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Should Married People Have Crushes?

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SPECIAL FROM BetterAfter50

I’m married –- going on 21 years in fact –- but have a crush on my cute, younger-than-me-still-has-hair allergist. And yes, my husband knows. He has a crush on Amy Adams. So, do I care? And are either of us in the wrong? (Answers in a minute.)

Let me say up front that I have not acted on my crush -– except for some innocent flirting -– and have no intention of acting on my crush. I just like having one, and knowing that going for my regular allergy shots can often put an extra skip in my step. It should also be noted that Dr. S is married -– 14 years in fact. We talk about our kids. We talk about our lives. We banter. We joke. He puts a huge needle in my arm. I leave. It’s innocent. It’s harmless. (Though I’ll admit I never go to his office without makeup.)

As for my husband, his infatuation is purely an “onscreen” romance, meaning he’s never met Amy Adams, will probably never meet Amy Adams and simply catches views of his lovelorn on the big (or little) screen. He also admits to crushes on Diane Lane, Anne Hathaway, Laura Linney and Julianne Moore.

Normal? Yes. As long as you a) keep it in the “fantasy” mode -– meaning you don’t do anything other than giggle with your girlfriends over a cold margarita and b) if you tell your husband about it. At least that’s what the experts say, though truth be told, I didn’t need to ask them because when I talked to my girlfriends they all said the same thing. “Helloooo??? For sure! We may be married but we’re not dead!” (Or some variation of yes, we’ve had crushes), though -– interesting point to note: Tina Tessina, aka “Dr Romance” and author of Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage says crushes tend to be most common among stressed young mothers “or women for whom life has become routine.”

For some, it’s about talking to the handsome football hero from high school that never gave you the time of day (now, however, he’s the dad of your daughter’s friend so you have reason to chat on the baseball field sidelines) or simply basking in the undivided attention we no longer get at home (how many of us really look at our husbands in the morning before rushing to make breakfasts, drive carpools, gulp a cup of coffee?) Or, they could be those “silent types” you see everyday filling your latte cup or delivering your mail.

Paula Holt who blogs at Marital Musings thinks it’s best to not know your crush well or have regular contact with said fascination (think the UPS delivery man, not the guy who sits in the next cubicle). She admits she has a crush on her father’s young, successful, athletic neighbor. “Well, had a crush might be more accurate,” she clarifies. “I think the fact that he rarely said more than ‘hello’ has something to do with me getting over him.”

Paula says the “ideal crush connection” should be a direct relationship between the quality of your marriage and the intensity of the crush. “The higher your marital satisfaction, the more you can blush and giggle when you see the object of your affection,” she says. “If you’re having marital problems you should barely notice when he is in the room.” (I like that she admits giving this issue serious thought while sitting in her car outside her dad’s house hoping the object of her affection would walk outside.)

It also helps if the crush is not a secret. I’m quiet as a church mouse when my husband and I go to movies that feature his “girlfriends,” and rarely say an unkind word about them even when critics at The New York Times (his bible) give them a bad review. Mark, on the other hand, puts up with my weekly visits to Dr S (mostly because I’m allergic to our dog who is his BFF), even when I tell him that in “another life” I could be living on easy street as the wife of a successful doctor (meaning not working, traveling to exotic locales and dripping with diamonds and pearls. Hey it’s my fantasy).

Paula’s in the same boat as me. She says her husband was prone to “laughing fits” when he’d see her flash her best smile at her father’s neighbor. “My husband was clearly was not threatened by my very one-sided relationship.”

Have a “married crush?” Tell us about it. Or start the discussion: Should married people have crushes?

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