At some point in our lives, we’ve all harboured a secret crush. Whether they’re a work colleague, a friend who’s none the wiser, or even a character on a TV show, there are many crushes that we tend to keep to ourselves. Even though some crushes are best kept a secret, the allure of forbidden fruit is hard to ignore! Throughout lockdown, people have been more susceptible to crushes than ever. Many of us have even felt a flurry of butterflies over people we would never have expected (from superheroes to politicians).
Without being able to act on them in real life, the intensity of feelings for forbidden crushes has reached a boiling point for many. According to ‘Love Dilemmas‘ data by Angelic Diamonds, searches for the phrase “How to make your crush fall in love with you” rocketed over lockdown. This Google search term saw a 600 per cent increase between April 2020 and March 2021.
So, when you’re overcome with feelings for an off-limits crush, what should you do? Now that we have more freedom to pursue crushes in real life, we’re faced with a dilemma. Let’s delve into the most common forbidden crushes and find out how we can deal with them.
1. A work crush
Anyone who’s binged The Office will have a soft spot for workplace crushes, especially those slow burning ‘will they/won’t they’ romances. When it comes to a real-life workplace crush, however, what’s the best way to deal with it? If you’ve been infatuated by someone every time they pop up in a Zoom meeting, your heart might beat a bit faster next time you encounter them in the office. However, remember to play it cool and stay professional. If you’re thinking of acting on the crush, make sure to check your company’s policy on workplace relationships. They may have you under their spell, but are they worth jeopardising your job for? Probably not. If your workplace is cool with co-worker relationships and they’re single, notch the flirting up to the next level – but keep it appropriate. As much as a workplace fling might intrigue you, the best course of action is to pursue the crush outside of the office, away from gossiping co-workers! Ask them out for a date or a coffee and take it from there.
2. Your best friend
Falling for a friend can feel like navigating a minefield. You want to take things to a romantic level, but at the same time, you might be worried about jeopardising an important friendship. According to love and relationship expert Arielle Ford, friendship is an important part of love. She says that loving someone means that you’ll be their “best friend, lover, partner, and protector.” So, the benefit of falling for a friend is that you’ve already built a strong foundation. Of course, you need to make sure that you’re both on the same page. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t give this crush a chance, but make sure that you’re honest with them. Prepare yourself for the idea that they might only love you in a platonic way.
3. A crush who’s already taken
Forbidden love often takes this form. It’s natural to pine after someone that you can’t have, but if they’re already in a relationship, things could get pretty messy. As a general rule, try and steer clear of this type of forbidden crush, as you’re likely to get hurt. If you’re close to the person and you feel that they aren’t happy in their current relationship, you could tell them how you feel. However, try not to overstep the mark and become entangled in their relationship – both for your sake and theirs.
4. A crush when you’re already in a relationship
If you’ve started to develop feelings for someone else when you’re already in a relationship, it’s time to take a step back and think about what it might mean. A fleeting crush or finding someone else attractive might be inconsequential, but if feelings start to develop, it’s time to reflect on your current relationship. Pining after someone else might be a sign that you’re not happy or fulfilled, and you might benefit from taking some time apart.
Whether or not you make a move on your new crush, getting feelings for someone else could be a signal that your current relationship isn’t the best thing for you right now. Focus on that first.
5. Your ex
Over lockdown, many people have found themselves catching feelings for an ex. The dangerous cocktail of boredom and nostalgia has resulted in lots of people trying to rekindle the flame of an old relationship, or even having vivid dreams about their ex. Before boredom encourages you to pick up your phone and send that “missing you” message though, think hard about why you two broke up in the first place. Exes aren’t always a no-go, but try not to remember the relationship through rose-tinted glasses and instead, think about why it didn’t work out in the first place. That’s not to say that re-kindling the spark never works but think about whether this crush has more to do with them or with boredom.
Forbidden crushes can be complicated, but after so long in lockdown, you definitely deserve a bit of IRL flirting! Always remember to weigh up the pros and cons of taking a crush to the next level, be sure no one could get hurt, and do what feels right for you.