If you’ve ever had a crush while being in a relationship, then you’re not alone ― and no, I’m not talking about your crush on Jon Snow, but a legit crush on someone with whom you just might have a chance. According to a new study the majority of people in relationships have crushes on people outside their relationship, and these same people feel their crushes increase their desire for their current partner. Yes, it’s totally cool to crush away.
The research, which was a combined effort between Columbia, Indiana University, and the University of Kentucky-Lexington, found that 70 percent of women in their 160-women study, all of whom were either married or in long-term relationships, reported having a crush on someone else at some point in their relationship with their partner. According to the researchers, this is totally normal; the brain is basically wired to have its interest piqued by someone else. I mean, it is just a crush.
But what the study also found was that not only did women keep their crushes under wraps, their desire for their partner grew because of it. Their relationships remained intact, and if anything, benefited from these women being enticed by someone else ― most of whom tend to be coworkers. Women inherently have strategies for managing crushes and not letting it ruin what they have.
Because crushes are an inevitable part of life and you’re bound to have one while in you’re in a relationship at some point, here are five things to do if you find you’re crushing on that gorgeous guy with the beard two cubicles away.
1. Keep It To Yourself
While it may be one thing to gush to your friends about your crush, you should probably keep it from your partner, especially if your partner is the jealous type. As the study revealed, the majority of women with crushes do not share it with their partner, because in doing so, you’re just asking for drama and endless suspicion. Suddenly, your crush won’t be so fun.
2. Don’t Feel Bad About It
According to the study, not only do most women have crushes, but “how the brain functions suggests that fancying someone else is fundamentally unavoidable.” That’s right; “fundamentally unavoidable.” What this means is that feeling guilty or berating yourself for being interested in someone else is counterproductive. You’re human; don’t feel bad for being human.
3. Ease Up On The Amount Of Time You Spend With Your Crush
With the majority of crushes happening in the workplace, this may be easier said than done, but if you fear your crush could escalate to something else, it’s best to not spend so much time with them.
A study from earlier this month found that attraction is something that grows over time, so what may be a little crush could evolve into a major crush, and before you know it you’re crying in the bathroom because, “I LOVE HIM SO MUCH.” You don’t want that if you value your relationship.
4. Realize Having A Crush Might Be Telling You About Your Relationship
Although crushes on other people may lead to more desire for your partner, studies have found that they can also be a red flag that something is up in your relationship. According to psychologists, a crush is also known as an “attention to alternatives,” in that if your relationship were completely satisfying, you wouldn’t be looking to “alternatives,” as a means to fulfill something that might be lacking.
5. Know That It Will Pass
If it’s a legitimate crush, it will pass. Psychologists have found that crushes last, on average, four months. If you’ve stopped spending so much time with your crush, you may find that your crush on them has dwindled. If it doesn't, it doesn't necessarily meant that you're totally, insanely in love, but that maybe it's just time to look at your relationship and either reaffirm how great it is or that it's time to fix it so it is great.
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.