You know what’s worse than being a hopeless romantic? Being a hopeless romantic who can’t figure out social cues and has relationship drama worthy of a Taylor Swift song.
Back when I was in college, I had a crush on a different guy every year. Before that, I had a couple of boyfriends in high school. Sadly, my relationships ended badly and my feelings for the crushes were unrequited. The good news is that I learned a lot of things from having these crushes and relationships. So in no particular order, here are 8 steps for handling having a crush and building a better relationship.
1) Acknowledge what you are feeling, but don’t dwell on it
Whenever I had a crush, I would go between two extremes: 1) I would be in total denial about what was going on or 2) I would let the feelings I have overwhelm me to the point that I couldn’t think about anything else. Childhood television taught me that it’s good to acknowledge whatever you’re feeling and find a way to deal with it. My way of dealing with a crush nowadays is to write poetry about it.
2) Figure out the best way to communicate.
Some Aspies have problems expressing how they feel, either verbally or nonverbally. Others, like me, struggle with understanding what other people express and what that means. Honesty is the best policy in this case. Whenever I meet somebody, I always ask them what their preferred method of communication is. If I forget to ask that question, I usually try very neutral methods such as e-mail or social networking. However, face-to-face interaction is still the most preferred method for non-Aspies.
When it comes to face-to-face interaction, work on maintaining eye contact and read up on body language. During college, I took classes that put me in situations that involved a lot of face-to-face interaction such as presenting a speech or learning how to act for a play. These classes helped me to express myself better in the day-to-day conversations.
3) Don’t talk about your feelings/relationship with everyone.
This is something I learned the hard way. I wasn’t the kind of girl who whined on social media about how perpetually single I was…but I whined about it to pretty much everyone I interacted with in real life. I’m pretty sure I annoyed a lot of people, but they were way too nice to tell me otherwise.
When it comes to asking for advice, I suggest talking things over with someone you can really trust. It might be a relative or a friend or even a counselor. It’s better to confide in a handful of people rather than your entire of circle of friends because if/when said crush/relationship doesn’t work out, you don’t have to tell everyone about said fallout.
4) Remember to love yourself
One major problem I had was that I entered into my relationships with the idea that I would find my sense of self-worth with them. I realize now that the men I liked weren’t going to give me love if I didn’t love myself first. I still struggle with self-esteem issues, but I’ve found things about myself that I love and try to be the best version of myself on a daily basis.
If you’re having problems with having a good sense of self-worth, I have a Bible verse for you:
“You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know. My bones are not hidden from you. When I was being made in secret, fashioned in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me unformed; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be.” Psalm 139: 13-16.
No, you are not a Special Snowflake entitled to everything you want, but you were created with love and are loved just for who you are.
5) Take it slow
Most dating advice articles say that it’s good to start off as friends. While I also advise to start out as friends, don’t obsess over how you’re “stuck in the friendzone” with said crush. Again, you are created with love, but you are not entitled to everything you want. It’s a slow process, but good things take time. Get to know your significant other and enjoy the time you spend with them. If you play your cards right, you’ll either end up with a good friend or a significant other. Worst case scenario, you’ll learn something from said relationship.
6) Treat the person as a person, not as an object
Something I learned from my crushing was that I was more often caught up in the idea of having a relationship rather than falling in love with the person I crushed on in question. Don’t get obsessed over a person’s physical features and DO NOT push things too far with too much physical contact. No matter what your views on casual sex may be, relationships tend to be better with delayed gratification.
Ask them about how their day went, things they like to do in their spare time, hobbies they enjoy, etc. It helps you find out more about them and it makes them feel more comfortable. It also leads to them asking questions about you. Just remember that both parties have to hold up the conversation.
7) If a crush ends up being unrequited or a relationship fizzles out, it’s not the end of the world
A common problem Aspies face is anxiety especially when it comes to frequent change or facing disappointments. Don’t stay in a bad relationship just because you hate the idea of changing your life. It’s better to let go of bad influences than to stay with them and watch your life slowly get worse and worse.
Whenever I found out that a crush didn’t return my feelings, I would often blame myself and then blame the other person. In reality, relationships end for a lot of reasons and both parties are responsible. Take responsibility for whatever mistakes you may have made, learn from them, and move on.
8) Don’t compare your relationship to anyone else’s!
No two relationships are the same. Teenage girls will usually crush on a boy their parents don’t approve of and compare their relationship to Romeo and Juliet, completely missing the point that Romeo and Juliet died at the end of the play. However, the best love stories are ones that are unique. While one might compare relationships to stories such as Beauty and the Beast and other fairy tales, the people in the relationships will always be different from the characters in said stories.
It’s not easy for an Aspie to not compare things because most Aspies like to gather facts and analyze them. Relationships, however, are a bit messier than that. Each relationship and each crush will be a new and unique experience. You can use what you learned in past relationships to better yourself going into a new one, but don’t compare the new loves to old flames. Instead, find what you love about them that is unique only to them.
There are definitely some more tips out there, but this is just a starter for handling the always-new situation of falling in love. I hope these tips help you out!