Crushes? In Our 20’s?

You would think as we approach 30 the issue of “having a crush on someone” would be moot. After all, that’s only something that happens to children, right? – Only children get totally taken with how someone presents themselves. –

Well, last night I was talking to someone I consider very mature and he was describing how he had a “crush” on this one woman, and we started wondering aloud if we should have disposed of the concept of “having a crush” years ago.

After all, a crush is irrational in the extreme. It is spontaneous, connected only with the hope that someone might continue to excite merely by being themselves, and part of it is predicted on the thrill of newness. Most people don’t have crushes for years; it just happens here and there, and it fades away.

The deep problem with having a “crush” at this age is pretty simple: if passion is the only element that matters in love, then crushes are acceptable. One feels excited about someone, and that drives the attempt to create the relationship and sustain it. And when the excitement goes, the relationship ends and all the sustenance it had looks awfully hollow.

That we still have crushes, if we have them at this age, points to how shallow our conception of love may be. Why can’t we conceive of love as something that happens after a groundwork is laid down (god, I can’t say that without thinking of some dumbass thing I encountered where some Neanderthal said, “yeah, we need a foundation, I’ll pour the sex concrete” Oh yeah, I remember) – I mean, okay, a relationship is built first, leading to passion stemming from there? If that latter conception were how things truly worked, of course, world peace would probably be within our grasp.

Still, it’s worth thinking through whether there is a more mature conception of love that we were supposed to grow into, and whether “crushes” signify that we aren’t growing at all anymore.


  1. Wow, I just found this. I don’t believe that “crush” is such a bad thing. Part of it is the obsession with the new, and our society lives in “the new.” But it is deeper than that. A crush is not necessarily about passion. All love begins as a crush as it were. Without passion there is only fraternal love, while the love between a man and a woman requires a certain amount of passion, a “crush” as you put it. The problem lies in there only being a crush, no substance. I have said before that real love is essentially a perpetual crush, the continual falling in love with your partner. Crush’s aren’t bad because it is the start of something new. It is the stage in the relationship.

  2. I’m looking over this post and realize it is over the top. Your comment is well-taken. I know I’ve said that it doesn’t really matter how love begins, just as long as it continues, and I think your notion of a perpetual crush is exactly right.

    I should say my interlocutor was rather babyish about his crush, but that’s another story, not a general rule.

  3. Crushes are fun sort of, but I think one needs to examine the meaning of the word “crush”: to destroy with force; to smush; to press down and collapse… you get my point. When a person thinks of a crush, you get the notion that one person is secretly admiring and lusting over another person, and that other person has no clue. Or if they do, they have made themselves somehow unapproachable. So, what was my point?

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