Sarah Weir
July 08, 2015 2:33 pm

Dear Sarah,

I’ve been struggling with feelings I can’t control anymore. I am in a long-distance relationship with a truly amazing guy. We talk often and do our best to see each other as much as possible (despite that we live on two different continents).  Even if we have been very busy, we still find the time to Skype and laugh as much as we laugh when we meet in person.

Recently, though, I found myself falling in love with another man—one who is like a mentor to me. He’s older and obviously wiser, and he certainly has not acted as if he is into me in any way. I’ve asked myself,  “Why am I falling in love with him? Why do I have these feelings?” Well, it could be for a lot of reasons. I admire him so much and he has been mentoring me for months for a competition that I’m part of. We’ve been working together days and nights, and he even came to the school prom I organized this year. We danced like crazy and had a really, really good time together. He invited me and some friends to an after-party at his place and let me sleep in his room while he slept with the guys in a the living room. He’s always pushing me forward and trying to get me to do my best. He is so kind to me and I just can’t stop thinking about him all day long and wanting to spend as much time with him as possible.

You might say it’s normal or temporary, but the thing is, it’s not the first time this has happened. I have serious crushes on guys way too often. I left my ex-boyfriend for the guy I am with right now and maybe I’ll leave this one for another one….I don’t understand what’s wrong with me, why can’t I just love one guy and forget about the others?

I’m scared I might screw things with “Mr. Right” since I already messed up other relationships with great guys. I’m also afraid I won’t be able to control my feelings towards my mentor which might get him into trouble. I have a strong urge to tell him how I feel.

I wish you could give me some insight. I’ve been asking a lot of friends, but no one was able to help me understand myself. I’m really looking forward to reading your answer soon.

—Boy Crazy in Alabama

Dear Boy Crazy,

Listen, it’s not weird that you would develop a crush on an older, accomplished man who is helping and encouraging you. Not only is he your mentor, he’s also with you every day and your BF lives thousands of miles away. So don’t beat yourself up for your feelings. HOWEVER (and that word deserves all caps because it’s really important): A. You don’t have to act on every crush. It won’t kill you to simply feel all the feelings. And, B. If a relationship with the mentor would be in any way inappropriate or get him into trouble, you absolutely can not say anything to him about your infatuation. It sounds like you are already sticking your toe into risky waters by dancing and socializing with him, so now is the time to be vigilant and keep your relationship squarely in the friend zone.

As for your habit of serial crushes, that may indeed subside as you mature. I was a bit “boy crazy” myself for some of my teens and early 20s, but I then met my future husband and—poof!—have been with him for 20 years exclusively. The questions I suggest you ask yourself are, “Is the reason I develop new crushes to avoid a deep relationship?” “Am I scared of something? Being vulnerable, maybe?” And, “Do I really even want a committed and exclusive relationship right now or would it be better for me to date?” Think hard and be honest, there’s no wrong answer. Don’t beat yourself up for having  spontaneous feelings and desires, it’s how you act toward others that is most important. Treat boyfriends with kindness and respect. Ending one relationship by starting another is very conclusive, but it causes much more pain than being honest with a guy when you discover your feelings have changed (and before you hook up with someone else).

I hope this helps you gain some clarity. Be sweet to yourself, you are human just like the rest of us.

Love, Sarah

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