Being in a loving relationship can come with so many positive benefits. However, even if you're in a solid partnership, this doesn't necessarily mean that you'll never be attracted to someone other than your partner. If you're in a relationship and crushing on someone else, it's all too easy to wonder if you're actually with the right person. Fortunately, what you're experiencing is way more common than you might think. According to Dr. Martha Lee, clinical sexologist and author of Love, Sex and Everything In-Between and Orgasmic Yoga, it's normal to have crushes outside of a relationship.
"It's common and normal to admire, be attracted to, and pine for people who are beautiful, smart, wonderful, amazing, confident, or rich," Dr. Lee tells Elite Daily. "We might want what we don't have and think we'll be happier or better off with them as a lover, spouse, or friend." You can be in the happiest relationship ever, but that's not going to change the fact that even the best partners aren't perfect. Naturally, if you connect with someone who has qualities that you or your current partner lack, this could fuel a deep infatuation. That's why identifying the source of your attraction to this person is key, explains Dr. Lee.
"It's useful to ask yourself what this attraction is really about," says 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." However, if you're not happy in your current relationship and you think you've met someone who's a better match for you, then this might be a bit more difficult to cope with. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide if you genuinely think you want to give a relationship with this new person a shot, but Dr. Lee warns 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," explains Dr. Lee. "Besides being sexual beings, we are also mental, physical, emotional beings." Part of picking a good partner is assessing them as a whole. When you're crushing on someone, you're likely just playing up their good qualities because you haven't experienced their less desirable attributes.
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 (however you and your partner have defined that), then it's OK to keep your attraction 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," says Dr. Lee. "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."
Although it's easy to feel guilty for crushing on someone else when you're already in a relationship, we're all human. Developing connections is a beautiful part of being alive, even if you decide not to pursue all of them. Eventually, your feelings for a crush will pass, and if they don't, then this is also helpful information to have that might help in deciding how (and if) you want to move forward. In the end, it might take some time to work through any confusion you're feeling. That's totally OK.