My last article on how to have a crush was geared toward the single ladies out there. But guess what? Crushes happen to everyone, even those–gasp!–in long-term relationships. I spent the better part of a decade attached to a man and despite my deep love for him, my proclivity to form crushes never went away during that time. I learned that if you’re in a relationship and crushing hard on someone else, you’ll want to deal with your crush a bit differently than if you’re single and crushing.
Allow yourself to feel it.
The sayings “What you resist, persists,” from Carl Jung and, “If you aren’t willing to have it, you will,” from the school of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy sum up why it’s important not to repress your crush-y feelings. If you’re in a relationship, a crush might initially cause alarm. You might feel guilt. You might want to stifle the feelings immediately because you view them as a threat to your relationship. Ironically, suppressing the feelings will only make them stronger. Acknowledge that these feelings are completely normal. Accept them knowing that you get to choose what you will do with them.
Having a crush as a single person can be maddening. You find yourself analyzing your crush’s every move trying to determine whether or not he feels the same way; you experience ups and downs based on his whims. When you’re in a relationship, this doesn’t happen. Because you aren’t actually trying to make your crush manifest in reality, you’re free to daydream (and maybe even flirt a little, but that’s for a different post) without worrying about whether or not feelings are reciprocated. Because you aren’t hoping for the crush to go anywhere, you also don’t need to determine if it’s realistic. Go ahead and crush on your married boss, or the neighbor kid fresh out of high school. This is nothing more than harmless fantasy.
Enjoy the energy.
Like I wrote in my previous post on crushes, a beautiful energy comes along with a crush. Separate that energy from its source and use it to enjoy life and improve yourself. Go ahead and use that motivation to dress nicer, get a haircut, exercise more, express yourself creatively, etc. Enjoy your good mood and spread it around.
Improve your relationship.
Not only can a crush fuel self-improvement, it can be something that spurs positive change in your romantic relationship. Sometimes a crush illuminates what you want in your relationship. (How many times have you seen a female develop feelings toward a male who compliments her after her significant other stops doing so?)
Identify what it is that draws you to your crush, or what he represents to you, and try to bring that into the relationship you’re in now. If it is basic sexual attraction, perhaps your love life needs spicing up. If you view him as fun and spontaneous, maybe it’s time to break free from routine and do something new and unexpected with your man.
Confess, confess, confess.
If the crush gets to the point where you think it is affecting your relationship or you are in danger of cheating, it’s time to put an end to it. You know what will stop an obsessive, out-of-control crush dead in its tracks? Confessing it. If you’re in a relationship though, my advice is slightly different. Instead of confessing your crush to your crush, confess it to your significant other.
Yes, you read that correctly. You’ve been thinking about another man constantly and the last thing you want to do is tell the man you love about it. Who cares–tell him. In detail, if necessary. Looking him in the eye and saying, “I’ve been nonstop daydreaming about fucking your brother,” will be super awkward and he might get pissed, but guess what? You probably won’t daydream about fucking his brother any more after that, and confessing to a daydream is definitely preferable to having to confess to cheating. It’s an uncomfortable but necessary honesty that can save the relationship.
Jessica Thompson is a writer and dog-lover living in Chicago. She is co-owner and Editor of What Song is in that Commercial? She also does freelance blogging and social media and may be reached through her website, yesjessicathompson.com.