Extra marital attraction is common. Often in marriages, there can be a lull in passion or both partners get very comfortable with each other as the years go by. As a counsellor, I have observed that during such phases of marriage, when the connection with spouse is at its lowest, you are most likely to be vulnerable and get attracted to another “potential mate”.
Is it normal to have a crush or get attracted? Actually, it is quite common to have a crush or get attracted to another person if your needs are not being met in your marriage, or if you have an inattentive spouse, or if you happen to be a die-hard romantic and fall easily in love with people. Feeling an attraction outside the marriage is quite common but why do you feel the attraction is the question you need to ask yourself.
It’s when you get comfortable extra marital attraction begins
This is the story of Asha. She was happily married but it all began when she started feeling attracted to someone else.
I find my colleague hot
Asha, a happily married working woman, was quite distressed, as she felt she was being disloyal to her spouse. “I love my husband but I am attracted to someone else,” was what she said. Asha was friendly with all her colleagues but she was quite friendly with a male colleague. She stated that she found him “hot” and felt he was interested in her and that he often “flirted” with her over computer chats and complimented her. All the attention that her spouse did not give her. She had started looking forward to meeting this person in office, taking good care on how she dressed, looking for opportunities to talk to him or have office group lunches, etc.
Asha was very clear that she was very committed to her marriage and that they were planning to have a child in the near future so she was in a dilemma on how she could care for her spouse and yet feel attracted to another man.
She was afraid that it either meant her marriage was in trouble or that she was going to have a potential affair with her colleague.
Asha seemed quite distressed and felt she had encouraged another man to think otherwise. Can you feel deeply attracted to someone else if you are happily married? This was a question she kept asking herself.
He made her feel good
As human beings, we all crave to be liked, appreciated, given attention to and made to feel special. When you are made to feel “good” about yourself, it is but natural to view the person positively and start having feelings towards the person. Sometimes the person you have a crush on may look like your favourite actor, or it may simply be the case of the “the other side looking greener”. That is the beginning of extra marital attraction.
Simran, though married with a child, would daily chat with her cousin and would often go and visit her cousin’s house and spend hours with him and his family. This would create friction between Simran and her husband. Simran felt she was being unnecessarily blamed even though it was an innocent relationship. Simran was clearly in denial about the situation.
So a “crush” or attraction to another person can “interfere” in one’s marriage if it is not dealt with in a mature manner. Another client, Sonali, felt “bereft” from her husband’s attention and felt that she may have “flings” in the absence of attention from him.
Sit down and talk to your partner about change
In such situations, women do feel guilty about having feelings and feel they are emotionally cheating on their spouses. They feel guilty that they are married but still attracted to someone else. If you are in a similar situation, I would strongly advise to talk to your spouse on certain changes you would like in your marriage. Dealing with extra marital attraction beforehand is better than regretting later. These could include going for dates or spending a weekend holiday, or joining a hobby or dance class together to start getting fun back into the marriage.
If your husband is reluctant to change or genuinely has time constraints, then try to set up some “couple rituals”, like having tea or dinner together or going for after-dinner walks or simply going for “coffee dates” or a drive together. Couples who spend too much time apart tend to drift over time. Hence having even one activity together once a week is a good beginning point. This might prevent you from feeling attracted to someone else. You won’t have to deal with the guilt of being married but attracted to someone else.
In addition, it is important to acknowledge that you are having a “crush”. However, like any relationship, crushes die out over time if you don’t attend to it actively. If you find you are spending too much time with the person you are having a crush on, start maintaining boundaries, keep a distance, start maintaining minimal interaction and avoid over-familiarity and sending mixed signals.
If you are committed to your marriage, write down the positives and the cons if you were to “mess” up the marriage in any way. As yourself why are you feeling attracted to another person? What can you do about it? Consider feeling attracted to another person as a “wake-up call” to start being attentive to your marriage. Hopefully, you will soon have a “crush” on your life partner again. There’s no need to feel guilty about your extra marital attraction as long you can work on the feeling and get over it.