Illustration by Maxine Crump.

Heya. I have a crush on a player. He took my virginity, sends me dick pics (that I don’t ask for) and appears to continually be on the hunt for chicks. Is it wrong to have feelings for a guy with “fuckboy” tendencies? I feel like my family and friends judge me as I continue to pursue him. Hope you can give me some stellar advice :) Thankksss. —Anonymous

It’s not “wrong” to have feelings for anyone—what matters is how you act on them. A crush isn’t an intellectual or moral condition. They can happen to anyone, about anyone, regardless of whether it’s a “good/smart” decision to swoon over a particular person. What you can control, though, is how you choose to proceed with that goopy heart-information. Though crushes are heady as f**k, you can outwit them if you think it’s best they stay inactive.

When your family and friends talk to you about this person and your feelings toward him, are they really judging, or are they saying things more like, “I don’t want you to be hurt if he fools around on you,” or, “You’ve told me that he’s inconsiderate about your feelings, and you deserve better than that?” If you think they’re just being old-fashioned and jumping to conclusions, that’s one thing, but it’s worth noticing if they truly seem to be thinking of your feelings and well-being. At its core, the most important thing when it comes to making your decision has little to do with your loved ones. Think honestly about whether you feel good most of the time you’re thinking about, communicating with, or are hanging out with him. Do you feel anxious, confused, frustrated, and hurt most of the time? The answer—which you know, deep down, you’re already aware of—will tell you everything you need to know about whether this is a relationship worth continuing.

What’s most interesting to me is that you don’t say anything about why you like this person—unless those reasons are, in fact, the ones you’ve listed above. I don’t think any of what either of you are doing is necessarily wrong—although the unsolicited crotch shots are something worth asking him to cut it out with, if it makes you uncomfortable. (Depending on where you live and how old each of you are, texting nudes also could be illegal.)

You do say, however, that you have feelings for him, so let’s examine this from a more heart-based perspective. If this person is operating under the assumption that what you two have is only casual and you haven’t corrected his understanding of what you want and expect from the relationship, do so. (Not in a text response to a dick.JPG—in person.) Tell him that you know things between you have been non-exclusive and mostly sexual, but that you want to make sure you’re on the same page about your feelings, and see how they square up with his. If you do this, then he has the opportunity to (a) tell you if he’s also feeling like he wants to operate less casually with you or (b) that he’s not looking for the connection you are. In the latter case, you’ll have a clear choice about whether you want to continue fooling around with no strings attached, or whether you think that would hurt your feelings and waste your time and would like to maturely move on from him.

Some caveats I’d like to raise: Is he much older than you? If yes, that’s something to think about, too—and here’s a whole breakdown I wrote about the subtler arts of dating bona-fide grown men/people when you’re a teenager. Also: No one “takes” your virginity. That’s your own consensual and autonomous decision to make, which is rad! It’s not like he’s running off with some precious and never-to-be regained part of your sexual life, should you decide to end the relationship and move along. Above all: Do what makes you feel good and respected! If that’s knowingly boning a casanova, so be it. If that’s telling him, instead, to lose your number, go forth and delete his, too! ♦

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