Dealing with a crush while in a relationship

Thursday March 28 2019

It is important to differentiate between

It is important to differentiate between developing a crush on someone and finding someone outside of your relationship attractive. NET PHOTO 

By Christine katende

You are human, and it is highly likely that you will find other people other than your partner attractive. We discuss how to deal with those feelings.

Mike had a crush on someone at his workplace six years ago, which almost cost him his marriage. Because he had become too close to her, he had taken several pictures of her and saved them in his phone. One day as his wife went through his pictures, she saw them and immediately became suspicious.
“Although I later told my wife that nothing had happened between me and this woman, a lot had been lost. The happiness and trust my wife had for me disappeared. To date, I regret why I developed feelings for the woman at work,” he says.

Although Mike failed to manage his crush, Jonathan Okiru, a counsellor at Family Life Network, says crushes are normal and they happen to real people.

Remember your commitment
At the point of having a crush, Okiru reminds you to recall and note down all the good things you saw and liked in your partner before you made a commitment.

Evelyn Kharono Lufafa, a psychologist with Talk Therapy Uganda, confirms that having a crush while in a relationship may not mean that you are a bad partner. The only problem is that many fail to control their feelings.
“One recipe for crushes is when the relationship is past the honeymoon phase. Many think that a crush will excite them and if there are any problems in the relationship and life, they could become a cushion,” Lufafa shares.

However, Lufafa adds, “You will not stop feeling attracted to other people but it is within your control to either nurture the feelings or let them go.” She further advises that it not good to crush under the influence of alcohol as you will make quick decisions that may not be rational.

Lufafa also explains that since people often talk of the crush meeting unmet needs in their relationship, it is important to spend a little time reflecting on why you are crushing on this person in particular.
“It may have something to do with you or your family history or what your current relationship is going through. It is dangerous if the crush becomes your first confidant,” warns.

Okiru says at the point of the crush, try to remember that true maturity is being able to deny yourself short term gratification for a lasting one.
“This is like refusing to eat a rolex on your way from work awaiting the only meal prepared by your partner and yet you are actually hungry,” he compares, adding, “Vows, whether publicly or privately made, are powerful. A man is as good as his word, if you have given your word to commit to your partner, stick to your word.”

Be transparent
Transparency in any relationship is a strength and Okiru says you must share with your partner about the crush to help you overcome the feelings.

Openness in a relationship is key but in regards to this matter, Lufafa, says telling your partner about it is optional as this depends on your relationship. She says although some partners will take it lightly, especially if they are confident about the relationship, others may not.

Okiru, therefore, urges that you stay committed. “It takes time to build trust, honesty, and love and they can be broken in just seconds,” he says.
However, in case you have trouble sorting your feelings for this other person just like Mike, Lufafa advises that you contact a therapist or a friend you trust and who will not pass judgement to help you resolve the issue.

Moving on
We develop crushes on all kinds of people. Sometimes it is just someone we see momentarily in the street while other times it is someone closer such as a colleague, an employer, or a friend.
As part of the above process, it is generally a good idea to avoid regular contact with this person. If it is someone you do not see often, you can simply avoid running into them when possible. But if it’ is someone who is closely linked to your life, it can be worth thinking about whether certain changes will need to be made. You might need to stop seeing a certain group of friends quite as regularly, for instance, or not putting yourself forward for certain projects at work.

Love, crush, infatuation: Here is the difference
Crushes and infatuation go hand in hand, and are very similar. A crush is defined as a brief but intense infatuation for someone, especially someone inappropriate or unattainable. Infatuation is defined as an intense but short lived passion or admiration for someone or something.
Unlike crushes and states of infatuation, love truly sees and accepts their object of affection. Love desires a deep connection, while infatuation craves physical interactions. Signs of crushes and infatuation include:

Feelings come on fast
Infatuation hits with an out of this world intensity. You saw them and you knew you had to have them. Love at first sight, so to speak. The feelings did not grow and develop over time, which is what happens with love, they were almost instantaneous.
Short lived
Crushes come and go pretty quickly, usually in a matter of months. Love stays, whether the relationship works or not, the feelings are always there to some degree.

Sees perfection
With crushes and infatuation it is more about the idea of the person, than the person themselves. Maybe you think you would look great together as a couple, or one or both of you have a certain status in the community or a high income. The mind creates and envisions the perfect life together, and the happily ever after with Prince Charming.

Irrational behaviour
Crushes can lead to stalking, intense jealously, and obsessive behaviour. Sometimes the intense feelings of crushes can also cause risky behaviour, and irrational thinking.

Based on attraction
Crushes are often based strictly on physical attributes since you really do not know the “real” person, and there is nothing else to go except what you created in your head. The infatuation begins because you find them beautiful, and strongly desire them. Usually the crush is someone who is out of reach for you.
Signs of love on the other hand include:

Feelings last
With love, feelings may not last forever, but they do last a while, whether you stay in a relationship or not. Love does not go away after a couple of months, or because you realise they are flawed.
When we truly love someone, we see their flaws, and we accept them. Maybe he is a little short, or she is a little chubby, but if you are in love you do not care.

Open and honest
Love is willing to go deep. Love is open and honest. Love wants to share their hope, dreams, and fears, and hear about yours.

Only eyes for them
Love only has eyes for you. If the eyes wander, then you are not in love. Love is not blind to other’s beauty, but love’s eyes follow their heart.

Their happiness is important
We are willing to sacrifice for those we love and put their wants and needs before our own. Love is willing to be inconvenienced, bored, and patient for the one who means the most.

Seeing their face, or hearing their voice can turn your whole day around, and instantly improve your mood. That is a true telltale of being in love.
The initial feelings of crush and falling in love are very similar. The rush of euphoria happens in both cases. The butterflies, and the feelings of pure joy at the sight of them happens in both cases. But with love, there are thoughts of a future together, and realistic expectations of each other.