I had a conversation with a young person this weekend.
She told me about two of her friends. One of her friends is a woman who recently broke up with her long-term boyfriend. The other friend is a young man who has been carrying the torch for this young woman.
After the break-up, the young man asked the other friend to go out. She said "No". He is still carrying the torch for her.
The young woman who was telling me about this situation also told me that if the young man pulled his head out of his...ahem, backside, she would be delighted to go on a few dates with him.
I think we have all known people like the young man and have been puzzled by them. Why do they heroically resist the good that is in front of them to pursue with is clearly a fantasy?
Self-handicapping is the act of sabotaging your own efforts to protect your self esteem. For example, the guy who goes out partying the night before his final. He gets a C-...but he can perpetuate his belief that he is an "A" student....that he would have earned and A if he had studied.
Pursuing the unattainable might be a way of guarding a fragile self-image.
Oh, the exquisite agony of being on the fringes of beloved's radar screen. Did she see me? She just smiled, was it because she was thinking of me? Oh, damn, she is talking to the new guy...
We watch sports because we get those same neurochemical rushes. But that basketball game only lasts an hour or so. Our crush can last for decades.
Perfection or reality. A hard choice for some
Our fantasy love never tells us to pick up our dirty socks or that it is our turn to wash the dishes. Our fantasy lover never has a headache. Nor does she ever insist on cooking cauliflower soup.
Empowered by secret knowledge
Some people who cling to unrequited love may be motivated by the glee of knowing a secret that nobody else knows. That is the glee of conspirtors, secret societies and....stalkers.
Lack of means
And maybe sometimes the unrequited lover is held back by the most pedestrian of reasons: They don't think they can afford a "real" girlfriend. Whether it is a lack of time or money or a suitable car, they choose to play fantasy football rather than Nerf ball in the park.
|Not a Zebco 202, and not the exact girl...but close enough|