So once again let me start by saying that I am not here to promote one particular lifestyle or another, but in this post I’ll be talking about the kinds of temptation that you can experience when you are in a relationship for the long term, and you have decided/committed to having a monogamous relationship.
This is one of those topics that is also rarely discussed by groups of lesbian friends. Crushes on film stars and musicians is fine, but crushes on your best friend’s new girlfriend…..not so much.
I didn’t really start having crushes on anyone else until I had been in my long term relationship for about 10 years. To be honest the first ten years whizzed by and mostly we were in a blissed-out, loved-up state and I had no room in my head for anyone else. Now we have been together for 15 years, I do get the occasional crush. By occasional I am talking once every two years or so, someone comes along who turns my head…I usually spend a month or two thinking about them when I have spare time….and then I find it goes away (there are reason’s why it goes away, but I’ll come onto that).
So, the first thing to say is that having a crush on someone does not mean that you do not love your long term girlfriend. It also doesn’t mean that you want to be unfaithful, but handle it in the wrong way and it can be damaging both to your mental health and to your relationship. So here are my top tips for handling a crush.
I have been through a few of these now, and I am able to feel the feelings, and not worry too much. I usually just think, ‘this will pass’, and it does. Don’t spend the few months that you feel lost in a crush agonising over your unfaithful brain. I think it is natural that in a long term relationship you may meet other people who you find attractive, its what you do with that feeling that counts.
To tell or not to tell
This is up to you, but my partner and I have a loose agreement that we don’t really want to know about every pretty girl that the other one meets at work, or every friend that has appeared in a rude dream every now and then. We prefer to keep these things to ourselves, and save any unnecessary feelings of hurt. I would only recommend this strategy if your relationship is rock solid, and you totally trust each other not to act on any feelings. I also think that this strategy is only appropriate if the feelings are a ‘little crush’, rather than a full blown mental rehearsal for leaving your partner. Whatever works for you both, I am sure in some-ways its better to be honest, but in my experience that gives the feelings more power than they really have. Sometimes we joke about a new person who one of us obviously has a bit of soft spot for, but mostly we don’t event notice.
Get to know the person
This is really the crucial part of having a crush. The new person is perfect….because they are not real. You don’t usually know them, so you can imagine them to be perfect in your mind. The grass is always greener on the other side, but if you got to the other side you might see that the bush needs trimming…(sorry…bad pun). If you get to know the person, in my experience, the crush dissolves because they are usually not as awesome as the life partner that you have chosen. Get to know them with caution…..don’t set up loads of one-on-one time, or events that feel like dates as this can mess with your head and can ultimately move you into dangerous territory, but try to keep your eyes open to there faults. Picture yourself in a long term relationship with that person…how will you feel 10 years down the line with them? They won’t be exciting and new, they will be familiar and older? Is it really what you want?
Stop thinking about them
Try not to indulge in too much day dreaming. A crush is usually an entirely imagined exchange of glances, flirty conversations (that you wished you had), and an imagined hot session that you would have if you got together. Try to catch yourself day dreaming and remind yourself that this ‘relationship’ is entirely imagined.
Invest in your real relationship
O.K this is the most important bit…why has your head been turned? Usually it is because your real partner is distracted by work, or stressed, or you haven’t spent much time together, and you are feeling in need of some attention. You must address this in order to move forward. Talk to her about how you are feeling (in terms of missing her attention), and plan some nice time together. Invest in your relationship emotionally…take her out, do something nice…plan in a sex date…..plan a holiday..cook together…take a day out and go on a long walk.Talk and listen. You have chosen her for a reason, spending some nice time together can remind you of why you have chosen her. The more you focus on what you have got, the less you will be interested in your imaginary friends. You may find she is in need of your support and you haven’t noticed because you have been thinking about your crush.
So here is a question for you. When does a crush become more than a crush? My thoughts are that trivial feelings like this usually go away in a couple of month, but if you find you are six months down the line with strong feelings for someone else, then you may well be into a different kind of territory. In this case I would advise some professional help to open up the communication with your partner…but that topic is for another post.