“Secret Admirer” vs. “Stalker”

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As a support-person to smart, sensitive men, many of whom “just want someone to love,” I’ve had multiple clients who want my help sussing out whether they can stay someone’s secret admirer indefinitely.

They feared that revelation might be the end of them –or at least of their self-respect. “Better to stay a secret admirer, than be mistaken for a stalker,” the majority said.

In my opinion, that’s impossible.

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A Thought Experiment

In these 4 paragraphs, I invite you to imagine that you’ve been reminiscing about old times with a good buddy of yours. You’ve grown up, he moved away, and you know that, at some level, these dreams and memories are just your way of wishing for “a new best friend.”

Then, one day, you can’t park near your place because of a block party on your street. You ignored your invitation, but you still have to navigate the hubbub to get to your front door.

Someone you hardly recognize waves you down and tells you several things he has in common with you. Uncanny things. Same hobbies and interests… Same peeves. Same taste in music… He starts to hand you a piece of paper. His number? Your ticket to a show you would love? A list of reasons you should be best buds?


Bud at First Sight?

That “potential best friend” spared you the stress of waiting and wondering between your first few appointments, but also just skipped past your natural curiosity, and any gradual befriending process. He pretty much announced you’re destined as buddies. Is he a god-send, or someone asking you to settle for a fantasy?

He’s put you in a bubble that will, inevitably, pop.

Even if he might have been the most amazing friend you could’ve ever hoped for; someone you would’ve enjoyed getting to know better; someone you’d admire immensely for all his great advice, or cool stuff, or whatnot… even then…

He has ruined that potential by making you the subject of study and projection. And it comes at the expense of what could have been. You have involuntary flash-backs on his ‘debut’ for days.


From the amount of homework he’d done, you might notice

  • what you are to him is an idealized version of his new best friend, which you aren’t;
  • he is relying on isolated ideas, not shared experiences, to justify his excitement/relief/eagerness;
  • his connecting without mutual curiosity actually disconnects you.

You’ve gotta wonder whether he’s trying to skip the natural development process for a reason.

  • Is he super impatient to impress you because you’re difficult to please, or because he is?
  • Did he really need to arm himself with data just to blast past small talk, which you also hate?
  • Would he have been too unstable to let you get to know him over time?

Good Beginnings

Without a good beginning, things end poorly. Skip the beginning, and too much is invested suddenly.

In the scenario above, you were essentially spared the ambiguity of “hoping” and the risks of “getting invested”
…but you were also robbed of the delight of getting to know yourself in the context of a potential new friendship.

The gradual relationship-building phase, if you take the time and space to have one, allows both parties’ subconscious’ to screen against relationships with unnavigable differences, or incompatible conflict navigation styles before investing too much. Before too much risk.

This can’t be done in isolation. Both parties must be present to win.

And remember: you’re not at work. You don’t have to ‘go along to get along.’ Voluntary relationships are supposed to be inherently rewarding.

When Secret Admiring Becomes Stalking

If you tend to fall for women you meet while they’re at work (where she aims to please), or on YouTube (where she’s performing), your lack of experience seeing her resting-bitch-face in the car, or anger at injustice, or disgust at politics has already biased you. A lot.

Opt out of her services.
Get away from the glamour.
Decline the dazzle on day 1, not just for her sake, but for yours.

(Secret admiration is one thing if you are sure you’ll never reach out. Everyday people happily marry while each having crushes on famous people, no worries. But if you want to maybe, one day, reach out to your crush, you need to reveal your interest BEFORE it outgrows the early stage that you are at TOGETHER.)

Don’t wait ’til your feelings become disproportionate to the most likely response “huh? wow. ok. Let me get back to you…”
Don’t harbor a revelation of pent-up excitement, hopes, and dreams she can’t possibly be responsible for…

People can detect that kind of pressure. It feels like a threat.

It is a threat.

A threat you’ll feel grave disappointment that affects your self-esteem. How safe can she feel disappointing you, even slightly?

Life guarantees disappointments. Make it past outright rejection, and there are still hitches later on, once your hopes have soared even higher and more disproportionately than they already do.

If you fear rejection now, just wait ’til she’s touched you.

Nobody feels safe under romantic pressure.
If she doesn’t feel safe, she can’t feel love.
If she can’t feel love, what are you after?

And if you don’t trust her to know her own mind… what is it you admire?

Too late? Or too scared?

Whether you’re on the fence, or you’ve come out and confessed interest in someone, it’s never too late to stock up on support. After all, what you need in order to do this well, is resourced resiliency. Persistent pursuit of your own love, not just someone else’s.

I offer a free half-hour support call called First Aid for Heartache every February. It’s recorded, so you don’t have to attend live, and everyone who signed up can book a free 1:1 with yours truly.

(Don’t worry. I’m unavailable, crush-resistant, and very open to and supportive of the drives BEHIND what’s up for you.) Please sign up today!

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