Attraction doesn’t care if you’re single or committed. It doesn’t care what you look like, how old you are, how many kids you have, or what’s going on in your life. Attraction comes quickly and more often than not, it’ll hang around until you banish it.
It’s totally fine to indulge in a crush if you’re single and available but what if you’re in a committed relationship? Unfortunately, commitment doesn’t make you blind to that sexy waitress. It doesn’t make you oblivious to the fact that the hot web designer can’t stop flirting with you. Neither does it make you completely void of feeling when you meet someone and sparks fly.
I’ve had a crush. In fact, I’ve had many—but only one whom I got real close to cheating on my partner with. We met at a birthday party and after several hours of stimulating conversation, we exchanged email addresses. He’s a fellow writer and I used that as an excuse to connect with him. He promised me a contact with someone in the publishing world and we both agreed to proofread what each other was working on.
Although I realized that I was treading on thin ice, I went along with it on the basis that I was advancing my professional career. Next thing I knew, we were exchanging work emails. Coffee meet ups followed then work lunches ensued. The sexual energy was palpable and although he was aware that I was in a committed relationship, he didn’t desist. Flirtatious suggestions and a little bit more took place. [Read: 18 emotional affairs signs you probably haven’t noticed]
A girlfriend advised me to, “Get over him by getting under him.” I’m not going to deny that I thought about it. A lot. I envisioned his face when I was making love to my partner and I looked forward to his emails and texts. I was dangerously close to giving in to temptation but thankfully I took the alternative route.
How to handle a crush when you’re in a relationship
If you’re in the same position, here are 14 steps that you can take to handle your crush while you’re in a committed relationship.
#1 Enjoy it. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the fact that you’ve still “got it.” It’s nice knowing that someone besides your partner wants to be with you. Enjoy the moment but be sure to stop there and not take it any further. [Read: Why flirting with someone else isn’t such a bad thing!]
#2 Don’t agree to solo meet ups. Your crush may ask you out for a solo meet up or you might feel the itch and want to arrange a one-on-one. Whether it’s for a cup of java or a jog in the park, something that may seem harmless at first will escalate into a situation that you’ll regret.
#3 Minimize your time together. If you know that you’re going to see your crush at a party, be friendly but don’t spend all night chatting each other up. If you work together, keep it professional and don’t dally around the coffee machine waiting for them to show up. Wherever you might see them, be sure to keep a considerable distance between you. [Read: How to resist the temptation to cheat on your partner]
#4 Keep it civil. As hard as this may be, don’t turn on the charm when you’re around your crush. Treat them like everyone else and be sure not to shower them with special treatment. The key is to keep things civil and somewhat cold between you. If you act like there’s nothing between you, then eventually nothing will happen.
#5 Don’t pursue online communication. It’s not a good idea to physically meet up, but what about hanging out online? It may seem harmless, but it’s best not to indulge. Trust me when I tell you that one email here, one PM there, one poke here or one like there is never enough. One thing will lead to another and that’s where the problem lies. [Read: Online flirting – Are you cheating without even realizing it?]
#6 Don’t share too much. Be sure not to build an emotional bond with your crush. Never share personal details, especially if it has to do with your relationship. Your crush doesn’t need to know that your girlfriend yells at you more often than she should, or that your husband is more concerned about making money than working on your relationship. Once you forge a bond with your crush and lean on them for support, you’ve thrown yourself into the deep end.
#7 Don’t tempt fate. Always remember that it’s not worth giving in to lust. You may enjoy the butterflies in your stomach. You may miss that feeling of being wooed. You may enjoy receiving newfound attention and affection from someone other than your partner. No matter what, always keep in mind that you shouldn’t play with fire unless you’re willing to get burned. [Read: Should you ever tell if you only cheated once?]
#8 Keep your distance. If you move in the same social circles as your crush, it’s inevitable that you’ll run into each other. However, you should try to avoid them where you can. If you run into each other at a party, make the customary rounds, enjoy everyone’s company, then leave early. Don’t push your luck because if you’re both still there at the end of the night, you’ll end up gravitating towards each other—even more so if alcohol is involved.
#9 Be the bigger person. Although many people think that some things are better left unsaid, I for one believe in absolute honesty, especially in situations such as these. As hard as this may be, let your crush know that you’re not going to stray from your partner and that you’re not going to indulge in lust. Let them know that you’re only willing to engage them in friendship and nothing more. Once they’re aware that you’re not willing to give them what they want, they will back off. Hopefully. [Read: 13 easy ways to avoid falling in love with someone]
#10 “Hide” them. Be sure to “hide” your crush—not literally, but on social media. The saying “out of sight, out of mind” comes into play here. When you’re not constantly inundated with your crush’s pictures, status updates, tweets or anything else, there’s a good chance that it will be easier for you to get over them. There’s nothing worse than waking up in the morning and being greeted by your crush’s bed head selfie. It’ll needlessly remind you of them and we both know how hard it is to get your crush out of your head.
#11 Set them up with a friend. If you can’t have your crush, then you might as well let someone else enjoy them. Why not set them up with someone you know? If things work out, your crush will be out of your life and in your acquaintance’s arms in no time. This will give you the chance to focus on your own relationship.
#12 Ask yourself, “What’s the point?” The next time you find it difficult to decide if you should go for it with your crush, ask yourself what the point is. If the only answer you can come up with revolves around sex and having a saucy time, then you know that what you’re doing is absolutely pointless. The risk is not worth the effort. [Read: To cheat or not to cheat – A guide to make up your mind]
#13 Look at your crush as a warning. There has to be a reason you’re keen on risking your relationship to explore something with your crush. Maybe it’s because your partner isn’t giving you what you want. Maybe it’s because you’re unhappy in your relationship. No matter your reasons, you need to address these warning signs. Only once you’ve exhausted all efforts to save your relationship should you even consider forging a bond with your crush. Even then, be sure that you’re single before doing anything. [Read: Love triangles and its confusing complications]
#14 Tell someone close to you. If all else fails and you think you can’t control yourself around your crush, it’s time for you to come clean with your partner. Have a serious discussion with them and let them know what’s going on. Trust me when I say that your sweetheart will keep you in check. Of course, this all depends on how understanding your partner is. If you know that they are going to flip out *and rightfully so* to the point of no return, it may be better to keep it to yourself. Approach your best friend or a confidante instead.
[Confession: I cheated on my boyfriend and feel a lot better!]
At the end of the day, you have to remember that you’re in a committed relationship. Why make a promise to your partner if you’re not going to keep it? There’s no point risking it all for a cheap thrill because in the end, people are going to get hurt and you’re going to be one of them.
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