i love you

Squishing and crushing, part 2: other times I say ‘crush’ instead of ‘squish’

I left a couple of potentially pertinent things out of last week’s post about squishes and crushes. The point I was making is true: I do sometimes use the word ‘crush’ when what I mean is ‘squish’, simply because the meaning of ‘crush’ is close enough in most contexts that people will get my point without me having to get into a deeper conversation about asexuality (which, shockingly enough, I don’t always want to do).

But there’s another place I use the word crush that is worth mentioning. Sometimes I will say to a romantic partner, “I have a crush on you”, and in that case crush is the word I want, and I am choosing it deliberately. I use it to mean “I am so into you [sexually]”. I am using it here to specifically point at a feeling I am having that is different from my squishes (that hard-to-define, non-sexual attraction I have sometimes to people), and that is unquestionably sexual in nature.

The way I use the word ‘crush’ in this context is also describing a feeling that, for me, can never be fully disentangled from the feeling of being in love. I don’t feel this feeling for people I am not in love with (which makes it different from what most people mean when they talk about crushes), although I don’t always feel it when I am in love either (which is why I differentiate the feelings at all). To some extent, it is one of the ways I say “I love you”, but that ‘s not entirely it.

For me its also a way of talking about a feeling that, in polyamory circles, gets called ‘new relationship energy’ (or NRE). There is a particular rush of goodfeels that can come with new romantic and/or sexual connections, full of endorphin-y goodness, that human biology simply can’t sustain over the long-term, for the most part. It doesn’t last forever, and in any long-term relationship, it is just about guaranteed to lapse.

What I do find, though, is that it can come back! It works like a cycle of periods of endorphin-y goodness, followed by less intense periods that are sustained by the friendship-y, caring, and less intense love-y feelings, until eventually, (always, for me), those super intense early-relationship feels come raring back all over again. And that’s when I am likely to start telling a partner all over again how much of a crush I have on them.

I actually think those feelings are the closest experience I have to a regular old crush, since it actually involves, like, pantsfeels for someone. If I imagine feeling that way about someone I was not in love with, I think that’s about what a crush is for many people?

Please let me know if I’m wrong or whatever.

Love and Silliness

There’s this story I’ve been carrying around for a very long time. It’s from early on in my relationship with my partner. And I’ve long yearned to share it with someone, anyone really, but I always felt that I should really share it with him first.

Not because it’s important; it’s really not. It’s practically an inconsequential detail. But it’s something he didn’t know about our relationship.

You see, we’d been together for about a month. Not long at all, really. But ours was a relationship that formed quickly and touched us both deeply almost immediately. Our first date lasted, oh, about 36 hours? I only left because I really did have to make it to class the next day. And we saw each other almost every day after that.

About a month into this whirlwind, as I was floating back into the reality from a post-coital bliss, I looked straight at him and, smiling, said, “Hello, you.”

And he looked right back at me and said, “I love you, too.”

Neither of us was really ready for that (though I was very much in love him already, too,) so we wordlessly shelved the sentiment, and it didn’t come up again until I actually got to a place where I was ready to say the words, myself. (I did it through email, because that is my tried and true method of sharing that kind of thing. It works for me. Don’t judge.)

I never knew whether he knew that he was (technically) the first one who’d said “I love you,” or if he simply thought that we’d exchanged the sentiment on that day. And there was never a moment in which it made sense to bring it up, and since I didn’t know how he would react, and it wasn’t exactly important anyway, I held this story silently in my heart while years passed by.

It became more and more difficult to imagine a moment that would be the perfect set-up for me to tell him. I knew I wanted to share this with him, but I never really knew how.

Until yesterday, when I said to him, “I love you,” (as I now do several times a day.)

And he looked back at me, and said, “Hello!”

I was silent for a moment, and then I burst out laughing, so hard that when I was finished I had no choice but to explain to him what was so damn funny.

So I did, and then we laughed together about it, because we’re even now.

It’s all good.