My game-night crush

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Dear Meredith & Co.,

I am a younger man hoping for some advice and guidance. Every so often (twice a week or so), our small friend group meets up for a game night. This group consists of myself (who is single), another young man (who is married), and a young lady (who is also single). I had known this young lady for a while, but we started to become closer friends at the request of the other man, whom I suspect is trying to push the two of us together.

The problem, of course, is that while I have definitely developed a strong crush on this lady, I am not planning on engaging in a romantic relationship with her. We look for very different things in a relationship, and I suspect it would only result in the death of our friendship. I really enjoy her company, but I don't think we're romantically compatible (although I could be wrong, and I think we both perceive romantic chemistry).

Intellectually, I am absolutely more than happy to be good friends. The last thing I want is to make it weird; however, my subconscious has not gotten with the program, and I am often distracted by how attractive I find her and struggle somewhat to keep it cool. While I enjoy a good infatuation as much as the next guy, it’s not something I want to focus on in our relationship, and I would much rather be the kind of good friends where it doesn’t affect me in this way to hear her talk about the guys she dates.

I am hoping you will be able to offer some tips and wisdom on how to “cool my jets” and emotionally de-escalate this situation – my friend is not doing anything wrong; I’d just like to see her a little bit more like one. I have been in a few relationships since developing this crush - nothing helps.

– The Milwaukee Masochist

Well, my first piece of advice is to stop saying "lady" so much. It's stressing me out. Is that a Milwaukee thing? (I have a friend I can ask.)

My second piece of advice, and I swear I'm not trying to invite chaos here, is to let go of the future for a second and remember that not every romanic experience you have will be designed to lead to marriage or forever. Like, would it be so bad if you and this woman spent a few months together? Figured out your relationship goals while you had some fun? Tried it for a few weeks until it crashed and burned? Your friendship is already at risk because of these feelings.

You say you're young; maybe she is too. Perhaps it's to too soon to know exactly what you want – or to make assumptions about how she might meet your needs. I mean, you admit you could be wrong about all of this.

I do wonder why your game-night host wants the two of you together. You can ask him why he thinks you might be a nice pair. Maybe there's something you're missing.

Anyway, I'm giving you permission to give it a go. And if she has no interest, you have an answer and can move on. Otherwise, the only thing you can do is distance yourself or hold yourself back. But those don't sound like appealing options.

– Meredith

Readers? How can the LW shake this crush? Is that the best option?