Relationships
Developing a crush is tricky when you're already dating someone else.

If You're In A Relationship But Like Someone Else, Here's What To Do

You don’t have to act on every crush.

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It's perfectly natural for human beings to develop crushes. I mean, if you ask me, having a crush is one of the best parts of the human experience. That's why it's always seemed so silly to me that we're expected to suddenly stop developing crushes on other people as soon as we enter relationships. I mean, what happens if you're in a relationship but like someone else? Does it automatically make you a bad person? Of course not. Does it make you a cheater? Well, that depends on how you act on it and what sort of relationship you're in.

Hopefully, your partner is the main person you're interested in, but it's perfectly fine to think, "Hmm, maybe I'd be into that person if I were single," every once in a while. It's human nature! According to Dr. Martha Lee, clinical sexologist and author of Love, Sex and Everything In-Between and Orgasmic Yoga, it’s not necessarily bad thing if you love your partner but have a crush on someone else. “It's common and normal to admire, be attracted to, and pine for people who are beautiful, smart, wonderful, amazing, confident, or rich," she previously told Elite Daily. However, in order to deal with a crush, it’s important to figure out the source of your attraction to that other person.

If Your Crush Isn’t Romantic Or Sexual
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Even if someone new has caught your eye, it’s possible you don’t actually want to hook up with them. "It's useful to ask yourself what this attraction is really about," said Dr. Lee. "Maybe you admire how confident this person is and what you really long for is to be more confident. Often we project onto others what we would like to be. We see in others what we lack or need working on, which feeds the desire to be with or around them." It’s even more likely that this is the case if you’re happy with your current partner.

As dating coach and dating app expert Meredith Golden previously pointed out to Elite Daily, it’s also possible that new person has your interest because you’re taken, not because you’re hoping to date someone new. "There’s a psychological component to wanting what we can’t have," she said. "The more unavailable someone is, the more attractive they appear." Just because someone appears attractive to you doesn’t mean your attraction is actually romantic or sexual.

If You Think You Could Be Happier With Your Crush

Having a crush while you’re in a relationship is a little more complicated if you’re unhappy with your current partner. Of course, just because you've fallen for someone else doesn't automatically mean you should end things with your partner. According to licensed clinical psychotherapist and relationship expert LeslieBeth Wish, you should break up with your significant other, "only if you already believed that your partner is not the best match for you" prior to falling for someone else. "Falling in love with someone else when you are in an intimate relationship can be like eating dessert first and then assuming that the main meal was equally as good," she added.

It’s also worth pointing out that, if you’re in a long-term relationship but have feelings for someone else, then your relationship might not be on very good terms to begin with. "I think that the fact the you even had the opportunity to fall for someone else says a lot about your investment in your current relationship," Trina Leckie, Breakup BOOST podcast host, previously told Elite Daily. "If you are really happy and satisfied with your current partner, there would be no need to be looking elsewhere… and frankly, you wouldn’t want to risk losing what you have."

Ultimately, it's up to you to decide if you genuinely think you want to give a relationship with this your crush, but Dr. Lee warned against making a final decision based on attraction, especially if it's just sexual. "Contrary to what a lot of people seem to think, not all attraction is meant to be acted upon or even beneficial," she said. When you're crushing on someone, you're likely just playing up their good qualities, especially if you compare them to qualities your current partner is lacking.

If You’re Not Sure Whether To Tell Your Partner
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Once you've analyzed the source of your crush and whether you're truly happy in your current relationship, you might be wondering if telling your SO is a good idea. While every relationship is different, as long as you haven't cheated, then Dr. Lee thinks it’s OK to keep your crush to yourself. "As long as you don't do anything outside or beyond your relationship boundaries, it's OK not to share those feelings for a while, especially if you know that your SO might not be able to handle it in a mature way," she said. "In short, if it's not beneficial to your relationship, it might be better not to discuss your attraction until you have come to a resolution for yourself."

However, if you do feel compelled to express your feelings to your partner, it's important to give them time and space to process. "Expressing your feelings is not the same as acting on them," Pricilla Martinez, CEO of Regroop Online Life Coaching, previously told Elite Daily. "You can share how you feel with someone and then let them do what they will with that information." And of course, if you decide to act upon a crush, that’s a conversation you’ll want to have with your SO before doing so.

If you think a crush is more than a crush, then it’s up to you to decide how to handle.

Sources:

Meredith Golden, dating coach and dating app expert

Dr. Martha Lee, clinical sexologist and author of Love, Sex and Everything In-Between and Orgasmic Yoga

LeslieBeth Wish, licensed clinical psychotherapist and relationship expert

Trina Leckie, Breakup BOOST podcast host

Pricilla Martinez, CEO of Regroop Online Life Coaching

Editor's Note: This story has been updated by Elite Daily Staff.