My gym crush is haunting me

What relationship stuff is stressing you out? Send it to [email protected] or fill out this form.

More updates, please: Former letter writers ... where are you now? Did our advice help? Send us an update to [email protected] with “update” in the subject line. Make sure to say which letter you wrote. Let us know what happened.

Hi Meredith,

I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for more than four years. I started going to gym by myself because my boyfriend used to work a lot. Over a year, I developed a huge crush on one guy at the gym – and I believed he had a crush on me. But we have never talked or even said hello to each other. I kept guessing his name, but never had the guts to approach him. I always blushed when he was around, and he had a shy smile. Then I had to leave that gym for six months because of my work.

Recently I joined again, but this time with my boyfriend. I thought I would never see my gym crush again, but suddenly he was there – and he saw my boyfriend and I working out together. My gym crush looked sad, and I don't know why it’s bothering me. I love my boyfriend and he is perfect. I should be focusing on that, right? I don’t want to loose him but when I left the gym, I kept thinking about my gym crush.

If my crush had a crush on me, he would try to find me on socials, right? I don’t like feeling this guilt. When I see my crush, I feel like I am loosing feelings toward my boyfriend. Is it normal to have these feelings sometime? Or this is completely wrong? Please help. Thank you.

– Working it Out

It's OK to have crushes on people. It happens, even if you're in an exclusive relationship with a partner.

It's pretty easy to develop crushes on fictional people, and to some extent, that's what your gym crush is. You don't know if he's kind, mean, extroverted, or shy. You don't even know his name. You like the way he looks and his facial expressions, but everything else about him is your design. He's perfect because you can make him anything you want. It's not a real connection until you get to know him.

Also, I would guess that his facial expressions correspond to yours. If you saw him after a long time and seemed surprised or upset, he was reacting to that. Maybe what you saw him show was ... confusion.

My question for you is this: does your crush on this man suggest that you might want to be single? Do you wish you were in a place where flirting and connecting on socials could be OK? If you want to be on your own, seeing what else is out there, that's not about the gym crush. He’s just a catalyst.

But maybe that's not what's happening here because again, crushes are normal. Maybe this crush is upsetting you because you don't know how to categorize it. File it under "cute guy" and move on.

– Meredith

Readers? How can this LW separate the fact from fiction here? What does it mean?