I like to think I’m not romantic, that I’m “better” than that. but the reality is that I have a hard shell around my soft candy coating. I’m only this tough veneer because I try to protect myself.

On a day like today, fraught with so much past heartbreak, I wish for the sweeping gesture that I’m still loved and wanted. The thought is what matters, but instead of taking it that way, I read the card, with the “someone special” sentiment and felt the disappointment creep in.

I can get past the fact that I won’t see him today, that there isn’t a date night, or some expensive gift. This proves he’s trying, but it feels wrong: the card, that you could give to your neighbor, or grandma, says nothing about how he feels for me. The little chocolate “xo” when most people who know me, know I hate Hershey’s chocolate.

I know it is so petty, but it’s like he doesn’t pay attention. I feel starved for attention. I get a few minutes once a week. It’s not enough. He doesn’t see me anymore. When I see those words, they sound so cliche’, but they’re correct.

He had a fire for me once. A passion I hadn’t had before, and it was so wonderful. Now I have embers in it’s place, if I’m lucky. Maybe a cinder is more accurate.

I have his loyalty, and I don’t know why that stoic love feels lonely sometimes. Why do I need the passion, the devotion, the undying need? Do I unconsciously want to copy the example my parents set? Am I unrealistic, like most women, because we’re spoonfed some idea of romance?

Maybe it’s my own insecurity, explaining why I need reassurance. Maybe I take too much from the physical time we spend together, and find myself straining to feel without him here.

I can’t seem to picture a future without him. I cannot picture our future together. It’s like a long dark hallway, and I’m lost. I question whether again, I’m staying because I love him or because of some other reason.

crush

a brief but intense infatuation for someone, especially someone unattainable or inappropriate; or force inwards by compressing forcefully

I do this to myself.

The first time, in the third grade, it was Chris T. I can think of multiple persons throughout my young life that became the object of my obsession. When I got to seventh grade, it took on a new angle, as I had my first inappropriate crush, on a teacher. Not one of those cute schoolgirl crushes, but not quite at the criminal point either.

When I was fourteen, I pined for a boy who only knew I was alive because I slipped notes in his locker and found reasons to visit the store down the street from my house where he worked. Never had I volunteered to go out and get more of whatever we were running out of, until then. I took a babysitting job because it was just a few doors down from his house. I cringe to think of how I behaved and hope he didn’t notice my stalker-like behavior.

At fifteen, I met the man who would change the trajectory of my teenage years. The crush I had on him was incredibly powerful. It affected me in a way that I wouldn’t have imagined possible, and still stays with me to this day. I never had a crush on my ex husband. I thought this made our relationship more interesting. I didn’t realize the fault in this argument until later.

I would like to say that my crushes are special, and they are, but the quantity would lead you to believe that they couldn’t possibly be. I find myself feeling that impetuousness that inevitably comes with the new discovery of someone I have an interest in.

I want to know everything about them. What turns them on? What makes them weak? What do they do when they’re alone in the dark at night? What do they want? How do they want it? I get lost in the fantasy, the peeling back of the layers. I like the coquetry, the “getting to know you” portion of the conversation, the mystery and fascination.

I feel often, at this point, like I can’t help myself. I know it’s a slippery slope. Innocent flirtation leading into the kind of territory that puts me in a precarious position. It’s dangerous to be thinking of one man (or woman as the case may be) while sleeping beside another.

Most of the time, my interest wanes and the threat is nullified. Sometimes, rejection slaps me in the face, and the temptation is gone.

The problem comes when the crush seems to be, or is indeed, mutual.