Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Guilty as fuck? Crushes when you're in a long term relationship

So, this is not taboo at all. *cough cough*

At the risk of outing the person whose message I'm relaying (consent was obtained) I decided it was time someone spoke about what you do if you develop the feels for someone else while you're in a relationship. See I have this friend, she works in corporate and she has the hots for a barista who works in the building.... and she's freaking out about it.

I mean I get it... Crushes have this way of coming to you out of the blue. Life's good, your relationship is good, the sex with your partner is great and one day you're fucking and boom, the barista from the coffee shop's cute little face pop's into your head.

Creepy shit. It's bound to freak you out. You write it off as a once off thing - you were hormonal (maybe getting your period if you're a cis woman) and it happens. But then you go buy a coffee and your heart skips a beat, or you get butterflies when he's there and you look at his pretty hands or piercing eyes.... A couple of days later you go to get a coffee again, he's not there and your heart sinks. All the while life back at the ranch with your partner is great. There are no sinister undercurrents, and things are going fine...

One or two weeks pass and when you find yourself with idle time this beautiful barista's face pops into your head. It's getting annoying now... Like being in high-school all over again. You secretly fantasize about what your kids would look like, or what the barista looks like naked.... Your tummy turns, and you feel excited. That oxytocin is a killer. Maybe you think about him when you masturbate, or wonder if he thinks about you while he masturbates. You probably have a good (really quick) orgasm, then you feel...

Guilty as fuck. 

You think about your partner, what you built and where you are and feel pretty fucking awful and a little angry at your body for betraying you by giving you the feels for someone else.

Issa could have avoided fucking up what she had
with Lawrence if she just rubbed it out.

But... A crush - even an outrageous tummy-turning, sex-dream inducing, head spinning, stuttering crush - is natural, and normal, and this is why:

1. We are, at the best of times, animals. Just because we choose to rise above our base instincts and pledge monogamy to one person does not mean that we become asexual or out of tune with the world around us.  Any time after about two years in a relationship the hormones wear off and it is normal that your interest is piqued subsconsciously around a person who evolutionarily would make a good mate.

2. Attention is nice. We all long to be desired, and wanted, and part of this is validating ourselves by wanting the attention of someone whom we can't actually have.  The whole forbidden fruit thing is legitimate.

3. You gotta learn to trust yourself. Just because you have sexual thoughts about someone does not mean that you are going to act on them. Society teaches us to be ashamed of these kinds of feelings, even though they are involuntary and to a certain extent random  (there is nothing special about the barista at the coffee shop no matter how much your infatuated mind tells you there is, you could have a crush on anyone). However, because of this shame having a crush fucks with your mind because you keep the fear of infidelity alive. But you have to learn to trust yourself, a few benign feelings does not have to mean the end of any number of years you spent building something with someone you love. Your self-trust will trump the transience of these feelings.

So a crush is normal, what do you do about it then?

The answer is simple: nothing. 

You certainly do NOT tell your partner about it - it will hurt their feelings unnecessarily and create drama over nothing.

In my opinion I don't believe in fighting the crush to make it go away - harmless flirting and light entertaining of it doesn't equate to infedility to me. You can enjoy someone's conversation, be sexually attracted to them, and safely not act on the latter. It isn't a slippery slope, and is something that can be nipped in the bud. Besides, while these thing work two ways - you have complete agency.

Finally, just sit with the feelings and don't over-analyse them. They probably don't mean anything deep, and they will pass.

This is really simple advice, but I can see how in a culture of paranoia and mistrust in hetero-normative patriarchal relationships people view something as natural as having a crush in a relationship as something that must be hush-hushed. And this where the guilt stems from. I guess it depends on what your objective is - if your objective is to put your partner's feelings before your own at any cost then hush-hushing it may work for you. If your objective is to live a healthy balanced life, and one in which you may encounter numerous situations like this, then honest acknowledgment of where you are and mild entertaining of it can be truly harmless. Ultimately however, the risk comes from people not being self-aware enough to truly believe that their actions are harmless. In this situation it is not the crush that is the enemy but LYING TO YOURSELF - about your motives, agenda and your feelings.

Predicated on a healthy sense of self-awareness, trust and a palate for a little spice. A crush is healthy. Enjoy it while it lasts.

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