Relationships

Crushing on someone whiles in a Relationship Good or Bad

crush

When you’re in a long-term relationship, it’s normal to sometimes feel a crush on someone other than your partner. It could be a cute new co-worker, someone at the gym, or the waiter who makes your daily latte.

Don’t worry: this doesn’t make you a bad partner in your relationship, nor does it mean your relationship is failing. According to psychologist Samantha Rodman, it is common for people in relationships to develop such temporary crushes, especially after some time spent together.

“This is completely normal and has nothing to do with the happiness of the relationship in general,” Samantha Rodman, who works in North Bethesda, Maryland, told HuffPost. “Crushes make people feel attractive and alive, and people often have them even when they are very committed to their partner, but their relationship is no longer in the intense first phase of a moon, honey.

According to Ryan Howes, a psychologist in Pasadena, California, being in a relationship doesn’t mean you suddenly stop meeting or noticing attractive people in the world. “You will not stop noticing or feeling attraction to others because these feelings are automatic and frankly beyond our control,” he explains.

What you can control is how you handle your crush. Do you obsess over it, or do you just admit it and move on with your life? “It’s a choice to flirt, daydream and fantasize about this person or choose to have more contact with them ,” explains Ryan Howes. “In other words: an initial attraction may be inevitable, but it’s up to you to nurture that attraction through thought and action.

(Note that in this article, the situations examined are those of people in relationships, in monogamous and exclusive relationships. In open or polyamorous relationships, the rules may be different; it may be permitted, or even encouraged, to act according a passing flirtation, or another love at first sight).

What does it mean to have a crush?

Generally, a crush or passing crush on someone else is harmless, and is not necessarily indicative of an underlying problem in your relationship.

“Having a crush on someone else doesn’t mean you want out of the relationship you’re in ,” says Kathy Hardie-Williams, a marriage and family therapist in Portland, W. ‘Oregon.

But if you decide to feed this crush, you probably have a reason to do so. It could be a personal problem (for example, you have a habit of self-sabotage when things get serious) or a symptom that your current relationship is unsatisfying.

“People often talk about the fact that the crush in question fulfills needs that are not met in a serious relationship,” explains psychologist Ryan Howes. “For example, when the relationship has become routine or boring, while conversely, interactions with their crush are fun and exciting,. Or when their partner doesn’t share an interest in cinema, but their crush loves movies and wants to talk about them all the time.

Perhaps you feel smothered by your current partner and are looking to escape. Or maybe you’re going through a difficult time in your relationship, where you and your partner aren’t in touch or aren’t communicating openly.

In other cases, the crush may be an attempt to make your partner jealous or get them to give you more attention if you feel neglected. “Relationship deficits, whether temporary or permanent, can make the crush even more attractive ,” according to Ryan Howes.

For her part, Samantha Rodman recommends taking the time to think about the reasons why you fall for this particular person. It may have more to do with you and your family or relationship history, rather than the person in question.

“For example, a woman who has a crush on an older man who is an authority figure may yearn for a parent’s approval, or a socially anxious man who has a crush on an extroverted co-worker may fantasize about fact that with the help of such a woman, he would be able to be more confident ,” explains the psychologist.

When does crushing cross the line?

A crush that starts innocently enough can start to turn into a romantic affair if left unchecked. A telltale sign: when you hear news, good or bad, is your first instinct to tell your lover or partner?

“You know you’re feeling good about yourself when your partner is the first person you want to tell the good news and the first person you want to tell the bad news,” says Ryan Howes. “Is this confidant your partner or your crush? If your crush begins to compromise the physical or emotional intimacy you have with your primary relationship, or if you harbor fantasies about it, you are in dangerous territory.

This is why Kathy Hardie-Williams, a marriage therapist, explains that it is important to be honest with yourself. Deep down, is it really “just a crush” or is there something more?

“The line between an affair and a crush is pretty obvious,” she says. “Besides, it’s not possible to have a slight crush on someone you’ve already had a romantic relationship with. That’s what we call ancient history.

What should you do if you suspect your feelings are more serious? First of all, don’t reveal it to your crush that you’re falling in love with, according to Kathy Hardie-Williams.

“This can make things awkward to the extent that the other person feels obligated to feel the same way or respond. » She also advises: “You should not break down under the influence of alcohol either. And plan an exit strategy in case of a date, if things are heading in a direction where the line could be crossed.

If you’re having trouble sorting out your feelings about this other person, consider seeking help from a therapist. “Your emotions can be confusing and a third person could help you see things more clearly,” according to Ryan Howes. “If you’re in a committed, exclusive relationship, you’ve made a pact to only have one relationship at a time, and having a crush on another person jeopardizes that pact. »

Should you tell your partner about your crush?

Our experts insist there is no one-size-fits-all answer. It really depends on you, your partner, and the type of relationship you have.

“Some partners may find it exciting to think you’re flirting with someone else, especially if they’re very confident,” explains Samantha Rodman. “Other partners will be deeply hurt. And you probably know whether or not your partner finds it threatening to hear about your inner world, or for example, your past relationships.

Another thing to consider is why you feel obligated – or not – to reveal your crush.

“Is telling your partner better for you because it reduces your guilt and discomfort, or better for them, because they can confirm their suspicions and find out who they’re really with? » specifies Ryan Howes. “If it’s only good for you, and you risk causing undue pain to your partner, it may be best to keep it to yourself. But if you really think it will benefit your partner, even if it makes you uncomfortable, you can tell them.

Finally, one last thing to keep in mind: When having a crush goes too far, it diverts your attention and energy from the real underlying problem, whether it’s a personal problem or something what’s wrong with your relationship.

“Energy should be devoted to the internal conflict or resolution of the problem within the relationship, not an external distraction, even if it is fun ,” says Ryan Howes. “Maybe this resolution means working on yourself, on your relationship, or breaking up with your partner in order to explore other options – and in either case, these scenarios are higher priorities than flirting with a crush. »

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