Posted by: Amy Spencer
Topic: Is there anything wrong with a person in a committed relationship having a crush on someone else…as long as it isn’t acted upon? Can it even benefit a relationship?
Wow, I’m in some seriously smart company here, I must say. My fellow bloggers have hit on every point that occurred to me on this topic, and about five that didn’t! Kudos to you all.
I’m a newlywed. So my first thought in asking if a “crush” is okay and possibly beneficial was “No! Absolutely not!” I feel I’ve found my perfect fit, so I don’t even want to THINK about thinking about someone else. If I’ve found the very best, why settle for second? But then Lindley and Evan wisely pointed out how noticing or checking people out is basically human nature, and it would be freakish not to have the “noticing” gene. And, well, I have to agree with that, too.
Still, since this is about taking a stance, I’ll take one. My vote is that having a crush is not healthy. I won't call it "wrong," but like Evan and Dr. Helen say, it’s a slippery slope. In fact, I’m going to go so far as to say I think even those Friends-like “lists” can be a slippery slope, too. I’ve seen it happen with couples more than a few times: If you make enough “jokes” about wanting to have sex with celebrities, or “jokes” about being attracted to the hot bartender, or “jokes” about wanting to divorce each other over trifling situations, those “jokes,” over time, get more intense, start feeling more serious, and can slowly eat away at the loving connection you started with.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s hilarious to share what celebrities you think are hot (my husband still holds a torch for his very first crush, Elvira). But we don’t joke that we get a free pass to be with them, should the situation arise. Call me a prima donna for it, but I feel that the minute it becomes okay to "joke" about having sex with other people you find attractive, the minute your brain opens a door to actually finding people other than your partner attractive. It just points you in the direction of the slope.
To me, the slope of the crush gets slippery the minute you feel yourself feeling something—namely, those chemicals Dr. Helen brought up. Only you know who brings out the blush in you, that rush of attraction. And when you feel it, I think you’re treading on dangerous ground and it's time to retreat.
I agree that having a crush doesn’t signify a hole or problem in your relationship. But I think if you do find yourself blushing and rushing for someone—maybe looking forward to seeing them at work in ways you never used to, or dolling up more than normal when you’ll see your crush—you should nip it in the bud before those feelings turn into something you have to worry about. Don’t make it harder for yourself. It’s a little like cancer: You catch the crush early and you can flick it away like a mole. But if you let it grow into something bigger, it can seep into your thoughts and affect your relationship with your partner.
So on second thought, maybe I do think there’s a benefit to a crush. A crush is a beacon that blinks, “Wait, don’t go there! Time to check in at home!” Feeling a blush and rush for someone else is a sign you should re-focus on the one you love more deeply. It’s like Lindley said: It may be natural to have an initial moment of crushing, but if it feels strange and unnatural because it’s not your partner, listen to it. Nip it, stop it, block it. Go home and look at your partner. Appreciate what made you feel the rush about them in the beginning, too.