Having a Crush While in a Relationship: Why It’s Okay & What To Know

Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean that you don’t notice other people. But is having a crush when you’re in a relationship a bad thing? 

having a crush while in a relationship

A lot of people have been there – having a crush when you’re in a relationship.

Imagine this scenario. You know you are treading on thin ice, but you go along with it on the basis that you are advancing your professional career.

Next thing you know, you are exchanging work emails. Coffee meet-ups followed, then work lunches ensued.

The sexual energy was palpable and although they are aware that you are in a committed relationship, they don’t desist. Flirtatious suggestions and a little bit more take place. [Read: 20 strong signs of sexual tension to know if you make each other horny]

A friend advises you to, “Get over him by getting under him.” You might even envision their face when you are making love to your partner and look forward to their emails and texts. You are dangerously close to giving in to temptation. But hopefully, you take the alternative route.

If this situation sounds familiar, then you are probably wondering about having a crush when you’re in a relationship.

[Read: What is emotional cheating & 15 signs to recognize an affair in the making]

Is it okay to have a crush when you’re in a relationship?

Most people probably feel like they’re being unfaithful to their partner if they have a crush on someone else. But is it really detrimental to your relationship if you do? 

Honestly, it’s not uncommon for people in a relationship to develop a crush on a person who is not their partner – especially if they have been together for a long time. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the level of satisfaction with their relationship either.

Crushes make people feel excited, “alive,” and attractive. People like to know that they are still attractive to other people too, especially when you are out of the honeymoon phase.

Let’s face it – just because you’re in a couple doesn’t mean you’re dead. You don’t just suddenly stop noticing other attractive people in the world. Having crushes isn’t something you can even control – it’s just instinct to feel chemistry with someone.

However, even though it’s normal to have crushes, what you can control is how you handle it. Is it merely something you acknowledge and carry on with life, or do you obsess about this person? The former isn’t a problem, but the latter is. [Read: How to know if someone is thinking about you sexually and desires you]

Does it mean you’re unhappy if you develop a crush when you’re in a relationship? 

Generally speaking, a crush is harmless – even if you’re in a relationship. It doesn’t necessarily mean you want to break up with your partner.

However, if you choose to let it go beyond a simple feeling, then it could have ramifications on your relationship.

Sometimes, having a crush can mean that your relationship is boring or routine and you are craving some excitement in your life. [Read: 20 honest signs and reasons why you’re so bored with your relationship]

If your current partner doesn’t share your interests and passions, but your crush does, then it is tempting to spend too much time talking to your crush. So, as you can see, sometimes the crush meets the needs of a person that aren’t being met in their current relationship.

Is there a line you shouldn’t cross with your crush?

Most crushes start pretty innocently. However, it can get dangerous if it accidentally crosses over into emotional affair territory. 

How do you know if it’s gone too far? Well, give yourself this test. If something good or bad happens, who do you want to tell first? Your partner, or your crush? 

If your answer is your crush, then the emotional – and maybe even the physical – intimacy you have with your partner could be threatened. You are probably having fantasies about your crush, and that’s not a good sign for your relationship. [Read: 24 subtle emotional affair signs most people don’t even realize]

So then, you have to figure out whether this is really just a crush, or if it’s turned into an emotional affair. 

How to handle a crush when you’re in a relationship

If you’re in the same position, here are all the 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 meetups

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 us when we tell you that one DM here, one text 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, and 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, absolute honesty is best, especially in situations such as these. As hard as this may be, if the conversation ever comes up, let your crush know that you’re never 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: 20 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. [Read: How to set someone up with their right match the right way]

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 orgasm, 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 us when we say that your sweetheart will keep you in check. Of course, this all depends on how understanding your partner is. 

Should you tell your partner about your crush?

Well, there is not really a definitive answer here. It really depends on you, your partner, and the kind of relationship you have.

Some people might find it kind of exciting or kinky knowing that you have a crush or are even flirting with someone else. But for them to feel that way, they will have to be pretty confident – not only in themselves but in their relationship too. [Read: Healthy relationship boundaries – how to talk about them and set them]

However, some partners will be hurt if you tell them about the crush. Only you know your partner well enough to know how they will handle the news. And only you know how deeply you feel about your crush.

Another thing to think about is, why are you thinking about telling your partner about your crush? Are you doing it to rid yourself of guilt or because you want them to know the truth? If it’s only good for you and it would cause them pain, then it’s best to keep it to yourself.

Is your crush hurting your relationship?

One final thing to consider is this. When crushes go too far, then they are taking away energy and attention from your relationship and any other problem that may have caused you to have a crush.

At the end of the day, you have to remember that even though you have a crush, you’re in a committed relationship. Why make a promise to your partner if you’re not going to keep it?

[Confession: I cheated on my boyfriend and feel a lot better!]

When you get a crush on someone else when you’re already in a relationship, you need to understand that 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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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...