My fiancé and I sometimes play a little game when we go out together — we point out all the people of both sexes we think are attractive. While some of our couple friends have been thrown off by this behavior, we explain that we’re simply coming clean about a natural, human inclination. We’re occasionally attracted to people who aren’t our significant others.
I hate to be definitive about this, but anyone who claims otherwise is probably lying to themselves. No matter how advanced and intelligent we become as a species, our inner animal instincts still exist, and pretending they don’t just puts unnecessary stress on us and our relationships.
Thankfully, science backs this opinion of mine. A new study performed by researchers at Columbia University, Indiana University and the University of Kentucky-Lexington shows that most people in relationships have or have had crushes on people who aren’t their significant other. What’s more, this majority believes the crushes actually improve their bond as a couple.
They performed an anonymous survey over the Internet of 160 women on a wide age spectrum and found that over 70 percent reported they had some experience with crushes while in a relationship. These women also said the crushes had no negative impact whatsoever on their relationships, and in fact, often helped improve intimacy between them and their significant others.
However, that being said, most of them admitted they kept these crushes secret from their partners. While that may sound devious, or like they felt like they were wrong to have them, the secrecy is thought to be a big part of why the crushes increased their desire for their sig-os. Having a little secret that’s mostly innocent is sexy, because it adds that little bit of drama to a relationship that may have gotten a bit routine.
We’re always talking about ways to spice up our relationships, so why shouldn’t a crush or two fall into that category? Scientists confirmed that we’re basically hardwired to have them no matter how monogamous we claim to be, so why deny ourselves the natural tendency? If you choose to act on it, and you’re in a committed relationship with one person, well, that’s a different story. But as long as you keep your distance (for the most part — what harm does chatting at the water cooler do, anyway?), you should consider your behavior totally acceptable.
That being said, a crush can absolutely develop into something more if you let it. In fact, sometimes getting flirty with someone you consider your friend can become a dangerous gray area that could lead to cheating, especially if you’re feeling unfulfilled in your current relationship. Just remember, a regular, harmless crush usually lasts about four months. If it’s rounding on eight, and you find yourself thinking about them more than your partner, it might be time to reevaluate your current relationship.