Realizing that your crush is seeing someone else feels like finally saving up for your dream pair of leather boots only to discover that they've sold out in your size. Though, in a perfect world, you could instantly turn your feelings "off" with a flip of a switch, knowing what to do when you like someone who’s not single isn't always so simple.
While it may feel sexy or even thrilling to like someone that's in a relationship, Pricilla Martinez, CEO of Regroop Online Life Coaching shares the importance of taking a second to check in with yourself about what's actually happening. "Instead of feeling like you're winning some sort of prize, it's a good idea to ask yourself why they would be willing to lie or cheat on someone they care about," Martinez says. "It says a lot about their ability to continue a relationship while they shop for the next one."
Let's be real: Having your crush flirt back with you can be electrifying. Though playful teasing and texting all day can be fun, if your crush is in a monogamous relationship with someone and secretly flirting with you on the side, Martinez shares you may want to take a moment to consider their character. Everyone deserves to be with a partner that's honest and transparent, including you and your crush's current partner.
Though you may love the way your crush plays guitar or totally swoon over how good they are with their nieces, dating coach and dating app expert Meredith Golden shares that you might only be falling for your crush because they're taken. "There’s a psychological component to wanting what we can’t have," Golden tells Elite Daily. "The more unavailable someone is, the more attractive they appear."
While it may be hard to pin down exactly why you have feelings for someone, try to picture yourself actually dating them. Do you like them because they're an amazing person? Or you do you feel drawn to them because you know you can't actually "have" them?
"People like a challenge," Breakup BOOST podcast host Trina Leckie tells Elite Daily. "People may also perceive someone already taken to be a higher value (not that it’s true)."
As Golden attests, having a crush on someone who's not single means there's less of chance that you'll actually start dating this person. While it may be painful to see them on romantic dates and cute weekend trips with someone else, you're not putting yourself out there as much as you would be when flirting with someone that was single. "Liking someone who is unavailable is safe, meaning, it’s typically not going to advance," Golden says. "[It's] all the fun of being interested in someone minus having to worry about an emotional rollercoaster." Rather than getting involved in a messy love-triangle or risking making someone uncomfortable, Golden expresses that you may want to wait it out and see if your crush passes. Because there's less of a chance that you and your crush will end up together, you may be surprised how quickly your feelings pass.
Of course, if your crush expresses that they have feelings for you, Golden says it's time to talk. "If this person approaches you that they have a crush on you, this warrants a conversation," Golden says.
Though it's not always possible to control how you feel, Martinez echoes the importance of being mindful of how you act on your emotions. "Be prepared for the consequences of letting them know how you feel," Martinez says. "If it's someone you've known for a while, you could be ruining the relationship you've already established with them."
As Martinez shares, if you feel compelled to express your feelings to your crush, it's important to give them time and space to process. "Expressing your feelings is not the same as acting on them," Martinez says. "You can share how you feel with someone and then let them do what they will with that information."
Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin MS, LCPC, Certified Imago Therapist, and co-founder of The Marriage Restoration Project, agrees that you can acknowledge and affirm your feelings for someone that's in a relationship without actively trying to end their relationship. "One can validate one's feelings by acknowledging them and also realize that it is not possible to act on those feelings at this time," Rabbi Slatkin tells Elite Daily. Whether you tell your besties about your feelings or journal about where your head is at, acknowledging your crush may help you understand how to best move on.
Though you may want to scream about your crush from the rooftops Monica Geller-style, if you're starting to have feelings for someone who is already in a relationship, it's essential to take a moment to really think about your next steps. While you may be swooning, it's imperative to respect their commitment and be considerate of their boundaries. You deserve to be with someone who is ready and willing to be with you — right now.
Pricilla Martinez, CEO of Regroop Online Life Coaching
Meredith Golden, dating coach and dating app expert
Trina Leckie, Breakup BOOST podcast host