February 21, 2014
by Casey Truffo, LMFT
So you’re at work, or carrying out your daily routine, and you’ve found yourself smitten with someone other than your spouse. You’ve tried ignoring it, talking yourself out of it, and even changing up your routine in an effort to avoid the temptation altogether, but nothing seems to be working. The good news is you’re not alone, nor are you a horrible person for feeling the way you do about someone who is not your spouse or partner. So what do you do? How do you stop yourself from having the urge to see if the grass is greener on the other side? You can do it with honesty, communication, and practice.
Physical and/or Emotional Attraction to Others is Normal
The first thing you need to realize is that you are human and it is completely natural for human beings to be emotionally or physically attracted to each other. Just because you’re exclusive or have said “I do” does not turn off your hormones, or blind your eyes to people that you find attractive, amusing or flirtatious. So, if you’re beating yourself up about this attraction, you can stop.
Steps to Avoiding or Handling Temptation:
Again, you know its normal to have attractions to others but you don’t want this “normalcy” to spill over into reality. Therefore, you want to find ways to bring your emotions down to a minimum and lessen the temptation. Chances are, if you work with the crush or see them on the daily basis, there is no real way to avoid them and thus you must learn how to cope with them still existing in your world. Here are a few ideas on how to overcome this:
- Don’t Feed Into It - The number one rule is NEVER feed into your feelings. If your crush happens to be a co-worker, teacher, or someone in your day to day life, you can be cordial but not flirtatious. If they start taking the conversation elsewhere, it is your job to bring it back to neutral, safe ground, and if it crosses the line, it is your responsibility to speak up. Feeding into it with “harmless flirting” is never a good idea as it only fuels your inner most feelings and potentially your crushes’ feelings too.
- Remember Why You Fell in Love - Wouldn’t it be nice if you could stay just as happy and infatuated in your relationship at five years as you did when you were only together a few months? Most people would. Unfortunately, relationships change and evolve and as the blinders of infatuation fall away as you become accustomed to having each other in your lives. As time goes on it can be easy to forget the reasons you fell in love in the first place. Even more common is to end up finding those same attributes in another person. Remembering why you love your spouse could prevent you from getting involved in a messy situation.
- Identify Your Needs - Relationships become routine as time goes on and sometimes your spouse no longer does for you the things they once would. Everyone has needs, whether physical or emotional, and when they are not met within a relationship you can begin to seek what is missing from others. Why do you have a crush on this other person? Do they complement (or compliment!) you? Are they lively and outgoing? Do they listen when you’re having a bad day? Once you identify what your needs are, you can communicate these to your spouse so that you can begin working on changing things in your relationship.
- Invest More In Your Relationship - So maybe you’re not dealing with a scenario in which your spouse is not meeting your needs, but you simply don’t see them often. It is true that most people spend more time at work than they do at home, so forming a close connection with some co-workers is quite common. If quality time is what is missing, you need to start spending more time with your spouse getting to know each other again and strengthening your connection to breathe life back into the relationship.
- Put the Shoe on the Other Foot – Stop for a moment and think long and hard about how you would feel if you were to find out that your spouse or partner had a serious crush on someone and acted on their feelings. How hurt would you be? Devastated? Would you want to end the relationship?
- Consider the Consequences - If all else fails you know that if you were to act on your feelings there would be consequences to pay. Ask yourself if you are truly ready for what might unfold if you were to act upon the feelings you have for your crush. It can be very easy to tell yourself that what your spouse doesn’t know won’t hurt them, but did you ever consider what would happen if they did find out?
Feelings of attraction are natural and it is possible to control how you react to these feelings you might have for a someone other than your partner or spouse. Take these six steps and begin proactively preserving your relationship by avoiding or coping in tempting situations. If you fear that you are going to act on your inner desires, talk with your spouse and a counselor. Counseling can assist you in finding ways to deal with temptation and help your resolve the underlying issues in your relationship that may be causing such feelings. Remember during this entire process to be honest with yourself and your partner for the best outcome possible. Having an attraction does not mean your relationship is over, not doing anything about it however could.
If you are considering couples counseling, let the caring therapists at Orange County Relationship Center help you. Call us today at 949-220-3211 or book your appointment via our online calendar. We’re here to help.