Surviving Your First Crush

Crushes can be exquisitely devastating. But all that lusty longing is magnified ten-fold when your first crush is part of your coming out process.

The excitement - and confusion - of finally understanding yourself easily extends to your feelings about the object of your desires. Suddenly, what was just a little crush on that cute new girl at work is starting to look like The Love That Will Burn Through the Pages of Time.

While you will have to work this out of your system at some point, don't deny your feelings. It's not everyday that you can revel in that delicious feeling of pining for someone. With a little perspective, crushes can be fun instead of, well, crushing.

The Buddy Crush

Gal pals are often the recipient of our first girl crush. It's so easy to fall for someone you're already close with. You think she's wonderful. And she cares for you. You want a wonderful woman who'll care for you. So, you think, I must want my friend. Perfect logic. If your friend is already out, you probably respect her and admire her experience.

Unrequited love is never easy, but you've got it better than most. Even if she doesn't feel the same way about you, you are still left with a terrific friend who'll help you figure out what steps to take next in your love life. So, there's no reason why you can't be brave and explain to your friend that you're developing feelings for her. If she's out, you know she'll understand your feelings. She may even reciprocate.

The Stranger Crush

As if it weren't challenging enough to have to sift through your conflicting feelings about your attraction to this mystery hottie, now you have to figure out if she's interested in you.

Since most women feel more comfortable moving a friendship into a relationship, start small with this one and see where things lead. If you can't read her body language (is she looking at me because she wants to see me naked? Or do I have mustard on my chin?), start with a few casual hellos and once you've established an acquaintance, invite her out. Not on a big, showy date, but something friendly, like coffee. Over a little time, you can gauge her interest in both you and the idea of a relationship.

The Totally Unattainable Crush

It's also extremely common to fall for someone you know you just can't have - like your therapist, boss, or straight-as-a-pin friend. When you're first coming out, it's easier to fall for someone unattainable, since it allows you to tip your toe in the lesbian pool knowing you won't be asked to skinny-dip. In these cases, it's up to you on whether or not to share your feelings. If it's a good friend, or a close confidante, it might be helpful to share, since they may be able to give you support on how to work through it. If they don't know you're coming out, start by feeling them out on the issue of homosexuality and whether they'll be understanding of you, then explain your feelings.

In all cases, as you're coming out, what your crush really symbolizes is a desire to feel accepted in your new identity. Get involved in your local community and you'll soon find a diverse set of friends and potential lovers who may wind up with a crush on you.

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