My partner and I recently spent some time talking about our crushes. We’ve reached a point in our relationship where feelings for other people are not a threat, instead we view them as simply a natural part of being human. No matter what your relationship status or orientation you will be attracted to somebody besides your partner. That attraction will also take many forms from carnal sexual to even love. This is normal, this is natural, and to deny it causes unnecessary stress to yourself and your relationships. That is why my partner and I choose to openly discuss our crushes and determine whether or not any steps need to be taken beyond discussion.
In our recent discussion we realized that crushes kind of manifest themselves in some different ways. Though we both have celebrity crushes (Ke$ha… swoon). My partners crushes tend to be towards females, casual flirts (like a particular employee at a grocery store), or non-sexual male crushes. Her crushes tend to be more fantasy based, something that in reality couldn’t happen. At least this is my interpretation of her thoughts, I’m sure she will correct me if/when I’m wrong.
For me crushes tend to fall into two categories: celebrity/fantasy and real people I know. The real people I know are those who I actually think something physical (at least) could happen if the situation was right. Whether they are friends or colleagues, these are people I find myself attracted to on several levels that part of me hopes will manifest itself in some way in the future. My partner knows the names of my crushes, and I think that helps prevent any problems. She knows that if anything were to be developed she would know about it and would be likely invited. Communication is so key.
During our discussion we also discovered what we call “couple crushes”. These are feelings for two people as a unit (though the attraction may work them as individuals as well). Couple crushes may not be as sexual for me as other crushes but they certainly can have that element, particularly as discussions of being more intimate with others continues to come up. A “couple crush” seems like the ideal way to slowly transition into more intimate and sexual encounters because there is an attraction, trust can be built, and an established friendship can prevent awkwardness or misunderstanding if things don’t work out.
I think all relationships benefit when we acknowledge that crushes exist but are not a threat when they aren’t hidden. Problems only arise when there is deception or people feel the need to hide their normal and natural feelings. When my partner crushes on someone I smile and talk to her about it, and she does the same to me. Maybe these crushes will manifest into something, but it is more likely they won’t. To me the unknown is often much scarier than the known, openness and honesty breeds trust and love… we are humans, we have feelings, and those feelings extend to many people at many times. Love is not something that can be, or should be, caged in.