Something I've been thinking about a lot lately is the idea of crushes and what they mean in terms of a marriage.
I realized recently that I had confusing feelings about a woman I met and have come to know fairly well and still see on a regular basis. I found myself really attracted to her, and not just in a physical, wow is she beautiful way, though there is that too. I didn't know what it all meant - how could I feel this way, when my feelings about Cheryl hadn't changed at all. My uber-attraction and dedication and interest hasn't diminished even a tiny bit.
But the feelings I was feeling toward this other un-named woman...well she is named, but I won't name her here :-) ..., which I'm very hesitant to admit, or certainly to publish, were significant enough, that I felt like I had to talk with someone about it all. So I went to the one person I have the most respect for, especially in terms of love and relationships and marriage, knowing that person would give me wise counsel. And I was right, she did. And that person is Cheryl.
I debated whether to say anything, but finally did, telling her semi-casually in the kitchen one evening that there was something I wanted to ask her about that might make her uncomfortable, but hopefully, she'd come to realize that my bringing it to her was a good thing and not as scary it might at first seem. Intrigued, she gave her version of President Obama's Please proceed, Governor.
I asked her if she thought it were possible for a person who is totally in love with his or her partner, to still develop a huge giddy, crush on someone else. I had barely completed the question, in fact, I'm not sure I ever did, when she said quite firmly, Oh yeah, definitely. And I went on to tell her again that she had nothing to worry about and I had no intention or interest in being unfaithful to her and in fact, it had happened at least once before as well, but over time, though I still admire and like the other woman very much, the crush dissipated, as I'm sure this one will in the same way as well. But it was important to me that she could agree that the very fact that I was bringing it to her would make clear that this woman was in no way a threat to our marriage...and I think she agreed.
Well, needless to say, she was curious to know who the person was, to which I told her that I'd be willing to tell her, but was she sure she wanted to know? She said she wasn't really sure, and as I was replying, she blurted out a guess at the woman's name and of course, knowing me and my tastes, guessed correctly on the very first try. She said it was a pretty easy guess. And soon thereafter, I told her the previous woman's name as well, and she said she wasn't surprised by her either.
Anyway, one of the things it made me realize, seeing the impact these feelings had on me, who is in a very stable relationship, is that I can see where something like this would be even more difficult and confusing for someone who is much younger than me, who is in a less secure relationship, who sees the person more frequently than I do, or who is themselves not married, when the other person is. How tortuous that would be!
Oh right, that did happen to me once...and I ended up marrying her! Hmmm. So there is that.
So that conversation was a month or more ago and, and nothing has changed. It did for awhile after I told Cheryl. In fact, I think telling her made me lose some of my feelings, interestingly, but they kind of ebb and flow now, but there is also no change in my interests in doing anything I'd later regret. One thing I've realized too, is that as fun a feeling as this crush is, it doesn't compare to the way I felt when Cheryl and I started falling in love with each other.
As for Cheryl, not surprisingly, she's amazing in how she's dealt with it. She is mostly amused by it, I think, referring to the woman with a laugh as "your girlfriend", but is also probably a little confused herself, which I feel terrible about. I have to admit, I now wish I'd never brought it up, since it makes it a bigger deal than it actually is. Regardless, her handling it with humor makes me love and appreciate her all the more.