Ask Jenn Vicious: On Guilt

By: Jenn Vicious 


Jenn Vicious is the radical community’s Agony Aunt, providing life coaching and social etiquette answers for radical cultures.  Need poly, kinky, or queer dating advice, need to to know what to wear to court or a family function (you know, one you have to look “respectable” at),  want to understand what to and not to say in some contexts, ask Jenn Vicious.

I’m a 31 year old girl who is madly head over heels for a very beautiful married man who I have to interact with daily.  I babysit his kids and love his family.  I would never initiate anything with him (too afraid of rejection, too much guilt, it would make me an asshat, if he agreed it would mean he was one too).  The problem I am having, though, is that I have so much guilt about my feelings for him, even though nothing has happened.  I already feel like I’m a horrible person.  Am I?

No. You are not a horrible person.

I’m not sure why you feel so guilty about something you’ve decided not to act on. I can only assume that, like me, you were raised in some sort of religious culture where even entertaining the notion of doing something wrong is considered equal to committing a sin. What this leads to is serious repression of desire, and guilt when that desire manifests itself, as it always does. I also think that repressing those thoughts that we deem “bad” leads to a serious lack of empathy with people who make mistakes, but that might be a different topic.

You might be able to find it within yourself to celebrate your mad crush instead of punishing yourself for it (which is what you are doing by feeling guilty). That doesn’t mean act on it; you are probably right that that would make you both asshats. But, wow, how totally awesome that you get to interact with this beautiful, awesome guy all the time, and his lovely family. Perhaps it’s inspirational to you of the sort of family you might have one day. Maybe it’s just fun to be around him and crush out about him (don’t let it get in the way of you connecting with new romances though). Maybe you can channel that passion and arousal you feel for him into other parts of your life. Whatever you come up with, try not to see your feelings as a curse but as a source of energy. Attraction is great, even when you know better than to act on it.


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