Those are what I miss.  That's probably what I'm seeking.  And I would take what I (safely and sanely) can, even if it's just three hours at a restaurant feasting on eye-candy with friends, just to remind myself of that version of me again; that time in my life when my heart was still open to feel anything and everything life threw at me; that time when I felt most significant, most at home, and least alienated.  

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