breaking the relationship news to your old crush

Reader W.S. writes:

I’m good friends with a girl I had a crush on for a long time. I recently got over the crush, and have developed a serious relationship with a new girl. I realized the other day that I haven’t told my former crush anything about the new girl — not even that she exists. We haven’t ever discussed relationships at all in the past, so it’d be kind of weird for me to just bring it up. I’m afraid my former crush will be hurt if she finds out I’ve got a new GF through an avenue other than me. What should I do?

Dear W.S.:

Congrats on getting over your crush. Because that would be my first advice.

The fact that you haven’t even brought up the existence of your girlfriend to the crush makes me think that, even if you are consciously over this crush, your unconscious may not quite be ready to relinquish it.

Yes, you and this old crush of yours have established a way of talking that doesn’t include any discussion whatsoever of your relationships. Possibly this was because she felt the same way about you as you did about her; or it was because she sensed your crush on her and didn’t want to hurt your feelings; or maybe it was because she just didn’t want to broach the topic of romance with you ever out of fear that you would admit your undying love for her and ruin the friendship. I can’t say.

You probably need to establish a new mode of communication with this former crush of yours, if you’re really over it and you’re just going to be friends from now on.

Why not just start talking about your girlfriend? I’m sure your crush asks how your weekend was, and you can at least say, “I laid low with the new GF.” Then your former crush can ask you all the details about who this girl is, and punch you in the arm for not telling her sooner, and know for sure that you had a crush on her, because if you didn’t, you would have told her the minute it happened, probably.

Or you can wait until she finds out about the GF from someone else. Facebook photos of you and the girlfriend together at some weekend getaway; comments from other friends about how sweet your new girlfriend is; catching you texting with the girlfriend; running into you at a movie theater one day; she’s bound to find out somewhere.  Which may hurt her feelings, but since you’re over the crush, that shouldn’t bother you too too much. At least, not like it would have when you had a crush on her.

Are you really over the crush? Are you hiding the GF because somewhere, deep down in your gullet, you’re trying to preserve whatever hope you had of something happening between you and the crush?

Let’s put it this way: if the crush said to you, after finding out about your new GF, “Well, damn, I mean, I thought eventually you and me would end up together.” … would you dump the GF in a hurry?

If you would, then you should probably not be with the GF in the first place, because holy canoli is that ever unfair. And you’re not over the crush. And you need to admit that to yourself.

But if you wouldn’t, then you should just man up and get rid of any vestigial crush hanger-ons. The best way to do that? Prove to the crush that it’s over. Sometimes we just have to change the direction of conversation, even if we have old habits of talking. Just put it all out on the table, and the crush you had on this girl will actually be dead.

“Hey, former crush, I’ve got a girlfriend, and since we’re going to continue to be friends, I’d like you to know all about her.”

Piece of cake.


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