Butterflies are a Lie

Disgruntled Member of High School Relationships™️ Rants

Butterflies are a Lie

Everyone has heard that feeling you get when you have a crush referred to as “butterflies in your stomach.” I don’t think I’ve ever seriously used this phrase in my life. Not because I haven’t felt it, but because I don’t call it “butterflies.” I get moths.

I’ve been in love exactly once. I’ve really liked someone exactly twice. I can’t count the number of times I enjoyed the feeling of butterflies on one hand — mostly because that number is exactly zero.

My first real exposure to the “butterflies” began in early 2022, when I was a freshman. I’d never really had a crush before, and it was terrible.

I was nauseous, I was nervous, I was super excited yet terrified to see the object of my affection at the very same time. I cried, I ranted, I went through all five stages of grief, plus some. It was bad, believe me.

It took me six months of mostly silent suffering to go up to this man (that’s a strong word for him) and actually tell him how I felt. We don’t talk about how that relationship actually played out (the simple descriptor is poorly), but the moral of that story was: “Aspen does not like love. She will not be doing it again.”

She was wrong, and she will probably continue to be wrong for a very long time. Because the chances of finding your high school sweetheart are terribly low, and I’m already two years in. Aspen will probably be doing this dance for a solid amount of time, and to be honest, I (Aspen) am very afraid of that.

So why did I use this page to tell you the tragic story of my first relationship? Shouldn’t that have been irrelevant the moment it progressed from my crush to my boyfriend? No, because it is relevant. Because it’s an example of a bad feeling — butterflies — devolving into a worse feeling — heartbreak.

That relationship lasted for about five months, and don’t get me wrong, I was insanely happy during it. Any of my friends could probably tell you how my face lit up every time I talked about my boyfriend.

But relationships are complicated, and butterflies aren’t easy to get rid of. The feeling of those butterflies is bad. Actively being in love is nice but terribly uncertain, and heartbreak is one of the worst feelings I’ve ever felt; and honestly, the short period of joy isn’t worth that to me. If I could go back in time to that first crush, I don’t think I would’ve done anything about it.

“Why though, Aspen? It taught you an important life lesson.”

Because the butterflies of love are a lie. The crush stage is messy, and when it ends poorly, as a large portion of relationships do, it’s just not worth the period of bliss compared to the period of pain. But that’s just the way of life sometimes. There are things you don’t want to do that you have to anyway.

Love is hard, and love is scary. My first relationship crashed and burned, and I’m quite honestly terrified to try for another one. My second crush wasn’t nearly that dramatic — they simply didn’t like me, which, while not nearly as messy as the first, it’s still not great to feel. After that first one, people told me it won’t always be that bad, but even so, it’s not a good feeling.

So I’m going to continue with my tenuous coping mechanisms of complaining to my friends and listening to love songs to get me through whatever crushes I may develop until I no longer have the need for crushes and coping mechanisms.

And while people may have different opinions on the moths or different methods of dealing with them, it’s a feeling that nearly all of us share, and that’s pretty rare — which kind of makes it cool, in a deeply upsetting and somewhat annoying way.

I may want to violently sob about every cute boy or girl that makes the moths fly in again, but I’m violently sobbing with company, which almost makes it better.