September 05, 2009,
C.B. asks from Seattle, WA on August 31, 2009
How to Deal with a Big, Bad Crush?
I've had my fair share of crushes on people other than my husband and they've always fizzled out by themselves. I think it helped that they've usually been on unavailable people. However, I've been completely floored by this intense crush on a mutual single friend of my husband and I and it's showing no signs of getting better -and I've tried! I don't see him all that often but we do chat online frequently, totally in a friendship sort of way.
What do you do when you have a big, bad crush? I usually enjoy them and they're not affecting anything with my husband, but this crush seems to be more intense and harder to shake off.
Should I avoid my crush? Spend more time with him so his flaws will become apparent sooner? Just enjoy the ride? Seek professional help?
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So What Happened?™
Thanks to everyone who took the time to write - especially those who offered a balanced, caring response.
To be clear, I had a crush and I understand that crushes are unrealistic and unreasonable and I had/have no intention on taking things further or hurting my husband and family in any way. Besides that, my crush has been a good friend for many years and has no idea - and never will. And with "my fair share of crushes" I meant 3 in 9 years of marriage - on a gay coworker, an actor and another friend.
Maybe I have a different definition of what a crush is; sudden (for me, unexplained) romantic feelings for someone other than your partner. Just because I have those feelings doesn't mean that I have any intent on acting on them or have suddenly lost my mind and can't think clearly. On one hand, the excitement of those feelings is great, making me feel alive and greatly amused at the reaction of my own body. On the other hand, it is starting to get annoying and I want to move on because I know it's ridiculous and I don't *really* feel that way.
I appreciate the advice to examine if anything is lacking in the relationship with my husband, if there is something else I need, etc. and I am in the process of doing just that.
As for the morality police that came out in full force to lecture me on my sinful behavior and pray for my redemption - you will be the reason for me discontinuing my mamasource membership. Maybe I should have been clearer in my initial post, but seriously, how do you justify the holier-than-thou attitude? Do you really never experience a rush of feelings for someone other than your spouse? Is there really such a big taboo on this issue?
I hope that other people who ask an honest question, looking for people with similar experiences who might be able to offer a helpful hint or two will be spared the assault of your moral outrage.
P.M. answers from Portland on August 31, 2009
What an honest and courageous inquiry, C.. You might be looking at an important choice to make if you intend to stay married.
Here's are a couple of questions you might consider: If you learned your husband had a similar attraction to another woman, how would you feel? Would you be upset that he's spending his emotional energy on somebody else? Even if he assured you it was "just" a crush, would you feel threatened or alarmed that he might eventually choose the other person over you?
There's a lot of information in an honest answer, because we generally "project" onto others the feelings, motives and needs that exist in ourselves. In other words, if you'd be afraid he might leave you, you have found within yourself the potential for leaving him.
It's possible to have good friends of any gender, and even acknowledge a little buzz of sexual tension, without your feelings for your friends becoming a distraction from your primary commitment. And It's great to have friendships that are stimulating or nourishing, no matter the gender of your friends.
But there is a difference between a friendship and a crush, which we feel when we imagine the desired one might fulfill needs that are not quite conscious in us.
I'm assuming preserving/deepening your marriage is important to you. Since "crushes" are a repeating event for you, you might want to consider counseling. Sometimes relationships or events in our childhoods set us up for needing a little self-destructive chaos in our adult relationships. A counselor might be able to help you recognize underlying patterns, learn what your underlying needs are, and find ways to meet these within your marriage.
4 moms found this helpful
A.D. answers from Eugene on September 01, 2009
Hmmm, most of the responses so far have been pretty black and white, and my experience is a little more gray... so I'm compelled to leave it.
The way you describe your crushes in your first sentence just sounds familiar - an extra notice of someone for awhile that fizzles out once you know them better. I've had crushes like that as a married person and I felt like for the first time I could enjoy a small crush, because I didn't have to worry about what I was going to do or say to get them to notice me - because I knew I wasn't going to act on it! There wasn't all the angst of a crush as a single person. And as you describe, they run their course, and subside.
I think this one, that seems more intense and is not subsiding, may be fueled by chatting online. It is much easier to view (and to be) a person online as somehow less flawed than when you are interacting face-to-face. A person can edit their comments, look disheveled, have weird habits etc. that he can't do in person.
I'd say limit the online contact, keep it to face-to-face. And I wanted to mention that I noticed you said the crush was on a mutual friend of yours and your husband - NOT that the crush was mutual. That would be slipperier still. (If slipperier is a word...?)
And thanks for your honesty. The idea that somehow I'm never going to notice another man because my husband fulfills my every need day after day is a fallacy. I need to be able to live in the real world AND act respectfully to myself, my husband, and our family. I can do that, but I find that if I am dishonest with myself about my own feelings, I am more likely to justify bad behavior. It's when I am honest, that I can look at the situation more clearly and behave appropriately.
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M.S. answers from Portland on September 01, 2009
channel it into your relationship with your husband, and don't have any interactions with your crush alone! Talking to him is fine, but do it when your husband is around to hear the conversation. You are at a place where crossing that shady gray line is easy because you have the feelings, and you are allowing yourself to talk to him privately. It could get out of hand in just one little seemingly innocent sentence.
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J.C. answers from Anchorage on September 01, 2009
Stop feeding the attraction. You do not have to end the friendship, but don't spend a lot of time on it either. Do not chat online where saying things is so easy since it seems "harmless". You do not have to have sex with this man for it to affect your husband. Emotional affairs can be very hurtful as well. Recommit yourself to your husband. Plan a special romantic night with him so that you can start "crushing" on him again. Look at him so you can see all the special things it is about him that made you choose him for your life partner. Keep your husband in the front of your mind and hopefully this other man will find his way out the back.
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W.C. answers from Seattle on September 01, 2009
Avoid him like the plague. It is not worth the pain, the time, or the daydream. Every time you have this crush picture your childrens face's and you telling them why you no longer live with their father, why you have to go to work, why you have to live in a small apartment. Picture the heartbreak you will deliver to your family. Do not tell your husband. Go to a therapist if you must talk it out, but do not tell your husband.
It is not worth it.
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J.B. answers from Seattle on September 01, 2009
Don't spend more time with him. That won't help any. This is a time when your choices need to reflect your priorities. You've admitted yourself that there is opportunity here because this guy is single. Don't put yourself in a position that could compromise you.
I frequently get crushes, most often on movie characters now that I'm out of college and away from guys who attract me, and I find that even though my crushes are fictional, they do affect my relationship with my husband. My cure is to spend more time with my husband, more time thinking about him and all his wonderful traits, more time remembering why I fell in love with him, and I take that time out of the time I would have used to stimulate my crush. In your case, time chatting online would probably decrease so you could be with your husband more.
I wouldn't avoid your friend completely because you still have a promising friendship, but I also wouldn't give that friendship priority over your relationship with your husband in your time or in your thoughts. That is your most important relationship, and the sooner you put this crush out of your thought the better.
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K.R. answers from Portland on September 01, 2009
Mom gave me the greatest advice ever when I was like 13 or 14:
A crush is when you sense someone could fulfill something in your life that is not fulfilled.
If it would be inappropriate to act on that crush (in your case because of your husband, in my case back when it was because the boy in question was CLEARLY not a good person to get involved with), then you need to take care of that hole in your life some other way (because the hole is real and will stay with you, even if you manage to get over or past this incidence).
Mom suggested opening up and asking God to fill the hole in my life that was causing the crush ... and this worked in that case and in a few others over the years ... but of course as we get older, God expects us to stand on our own feet as much as we are capable, and now I have to do a lot more of the heavy lifting ;). What helps me is to analyse what thinking about the guy makes me feel like (eg., an old crush from college started reappearing in my dreams ... it took like 3 years, but I figured out it was because I felt like I had no room or allowance to be free and creative and silly, so I started making room in my life for that ... poof, no more dreams of that guy!! ... second example, I had feelings for women, that I eventually pinned down to mother-issues ... God helped process those, because I never did figure out what the specific issues were, but again, an underlying, subconscious need that *really did need to be adressed* was driving the "instinctual" attraction).
Anyhow, sorry if you aren't a "God" person, the general pattern can be followed secularly as well (observing what recent events might trigger thoughts of your crush, what pieces of you feel 'relieved' by considering it, etc.). And be very very aware that all crushes are actually psychological projections ... you are totally right that people have flaws that might in the end turn us off (I'd say "will" in the end, just in a committed relationship you work through that ;) ), and the "crush" is actually about you and not about him.
(If you are a God person, now is the time to start praying that your husband has the graces to step in and fill that hole, if it is something he needs to do ... certainly we are all so injured in America now, lots of husbands and wives aren't filling the holes we are supposed to in the other --and lots of us are trying to fill all the wrong holes!! My Ex and I never quite got it figured out. )
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T.T. answers from Portland on September 01, 2009
I think you need to figure out why your falling into a crush on other people when you are married and should no longer be seeking? If you love your husband, and want to continue your marriage relationship with him, then I would suggest you really focus on YOUR man and no others.
We all find ourselves attracted to other people, but the responsibility and maturity required by a committed relationship dictate that we control our urges and impulses and not act on those feelings.
You dont mention how old you are and that may play into this somewhat. Perhaps you should seek out something to do with yourself that is wholesome and will keep you busy, so you arent daydreaming about cute single guys. Try some volunteer work! There are masses of needs - you can definately find one or two that give you a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. Be a Big Sister for a child in your community. Join the local United Way board or volunteer to help with fundraisers. Start a Relay For Life team and make money for the American Cancer Society and the support programs in your area. Local food banks are always looking for assistance, as would be a soup kitchen or shelter. Domestic Violence programs are a great way to make a difference. or take lessons for a musical interest.... become more involved in your church... you could tutor a child or read books to school kids. It is up to you to make a change in your life for the better. Be in control of yourself and do the right thing.
You may need to work on becoming more connected with your husband? talk to him about your need for more attention and intimacy? Dont tell him about your "crush" - but let him know how much you love him and how good it makes you feel when he does "XXX" (fill in the blank!)Set up a date night, where maybe you just drive to the point and make out or have a picnic in the park or what ever it is that helps you fall in love again with the person you chose to marry and vowed to spend the rest of your life with. These are the things that should be filling your head and whom you should be day dreaming about... not someone who likely doesnt even look at you in that same sense, because they realize you are married and a friend. I dont think spending more time with this person is the answer, because it will become obvious that you are a lovesick puppy and some men would take advantage of that, married or not. Professional help is probably a consideration, as this is not the first time you have found yourself doing this behaviour. If you do not make a change, you will repeat this over and over. Insanity is using the same behaviour and expecting a different result.
I appreciate that you are reaching out to this forum for advice and I think you know deep in your soul what is right and what is wrong. Make the right choice. And you need to decrease the online chat thing, that is NOT good!
Best wishes for strength and willpower to do it.
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