Day Dream Believer


Dear Dharma,

I love your column, I read it all the time and I feel you would be an awesome friend to have! So here it goes… My boyfriend and I broke up about a week ago and to keep my mind off of it, I’ve been creating crushes at work. I don’t actually like the crush – I just want to get a little excited to see someone in my day.  I know this sounds crazy but I think it helps.

The only problem I’m running into is the company I work for doesn’t have many available or good looking guys – do you think it’s ok if I have a “pretend” crush on a married guy? I would never go through with it…

Please let me know what you think!

Crush Seeker

Dear Crush,

This question was kind of fun for me.  It took me down a very windy road and made me look at things through several different lenses, so thanks for that, Crush!  I think you would make a very dark and twisty friend and we’d probably end up in jail together somewhere south of the border.

I get what you’re trying to accomplish… you just want to create some adrenaline as a distraction so you don’t have to look at the events just one week behind you.  It’s a harmless avoidance tactic, right?

A little side note about “crush” adrenaline – when it’s coursing through your body, it’s also releasing dopamine and endorphins, which is what makes you feel all giddy when the object of your fake affection walks by… and that’s the hit you’re looking for.

My very first reaction to your question – is it okay to pretend crush on a married guy? – was, sure, why the hell not!  It’s not like anything is going to come of it – you’re just pretending, right?  No harm, no foul.

I recognize that initial response might make some people look at me twice and I’m okay with that.  I just happen to be a person who can apply a whole lot of grey to this area, whereas I know it’s entirely black and white to the majority.

Yet, one thing kept nagging at me… you know that saying that if you tell a lie enough times, you actually start believing it?  Yeah, that’s what kept nagging at me.

I started to envision what it actually looks like when you are pretend crushing on that married guy at work – are you doing your hair just a little bit nicer, wearing lipstick when you never used to?  If you are in a position where you interact with him, are you a little flirtier, a little more flutter of the lashes?

If you say totally NO, not even a little bit, then I will give you the benefit of the doubt and stick with my original whatever floats your boat stance.

Except… that if you keep telling yourself you have a crush on someone, several times a day, 5 days a week, is there any chance your brain will start believing it against your will, and suddenly you’re putting out this whole different vibe… and suddenly married guy is like, “Hey check out the hottie checking me out!”  And from there you don’t need to be an advice columnist to know what some of the potential outcomes are, right?

I’m just saying!  It’s not like this couldn’t happen.  I’m not saying it totally would, but… couldn’t it?

So from that possible end game, I’m thinking I should say something different, like no, no, that would be wrong, and you should find some other distractions while you get past your recent heartbreak… like Sudoku.  Knitting.  American politics.  Netflix.

Except… you know yourself better than I do, and if you feel 100% positive that you are capable of just using it as a little thrill to get you through a rough spot, and you now know what to look for as the possible negative, I think you’ll be okay.

See?  A very windy road.



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  • Better to be real says:

    What about the married guy? Maybe first give him the benefit of the doubt, and not assume he would have any interest. It’s not fair to imply that if a girl flirts with a married guy he will just drop his wife and go for it. It wouldn’t be fair to say that of a married woman either.

    And then maybe think about what that flirting might do. What if his wife comes in and sees it? You could screw with a perfectly good marriage just for the sake of feeling a bit better about yourself. What if he hasn’t done anything wrong, and she assumes he must be flirting too – maybe some younger girl going after her man is something she already has a fear of and this just confirms it?

    I think what you’re implying is fine if he’s single (still not fair if you’re intentionally trying to get someone to have feelings for you when you have no real interest though – that’s just selfish and manipulative) but absolutely wrong if he’s married.

    If you can do it all in your head then ok, fine. But that won’t give you the kick you’re looking for anyway unless you just want to give the attention in your mind. But if you want to receive attention, as in you want guys to check you out , then dress up and go to a club or a gym where people are actively looking for attention. Or make a real connection with someone at work – someone single!

    Whatever you do, I don’t think you want to screw around with people”s emotions just to feel better about yourself, that’s cruel.

    • Dharma says:

      Hold up a second… pretty sure I didn’t say that the married guy was going to drop his wife and go for it… did I? And, sorry… the wife is going to come by the office and “see it”? See what exactly?

      This would be the black and white I refer to , because in no way did it sound to me like she was trying to wreck marriages by bedding married men. And in no way did it sound like she was trying to get someone to have feelings for her.

      However, I really like your suggestion of going to the gym, or getting hussied up and hitting the clubs to generate some interest to help take her mind off things.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment…

  • Yolo says:

    I think if “Crush Seeker” knows it’s nothing tangible then it’s a go. He/She didn’t seem like they wanted to break up marriages or put on a set of fake eye lashes to get noticed at work. I do agree that the person shouldn’t be toying with others emotions but their message didn’t seem to be coming from a negative place. Ever pictured a hot co-worker naked? It’s not the end of the world.

  • married guy says:

    whoa there missy, cool your jets! as a married man who has been on the receiving end of these harmless crushes, let me just say that , yes I am flattered, but I am happily married and want to stay that way!

    I know you want it to be totally one sided, and “pretend” but really, even the thickest guy will eventually notice that you have a twinkle in your eye and a bounce in your step when you see or speak to him. Unless you are so calm and cool that you can totally avoid responding in any way, it will be noticed. I think the chances for this to go off the rails is probably higher than you think, so take care!

    • Dharma says:

      You can be happily married, and still feel flattered by the attention… right?

      I do agree that unless she’s stone cold, he’s going to pick up on something… and yes, it could lead to something or someone going astray, but really… the chances seem low to me…

  • V says:

    I love the options for entertainment ! “American politics” lol !!

Whether you agree with Dharma or think she missed the mark on this one, leave a Comment!

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