Topic: Is there anything wrong with a person in a committed relationship having a crush on someone else…as long as it isn’t acted upon? Can it even benefit a relationship?
Absolutely, positively, 100% not. To both questions.
Let’s work backwards.
First, let’s define crush. Dictionary.com calls it “the object of a temporary infatuation.” Sounds good to me. For the sake of clarity, let’s conclude that a crush is nothing more than a physical admiration. Glancing sideways at the brunette on the beach, commenting on the attractiveness of Clooney? These are crushes. Having an undying affection for your partner’s best friend or an unhealthy relationship with your assistant? These are slippery slopes to an affair. There is a huge difference between them and we are well-served to not conflate the two. Margo’s already touched on this.
That said, there are no relationship benefits to having a crush. Aly talks about how fantasy can spice up reality. I think it’s more likely to make reality seem worse. But that’s secondary to how a crush makes our partner feel.
No matter how much we trust, no matter how secure we are, it still sucks to know that our partner desires another. As a guy who has never been shy about his crushes, not one good thing has come out of my propensity to admire other women. My appreciation of the opposite sex has done nothing but make most of my partners feel jealous and insecure. (Current girlfriend excepting. Coincidence? I think not.)
On the other hand, does any person in her right mind think that a committed relationship means that everyone else immediately ceases being attractive? This is not only unhealthy, but it’s intellectually dishonest as well.
Now, dishonesty has its place in relationships (The answer to “Do I look fat?” comes to mind), but pretending that your attraction to others just STOPS is preposterous. This doesn’t mean that a man should spend his time harping on how all other women are hotter than his wife. But it does mean he should be able to smile at a waitress without having his head bitten off.
Not everybody’s going to agree with this. But if relationships are largely about accepting each other for who we are, there are far worse things than dating a woman who insists that her “celebrity exception” will be Matthew Fox. Most couples have had rich, active single lives prior to committing. My girlfriend and I certainly did. So why should I worry that she has a thing for swarthy foreigners? What’s the value in her getting upset that I have Tyra Banks’ Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition in a box? Acknowledgment of these foibles diffuses them. Denial of them creates repression and resentment. And repression and resentment are what lead to infidelity.
The way I see it, no matter how cute a random guy at the Halloween party is, all I know is that my girlfriend’s still coming home with me. Which brings me to my final point: Genuine trust is stronger than any passing stranger.
Frankly, both my girlfriend and I would rather talk about which contestants on Dancing With The Stars are “doable” than actually go out and do something about it.