Crushing and Dating: Mutually Exclusive?

FlirtingIf you’re a dedicated crusher, does that mean you can’t date?

If you’re dating (either one person or many), does that mean you shouldn’t be crushing?

The answer to both of those questions is “No!”

Just because you don’t need to be in a relationship–because you’re comfortable with yourself or because you’re actively going against the societal pressure–is no reason to not get into one when the right opportunity presents itself.

And if you are in a relationship, or pursuing multiple dating prospects, there’s still a lot to be learned from the crushes you have.

But I Don’t Do That!

Look, just because you’re a confirmed bachelor or single girl who “never” feels the need for a relationship doesn’t mean that something extraordinary isn’t going to come up every now and then.

Chances are, if you’ve been living a crush-filled life you’re eventually going to stumble upon a situation where it turns into more than just a crush. If you choose to not recognize that, you’re missing out on a few things.

First, doing or not doing something because it’s outside of your normal pattern of behavior limits your growth as a person. And if you’re a crusher and trying to work things in a grown up crush manner (to better yourself), you should be open to expanding your horizons when the chance and motivation present themselves.

Second, if you “never feel that way” about anyone, and you don’t act on it when “never” becomes “now”, you may miss out on that near-mythical love of your life. Or, at least, a chance to put to practical use the things you’ve been learning about yourself via your crushes.

Third, it’s not all about you. It’s been my experience that when opportunities with other people present themselves–regardless of what those opportunities are–both parties usually come away richer for having taken the chance and participated.

If you’re feeling drawn to someone in a romantic way that goes beyond just your normal crushing, take the chance. You will, without doubt, learn something new, have some fantastic experiences, and, perhaps, chance someone else’s life as much as you change your own.

Redeeming a Wandering Eye

When you’re in a relationship, crushing can be problematic.

It can cause you confusion and hurt and confuse your partner. It can look an awful lot like a prelude to cheating. It can lead to you losing focus on the relationship you’re in as you daydream about your crush. In a worst case scenario, it can turn into an obsessive crush that drags your existing relationship down and leaves you single (and still obsessed).

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The key to avoiding problems if you start having crushes on others while being involved with someone is honest communication. That honest communications, of course, starts internally, just like with any grown up crush.

Try to figure out why the crush has presented itself. Chances are, it’s connected to something that’s going on–or not going on–in the relationship you’re involved in. Finding yourself attracted to the brainy girl down the hall? Ask yourself if you’re getting enough intellectual stimulation from your interactions with your girlfriend. Fantasizing about the cop on the corner? Maybe you’re not feeling your man has an exciting enough lifestyle. Or maybe you feel that you’re the one not meeting the wants and needs of your significant other.

As is always the case, the key to making a crush work in a positive way is to dig down and be honest with yourself about what it is that’s actually drawing you into the crush. Thing is, if you’re already in a relationship, there’s someone else that needs to be involved in that discovery. Your significant other.

Regardless of how fear-inducing it may be, if you find yourself crushing on others when you’re already in a relationship, you need to talk about it. Why? Because you’re not as subtle about that crush as you think you are. Your significant other will notice something is up. Even if they can’t put words to it, they’ll have an uneasy feeling and that can quickly turn into a suspicion and that into some real relationship problems.

But if you can openly and honestly talk it out you may discover some things about yourself, your partner, and your relationship. It may turn out that he or she has been feeling the same way. Then you can both work it out, if it makes sense to do so. Maybe by explaining what you can about your crush, you can put them at ease. Maybe it will save a troubled relationship (or, at least, open the door to saving it–communication about one topic has a way of spilling over into others). As long as the communication is open, honest, and bi-directional (meaning you have to listen, too), positive growth can happen.

Heck, maybe your girlfriend hasn’t been talking about all the interesting science articles she’s been reading because she was afraid they would bore you. Or maybe your man hasn’t told you about his desire to go on one of those high-adventure vacations because he thought you wouldn’t be interested. Maybe talking about that crush will open the door to something completely new for you and your partner.

Sometimes, the eye wanders for a reason. We don’t have to be a slave to it or a victim of the problems it can cause.

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