Get Season 3 of Meredith Goldstein’s Love Letters podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen.
Q. I am a 25-year-old woman still stuck on my crush from when I was 10. I’ve been in love — I’ve been with someone for three years — but I can’t get over this person who probably doesn’t even remember me.
We met on a sports team when we were kids. He was kind and sweet and used to cheer me up when I made a mistake. Years later, we became Facebook friends, which allowed me to get updates on his life. I wanted to message him but I was too nervous, even online. One day I was brave and wrote to him . . . but he never replied.
I recently found out he lives in Europe and runs an organization that helps kids, which led me to believe he’s the sweet, kind person I remember. I do not understand how can I be stuck on someone I only knew when I was young. I’ve wanted to write him again and ask if he remembers me. But with our lives being so different, it seems impossible.
Also, my actual relationship is kind of serious and I don’t want to mess things up. What do you think? Do I need to get over him? Or is the crush OK? — Stuck on a Stranger
A. Crushes are OK. Fantasies are fine. But staying in the world of make-believe for too long can mess with what’s right in front of you.
Three of four paragraphs of this letter are about a man you don’t know. You’ve invented a great narrative for your old crush, but it’s not real. You don’t know what kind of adult he is. I mean, I’m sure he’s lovely, but he’s not anything like what you’ve imagined.
Your homework is to sit down and write some paragraphs about your romantic partner of three years. You say you’re serious about him, but you never told us why. So . . . why? Who is he? If you were dreaming of him, fantasizing, what would you think about? You don’t want to mess this relationship up, which means there are many good things about it. It might be fun to fantasize about what kind of life you might have with him in the future. Can you try?
If you find nothing can distract you from checking this other man’s Facebook profile, and he invades your thoughts more than once in a while, talk to a professional about what he might represent. Because it’s not really about him. — Meredith
Either you had a great childhood and you reminisce using this kind person, or you had a terrible childhood and in order to live with the trauma you remember him to help you cope. Either way, this is a crush that’s very unrealistic and unfounded. BRAVE-NEW-WORLD
You are not happy in your current relationship. That’s the bottom line here. ASH
People are saying what you are feeling isn’t real, and you are just focusing on a fantasy. This is true, mostly, but there is a part that is or at least was real. Crushes from those days are magical because you never felt anything like that before. I’m sorry to say that you can never go back and feel like you did when you were 10. [But] life still has some magical moments in store for you. You can only experience them, though, if you allow yourself to be present, in the present. TWO-SHEDS