If you’ve ever been in a long-term relationship, chances are you’ve probably also been attracted to people outside of it. Unless you practice non-monogamy or polyamory, these feelings may have gave you pause.
You probably felt confusion or guilt or shame about crushing on a coworker or your coffeeshop barista or a mutual friend. These emotions are not unusual. Neither are harmless crushes.
Sometimes a crush actually strengthens your relationship with your partner. Other times, it makes you realize that your SO is lacking something you simply cannot live without.
But more often than not, crushes are temporary and fleeting. Reddit user bad-rowboat recently posed the following question in an AskWomen subreddit thread: “Women in committed relationships: how often do you get crushes on other people?” She followed it up with, “What do you do about them? If you’ve ever acted on the crush, what happened?”
The answers were enlightening, largely because they were honest and came from real people.
13. Because crushes, by nature, are temporary. As long as you don’t indulge them.
“After a few months it passes and I see the person as the flawed human they are. Should I mention that I’ve been happily married for 12 years?”
12. Because the idea of something new and is always more exciting than the reality.
“I try not to nurture them as well, by reminding myself that I’m almost certainly crushing on the idea, not the reality. The reason the beginning of a relationship is so intense and passionate is because we are swept up in the honeymoon period, in the lighthearted, surface level good. We see primarily the desirable aspects of our (potential) partner. The real test of a relationship comes after, when we begin to see (or let ourselves acknowledge) the bad.
Everyone has a public face, and a private face, and what’s so special about long term relationships is that, with our partner, we don’t have to maintain the separation of the two. It’s not so much that people’s public face is bad, or hides deep, dark, terrible secrets: it’s more that with others, we may not be seeing the full picture.
So when someone flits across my mind, I remember that if I pursued that individual, I’d be sacrificing the long term comfort I already have, in exchange for the short term passion they could provide. And for me there’s no question which I’d choose.”
11. Because appreciating a beautiful person is human.
“I’m married. I haven’t had an actual crush since meeting my husband although I’m still perfectly capable of appreciating a beautiful man when I see one. ?”
10. Because even if you get crushes all the time, you aren’t the only person who feels this way.
“You can let him know that finding a woman/man/helicopter physically attractive is actually healthier than not being able to find anyone attractive.
It means he’s able to recognize physical beauty (bone structure, facial symmetry, etc.), have a conscious thought acknowledging that he’s in a committed relationship, and exert the self control not to act on the “shiny object” his lizard brain just found.”
9. A lot of people feel the same.
“Seriously I had to scroll way too far down for this.. I crush on everyoneeeee” –dougielou
“It’s alright. I do this too. It’s what we do with it that matters.” –Rootkit9208
“Literally always. I swear i was meant to have a harem but lack the means to make it possible. Been monogamous for nearly 5 years and i don’t see it changing so theres no point in pursuing any attraction i have. I love my BF, I also like about 4 people at any given time, but it has never progressed to anything” –JSqueaks
And while that in itself doesn’t make it ok, it should help you realize that some people are wired one way, and some are wired another. And some can change from one to the other depending on who they’re with or independent of relationships.
8. Because it’s ok to want to feel wanted.
“It’s never happened while I’ve been with my husband but it happened once or twice during a previous 6 year relationship. I crush on people easily coz I’m the type that wants people to like me. Of course I never had any intention of acting on it. I’d just blush and want their attention, which I believe stems from my needing to feel wanted.
I got over it on my own and moved on because I didn’t want to have those feelings, and I sure wasn’t ever gonna cheat or leave my ex. So I just let it run its course.”