Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.
Married With a Crush?
So, you are married but you have a crush on someone else. Hey, it happens. Married people, even happily married people are also human and as such, are vulnerable to developing crushes on attractive others. A crush, aka, “Romantic Infatuation” can happen with anyone who you spend time with and who has attractive or, interestingly, anxiety-producing qualities.
What does is mean if you are married and have a crush on someone else?
Having a crush on someone else when you’re married doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person. It also is not a reflection of your marriage. Believe it or not, having a crush may not mean anything at all. In fact, people in happy, healthy, committed relationships can still develop fluttery feelings for attractive others. Crush-y feelings don’t need to mean anything about your marriage or your spouse, or about the person you have a crush on.
Feelings just happen sometimes.
We have crushes because we’re living, feeling human beings who are designed to fall in love. Particularly in long term relationships where the zing of early-stage romantic love has faded into a steady, warm attachment, the part of us that longs for exciting, romantic love may be tickled awake by the presence of an interesting new other.
However, smart, self-aware people in good, committed relationships need to not follow those feelings, but rather handle them maturely and with wisdom.
The Smart Way to Handle Having a Crush When You’re Married
While developing a crush is not unusual, it is extremely important to be very self-aware about what is happening and redirect your energy back into your primary relationship as quickly as possible. (If you want to stay married, anyway.)
Developing an infatuation can actually be a positive thing for a relationship, particularly if you are self-aware enough to realize that your feelings for someone else might be informing you about what you’d like to be different about your primary relationship.
Then you can build on the existing strengths of your relationship to add “crush ingredients” back in, like spending time together, novelty, emotional intimacy, flirtation, and fun. Your relationship will be the stronger for it.
When Crushes Cross the Line
Crushes, when not handled well, can also be an on-ramp to an affair. Consider that very few people intend to start an affair. Most affairs begin with people having fluttery, crush-y feelings for someone who is not their spouse… and then leaning into them rather than intentionally extinguishing them.
Developing a crush or romantic feelings for another can be extremely dangerous for the stability of your family and your relationship. While it’s not unusual to develop a mild crush when you’re married, if unchecked, your innocent-seeing crush could bloom into an emotional or even sexual affair.
While everyone can have a crush bloom, it’s very important to know how to handle yourself and your relationship when crushes happen in order to protect yourself, your relationship, and your integrity.
Protect Your Marriage From an Affair
Here at Growing Self, we are strong believers in the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That is never more so than with relationships: It’s much easier to educate yourself and learn how to handle common situations successfully, and in such a way that they strengthen your relationship rather than harm it.
Knowing how to handle yourself if you start to develop a crush on someone when you’re married to another is one of the most important ways of protecting your relationship from an affair. Even though couples can and do recover from infidelity, infidelity is terribly traumatic and difficult to repair. Affairs destroy marriages and destroy lives, and at the end of the day tend to result in disappointing relationships with the affair partner.
Take it from a marriage counselor (and, ahem, author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to an Ex Love”) who’s seen the destruction that affairs create: Don’t do it. The key? Catching those normal, crush-y feelings early and learning how to use them to re-energize your marriage, while simultaneously learning how to extinguish the crush.
What To Do (And Not Do) When You Are Married And Have a Crush
Today on the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast I’m talking all about how to handle yourself and your relationship when you have a crush on someone else. We’ll be discussing:
- The mechanics of a crush; how and why crushes develop
- The difference between a crush and a platonic friendship
- Why happy, committed married people can have crushes on others
- How crushes can turn into something more serious
- How to use self-awareness, integrity, and honesty to protect your marriage
- How to use your crush experience in order to add energy and intimacy into your relationship
- Warning signs that your crush is developing into something else
- Why extramarital affairs are always a bad idea, and rarely end well
- How to stop having a crush on someone else
- How to avoid embarrassment and professional ruin if you have a crush on a coworker
- How to protect your relationship and stay true to your values even when you’re having feelings for another.
All this and more on today’s episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast.
Ps: If it’s not you you’re worried about, but rather that your partner may have a crush on someone else, here are some other resources for you: Signs of an Emotional Affair, and How to Get Your Needs Met in a Relationship. Play them in the car and see what your partner thinks… LMB
Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast
Married With a Crush? What To Do (and Not Do)
Music Credits: Johnny Powers, “Long Blonde Hair”