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The hookup: Oh, to have a crush

Our newest dating columnist, Amber Madison, demystifies the nature of infatuation.

Meet Amber



Hi readers! I’ll
be writing this column every-other Thursday. If you have any questions
about dating or have any topics you’d like covered, tweet me at @ambermadi.



It usually starts with a brief interaction that -- from the outside -- probably didn't look too significant. But from that interaction, a crush was born. With every casual run-in, something else would convince you that your crush was perfect. And as you admired him or her from afar, the pedestal you put your object of affection on grew higher and higher.

In the real world, our dating pool consists of strangers that we either meet at a bar, through a friend or online. And disappointingly, meeting these strangers is often pretty unspectacular. But that's not because singles in your city suck. Decades of research on interpersonal attraction show that the more we see a person, the more we like them -- meaning there's only so much you're physically capable of liking someone you just met. You can't expect to have a crush on someone you've just started dating, simply because you don't know them well enough.

Living in a city full of people can make it feel like your options are endless. But it's a mistake to jump from one person to the next, waiting for someone who lives up to your every fantasy. No one will. Date conversations illuminate such a small sliver of who someone is. Some of the people you've dismissed might be ones you would have developed feelings for if you had met them in another context.

If you've been lucky enough to actually date someone you spent months fantasizing about, you know that person can't exactly live up to who you built him or her up to be. So while the prospect of dating someone you haven't put on a pedestal for months is certainly less exciting, it is more real. And reality is a good thing, because it's not eighth grade anymore.

Now, we're playing for keeps.

 
 
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