What to Do When You Are Married and Have a Crush on Someone Else

The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Music Credits: Johnny Powers, “Long Blonde Hair”

MARRIED WITH A CRUSH?

What To Do When You’re Having Feelings for Someone Else While Married…

So, you are married but you have a crush on someone else. Hey, it happens and as a couples counselor and expert marriage counselor, I know that 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. 

But what does it mean if you have feelings for someone other than your spouse?

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. 

If you’re finding yourself married with a crush, I have some expert advice for you today not only to help you work through what you’re feeling – but to also encourage growth in your marriage!

Feelings just happen sometimes… [but] 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.

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 stronger for it.

Grow, Together.

Our authentic relationship experts know how to help you learn, grow, and move forward into a bright new chapter.

When Crushes Cross the Line

Those feelings, those rationalizations, are the siren song that lures your marriage onto the rocks of ruin.

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…convincing themselves of all the reasons why it’s okay… (We’re just friends! But my husband never talks to me like this!) and then leaning into the feelings of excitement and attraction rather than intentionally extinguishing them. Those feelings, those rationalizations, are the siren song that lures your marriage onto the rocks of ruin.

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 affair 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? If you catch those normal, crush-y feelings early and learn how to use them to re-energize your marriage, you can also simultaneously learn how to extinguish the crush.

Listen To This Episode to Learn 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.

xoxo,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

P.S. 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

P.P.S. Another very low-key way to begin a productive conversation about how you’re both feeling in your relationship is to take our free online “How Healthy is Your Relationship Quiz” together and discuss the results. Having these types of emotionally intimate conversations with your partner can jump start the process of growing back together again, if you’re open to it!

When You’re Married and Have a Crush on Someone Else: Episode Highlights

[03:44] What Is a Crush?

  • It’s better to prevent an affair than repair a relationship after the fact.
  • Being happily married does not make you immune to developing a crush on someone other than your partner.
  • Humans are biologically hardwired to create bonds with other people.
  • Love is biologically addictive. We can do amazing things out of love, but the emotion uses a similar part of the brain implicated in an opiate addiction.

[15:22] Having Feelings for Someone Else while Married

  • Encountering someone who is attractive or interesting creates a physiologically arousing experience in us when we are near them.
  • Dr. Lisa uses a scale of attraction. One is when you have an innocent crush, but staying at that end of the scale requires intentional effort.
  • As a relationship develops, it can swiftly shift into the higher end of the scale, until it becomes dangerous to your relationships.
  • Early phase “love” is a romanticized version of love, and is primarily about chemistry.
  • It’s not unusual to have a feeling of, “What have I done?” after ending a stable relationship in order to pursue a crush.

[33:30] How to Get Over a Crush

  • If you find yourself a little too excited or happy when someone other than your partner is around, it helps to create distance.
  • If crushes happen at work, it can help to be more professional about your communication with your crush.
  • Discuss your feelings with your partner. It sounds shocking, but transparency takes power away from the feeling.
  • Take the energy and the person you become with your crush, and be that with your partner instead — it can really re-energize a relationship!

[42:24] How to Stop Liking Someone

  • If you notice you’re having a heightened emotional experience with someone, you need the self-awareness to back away.
  • It can also help to discuss your feelings with your crush — tell them how you feel, but also that you’re backing away.

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

What to Do When You Are Married and Have a Crush on Someone Else

The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Music Credits: Johnny Powers, “Long Blonde Hair”

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145 Comments

  1. Hello, If the crush is someone you see regularly, like a personal trainer, how do you cut the tie? If your spouse has or may be speculative of something, can you just quit seeing the person and not have an excuse?

    1. Hi Dr. Lisa,
      I enjoyed listening to your podcast. My question stems around thinking or realization that someone you are involved in may actually be your soulmate. I have been in a professional/collegial relationship with another on and off for 3 years. Recently, within the past 2 months, we both started professing our true feelings to one another. Slowly, we came to the realization that there was something more there all along. We are both happily married and he has 4 kids. The attraction has ignited to the point of a few intimate encounters online. I feel as though I am nearing a 7-8 level with this one, so not sure how to handle it. The first time things started to get fluttery a year ago, I stopped communicating for about a year. Somehow things are a bit more complicated now that our feelings have been placed on the table. How should I handle this going forward?

      1. well Anjoli, i would advice you to let it go and stay firm with your existing relationship unless you want to exit from your relationship.Sometimes things are worst when you get closer to someone and he looks like totally a different man than what he was looked like

  2. This podcast spoke to me! Met someone through a friend a year ago and felt something but at the lower end of the spectrum. Recently reunited with them again through the same friend after almost a year and it skyrocketed to the area that I need to check myself because it is easily going to become something my marriage wouldn’t come back from. I’m aware, I’ve allowed too much communication and appreciate the tips to try to turn the “infatuation” off. I’ve always felt that it was human nature to have attraction to others but not to this level. So much of what you said about cognitive dissonance is how I felt as well. Thanks for info, so helpful.

    1. Cindy, if you’re married I would encourage you to let your spouse know about your feelings, rather than your crush. If your intention is to stay married, this could be the turning point to begin repairing your marriage. Alternatively, disclosing your feelings to the person you have a crush on will just move you closer to having an affair. Good luck! LMB

    2. Cindy NO do not tell your crush. This is how affairs can start. It’s never worth it. The crush may be flattered and this is getting into dangerous territory. There is nothing good that could come of them knowing. Remember your vows and what you promised to your spouse.

  3. What happens when the emotional affair has already happened and is causing me to question whether my marriage is good for me or not.

    1. Cut off all ties from this emotional affair. Invest into your marriage. Feelings follow action. If you are not “feeling it”, remember your commitment and your vows to your spouse, regardless of “feelings”. You will be so proud and glad that you stayed committed to your spouse. Truly love them.. which means wanting and doing what is best for them even if they don’t deserve it and don’t reciprocate. Try not to view marriage as “what can this offer me? What does this do for me?” and think of “how can I show love/respect to my spouse? What am *I* offering?”

      1. On the one hand, yes, it’s important to lower our idealistic expectations of our spouse, and to love them unselfishly. BUT for a healthy marriage, both people need to be WILLING to work on loving the other person better.

        In the podcast, she recommends couples therapy to work on the relationship if we are feeling consistent negativity or neglect from our spouse. We should honor our commitments, but never accept stagnancy, neglect, or emotional abuse.

        I’ve also found the Five Love Languages theory/book to be helpful in creating a more joyful marriage for both me and my spouse.

        Lastly, this isn’t for everyone, but a brief and intentional separation (that does NOT include seeing other people) was helpful in reconfiguring my previously toxic marriage.

    2. I had an emotional affair and almost a physical one before my husband and I realized we needed to make big changes in our relationship.
      I posted some of this as a response to the person who answered your question, but I wanted to reply directly to you:

      Yes, it’s important to lower our idealistic expectations of our spouse, and to love them unselfishly.
      On the other hand, I don’t know your relationship, but it sounds like it may not be filling your need for companionship – which it has the potential to, if worked on.

      To change a marriage, BOTH people need to be willing to LEARN how to love the other person. Sometimes it takes time for one spouse to become willing to join in the work.

      In the podcast, she recommends couples therapy to work on the relationship if we are feeling consistent negativity or neglect from our spouse.

      We should honor our commitments, BUT never accept stagnancy, neglect, or emotional abuse from our spouse – which I did for years, before realizing my spouse and I were tearing each other down in both obvious and subtle ways.

      I’ve also found the Five Love Languages theory/book to be helpful in creating a more joyful marriage.

      Lastly, this isn’t useful for everyone, but a brief and intentional separation (that does NOT include seeing other people) was helpful in reconfiguring my previously toxic marriage. I initiated the month apart and my husband was resistant at first, but during our weekly talks on the phone, we were able to lay a foundation for a better relationship.

  4. I read and listen to this pop cast. I hope that this will fix things with my husband who tent to have crush from time to time…

    1. Id also like to add that I wasn’t convinced my relationship was worth working on – until my spouse showed me how much work he was willing to put into it to. I needed to see the potential, and I can say it has become 100% worth it! That “warm,” “I’m home” feeling of long term commitment, as described in the podcast, is worth it. Thank you Dr Bobby for helping so many people fight for their marriages and experience that potential.

  5. A little back story: I have a wife of 7 years. Our relationship grew stagnate and developed into a dead bedroom with almost no communication.

    Last December she suggested that we start to see outside partners to fill the gaps that we were missing together. It sent me down a path of many emotions and self reflection. Marriage is supposed to be monogamous right? We still weren’t communicating well for months. In July I found out that she was being unfaithful for months.

    This sent me right over the edge, i was showing PTSD-like symptoms. However, there was a bright side that resulted from it. We are seeing a couples therapist and communicating very well now. I am now emerging from a chrysalis that I cocooned myself into. We are coming out with new communication skills and we are deeply self-reflecting on what we believe a marriage should be.

    From this we are exploring consensual non monogamy and being open to connect with other partners outside the marriage.

    With all of this self reflecting and a deeper understanding of what we want, a woman started to work at my second, part time job. Innocent enough, we are starting to get to know each other. She is married with a few kids. I am starting to develop a crush on her. I see a lot of myself at my best in her and feel very charged when I am around her. Something that my marriage is lacking. It is possible that similar feelings are directed toward me from her. I’m not certain though.

    With our new founded open communication, I told my wife all of these feelings. She is all about it, she wants me to be happy and thinks I should let this woman know that I’m crushing on her. If for nothing else, to get it off my chest.

    My question is this, considering I am having a hard time not thinking about the woman and wanting to be around her, should I tell this woman how I feel? Even if it results in rejection (I think I would be okay with that and let her be in that case)

    Thank you.

    1. Don’t let your crush know. Don’t go outside of your marriage. If you are exploring non monogamy then you shouldn’t have gotten married. Yet divorce is destructive too. Non monogamy will be the death of your marriage.

    1. So glad this was helpful to you Kevin. Thank you for listening! If you’d ever like to join me LIVE for a podcast taping (and ask any questions real-time) I’ve started recording my podcasts via Instagram Live most Mondays at 12pm Mountain. Connect with me @lisamariebobby, if you’d like to! All the best, Lisa Marie Bobby

      1. Thank you so much Dr Bobby, reflecting on your advice has helped me avoid falling for a good friend and co-worker. I was teetering towards pursuing a friendly, mutual crush when I noticed a great increase in flirtatious behaviour from the other person which only drew me in further in a short time frame. I bit the bullet and distanced myself. The result has improved my married relationship so much as I could pour some of that zing* back towards my wife and our relationship. This simple podcast has helped me in so many ways to realise how lucky I am with my wife and family. I cannot thank you enough.

        1. Samson, thank you so much for sharing your experience with our community here. I am so, so glad that this podcast and these ideas helped you recognize what was starting to happen and nip this in the bud.

          I have to tell you — from my perspective as a marriage counselor who has worked with so many couples trying to (with great difficulty) repair their relationship after an affair — it sounds like the shadow of the hawk just flew over your marriage, family and life… and, happily, kept on going.

          It is likely that a terrible tragedy was averted by your being open to the ideas I shared, and the fact that you had the wisdom and courage to put these ideas to use in your life. Affairs can be so devastating. They blow families apart, and even if couples work through it there are scars. In addition to that, it can be very traumatizing for children to witness infidelity and its emotional aftermath, and can have an impact on their ability to form secure relationships when they become adults. You protected your family from all of that. On behalf of all the people who love you and depend on you, thank you. — LMB

        2. I am so glad I found this, thank you. I am in a bit of a depressed state as I am about a good 5 on the scale and so thankful I found this while googling today. I feel so low, cannot sleep, my appetite has disappeared because I am feeling so obsessed with someone. I haven’t talked to anyone. I am happily married like you talk about but the frisson is such a wonderful feeling when I am with him at work and we both have been flirtatious. I am very aware that I need to put some distance between us now because I feel anxious instead of excited and worried. My heart feels like it will explode and I don’t think I have ever felt this pain before. I don’t want to end my marriage so I know what to do, thank you Dr Bobby x

  6. Thank you for your words… Im finding solace and assurance esp now Im questioning my marriage and mainly myself and my purpose etc…

    1. Sounds like you are having a “crossroads moment” where you’re trying to figure out a lot of things in your life. I hope that you get involved with a good therapist or coach who can help you get some clarity about who you are, what you want, and how to create it. If you’d like to do that with someone on the Growing Self team, the first step is to schedule a free consultation session. Wishing you all the best, Lisa

  7. Thank you so much for the advice I have been drawn to a seemingly mutual crush with a close friend for a number of months. I had felt a strong pull towards my friend after noticing some obviously inviting behaviour and suggestive comments over time. You literally spelled out our MO, lunches and all which was a big wake up call. After reflection with taking your advice I am attempting to strike up better communication and create more positive experiences with my wife which is working sexually but needing some improvement elsewhere to keep momentum. I am still struggling to balance my feelings for my friend as I have a great marriage and a good friendship, neither of which I would like to destroy. My feeling ebb and flow still but much less than previously but I’m concerned about a flare up in my feelings if my friend began to push things romantically. My wife has met my friend and is deeply wary of her. I want to tell my wife but I’m terrified she’ll leave. She’s not usually controlling but has low self-esteem and reacted aggressively after meeting my friend.

    1. Pete, I’m glad you found this advice and are considering it. Here’s the next suggestion: Please stop using the word “friend” and start using the word “possible affair partner” when thinking about this other woman. If you do so, I bet the path forward will become more clear to you and you will also develop more empathy for your wife’s legitimate safety seeking behaviors in this patently threatening situation. Your potential affair partner is not your friend, she is an ongoing threat to your marriage and to your family. I hear you disparaging your wife’s reaction to this as her being controlling, having low self esteem, etc. (You are basically saying that the issue is her “issues,” rather than taking responsibility for the fact that she is having a normal reaction to your behavior.) You yourself said that you are worried about the future of your marriage if your possible affair partner makes sexual moves towards you. That awareness is a good start! Next step: Take responsibility for this situation, stop blaming your wife for feeling threatened, and cut off contact with the person who you could have an affair with. My two cents! 🙂

      1. I accept my poor reflection on how I have viewed my wife’s feelings. I have since opened up and told my wife about the damaging relationship I had developed and she is much more resilient than I gave her credit for. The nature of that relationship has essentially ended but not without significant resistance from the other person involved. I feel more stable and sober but I have no illusions that there’s much more work I have to do to try and rebuild my wife’s trust in me. I never realised how far it had gone and so quickly, and without things ever becoming physical. I now know physicality makes little difference, I was having an affair.

  8. Hi, this was a good read. Well, I have a strong crush on a cine artist. Of course, there is no danger of it developing into an affair but my question is: how do I deal with the yearning and emotional pain that I’m experiencing? I can’t stop looking at his images online and I am constantly watching his movies and interviews on YouTube. I’m so much in love with him that it hurts.

  9. Ugh….I’m married, 10 years now. But I’ve developed a big crush on a guy over Instagram. He’s an actor…I know, I know. To make matters worse is he started following me in return. We don’t flirt at all. I want to make that clear. There is zero back and forth that would even raise an eyebrow with anyone. He has no idea I like him.

    I’m an artist and I drew a picture of one of his characters which he liked and then he started following me. Now anytime he “likes” one of my posts, I feel my heart start fluttering. I think of him obsessively on the inside. No one knows at all. I don’t talk about him to anyone. But it’s driving me nuts. I feel like I’m going crazy because he’s on my mind all the time.

    I would never do anything to jeopardize my marriage. I also have three kids. Obviously this guy just harmlessly decided to follow me without any idea how much it would cause me to go nuts. I’m sure if he had any idea how much I think of him, he would probably block me. I just love his personality, he’s extremely intelligent and has similar views on things with me when at home my husband doesn’t give any thought to or shoots down. He’s heavily into politics and current events which my husband doesn’t care about at all.

    Help…

    1. I m happily married bt had a crush with someone else..1 year or more..he is always on my mind ..I want to forget him…bt I m failed…I ve done everything…bt I m unable to kick his thoughts from my mind plz help me

  10. I want to thank you so much for this advice and podcast. I really needed to hear some straight talk. I’ve been struggling for months with a crush outside of my 20 year happy marriage to a wonderful man. I never imagined I could go crazy like this. I do feel self aware and had already been doing some of the things you suggested – for one, taking my heightened emotional senses and giving that energy to my husband. Also when I think of things I’d like to talk about/share with my crush, I instead share it with my husband. In fact to my surprise and delight, our marriage has been boosted emotionally and sexually by this. The crush I have is over 12 years younger than I am and I see him as exciting, interesting and slightly dangerous….he often reminds me of my husband at 30. I would never dare to embarrass myself by making a move nor would I want to risk my family, marriage and dignity. The problem is, the feelings are still not going away. They fade a little here and there but I literally feel addicted, like you said, by a drug. I just keep pushing it away. I’m not able to cut off ties with him at this time (he is a teacher) and somehow just try to get through it, constantly telling myself to be mature about it. I will take your advice to avoid getting into excessive personal talk with him. This is good advice and where I falter at times. I can’t believe I’m in this situation and I struggle to get him out of my thoughts most days. Thank you so much for helping me get a grip on reality today. I’ll probably be listening to this podcast on repeat 🙂

    1. Thank you for speaking so openly and honestly. I’m married with young children & have had a close platonic relationship with a single colleague for years. I have felt it developing into something more several times & always pushed him away (gently) to protect myself & the marriage. Recently we have started hanging out again more & I’ve found it intoxicating. I’ve really struggled with detaching this time & it’s been so helpful to hear you talk about the explosive trauma that happens after an affair. It makes me feel so sad to know I’m going to have to lose this again – you describe the opiate feeling so well – but it was good to get the cold hard truth. Thank you. x

  11. This podcast has really put things into perspective for me. Thank you for the insights. You’ve saved me from a really poor decision.

  12. Hi Lisa,

    Your words ring so true. Likening (“harmless”) flirting to addictive behavior helps to put my feelings into perspective. I’m not yet married, but am engaged to my soulmate, and I have been feeling so guilty about the feelings I “followed” toward a previous co-worker. He was in my head so loud I couldn’t ignore it, but now I’ve learned I need to be more cautious and self-aware in order to protect myself and my relationship. Nothing ever happened beyond a few email exchanges and I tried to minimize one-on-one time, but I feel like I should tell my partner in case I was involved in emotional cheating. He is such a strong, steadfast, and faithful man, I’m worried about how he will react, especially since we are in a long distance relationship between the US and Europe. Should I tell my partner everything? If so, should I do it as soon as possible or wait until we are together again?

    Thank you for your help

    1. This is a tough one. I mean, if you’re in the clear and are feeling confident that this is over-and-done, it would be less important for you to tell your partner all about it because your relationship is safe. Lots of people in long term relationships have transient crushes that flare up and fade away, and are generally harmless after that. (Assuming that it fades away and that you didn’t act on the feelings and *actually* cheat on your partner while in the temporary grips of a crush. If you cheated on him, your partner needs to know that so that he can make an informed decision about whether or not he wants to continue this relationship.)

      But in the circumstance of being in a long-distance international relationship where you’re not around each other that much, it requires a high degree of trust and confidence. Knowing what happened (again, particularly if it was a benign, transient crush) may create a lot of anxiety for your partner that isn’t helpful for either of you. It may be more merciful and less burdensome for your partner if you worked through your guilt on your own.

      On the OTHER hand, it may be helpful for both of you if you shared the feelings you temporarily had for another person, and framed it as being a sign that you that you are longing for an in-person day-to-day connection with him (if that is in fact true). Then you can both perhaps use that truth as a lighthouse guiding you to figure out how to make that happen in reality. “Long-distance” is not a sustainable place for a relationship to be long-term. Having crushy-flare-ups for other people may be a sign that it’s time to figure out how to be together “IRL” (as the kids say.)

      If you do wind up telling him, I agree, it would be best if you were together when you did.

      Good luck!
      Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

  13. Dear Lisa,
    Thank you so much for this truthful and very helpful podcast. I learnt so much! No one is exempt from this especially in stressful times like these. So rightly said when you turn the light on and tell your spouse the power is gone! Wow!
    Thank you so much!

  14. I’m going insane there is this super attractive guy who listens and helps me out but at the same time he listens to me I’ve been married for 7 years and I don’t feel heard by my husband but I recently started working and I work with this guy who I vent to he helps me with my confidence and lifts me up he hears me out!!! I’m going crazy I really like this guy I don’t know if I should lye it down and tell him so I can get past it or if I should keep it to my self and diffuse the bomb myself I’m afraid that if he kisses me I won’t be able to hold back I don’t want my marriage to end I’m happily married with 3 kids but there is something about this guy who doesn’t judge me and loves my personality and hears me out I’m in desperate need of help!

    1. Rikki, Stop. S T O P. This isn’t Junior High. You’re a married woman with three kids. If you’re really all a-tingle, anticipating that this person might kiss you while you’re standing at your locker in the crowded hall in between classes (and that you’ll be swept away by passion when he does!) it is really important that you immediately stop all contact with this guy and remove yourself from his physical presence. Like, get a different job if you need to. Block him, unfriend and unfollow. Disappear. No explanation required. Stop. All. Contact.

      That will lower the immediate risk, but you’ll still have to deal with the thoughts and feelings you’ll be left with, and you will still have some big decisions to make. But at least you’ll have space to make them.

      If you are in love with this other person and see a future with him, it’s important to give yourself time to think all the way through and make an intentional decision about whether or not you want to leave your husband and break up your family in order to pursue this relationship. If you do, that’s valid: But it should be a considered decision and one that is based on your core values and life goals, and which takes into consideration the needs of the children who depend on you too.

      Do NOT allow the the fate of your family to be determined by an impulsive make out session in the back room. Okay?? Consider getting involved in some high quality online therapy or life coaching to help you make a solid, intentional decision.

      Part of your decision making process may also depend on exploring whether or not it is possible to create positive changes in your relationship with your husband. It sounds like you’d love to have a deeper level of emotional engagement with someone, and wouldn’t it be amazing if that person could be the guy you’re already married to? Would it change anything for you??

      I recently put together a podcast episode called, “When to Call it Quits in a Relationship” that explores how to know whether positive change is possible in a relationship (or not). It may be helpful for you to listen to that as you consider your options.

      Wishing you all the best Rikki….

      Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

  15. I’ve been married to my first boyfriend for 18 years. Last year, I completely fell in love to one of my college’s professor. He was interested in me too.We started to be closer and I asked him to help me to move to another class. He told me he couldn’t, so I sent him an email telling him about my marital status and my feelings for him. I thought he would probably move me to another class after he gets my email because he would be disappointed or because it’s a college rule, that a professor should change the student to another class if he had knowledge about the student’s feelings towards them. And I was right, he changed me to another class. I didn’t see him since February 2020, but I still think of him all the time. I told everything to my husband and we are attending a couple’s counseling. I wish I could not to think of my former professor, but I can’t. I never imagined my whole life I could feel something like this. Is there anything else I can do to forget him? I need to stop thinking about him! I need to stop feeling what I feel for him. I am living in dispair since I first met this man. My life became umbearable to live since then.

    1. Well, I’m very glad to hear that you made the wise but difficult choice that led to your removal from this person’s class. That was a good call. I think what I’m hearing is that since then, the situation itself is “over” except for the continuing intrusive thoughts about this other person.

      If that’s the case, I would highly recommend getting involved with cognitive-behavioral based therapy or coaching. Both of which can teach you, among other things, cognitive strategies to get a handle on the thoughts that are causing pain and suffering. (Mindfulness skills, thought stopping and shifting, reframing thoughts, cultivating new thoughts, etc. can all be part of really good cognitive behavioral therapy or cognitive behavioral coaching.

      Pro tip: PLEASE AVOID standard-issue talk therapy with a checked-out therapist who let’s you free-associate for forty-five minutes, or wants to make this about your relationship with your dad or your low self-esteem or something. That could not be less helpful for you in actually changing this state of affairs, and may even be harmful. You don’t need someone to pathologize you and make you believe this happened because you’re broken (or something ridiculous), you need someone to teach you skills. Really. That’s all this is.

      Cognitive-behavioral therapy or coaching is a totally different thing than traditional, passive therapy. With this action-oriented, skills-based approach you’ll be challenged to do things like identify problematic thoughts, actively respond to them differently, and you’ll even have homework to help keep you on track.

      I will say this (just to be thorough): In very, very rare cases, if the underlying cause of the problematic thoughts is in fact related to a mental health issue it can be helpful to enlist the support of your medical doctor as well as your therapist if cognitive behavioral therapy alone is not helpful. (Persistent, intrusive, compulsive thoughts can be related to OCD symptoms, which can be sometimes successfully treated with anti-depressant medication). But again, this is rare.

      The first line of action is to get to work. Look for a therapist or coach who utilizes CBT interventions and who is going to hold you accountable, and help you stop feeling tortured by what’s happening between your ears. Developing cognitive skills is the path of liberation — and you can do it! All the best, Lisa Marie Bobby

  16. THANK YOU THANK YOU for telling it like it is. I was so expecting an “it’s okay if you like someone better, just get divorced if the crush persists” type of destructive advice that I have seen elsewhere. I love that you said extramarital affairs are always a bad idea, and rarely end well. People do NOT realize this. They are on the constant search for the next ‘high’ and it disappoints. Even if it doesn’t disappoint, a marriage and family was fractured, vows were stomped on, and kids are left with the collateral damage. We sometimes will accept little things like coddling a crush and don’t realize that it is eating away at our marriage. Unhappiness in a marriage is not solved by turning outward.. only turning inward toward your spouse.

    1. Thank you for sharing that EV. I completely agree. Truthfully, as a marriage counselor and therapist I’ve seen time and time again that doing the things that are NOT always the most immediately gratifying, like remaining true to your values and commitments even when it’s hard, are so protective in the end.

      It takes a lot of maturity, wisdom, love and strength to stop yourself from following feel-good impulses. But the alternative is often a good-feeling road leading straight to destruction and despair, not just for the people you love the most, but for your integrity. I believe that regret is the most terrible of experiences, personally, particularly when the damage done is permanent and irreparable. Some things don’t wash off…

      But you know this! Glad to have like-minds in the mix, and that you’re sharing your wisdom with our community here.
      With love and respect for you, Lisa Marie Bobby

  17. my wife told me she had an affair 30 years ago went to his bed several times she told me everything i ask her she didnt no i saw her with him through the window of his house and never said any thing just let her go it didnt last long we have been married 49 years still in love lots of sex still she told me to find someone else to have sek with and we woujd be even after that

    1. Well Jim, I suppose you could try that and see what happens, but I think both of us know that it would probably not end well. It sounds to me like you two have some unfinished emotional business about what happened in the past. You might want to check out a recent podcast I made about “Letting Go of Resentment.” I hope that it provides you with some direction about how both of you can heal from past infidelity and move on. Wishing you all the best, LMB

  18. What if the crush is a really good friend? We don’t see each other very often, but just text and flirt. We do want to meet up, but we are both committed to our relationships. But at the same time we are friends … we want to hang out. What should I do in this situation?

    1. Hannah, I’d urge you to consider the fact that 99.9999% of all affairs begin with people having crushes on their “friends.” The right thing to do may become clearer to you if you shift the narrative to “I’m flirting and texting and wanting to hang out with the person who could be my affair partner.” Does that change anything for you? If not, Godspeed, and do be sure to report back with the outcome? Your community will be interested to hear how this unfolds for you. LMB

  19. Dr. Bobby,

    Thank you so much for this. Like you said sure I’ve had a small crush here or there but was able to keep it at a distance. One I have right now is like something I haven’t felt since high school. I think you’re right that my wife and I need to work on our relationship. We’ve been together since we were both young (got together when i was 18 married at 20) and have been together for a long 11 years now. They say people change as they get older and I just don’t think we connect as well as we could making this crush so exhilarating. What should I do if I’ve felt like maybe we weren’t right for each other. We have 2 kids now, there’s not much I could do if I wanted.

    It’s all confusing I know but I think that working with my spouse, potentially through therapy, would be a great first step

    1. Justin, I’m so glad to hear that you have so much self-awareness around what’s happening, and can maintain your big-picture perspective. You bring up such a fantastic point: People do really change as they grow and develop, and it’s so important for couples to grow together over the years. (I say this as a person who is in a happy 20+ year marriage with a man I met when I was just 19 years old, so I get it Justin!!)

      Especially when couples connect as teenagers or young twenty-somethings, you’re both going to change and evolve so much over the years as you become fully mature adults. Consider that a healthy, long term relationship (like a lifetime relationship — the kind we all want) is not going to be with the same person. As you both grow and change you will have to get to know each other all over again, and develop a new relationship with the person your partner has grown into.

      This in itself can be really exciting and rewarding. Especially if you both are putting energy into developing yourselves, you might find that the person your wife is now is actually someone who is really attractive and interesting to you (but in a different way than she was when she was 18. She’s not a kid anymore!)

      Of course, it is also true that sometimes people who get married young realize, as they get to know themselves and each other better, that it’s not an easy fit. (For the record, I don’t believe that couples are “not compatible” and therefore need to end their relationship, but I do think that some couples have to work harder to understand and appreciate each others values and perspectives, and figure out how to work together as a loving, respectful team).

      Either way Justin, you’re absolutely right. It sounds like you and your wife could really benefit from being together in a supportive, growth-oriented environment like the one achieved in good relationship coaching or couples therapy. That will allow you to talk openly and honestly about who you each are now, what your strengths and opportunities as a couple are, and what your long term hopes and goals are for yourselves and your lives. Those courageous conversations can catalyze enormous growth and positive change, and what you discover about the person you are married to might surprise you (in the most delightful way!)

      Exciting times — good luck!
      xoxo, Dr. Lisa

  20. I enjoyed this podcast. My question is how to deal with feeling rejected after a crush after liking all my photos on social media looks like he is distancing himself. This took place right after I gave birth. We no longer see each other regularly but I am having a difficult time feeling rejected even though my intention is to not cross boundries

    1. Hi Melinda, and congratulations momma! I’m glad that you’re looking for help with this. If you and I were working together in life coaching or therapy to tackle this issue issue, my #1 focus would not be around “why you feel rejected.” My first challenge for you would be to remove this individual from your life altogether. Like, block / unfriend / unfollow and do whatever you need to do in order to never have to think again about whether he was noticing or caring about your posts. Rejection problem, solved.

      But the real beauty of this approach of this “final solution” is that if / when you shared with me that you thought this was the worst idea you ever heard and were having really strong negative reactions to my suggestion that you do such a thing, we’d get to talk about THAT. 🙂 My hope for our work together would be not so much around your feelings of “rejection” but rather to assist you in releasing this inappropriate emotional attachment so that you no longer think of him at all. Then you’ll be absolutely free to lavish all your time, attention, and emotional energy on your growing family. They need you!

      Wishing you all the best,
      Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

  21. Fantastic podcast. So much wisdom! Started the episode and took my dog on his 10 minute walk – we were still walking 50 minutes later! Thanks for keeping us physically fit and keeping me from making big mistakes.

  22. This was very good to listen to and honestly, I’ve heard it before. I have already been in this situation once during my 18 year marriage and my husband also in the very beginning of our marriage. Mine was a one time occurrence, his multiple times with multiple people. I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t bother me but with time I can now go forward without thinking about it save for once in a blue moon. He, however, still holds what I did over my head. It happened 8 years ago and I confessed immediately after but he’s said to me that he would divorce me and never look back if I ever mess up again. I’ve also had unhealthy attachments to other male co workers in the past and I’ve confessed those to him. He has a right to feel as he does and he knows my weaknesses. I currently have a major crush on someone that’s lasted almost 2 years. We don’t talk save for once in awhile and it’s always about something professional and never inappropriate. He’s in a leadership position in the community so I will often times ask about community type subjects. He left one social media platform and before he did I noticed he literally followed or viewed everything I posted. He would never like or comment but he would view it. I looked for him on another social media platform and followed him and he views everything I do there. Never comments but he sees it all and I find myself posting every day for him mostly. I tell myself I’m not doing anything wrong bc we don’t talk but I think about him every day and fantasize and I wish it would go away. I know it’s not healthy and I don’t know how to get over him. He’s different from my husband in a lot of ways and there is the aspect of power that is attractive too. I believe his feelings are the same as mine since he literally follows my every move. I’m betting he wants me to be the one to initiate and I won’t but I’m tempted and I don’t know how to stop. My marriage had already sustained a blow we healed from but can’t again. We’re generally very happy too and my husband loves me I know and I him. He tells me all the time how sexy I am and how much he loves me. He has gained weight and that turns me off even though our intimacy is amazing. Love is so much more than surface and appearance. I just need help bc it is exactly as you say, it’s like a high from a drug, even just thinking about him. I know what’s at stake if I mess up. My life would be over and my husband has been very clear he’d take our three kids from me and kick me out of our house. It doesn’t help that he’s the breadwinner. I have everything to lose.

  23. Thank you for this article! A lot of things you mentioned hit the nail on the head, and make me feel like I am not alone. I’m in a stable, loving relationship with my husband of six years, but as a fairly stoic person, he’s not naturally the affectionate type, and can unintentionally cause me to feel neglected at times. I rather feel that this stems more from inattention rather than a conscious withholding of affection. I know he loves me and is loyal, but his lack of awareness for my needs for affection outside of sex has sometimes caused me to feel lonely.

    Enter a very attractive guy at the gym who has clearly yet respectfully taken an interest in me for the past month or so. He has also helped train me a few times and we always have things to talk about. Both of us are attached to other partners, so it feels as if we are lamely trying to convince ourselves that our “friendship” is safe. I think part of my attraction to him stems from the fact that he gives me the undivided attention that I crave from my husband. He seems very interested in what I have to say and asks questions about my life and my opinion on things. And honestly? The attention and admiration feel good. But I know that these temporary highs generally don’t last long. So what you said about redirecting that energy into improving the primary relationship really spoke to me. These are all things I inherently know, but it is comforting and encouraging to know that many others struggle with these transient attractions (albeit strong), and that a shift in mindset can curb these dangerous flirtations. I’ll be working on this, and getting ahold of myself. My marriage is everything, and no amount of attraction to someone else would want to make me throw my relationship away. Thank you, Dr. Bobby.

  24. Hello, If the crush is someone you see regularly, like a personal trainer, how do you cut the tie? If your spouse has or may be speculative of something, can you just quit seeing the person and not have an excuse?

  25. Daniel, thank you so much for asking this question. I thought it was such an important question (and one that so many others share, I’m sure) I actually answered it via IGTV! Here’s the link to view my response: https://www.instagram.com/p/BwFP70tHGhp/

    I hope that this perspective helps you not just protect your marriage, but strengthen it.

    Respectfully, Lisa Marie Bobby

  26. This podcast spoke to me! Met someone through a friend a year ago and felt something but at the lower end of the spectrum. Recently reunited with them again through the same friend after almost a year and it skyrocketed to the area that I need to check myself because it is easily going to become something my marriage wouldn’t come back from. I’m aware, I’ve allowed too much communication and appreciate the tips to try to turn the “infatuation” off. I’ve always felt that it was human nature to have attraction to others but not to this level. So much of what you said about cognitive dissonance is how I felt as well. Thanks for info, so helpful.

  27. What happens when the emotional affair has already happened and is causing me to question whether my marriage is good for me or not.

  28. Cindy, if you’re married I would encourage you to let your spouse know about your feelings, rather than your crush. If your intention is to stay married, this could be the turning point to begin repairing your marriage. Alternatively, disclosing your feelings to the person you have a crush on will just move you closer to having an affair. Good luck! LMB

  29. I read and listen to this pop cast. I hope that this will fix things with my husband who tent to have crush from time to time…

  30. A little back story: I have a wife of 7 years. Our relationship grew stagnate and developed into a dead bedroom with almost no communication.

    Last December she suggested that we start to see outside partners to fill the gaps that we were missing together. It sent me down a path of many emotions and self reflection. Marriage is supposed to be monogamous right? We still weren’t communicating well for months. In July I found out that she was being unfaithful for months.

    This sent me right over the edge, i was showing PTSD-like symptoms. However, there was a bright side that resulted from it. We are seeing a couples therapist and communicating very well now. I am now emerging from a chrysalis that I cocooned myself into. We are coming out with new communication skills and we are deeply self-reflecting on what we believe a marriage should be.

    From this we are exploring consensual non monogamy and being open to connect with other partners outside the marriage.

    With all of this self reflecting and a deeper understanding of what we want, a woman started to work at my second, part time job. Innocent enough, we are starting to get to know each other. She is married with a few kids. I am starting to develop a crush on her. I see a lot of myself at my best in her and feel very charged when I am around her. Something that my marriage is lacking. It is possible that similar feelings are directed toward me from her. I’m not certain though.

    With our new founded open communication, I told my wife all of these feelings. She is all about it, she wants me to be happy and thinks I should let this woman know that I’m crushing on her. If for nothing else, to get it off my chest.

    My question is this, considering I am having a hard time not thinking about the woman and wanting to be around her, should I tell this woman how I feel? Even if it results in rejection (I think I would be okay with that and let her be in that case)

    Thank you.

  31. So glad this was helpful to you Kevin. Thank you for listening! If you’d ever like to join me LIVE for a podcast taping (and ask any questions real-time) I’ve started recording my podcasts via Instagram Live most Mondays at 12pm Mountain. Connect with me @lisamariebobby, if you’d like to! All the best, Lisa Marie Bobby

  32. Thank you so much Dr Bobby, reflecting on your advice has helped me avoid falling for a good friend and co-worker. I was teetering towards pursuing a friendly, mutual crush when I noticed a great increase in flirtatious behaviour from the other person which only drew me in further in a short time frame. I bit the bullet and distanced myself. The result has improved my married relationship so much as I could pour some of that zing* back towards my wife and our relationship. This simple podcast has helped me in so many ways to realise how lucky I am with my wife and family. I cannot thank you enough.

  33. Thank you for your words… Im finding solace and assurance esp now Im questioning my marriage and mainly myself and my purpose etc…

  34. Thank you so much for the advice I have been drawn to a seemingly mutual crush with a close friend for a number of months. I had felt a strong pull towards my friend after noticing some obviously inviting behaviour and suggestive comments over time. You literally spelled out our MO, lunches and all which was a big wake up call. After reflection with taking your advice I am attempting to strike up better communication and create more positive experiences with my wife which is working sexually but needing some improvement elsewhere to keep momentum. I am still struggling to balance my feelings for my friend as I have a great marriage and a good friendship, neither of which I would like to destroy. My feeling ebb and flow still but much less than previously but I’m concerned about a flare up in my feelings if my friend began to push things romantically. My wife has met my friend and is deeply wary of her. I want to tell my wife but I’m terrified she’ll leave. She’s not usually controlling but has low self-esteem and reacted aggressively after meeting my friend.

  35. Hi, this was a good read. Well, I have a strong crush on a cine artist. Of course, there is no danger of it developing into an affair but my question is: how do I deal with the yearning and emotional pain that I’m experiencing? I can’t stop looking at his images online and I am constantly watching his movies and interviews on YouTube. I’m so much in love with him that it hurts.

  36. Hi Dr. Lisa,
    I enjoyed listening to your podcast. My question stems around thinking or realization that someone you are involved in may actually be your soulmate. I have been in a professional/collegial relationship with another on and off for 3 years. Recently, within the past 2 months, we both started professing our true feelings to one another. Slowly, we came to the realization that there was something more there all along. We are both happily married and he has 4 kids. The attraction has ignited to the point of a few intimate encounters online. I feel as though I am nearing a 7-8 level with this one, so not sure how to handle it. The first time things started to get fluttery a year ago, I stopped communicating for about a year. Somehow things are a bit more complicated now that our feelings have been placed on the table. How should I handle this going forward?

  37. Samson, thank you so much for sharing your experience with our community here. I am so, so glad that this podcast and these ideas helped you recognize what was starting to happen and nip this in the bud.

    I have to tell you — from my perspective as a marriage counselor who has worked with so many couples trying to (with great difficulty) repair their relationship after an affair — it sounds like the shadow of the hawk just flew over your marriage, family and life… and, happily, kept on going.

    It is likely that a terrible tragedy was averted by your being open to the ideas I shared, and the fact that you had the wisdom and courage to put these ideas to use in your life. Affairs can be so devastating. They blow families apart, and even if couples work through it there are scars. In addition to that, it can be very traumatizing for children to witness infidelity and its emotional aftermath, and can have an impact on their ability to form secure relationships when they become adults. You protected your family from all of that. On behalf of all the people who love you and depend on you, thank you. — LMB

  38. Sounds like you are having a “crossroads moment” where you’re trying to figure out a lot of things in your life. I hope that you get involved with a good therapist or coach who can help you get some clarity about who you are, what you want, and how to create it. If you’d like to do that with someone on the Growing Self team, the first step is to schedule a free consultation session. Wishing you all the best, Lisa

  39. Pete, I’m glad you found this advice and are considering it. Here’s the next suggestion: Please stop using the word “friend” and start using the word “possible affair partner” when thinking about this other woman. If you do so, I bet the path forward will become more clear to you and you will also develop more empathy for your wife’s legitimate safety seeking behaviors in this patently threatening situation. Your potential affair partner is not your friend, she is an ongoing threat to your marriage and to your family. I hear you disparaging your wife’s reaction to this as her being controlling, having low self esteem, etc. (You are basically saying that the issue is her “issues,” rather than taking responsibility for the fact that she is having a normal reaction to your behavior.) You yourself said that you are worried about the future of your marriage if your possible affair partner makes sexual moves towards you. That awareness is a good start! Next step: Take responsibility for this situation, stop blaming your wife for feeling threatened, and cut off contact with the person who you could have an affair with. My two cents! 🙂

  40. I accept my poor reflection on how I have viewed my wife’s feelings. I have since opened up and told my wife about the damaging relationship I had developed and she is much more resilient than I gave her credit for. The nature of that relationship has essentially ended but not without significant resistance from the other person involved. I feel more stable and sober but I have no illusions that there’s much more work I have to do to try and rebuild my wife’s trust in me. I never realised how far it had gone and so quickly, and without things ever becoming physical. I now know physicality makes little difference, I was having an affair.

  41. Ugh….I’m married, 10 years now. But I’ve developed a big crush on a guy over Instagram. He’s an actor…I know, I know. To make matters worse is he started following me in return. We don’t flirt at all. I want to make that clear. There is zero back and forth that would even raise an eyebrow with anyone. He has no idea I like him.

    I’m an artist and I drew a picture of one of his characters which he liked and then he started following me. Now anytime he “likes” one of my posts, I feel my heart start fluttering. I think of him obsessively on the inside. No one knows at all. I don’t talk about him to anyone. But it’s driving me nuts. I feel like I’m going crazy because he’s on my mind all the time.

    I would never do anything to jeopardize my marriage. I also have three kids. Obviously this guy just harmlessly decided to follow me without any idea how much it would cause me to go nuts. I’m sure if he had any idea how much I think of him, he would probably block me. I just love his personality, he’s extremely intelligent and has similar views on things with me when at home my husband doesn’t give any thought to or shoots down. He’s heavily into politics and current events which my husband doesn’t care about at all.

    Help…

  42. I want to thank you so much for this advice and podcast. I really needed to hear some straight talk. I’ve been struggling for months with a crush outside of my 20 year happy marriage to a wonderful man. I never imagined I could go crazy like this. I do feel self aware and had already been doing some of the things you suggested – for one, taking my heightened emotional senses and giving that energy to my husband. Also when I think of things I’d like to talk about/share with my crush, I instead share it with my husband. In fact to my surprise and delight, our marriage has been boosted emotionally and sexually by this. The crush I have is over 12 years younger than I am and I see him as exciting, interesting and slightly dangerous….he often reminds me of my husband at 30. I would never dare to embarrass myself by making a move nor would I want to risk my family, marriage and dignity. The problem is, the feelings are still not going away. They fade a little here and there but I literally feel addicted, like you said, by a drug. I just keep pushing it away. I’m not able to cut off ties with him at this time (he is a teacher) and somehow just try to get through it, constantly telling myself to be mature about it. I will take your advice to avoid getting into excessive personal talk with him. This is good advice and where I falter at times. I can’t believe I’m in this situation and I struggle to get him out of my thoughts most days. Thank you so much for helping me get a grip on reality today. I’ll probably be listening to this podcast on repeat 🙂

  43. This podcast has really put things into perspective for me. Thank you for the insights. You’ve saved me from a really poor decision.

  44. well Anjoli, i would advice you to let it go and stay firm with your existing relationship unless you want to exit from your relationship.Sometimes things are worst when you get closer to someone and he looks like totally a different man than what he was looked like

  45. Hi Lisa,

    Your words ring so true. Likening (“harmless”) flirting to addictive behavior helps to put my feelings into perspective. I’m not yet married, but am engaged to my soulmate, and I have been feeling so guilty about the feelings I “followed” toward a previous co-worker. He was in my head so loud I couldn’t ignore it, but now I’ve learned I need to be more cautious and self-aware in order to protect myself and my relationship. Nothing ever happened beyond a few email exchanges and I tried to minimize one-on-one time, but I feel like I should tell my partner in case I was involved in emotional cheating. He is such a strong, steadfast, and faithful man, I’m worried about how he will react, especially since we are in a long distance relationship between the US and Europe. Should I tell my partner everything? If so, should I do it as soon as possible or wait until we are together again?

    Thank you for your help

  46. Dear Lisa,
    Thank you so much for this truthful and very helpful podcast. I learnt so much! No one is exempt from this especially in stressful times like these. So rightly said when you turn the light on and tell your spouse the power is gone! Wow!
    Thank you so much!

  47. I’m going insane there is this super attractive guy who listens and helps me out but at the same time he listens to me I’ve been married for 7 years and I don’t feel heard by my husband but I recently started working and I work with this guy who I vent to he helps me with my confidence and lifts me up he hears me out!!! I’m going crazy I really like this guy I don’t know if I should lye it down and tell him so I can get past it or if I should keep it to my self and diffuse the bomb myself I’m afraid that if he kisses me I won’t be able to hold back I don’t want my marriage to end I’m happily married with 3 kids but there is something about this guy who doesn’t judge me and loves my personality and hears me out I’m in desperate need of help!

  48. Thank you for speaking so openly and honestly. I’m married with young children & have had a close platonic relationship with a single colleague for years. I have felt it developing into something more several times & always pushed him away (gently) to protect myself & the marriage. Recently we have started hanging out again more & I’ve found it intoxicating. I’ve really struggled with detaching this time & it’s been so helpful to hear you talk about the explosive trauma that happens after an affair. It makes me feel so sad to know I’m going to have to lose this again – you describe the opiate feeling so well – but it was good to get the cold hard truth. Thank you. x

  49. I’ve been married to my first boyfriend for 18 years. Last year, I completely fell in love to one of my college’s professor. He was interested in me too.We started to be closer and I asked him to help me to move to another class. He told me he couldn’t, so I sent him an email telling him about my marital status and my feelings for him. I thought he would probably move me to another class after he gets my email because he would be disappointed or because it’s a college rule, that a professor should change the student to another class if he had knowledge about the student’s feelings towards them. And I was right, he changed me to another class. I didn’t see him since February 2020, but I still think of him all the time. I told everything to my husband and we are attending a couple’s counseling. I wish I could not to think of my former professor, but I can’t. I never imagined my whole life I could feel something like this. Is there anything else I can do to forget him? I need to stop thinking about him! I need to stop feeling what I feel for him. I am living in dispair since I first met this man. My life became umbearable to live since then.

  50. Cindy NO do not tell your crush. This is how affairs can start. It’s never worth it. The crush may be flattered and this is getting into dangerous territory. There is nothing good that could come of them knowing. Remember your vows and what you promised to your spouse.

  51. Cut off all ties from this emotional affair. Invest into your marriage. Feelings follow action. If you are not “feeling it”, remember your commitment and your vows to your spouse, regardless of “feelings”. You will be so proud and glad that you stayed committed to your spouse. Truly love them.. which means wanting and doing what is best for them even if they don’t deserve it and don’t reciprocate. Try not to view marriage as “what can this offer me? What does this do for me?” and think of “how can I show love/respect to my spouse? What am *I* offering?”

  52. Don’t let your crush know. Don’t go outside of your marriage. If you are exploring non monogamy then you shouldn’t have gotten married. Yet divorce is destructive too. Non monogamy will be the death of your marriage.

  53. THANK YOU THANK YOU for telling it like it is. I was so expecting an “it’s okay if you like someone better, just get divorced if the crush persists” type of destructive advice that I have seen elsewhere. I love that you said extramarital affairs are always a bad idea, and rarely end well. People do NOT realize this. They are on the constant search for the next ‘high’ and it disappoints. Even if it doesn’t disappoint, a marriage and family was fractured, vows were stomped on, and kids are left with the collateral damage. We sometimes will accept little things like coddling a crush and don’t realize that it is eating away at our marriage. Unhappiness in a marriage is not solved by turning outward.. only turning inward toward your spouse.

  54. Thank you for sharing that EV. I completely agree. Truthfully, as a marriage counselor and therapist I’ve seen time and time again that doing the things that are NOT always the most immediately gratifying, like remaining true to your values and commitments even when it’s hard, are so protective in the end.

    It takes a lot of maturity, wisdom, love and strength to stop yourself from following feel-good impulses. But the alternative is often a good-feeling road leading straight to destruction and despair, not just for the people you love the most, but for your integrity. I believe that regret is the most terrible of experiences, personally, particularly when the damage done is permanent and irreparable. Some things don’t wash off…

    But you know this! Glad to have like-minds in the mix, and that you’re sharing your wisdom with our community here.
    With love and respect for you, Lisa Marie Bobby

  55. Well, I’m very glad to hear that you made the wise but difficult choice that led to your removal from this person’s class. That was a good call. I think what I’m hearing is that since then, the situation itself is “over” except for the continuing intrusive thoughts about this other person.

    If that’s the case, I would highly recommend getting involved with cognitive-behavioral based therapy or coaching. Both of which can teach you, among other things, cognitive strategies to get a handle on the thoughts that are causing pain and suffering. (Mindfulness skills, thought stopping and shifting, reframing thoughts, cultivating new thoughts, etc. can all be part of really good cognitive behavioral therapy or cognitive behavioral coaching.

    Pro tip: PLEASE AVOID standard-issue talk therapy with a checked-out therapist who let’s you free-associate for forty-five minutes, or wants to make this about your relationship with your dad or your low self-esteem or something. That could not be less helpful for you in actually changing this state of affairs, and may even be harmful. You don’t need someone to pathologize you and make you believe this happened because you’re broken (or something ridiculous), you need someone to teach you skills. Really. That’s all this is.

    Cognitive-behavioral therapy or coaching is a totally different thing than traditional, passive therapy. With this action-oriented, skills-based approach you’ll be challenged to do things like identify problematic thoughts, actively respond to them differently, and you’ll even have homework to help keep you on track.

    I will say this (just to be thorough): In very, very rare cases, if the underlying cause of the problematic thoughts is in fact related to a mental health issue it can be helpful to enlist the support of your medical doctor as well as your therapist if cognitive behavioral therapy alone is not helpful. (Persistent, intrusive, compulsive thoughts can be related to OCD symptoms, which can be sometimes successfully treated with anti-depressant medication). But again, this is rare.

    The first line of action is to get to work. Look for a therapist or coach who utilizes CBT interventions and who is going to hold you accountable, and help you stop feeling tortured by what’s happening between your ears. Developing cognitive skills is the path of liberation — and you can do it! All the best, Lisa Marie Bobby

  56. Rikki, Stop. S T O P. This isn’t Junior High. You’re a married woman with three kids. If you’re really all a-tingle, anticipating that this person might kiss you while you’re standing at your locker in the crowded hall in between classes (and that you’ll be swept away by passion when he does!) it is really important that you immediately stop all contact with this guy and remove yourself from his physical presence. Like, get a different job if you need to. Block him, unfriend and unfollow. Disappear. No explanation required. Stop. All. Contact.

    That will lower the immediate risk, but you’ll still have to deal with the thoughts and feelings you’ll be left with, and you will still have some big decisions to make. But at least you’ll have space to make them.

    If you are in love with this other person and see a future with him, it’s important to give yourself time to think all the way through and make an intentional decision about whether or not you want to leave your husband and break up your family in order to pursue this relationship. If you do, that’s valid: But it should be a considered decision and one that is based on your core values and life goals, and which takes into consideration the needs of the children who depend on you too.

    Do NOT allow the the fate of your family to be determined by an impulsive make out session in the back room. Okay?? Consider getting involved in some high quality online therapy or life coaching to help you make a solid, intentional decision.

    Part of your decision making process may also depend on exploring whether or not it is possible to create positive changes in your relationship with your husband. It sounds like you’d love to have a deeper level of emotional engagement with someone, and wouldn’t it be amazing if that person could be the guy you’re already married to? Would it change anything for you??

    I recently put together a podcast episode called, “When to Call it Quits in a Relationship” that explores how to know whether positive change is possible in a relationship (or not). It may be helpful for you to listen to that as you consider your options.

    Wishing you all the best Rikki….

    Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

  57. This is a tough one. I mean, if you’re in the clear and are feeling confident that this is over-and-done, it would be less important for you to tell your partner all about it because your relationship is safe. Lots of people in long term relationships have transient crushes that flare up and fade away, and are generally harmless after that. (Assuming that it fades away and that you didn’t act on the feelings and *actually* cheat on your partner while in the temporary grips of a crush. If you cheated on him, your partner needs to know that so that he can make an informed decision about whether or not he wants to continue this relationship.)

    But in the circumstance of being in a long-distance international relationship where you’re not around each other that much, it requires a high degree of trust and confidence. Knowing what happened (again, particularly if it was a benign, transient crush) may create a lot of anxiety for your partner that isn’t helpful for either of you. It may be more merciful and less burdensome for your partner if you worked through your guilt on your own.

    On the OTHER hand, it may be helpful for both of you if you shared the feelings you temporarily had for another person, and framed it as being a sign that you that you are longing for an in-person day-to-day connection with him (if that is in fact true). Then you can both perhaps use that truth as a lighthouse guiding you to figure out how to make that happen in reality. “Long-distance” is not a sustainable place for a relationship to be long-term. Having crushy-flare-ups for other people may be a sign that it’s time to figure out how to be together “IRL” (as the kids say.)

    If you do wind up telling him, I agree, it would be best if you were together when you did.

    Good luck!
    Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

  58. my wife told me she had an affair 30 years ago went to his bed several times she told me everything i ask her she didnt no i saw her with him through the window of his house and never said any thing just let her go it didnt last long we have been married 49 years still in love lots of sex still she told me to find someone else to have sek with and we woujd be even after that

  59. On the one hand, yes, it’s important to lower our idealistic expectations of our spouse, and to love them unselfishly. BUT for a healthy marriage, both people need to be WILLING to work on loving the other person better.

    In the podcast, she recommends couples therapy to work on the relationship if we are feeling consistent negativity or neglect from our spouse. We should honor our commitments, but never accept stagnancy, neglect, or emotional abuse.

    I’ve also found the Five Love Languages theory/book to be helpful in creating a more joyful marriage for both me and my spouse.

    Lastly, this isn’t for everyone, but a brief and intentional separation (that does NOT include seeing other people) was helpful in reconfiguring my previously toxic marriage.

  60. I had an emotional affair and almost a physical one before my husband and I realized we needed to make big changes in our relationship.
    I posted some of this as a response to the person who answered your question, but I wanted to reply directly to you:

    Yes, it’s important to lower our idealistic expectations of our spouse, and to love them unselfishly.
    On the other hand, I don’t know your relationship, but it sounds like it may not be filling your need for companionship – which it has the potential to, if worked on.

    To change a marriage, BOTH people need to be willing to LEARN how to love the other person. Sometimes it takes time for one spouse to become willing to join in the work.

    In the podcast, she recommends couples therapy to work on the relationship if we are feeling consistent negativity or neglect from our spouse.

    We should honor our commitments, BUT never accept stagnancy, neglect, or emotional abuse from our spouse – which I did for years, before realizing my spouse and I were tearing each other down in both obvious and subtle ways.

    I’ve also found the Five Love Languages theory/book to be helpful in creating a more joyful marriage.

    Lastly, this isn’t useful for everyone, but a brief and intentional separation (that does NOT include seeing other people) was helpful in reconfiguring my previously toxic marriage. I initiated the month apart and my husband was resistant at first, but during our weekly talks on the phone, we were able to lay a foundation for a better relationship.

  61. Id also like to add that I wasn’t convinced my relationship was worth working on – until my spouse showed me how much work he was willing to put into it to. I needed to see the potential, and I can say it has become 100% worth it! That “warm,” “I’m home” feeling of long term commitment, as described in the podcast, is worth it. Thank you Dr Bobby for helping so many people fight for their marriages and experience that potential.

  62. What if the crush is a really good friend? We don’t see each other very often, but just text and flirt. We do want to meet up, but we are both committed to our relationships. But at the same time we are friends … we want to hang out. What should I do in this situation?

  63. I m happily married bt had a crush with someone else..1 year or more..he is always on my mind ..I want to forget him…bt I m failed…I ve done everything…bt I m unable to kick his thoughts from my mind plz help me

  64. Dr. Bobby,

    Thank you so much for this. Like you said sure I’ve had a small crush here or there but was able to keep it at a distance. One I have right now is like something I haven’t felt since high school. I think you’re right that my wife and I need to work on our relationship. We’ve been together since we were both young (got together when i was 18 married at 20) and have been together for a long 11 years now. They say people change as they get older and I just don’t think we connect as well as we could making this crush so exhilarating. What should I do if I’ve felt like maybe we weren’t right for each other. We have 2 kids now, there’s not much I could do if I wanted.

    It’s all confusing I know but I think that working with my spouse, potentially through therapy, would be a great first step

  65. Well Jim, I suppose you could try that and see what happens, but I think both of us know that it would probably not end well. It sounds to me like you two have some unfinished emotional business about what happened in the past. You might want to check out a recent podcast I made about “Letting Go of Resentment.” I hope that it provides you with some direction about how both of you can heal from past infidelity and move on. Wishing you all the best, LMB

  66. Hannah, I’d urge you to consider the fact that 99.9999% of all affairs begin with people having crushes on their “friends.” The right thing to do may become clearer to you if you shift the narrative to “I’m flirting and texting and wanting to hang out with the person who could be my affair partner.” Does that change anything for you? If not, Godspeed, and do be sure to report back with the outcome? Your community will be interested to hear how this unfolds for you. LMB

  67. Justin, I’m so glad to hear that you have so much self-awareness around what’s happening, and can maintain your big-picture perspective. You bring up such a fantastic point: People do really change as they grow and develop, and it’s so important for couples to grow together over the years. (I say this as a person who is in a happy 20+ year marriage with a man I met when I was just 19 years old, so I get it Justin!!)

    Especially when couples connect as teenagers or young twenty-somethings, you’re both going to change and evolve so much over the years as you become fully mature adults. Consider that a healthy, long term relationship (like a lifetime relationship — the kind we all want) is not going to be with the same person. As you both grow and change you will have to get to know each other all over again, and develop a new relationship with the person your partner has grown into.

    This in itself can be really exciting and rewarding. Especially if you both are putting energy into developing yourselves, you might find that the person your wife is now is actually someone who is really attractive and interesting to you (but in a different way than she was when she was 18. She’s not a kid anymore!)

    Of course, it is also true that sometimes people who get married young realize, as they get to know themselves and each other better, that it’s not an easy fit. (For the record, I don’t believe that couples are “not compatible” and therefore need to end their relationship, but I do think that some couples have to work harder to understand and appreciate each others values and perspectives, and figure out how to work together as a loving, respectful team).

    Either way Justin, you’re absolutely right. It sounds like you and your wife could really benefit from being together in a supportive, growth-oriented environment like the one achieved in good relationship coaching or couples therapy. That will allow you to talk openly and honestly about who you each are now, what your strengths and opportunities as a couple are, and what your long term hopes and goals are for yourselves and your lives. Those courageous conversations can catalyze enormous growth and positive change, and what you discover about the person you are married to might surprise you (in the most delightful way!)

    Exciting times — good luck!
    xoxo, Dr. Lisa

  68. I enjoyed this podcast. My question is how to deal with feeling rejected after a crush after liking all my photos on social media looks like he is distancing himself. This took place right after I gave birth. We no longer see each other regularly but I am having a difficult time feeling rejected even though my intention is to not cross boundries

  69. Hi Melinda, and congratulations momma! I’m glad that you’re looking for help with this. If you and I were working together in life coaching or therapy to tackle this issue issue, my #1 focus would not be around “why you feel rejected.” My first challenge for you would be to remove this individual from your life altogether. Like, block / unfriend / unfollow and do whatever you need to do in order to never have to think again about whether he was noticing or caring about your posts. Rejection problem, solved.

    But the real beauty of this approach of this “final solution” is that if / when you shared with me that you thought this was the worst idea you ever heard and were having really strong negative reactions to my suggestion that you do such a thing, we’d get to talk about THAT. 🙂 My hope for our work together would be not so much around your feelings of “rejection” but rather to assist you in releasing this inappropriate emotional attachment so that you no longer think of him at all. Then you’ll be absolutely free to lavish all your time, attention, and emotional energy on your growing family. They need you!

    Wishing you all the best,
    Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

  70. I am so glad I found this, thank you. I am in a bit of a depressed state as I am about a good 5 on the scale and so thankful I found this while googling today. I feel so low, cannot sleep, my appetite has disappeared because I am feeling so obsessed with someone. I haven’t talked to anyone. I am happily married like you talk about but the frisson is such a wonderful feeling when I am with him at work and we both have been flirtatious. I am very aware that I need to put some distance between us now because I feel anxious instead of excited and worried. My heart feels like it will explode and I don’t think I have ever felt this pain before. I don’t want to end my marriage so I know what to do, thank you Dr Bobby x

  71. Not sure why but my crush on a co worker has actually brought me closer to my wife. We are talking and showing affection to each other like nothing in the last 10 years. Am I subconsciously fighting this urge as I should be to strengthen our marriage? I took this “crush” and two other female co workers for holiday drinks the other night. After an hour and a half or so the other two got up to leave. I had about a half a drink left and my crush stayed with me. Just me and her. I said nothing inappropriate but she let’s me know how unhappy her marriage is. What kind of dangerous ground am I on? How do I interpret her staying alone with me? I know what I have to lose and really don’t think I would cross the line yet cannot get her out of my mind while things at home are great. It’s crazy, I know.

  72. Hello Dr.,

    Thank you for the very insightful information. For my situation it is my wife (married 15yrs with kids) who has the crush on her boss. One day I was laying in bed with her and flat out asked if she had any feelings for anyone at work as I had my suspicions. She confessed she did indeed have a crush, but it was nothing more than that and she has been trying to distance herself from her crush and it was likely to pass. I told her we are human and just because we are married doesn’t mean our attractions to others simply goes away but it did make me feel bad.

    As we stand today, she still has her crush, and what makes it difficult is, its her boss whom she is in contact everyday. She’s tells me there is nothing to worry about but I cannot help to think about it on the regular.
    I feel like maybe I let my game down a bit and our marriage has gotten too comfortable. How do I overcome this without being the jealous annoying husband? She works at a position in which she works 7 days a week 10hrs a day so there isnt much “us” time (after the holidays she should have more time off). As mentioned before perhaps I just let my game down and on a side note our sex life is better than it ever has been as we’ve acted on fantasies in which we never discussed before and have really spiced things up. The days that she does have off coming up, I’m planning on having quality time with her such as going down town, dining out at nice restaurant without the kids and just having quality time together.

    Sorry for the pitiful comment, it just bothers me to know there is someone that has her eye. I’m glad she shared the fact she has a crush, but it still doesn’t make me feel any better especially the fact its with someone who works with her all the time. Thank you for your time.

  73. I loved this podcast. It really helped me understand why crushes happen. I have the situation where I have a wonderful relationship with my husband. He’s amazing and I trust him, feel at home when we’re together, and we have such a fun time together. My problem is I have started to have a crush on his brother. I feel ashamed and horrified. For the first 3 years of our relationship I only felt platonic feelings for his brother so I don’t know what happened. I think what has happened is that I feel as though his brother has those tingling feelings for me all the sudden so in turn I have them? I don’t know. I am very self aware of it and do all I can to not cross a line. The struggle is that we have family time a lot and I enjoy those times with the family! I don’t want this to have to be a continued issue. What do it do?

  74. Great podcast! Really enjoyed it and took notes! 🙂
    My issue is crush I’ve been having on a coworker. We’ve been working together for more than 2 years (i think…), but I never really noticed him. He seemed nice, but he was simply one of the many people I came across at my work place. My crush started half a year ago (I actually clearly remember the day): we have just recently started working on the same project, when I almost fainted at work and he basically took care of me that day, making sure I was ok, a.s.o. Ever since then, I started “crushing” on him. It didn’t help that we spent a lot of time together, because of the common project. We started talking to each other more and more, we even touched some rather personal topics (he recently got out of a very long term relationship). Nothing ever happened between us, no texting, no “lunch breaks”, we never even end up alone in the same room. I am pretty sure that he only sees me as a nice coworker, he never did or said anything inappropriate and, as far as I know, I haven’t neither. I might sometimes act a bit too friendly, but I really try hard to keep it professional. Whenever I manage to not see him at all for several weeks, it goes away. But as soon as we are back to working together, I can feel it coming back like a huge wave of excitement and pleasant danger. It doesn’t help that, a few days ago, I collapsed again and he was again right there, ready to help, all worried and holding me to make sure I don’t end up again on the floor…Probably, it is the “knight in shining armor” saving the “damsel in distress” setting, that triggers my fantasies…
    I’ve been in a long term (7 year) relationship, which has been long-distance for 5 years (we work in different cities and usually spend 1 week together and 1 month apart). During the week together, I never even think of my crush. But during the month apart, this strange feelings haunt me. My partner and I did have some issues in our relationship, but we always discussed it openly, even when it was very unpleasant… Except for now, I never even thought of ever getting another partner. We are neither married, nor engaged, we have no kids, but it always felt to me like he is “my soulmate”, that there is no other human in the world who would be a better match for me.
    I don’t have serious thoughts about my crush. I can’t imagine myself with him in an actual relationship, but I still keep having this thoughts (very sexual in nature). I feel guilty towards my partner and I would really like to stop having fantasies about my crush. I have not done anything inappropriate and don’t think I would actually do something, but simply having this thoughts makes me feel like I am cheating (Probably it is already some sort of “emotional cheating”)…
    Is there a way of making these fantasies stop? All I actually want with my co-worker is a nice, normal work-relationship. I work with several men in the office, some single, some not, some even insanely(!) hot, but this has never happened to me. I do notice when someone is attractive, of course, but then I just take a look and then get on with my life, without feeling anything. I am even friends with many of them, my partner also knows them and nothing of this sort has ever happened.

  75. Fantastic podcast. So much wisdom! Started the episode and took my dog on his 10 minute walk – we were still walking 50 minutes later! Thanks for keeping us physically fit and keeping me from making big mistakes.

  76. Lisa,
    I am relieved by your words and simultaneously burdened by the work ahead of me. Your pod cast wasted no time in nailing exactly what I let myself get into. My eyes grew wider as I realized exactly where I was on the 1 to 10 scale with my Krush. He is a friend…(or shall I say “potential affair partner”) of both my husband and I. My husband has been working away from home for months at a time off and on for the past 4.5 years. We have 2 young kids and have been married for 14 years. For my husband and I, the inevitable ‘growing apart’ seems to have happened amongst the distance we have had and I struggle with the ‘love but not in love’ cloud that seems to come and go. My Krush and I have talked plenty over the years about life, relationships and break ups as he was once married to a friend of mine …and now we are talking about the right and honorable thing to do as we find ourselves tangled in emotions that of course flared up once we acknowledged our “crushes” on each other. It would be way easier if it wasn’t mutual!! We both know what is right but find it so hard to let go of our friendship in order to get over each other. Any advice on the reality of holding on to that friendship?

  77. YAY! I’m glad it found you in time. Nice metaphor for this whole situation isn’t it, just to “keep on walking.” Keep going! 😉

  78. This was very good to listen to and honestly, I’ve heard it before. I have already been in this situation once during my 18 year marriage and my husband also in the very beginning of our marriage. Mine was a one time occurrence, his multiple times with multiple people. I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t bother me but with time I can now go forward without thinking about it save for once in a blue moon. He, however, still holds what I did over my head. It happened 8 years ago and I confessed immediately after but he’s said to me that he would divorce me and never look back if I ever mess up again. I’ve also had unhealthy attachments to other male co workers in the past and I’ve confessed those to him. He has a right to feel as he does and he knows my weaknesses. I currently have a major crush on someone that’s lasted almost 2 years. We don’t talk save for once in awhile and it’s always about something professional and never inappropriate. He’s in a leadership position in the community so I will often times ask about community type subjects. He left one social media platform and before he did I noticed he literally followed or viewed everything I posted. He would never like or comment but he would view it. I looked for him on another social media platform and followed him and he views everything I do there. Never comments but he sees it all and I find myself posting every day for him mostly. I tell myself I’m not doing anything wrong bc we don’t talk but I think about him every day and fantasize and I wish it would go away. I know it’s not healthy and I don’t know how to get over him. He’s different from my husband in a lot of ways and there is the aspect of power that is attractive too. I believe his feelings are the same as mine since he literally follows my every move. I’m betting he wants me to be the one to initiate and I won’t but I’m tempted and I don’t know how to stop. My marriage had already sustained a blow we healed from but can’t again. We’re generally very happy too and my husband loves me I know and I him. He tells me all the time how sexy I am and how much he loves me. He has gained weight and that turns me off even though our intimacy is amazing. Love is so much more than surface and appearance. I just need help bc it is exactly as you say, it’s like a high from a drug, even just thinking about him. I know what’s at stake if I mess up. My life would be over and my husband has been very clear he’d take our three kids from me and kick me out of our house. It doesn’t help that he’s the breadwinner. I have everything to lose.

  79. Thank you for this article! A lot of things you mentioned hit the nail on the head, and make me feel like I am not alone. I’m in a stable, loving relationship with my husband of six years, but as a fairly stoic person, he’s not naturally the affectionate type, and can unintentionally cause me to feel neglected at times. I rather feel that this stems more from inattention rather than a conscious withholding of affection. I know he loves me and is loyal, but his lack of awareness for my needs for affection outside of sex has sometimes caused me to feel lonely.

    Enter a very attractive guy at the gym who has clearly yet respectfully taken an interest in me for the past month or so. He has also helped train me a few times and we always have things to talk about. Both of us are attached to other partners, so it feels as if we are lamely trying to convince ourselves that our “friendship” is safe. I think part of my attraction to him stems from the fact that he gives me the undivided attention that I crave from my husband. He seems very interested in what I have to say and asks questions about my life and my opinion on things. And honestly? The attention and admiration feel good. But I know that these temporary highs generally don’t last long. So what you said about redirecting that energy into improving the primary relationship really spoke to me. These are all things I inherently know, but it is comforting and encouraging to know that many others struggle with these transient attractions (albeit strong), and that a shift in mindset can curb these dangerous flirtations. I’ll be working on this, and getting ahold of myself. My marriage is everything, and no amount of attraction to someone else would want to make me throw my relationship away. Thank you, Dr. Bobby.

  80. Thank you so much for this podcast, it really made me feel better. I am a young woman and have been in a relationship with my fiancé for 6 years. I’ve noticed within the past year or so that he would frequently glare at my sister in a way that didn’t sit right with me. After dealing with this for a period of time, I decided it was time to have a conversation. I was finally able to get out of him that he felt some attraction to my sister and has for years now. With this being said, my sister definitely doesn’t feel the same way (she has no idea he feels this way) and it in her own relationship. *I’d also like to add that we were all living together until recently my boyfriend and I moved into our own place.*

    Although he feels this way, he says he doesn’t want to and he’s not sure how to get these feeing to subside. After our long talk, he ensured me that he wants to be with me and only me, but has this attraction to her that he can’t get to go away which kills him inside.
    My biggest concern here is she is my sister and will be in our lives forever. Do you have any advise or comments for this situation? Do you think this feeing he has will ever fully go away after years?

  81. Thank you, Dr Lisa. Your podcast is very enlighting…

    Don’t always follow ur feelings.. Not aĺl feelings are worth following… hits me hard…

    I always come back to this podcast topic to remind myself when temptation is too strong to handle…

    Thank you….

  82. My husband and I have been married 25 years and I thought happily. He developed a crush on a much younger coworker and was brave enough to tell me. It created a crisis point for us and we sought therapy. I understand how we got to where there was space for this to happen. I can see what contributions I made to that and I’ve worked hard to change and to his credit so has he. It’s been almost 2 years since he told me.

    The most serious damage was done in the first 6 months where he wasn’t “in love with me” but wanted to stay married and also wanted to maintain a close “friendship” with her. A logical thinker, he felt if the romantic feelings were dialled back then he should be able to have this. He justified it by saying he didn’t tell her about what was going on in the marriage, that he wasn’t having sex so he should be allowed to have her as a “friend”. He flirted with her “but everybody flirts” and he promised to stop. They had small daily rituals like getting coffee together, inside jokes and chemistry. I also insisted that these stop.

    What he didn’t see was how much of his energy he was pouring into that relationship compared to ours. Or how he was negatively comparing me to sparkly her. She was so easy, I was so hard. He thought I shouldn’t feel hurt by what he was doing because he wouldn’t be in the reverse. They were “just friends”. Why should he have to give up something that brought him so much joy? He’d say he would never allow it to become physical – he has principals.

    He kept bringing her up at every opportunity to normalize his “friendship” with her. He wanted us to be “better” so that he could still maintain his relationship with her. I’d talk about my pain and he would sympathize and promise to do better but then advocate for the continued friendship. In therapy he said he felt like I was trying to change who he was, that he felt controlled, that his wife shouldn’t be able to pick his friends. He compartmentalized both relationships and could not see how any attention he gave her completely wounded me. I felt like my world had imploded because he wasn’t in love with me anymore and here he was nurturing a relationship with someone else.

    I felt defeated. It came to a second crisis point where I told him I was done – he could have her as a “friend” but there would no longer be a marriage. That shook him out of it and set us on a better path.

    Close to retirement, he is fearful of not being able to find another job. She and he form a team of 2 at work. We agreed he could stay at his job as long as there were boundaries – no spending time with her alone in any setting (lunch room, car, walking, biking), no texting about anything other than work, no emotional support, no contact outside of work, no personal conversations.

    His primary coping strategy is “to not think about it” but he is definitely grieving the loss of this “friend”. He says she is still important to him and is sad that things started out with the romantic feelings that were so threatening to me. That if things had been different we all would have been great friends. That if we’d been in better shape it would have been okay. And maybe it would have, but maybe not.

    We are getting through it. Therapy has helped immensely. We have found our way back to each other but it has been painful for both of us. There’s been some tripping over the boundaries. It’s complicated. I suspect we won’t be okay until she is completely out of his life after retirement.

    I’d love to hear a podcast on why staying “friends” with the “sparkly” person is a really bad idea. Especially when you’re feeling “I love you but I’m not in love with you anymore” about your spouse and need to rebuild a solid foundation with them.

  83. Hello Dr. Bobby,

    There’s this guy on social media who my husband (of 6 years – happily married – no children yet) and I have become friends with. Together, we have formed a friendship and bond with this man; however, I am attracted to him. He makes me laugh in a way that my husband does not, he’s fun to talk to and hang out with. I’m not ever alone with him – I make sure my husband is always there, but this person still has a mental hold on me, it seems. My husband is aware that I have a crush on this man and does not feel threatened by it. I’m not afraid that anything will happen between us because I don’t want to lose my husband or disrespect him – my only difficulty is trying to get our friend out of my head. I am giddy and happy when we talk, even though our conversations have not once crossed a line. No flirting of any kind has happened. He has made it clear that he has great respect for my husband and values our friendship with him, which I appreciate and would like to hold on to. However, I still find him attractive and every once in a while, my mind wanders the thought of what it would be like to be with him. As soon as those thoughts penetrate my mind, I shake them out, but they still reappear from time to time. This man is not in a relationship, but I do hope he will find the love of his life soon because I’d like to see him in a healthy and happy relationship.

    Thoughts on this? Any guidance would be appreciated.

    Thank you.

  84. Emotional cheating or not?
    After 13 years of marriage my wife answers a high school friend request on FB from someone she admitted on having had a crush on and I am thinking perhaps still has a crush on. While declining his friend request, she goes out of her way to express how sorry she is to decline his request.. …and I was not told anything about this from her.
    ..replying to him something like..
    “I am happy you are doing ok and happy to see you have a great family, I always wish you have all the best in life. I am sorry to turn down your request but again I wish you nothing but the best, Respectfully …fist name..”

    The individual lives in another country all together but with all this attention and warm response I am highly disappointed and wonder if she is trustworthy on her promise that she had never been in any intimate relationship with him or anyone else, and wonder what if this high school crush was living in the same town?

    Does this amount to emotional cheating? Especially after she had told me and promised there won’t be any contacts with this “just a crush” in high school guy?

  85. Hi Lisa,

    I have listened to your podcast twice after feeling stuck in a horrible situation. I now realise my mistake about having a crush on somebody, what makes it worse is I have to see her every day. “I told her we cannot be Facebook friends anymore as I enjoy talking to you more than I should. You have not done anything wrong”. She never replied but her body language showed she was annoyed with me. I felt guilty a week later and asked if we can try and get past this situation as we have to see each other every day. She said she wanted to be friends but now blanks and avoids me. I tried to do the right thing but i feel bad and I hate this situation. I told my wife everything, she was upset but did understand. Life is never simple. The lack of sleep, weight loss and guilt on my part was wasted on this other person. I wish I did not care. I guess everything happens for a reason, glad I did not do anything. Thank you for your podcast, it really helped me.

  86. I’m in a similar position. I have a crush on a coworker and want to tell her how I feel. I’m in my 50s she’s in her late 40s I can’t get her of my mind. I’m also married and children are.grown. My wife is neglectful for years has always mentioned me having a girlfriend for no reason or has told me if I don’t like what she says to get out like she didn’t care if I was there or not. She has also in The past told me she wanted a divorce more than once but never filed.

  87. Thanks SO much for your podcast and for sharing your experience!!!
    I’m on a 6 year relationship filled with really good love, partnership and fun, and suddenly out of nowhere I started to feel like a teenager filled with excitement for somebody else, thinking about this other person quite frequently without knowing how to process the feelings. Your take on the subject and information really helps me to understand my feelings and what is my brain doing. Thankfully it’s very early stages so I know I’ll be able to handle it.

  88. Andy, what courage it took for you to be so emotionally honest, set boundaries (with the crush and with yourself!), and be vulnerable with your wife. Thank you so much for sharing so that others who might relate can hear how you handled this tough situation so wonderfully. Rest assured that your crush’s reaction has everything to do with them, and says nothing about how you handled things. I’m so very glad to hear your wife was understanding and your on your way to moving past this and taking care of yourself, and your relationship. Regards, Dr. Lisa

  89. Hi there, I can hear you’re struggling – and of course this is emotional. It’s never easy to hear about any crush of your partner’s, even one from years ago! To answer your question, is this an emotional affair, I can only say that based on what you shared – no, it doesn’t sound like it. We have an episode you might want to listen to, “Telltale Signs of an Emotional Affair.” An emotional affair involves cultivating a friendship with someone else, one in which you discuss the private issues of your marriage or relationship (think complaining about your partner a lot), or find yourself comparing your partner to this person, often unrealistically. Having a crush, or having had one in the past, is normal and doesn’t mean there’s necessarily anything wrong in your relationship. I hope this is a comfort to you. And I wonder if you’d also find “How to Deal with Trust Issues” a helpful episode. Warmly, Dr. Lisa

  90. You’ve taken those first, difficult steps of recognizing your increasing crush feelings, being honest with your husband, and setting boundaries with yourself around your interactions with him. To really decrease crush feelings and protect our relationship, we need to set boundaries around our thoughts, too. Practice a full stop whenever your thoughts turn to him and distract yourself. Since crushes and emotional affairs often begin with idealizing the crush and comparing them to our partner, it’s important, too, to keep realistic thoughts (you don’t *truly* know it would be as good to be in a real relationship, sexual or otherwise, with him), remember no person is perfect (especially in a long-term relationship), and focus your thoughts on what you love and appreciate about your husband, how attractive he is, why you fell in lust and love with him. Of course, all of this is pretty challenging when you’re around this person regularly, as attachment is maintained. We need distance to get over an attachment to someone. I think you’d find it helpful to get the support of a coach in this process. Best of luck, Dr. Lisa

  91. Erin, thank you so much for sharing you and your husband’s story. You’ve both done so much hard work. And you’re absolutely right, being close to someone you’ve had a crush on, or an emotional affair with, makes it nearly impossible to get over them and move on. It can greatly distract from the focus of repairing your marriage. And, so important, it hurts your partner, damaging the connection, creating more need for repair. I’m glad to hear you’re getting support as you work through this. And I will add your idea to my list of podcast topics to address. Thank you and all the best to you, Dr. Lisa

  92. Hi there, I’m so glad the episode gave you some validation and guidance. Since your sister must be in your life, navigating this requires some work for the two of you to do together: around boundary setting, communication/transparency, and trust. He also has the work of reigning in those thoughts and feelings. It is possible for him to change how he feels with some hard work and good help. All of this takes time (but is doable!) and will be much more successful with the expertise and guidance of a therapist. Kindly, Dr. Lisa

  93. Yep, dangerous playground for sure. This is what the beginning stages of an affair feel like. If you would like to end your marriage and pursue this person then you should do that, out of respect for your wife (and for your soon-to-be girlfriend). File the papers, move out, and make yourself available for a new relationship. If that idea makes you feel tense or anxious, then that would be a good sign that you should nip this in the bud and just go home after work… or take your wife out to drinks instead. My two cents! xo, Dr. Lisa

  94. Steven, thank you for sharing your story here. I can understand how this would feel really difficult for you. I do, however, think that it’s really awesome that your wife was honest with you about what has been doing on with her. Believe it or not, the fact that she did communicates her commitment to you, and also the fact that she has the wisdom to understand that these “crushy” episodes are fleeting, and not to be acted on. I can assure you that normal humans in healthy committed relationships just have feelings like these sometimes. They flare up, they fade, and it doesn’t mean anything. As long as nobody acts on these things or actually begins pursuing a deeper relationship, which, from what you shared, it sounds like your wife is not. As another bonus, it sounds like her reconnecting with her juicy “fantasy” side is having a really positive impact in your relationship, and that is wonderful too (and also a good sign for your relationship).

    All that said, I do think that you have every right in the world to be having conversations with your wife about YOUR feelings, and that she also needs to be showing you that she is fully committed to you: coming home after work, being fully transparent, inviting you to work functions, inviting you on business trips, etc. If you’re not getting the empathy, transparency, or reassurances of commitment that you need to be okay in this situation, I would encourage you to get the support of a qualified marriage and family therapist in order to establish healthy boundaries for both of you.

    Wishing you all the very best,
    Dr. Lisa

  95. It’s okay, feelings like this happen to people in healthy, committed relationships. I think the best approach here is just to continue practicing the great self-awareness you already have been when you notice that little “zing!” around your BIL and taking the self-management approach of “Hm, that’s interesting” without making too much of it. When you’re at family events, stick with your husband, try to avoid private convos with the BIL, AND… start focusing on all the traits that your husband shares with his brother that you find so darn attractive. I mean… could it be that you have those feelings for your BIL because he’s probably the one person in the world who has as much in common (traits, appearance, genetics, mannerisms, etc.) with the guy you married? Even when siblings have a reputation in their family for being “totally opposite,” when you compare them to other non-related people, they’re approximately 1000% more alike to each other than they are to everybody else. Just sayin’;)

    xoxo, Dr. Lisa

  96. Ada, thank you for sharing. I wonder if, in this case, with the context of the long-term, long-distance relationship situation you’re describing, this could be your emotional guidance system communicating with you, informing you that maybe you do need to be in the physical presence of your person after all? As a therapist, I would recommend that you explore that possibility, and consider the implications of what it might mean for you and your future. I hope that, if you find that your feelings are ones you should listen to, you and your partner can find a path forward to create a new chapter in your relationship that is more satisfying to you. If not, I hope that you are able to end the long-term / long-distance thing in a positive way for both of you, and that it creates the space in your life to build a relationship that is in more alignment with your authentic needs and desires.

    Your partner in growth,
    Dr. Lisa

  97. Ann, I’m glad you listened to this podcast in (hopefully) time! Please hear this: This person is not your friend. Saying that he is your friend is a rationalization for maintaining contact. You’re “bargaining,” as they say in AA.

    If you’d like to divorce your husband and pursue a relationship with this person, you are totally free to do that. But please don’t play games with yourself. If you would like to stay married to your husband, you have to cut things off 1000% percent with the other guy you’re emotionally attached to. As in: Block Everything. No social media, nothing. You and your husband need to make some new friends, and — forgive me for speaking so boldly — but it is also likely time for your husband to make some different career decisions that are better in alignment with the kind of marriage and family you want to have. And please, get into some high quality marriage counseling with a licensed marriage and family therapist who can help you and your husband build the kind of emotionally connected relationship that you are longing for. You deserve to have that.

    Wishing you all the best,
    Dr. Lisa

  98. Kara, difficult situation here. I would encourage you and your husband to get into couples counseling with someone who understands attachment bonds. Something about the things you shared makes me wonder if both you and your husband are somewhere on the “insecure” spectrum — either trending towards avoidance or anxiety. (I’m going to bet 2/3 of a cookie that at least one of you tends towards “avoidant.”) But please do get involved with a qualified marriage counselor (a licensed marriage and family therapist who is a true student of attachment theory and relational dynamics) and see what you can uncover. I hope that you both can break out of these long term patterns and establish a more secure relationship with each other.

    Wishing you both the best,
    Lisa

  99. Dear Dr Bobby,
    I currently am struggling with developing a crush at work while being married with 2 little girls in our family. It completely freaked me out but now, having listened to this podcast twice, I feel so much better. I understand it more and I can detach the person I am having a crush on from the crush itself. Thank you so much, I may even believe you have saved a happy marriage…

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