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Should I stop sexually fantasizing about my coworker?
October 21, 2010 6:06 AM   Subscribe

I'm married and I have a crush on a married coworker. Should I stop sexually fantasizing about him?

I am a happily married woman. My husband and I have sex regularly. I have no interest in cheating on my husband or damaging my marriage.

However, I work with this man at the office that I find extremely attractive. We work closely together on a daily basis. There is some chemistry there - the goofy smiles, standing a little too close in personal space, etc and it appears to me to be mutual. I have fantasized now quite a few times what it would be like to be with this man.

I realize that I could be playing with fire. For my part, I make sure that I initiate conversations only for work reasons. I don't have lunch or coffee with him, and I don't see him socially. I have also never told anybody about this crush (until now).

However, I don't want to stop fantasizing about him - it adds colour to an otherwise colourless workday, makes me horny which is improving sex with husband, etc. I am just concerned about this becoming a slippery slope which inevitably leads to emotional or physical affair.

Is this sort of private sexual fantasy kosher in a marriage? Am I tempting marital ruin? Should I be training my mind away from such thoughts or continue to allow myself to indulge?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (46 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Is this sort of private sexual fantasy kosher in a marriage?

There's no rulebook for this stuff. The real question is: is it kosher in your marriage?

That said, it's certainly kosher in my marriage and I would argue that it needs to be kosher in any healthy marriage. Many married couples engage in an active fantasy life together. You know your husband better than us, but let me assure you that there are plenty of marriages out there where the husband would love to hear you tell him all about this fantasy. It's no secret that fantasies improve the passion in a relationship (as you have already figured out).

Of course, there are also plenty of men who don't want to think of their wives as ever having a sexual thought about a person other than them. If this is your husband, then it's a little bit trickier, but I firmly believe that your fantasy life is your own. You aren't obliged to tell him about it and you don't need to feel guilty about it. You're capable of harboring this fantasy and still loving and wanting to fuck your husband, right?

And finally: don't lie to yourself about anything "inevitably lead[ing] to emotional or physical affair." With that sentence you're already diverting responsibility, acting like you have no control over yourself. Nothing inevitably leads to you doing anything. If you don't want to have an affair, don't have an affair. And if you do end up having an affair, it was your own decision, not some inexorable result of your masturbation fantasies.
posted by 256 at 6:18 AM on October 21, 2010 [24 favorites]


If I were your husband, I'd rather not have sex with you than know that you're getting horny for me by fantasizing about your coworker.

Don't twist this to where you believe that it's beneficial to your husband. I'd venture to say he'd disagree.
posted by litnerd at 6:20 AM on October 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


Seconding litnerd. Turn this around and think how you'd react if your hubby mentioned that Betty looked nice today, or if you notice him looking at other women when you're at the mall for example.
You said you don't want to stop thinking about it, and that means you are rationalizing your behavior right now and will escalate your rationalizations further until a little oral action is "ok" because Clinton did it.
Also consider that your co-workers ain't dumb and are noticing this, and word WILL get back to hubby as soon as someone who doesn't like you gets the nerve up.
tl;dr: workplace flirting/romances poison everything.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 6:29 AM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


"I realize that I could be playing with fire. "


I think that the fact you asked this question and the statement above indicate that you know what you feel is kosher for your marriage.
posted by MeiraV at 6:33 AM on October 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


You are confusing thoughts and actions.

You can always have whatever thoughts you like. You can make up whatever fantasies you want, that include anyone you want.

But flirting with a coworker at work is inappropriate. And about "tempting marital ruin", read 256's answer again.
posted by fritley at 6:36 AM on October 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


I think your ok as long as you keep the boundaries you currently have. If those start to slip, youre asking for trouble.
posted by PFL at 6:36 AM on October 21, 2010


Fantasizing is normal in a healthy relationship. Some couples like to discuss their fantasies, others do not.

The flirtations however, may or may not be OK depending on how your husband would feel about them. I think you are right to be cautious about the amount of time you spend with this guy. My advice would be never put yourself in a situation where you would be tempted to act on your fantasies.
posted by Silvertree at 6:39 AM on October 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


On fantasizing: Whatever. You own what goes on it your own head and as long as you draw a line between in your head and in actions, you're fine. I assume my husband fantasizes about other people/hot strangers/whatever at times -- I don't want to hear about it, but it's not dangerous.

On flirting: Only you're in control of your actions. The biggest danger here is that you can't ask/tell your coworker, "This is only platonic flirting, OK?" Who knows if he thinks you're leading up to something (which will end in conflict) or if it's truly mutual (I had a previous colleague who was doing a lot of one-way flirting, making another coworker uncomfortable. When HR approached her, she was totally convinced it was mutual. She found a new job out of embarrassment and the office gossips had a field day).

On cheating: Luckily your hormones are not a remote control that turn you into a puppet. If you don't really want to cheat, you won't. Make sure to not spin into a romantic drama in your head that justifies something like it unless you're willing to deal with the fallout personally and professionally.
posted by Gucky at 6:43 AM on October 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


If I were your husband, I'd rather not have sex with you than know that you're getting horny for me by fantasizing about your coworker

I'm the exact opposite.

Fantasies are totally kosher in a marriage. Acting on them maybe not so much. I can't say if your crush on your coworker will ruin your marriage, but it wouldn't bother mine. I know I'm not the ZOMG ONE AND ONLY FOREVAH AND EVAH; lots of other people are going to push the right buttons for her and that's just fine.

That said, some behaviors are out of line, but that's going to be between you and your spouse.

As for whether you keep indulging yourself: that is up to you. In my experience, the best way to get over a crush is to spend more time with the person not less - eventually, they'll say or do something that spoils the fantasy and reality will come crashing back in. YMMV of course.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:44 AM on October 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'd venture to say fantasies may PREVENT some affairs. Nothing makes something more appealing than making it TOTALLY FORBIDDEN, EVEN IN YOUR OWN HEAD.

Also: sexually speaking, one familiar person and their familiar body will not always be all you need to get turned on. It's biology, dang it! I don't expect my male partner to seek mental stimulation ONLY from me, and I'm pretty sure he feels likewise. Totally normal and healthy.
posted by julthumbscrew at 6:52 AM on October 21, 2010


Try going out to dinner with you and your husband and him and his wife, if that's something you can do as work colleagues (or get a table together at a work-related spouses-attending event. Or something). Nothing kills married-people flirtations faster than meeting the typically-charming spouse of the crush and seeing the crush interact with YOUR charming spouse.

Some of the thrill is in the "secretness" of it, that only you know this guy, that it's separate and apart from your marriage. If you meet his wife, you'll probably be much less likely to cross the line into affair territory because now there's a face on the person you'd be hurting. And if he meets your husband, he won't feel so secret and some of the thrill will be gone.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:07 AM on October 21, 2010 [10 favorites]


(BTW, if I were your spouse, I wouldn't really care about the fantasies, but I'd be pretty pissed about the flirtation.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:08 AM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Having someone at the office that excites you does keep things interesting. It's like being in high school all over again when you learned the rules of engagement as you came up with them.

If anything, it may prompt you to dress better for work, pay more attention to certain details which your both your fantasy man and boss take note of and in general, enjoy work more.

I was in this situation too and I found it to be quite the breath of fresh air in the office (although I am single so that changes a few things).

It sounds like you seem to know what you are doing. Granted, as time wears on I have a feeling that you will either start to like him more or less and less for whatever reasons, but as long as it is harmless fun, I say stick with it.
posted by darkgroove at 7:10 AM on October 21, 2010


Should I be training my mind away from such thoughts or continue to allow myself to indulge?

Both. Allow yourself to indulge in your private sexual fantasy, but don't allow your mind to run wild. You need to be the master of your mind at all times. Train your thoughts away from him more often than not, and keep transferring that extra sexual energy to your relationship. Watch your behavior too. Subtle things like flirty smiles and standing a little too close seem harmless, but think about how you would feel if you saw your husband acting like that with another woman. This fantasy is supposed to be private -- not shared between you and the object of your fantasy. If you feel like flirting with your crush at work, resist the urge, then go home and flirt like mad with your husband.
posted by spinto at 7:28 AM on October 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


In and of itself I'd say it's ok to fantasise about people who are not your significant other. But when you start using fantasies of other men to spice up your sex life it's time to evaluate your relationship. You may not be cheating on your husband right now, but all you lack is opportunity. Stop before it goes too far.
posted by londonmark at 7:44 AM on October 21, 2010


Most of the people in the thread have covered what I'd say about fantasizing: fantasy good, sharing perhaps not great for most people, acting on it NOT GOOD, and be careful about what the boundaries of "acting on it" might be. That last point is probably the most important. (This comment assumes that having an open marriage is not on the table. Different strokes for different folks, but in my experience it's rarely the way to go, particularly when it starts with a fantasy or crush.)

I'd encourage you to think about what's leading you to fantasize. God knows I've had fantasies about any number of people I've known, bidden and unbidden, for no real reasons. But maybe you're craving a kind of intimacy from someone at work, or at least away from your home life. Who wouldn't? Intimacy (in all senses of the word) is fun and exciting and even healthy in many situations.

There's a phenomenon loosely referred to as having a work spouse. It's really tempting to build a close relationship with someone at work that mimics the things that made you comfortable with your husband, particularly when your chemistry adds to your success at work because you communicate and collaborate well. That's one of the points where an emotional affair can build very quietly, particularly because you can fool yourself into thinking that you're only talking about work stuff.

The other issue with having a work spouse (which I don't think you have, but I think this point bears mentioning) is that people are most successful when they are fully integrated. We had a discussion about that in this thread recently. Basically, you shouldn't have to hide any part of your life from any other part of your life, because that creates cognitive dissonance leading to different forms of stress. I think that's a good point to remember, and it seems like you're already aware of that potential.

Are you looking for a conversation partner? Are you looking for someone who understands you? Are you looking for someone who shares your interests? It's really important to find that in someone (NOT a romantic partner) who's not your husband, so you can recharge and bring new ideas into your interactions at home, and so you can have someone with whom you can speak unbidden about things in your home life. But you need to make sure that you remember your commitment to your husband, and that (barring divorce or separation) it's meant to be a lot more permanent than any interactions with people at work.

I think you know all that. Just sayin' :)
posted by Madamina at 7:49 AM on October 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


Do you want this crush to go away? If you do, then you need to stop fantasising.

If you don't (which it seems is the case, "brightens your day", etc), then you need to be absolutely, 100% sure that nothing will ever happen between you and Office Guy. That's easy to say now, when the crush hasn't gotten out of hand, but the more you fantasise about this, the more you feed the monster. And the more you feed it, the bigger it gets. The bigger it gets, the more likely you are to step across that line that you drew with your partner when you married them. Most people in a marriage expect monogamy, so much so that it's very safe to assume it as the default. People get divorced over less than this, but some couples can weather the storm.

Going forward, I'd suggest having a conversation with your husband about your sex lives - nothing heavy, just a "are we on the same page about 'this'?" chat. 'This' can be anything from fantasies, to porn, to extra marital affairs. People change over time, and it might be the case that your husband wants to update the rulebook, so to speak. You can use this chat to feel him out about how he'd feel about something like this. Some partners will be completely OK with it, others won't like it at all and see it as an emotional affair.

That said, fantasies are perfectly normal and healthy. In and of themselves, they're harmless. The problems start when you either a] act on them or b] someone else finds out about them and doesn't like it. If you can handle not acting on it and not telling anyone, then you should be good to go.

It might be worthwhile you considering what you fantasise about with this guy. For example, if you have a fantasy about him coming to your house as a plumber and then having sex with you on the kitchen table, perhaps you could suggest to your husband that he does something like this? Maybe it's the excitement of something new (or whatever) that you enjoy, and you could ask your husband to fulfil this need. It's already bringing you closer together, so perhaps you could use it to bring you even more close? He might have a fantasy of his own that he'd like to try?
posted by Solomon at 8:09 AM on October 21, 2010


"There is some chemistry there - the goofy smiles, standing a little too close in personal space, etc and it appears to me to be mutual."


I get the feeling the rest of this post was written to obfuscate this statement from view, while still allowing you to voice the sentiment out loud.

You are on thin ice here because you are FLIRTING with each other. Other people in your office already KNOW, even though you've "never told anyone about this crush (until now.)"


Sorry to be so blunt. I can't see this attraction leading anywhere harmless given the way you are going about explaining it to yourself or us. This is exactly why you wrote AskMe, correct?


Stop now, find another hobby to make the work day palatable, and enjoy putting energy into your marriage for the sake of your partnership with your husband.


You're welcome.
posted by jbenben at 8:09 AM on October 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


Sexual tension is priceless. It is my own firm but humble opinion that any spouse who would seek to remove the prospect of unfulfilled sexual tension from the life of their significant other is doing them a disservice.

It's a large part of who we are. Lack of conquest is why marriages sometimes turn stale--story arcs and video games have a standard shape for a reason. Some people need that drive in their lives, the unfamiliarity, the mysterious, the intrigue, the stranger. In a perfect world, maybe that wouldn't be true but I don't think "perfect" is a word that really means anything.

Of course each marriage is different. But to me, the emotional statement "What you do that does not affect me hurts me deeply" has always come off as needy and insecure. When I hear "the thought of you (insert activity here) just kills me..." I don't understand. That being said, that's a deeply personal thing with no right answers, you have to decide what you believe is right.
posted by Phyltre at 8:10 AM on October 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


Although not married I've had various crushes / fantasies about work colleagues to spice up the day. But after a few months it just seems to pass normally.

I dont' think its such and issue. go with it. it will fade away after a while.
posted by mary8nne at 8:29 AM on October 21, 2010


You know, sex is a funny old thing. Picture a Venn diagram with circles for "sex", "love", and "monogamy." For some people, the overlap would be total and the three circles would be identical. For some people, there would be almost no overlap. Then, an infinite amount of variation in between. Then, if we were to split this diagram into two sub-diagrams labeled "physical" and "mental" we would experience even more variation. It's impossible to know where you are here and, further, where your husband is. That being said, it's perfectly reasonable to have crushes and/or physical attraction to other people while you are married. We have created an ideal of marriage that, all of a sudden, other sexual human being cease to exist after we take our vows. This is infeasible for a number of biological reasons. However, what you do with those feelings matters a great deal and will be highly dependent on you and your husband. I caution you, however, not to mistake infatuation or sexual attraction for something that jeopardizes the ostensibly loving and committed relationship you have with your husband.
posted by proj at 8:31 AM on October 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


If you don't think your husband does the same thing you are slightly naive.
posted by Pademelon at 9:06 AM on October 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


It really does depend of what's OK in your marriage. I've never had a problem with my partners fantasizing about people but at least one of my partners really didn't like me fantasizing about anyone other than him, and that OK too.

But I agree with jbenben that what you are doing at work is not fantasizing and it is almost certainly obvious to others. It's pretty nonsmart on a number of levels.
posted by BibiRose at 9:08 AM on October 21, 2010


Fantasize away. Your husband has (in his mind) banged the girl behind the counter @ Circle K when he got his coffee, the hot blond in the next car at the stoplight at the corner of First and Main, and the girl on the Axe billboard by the Broadway overpass...all before he has even gotten to work today.
posted by teg4rvn at 9:20 AM on October 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


I tend to think the litmus test is whether you've told your husband about this guy or not, and what you've said. Fantasies and flirting don't always lead to "marital ruin," but secrets- especially those that keep adding up over time- sure as hell do.
posted by questionsandanchors at 9:22 AM on October 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Regardless of whether you could hurt your spouse or this other person by indulging in fantasy, you could also hurt yourself by inadvertently breaking your heart over a fantasy. You are feeding your crush to the extent that it made you uncomfortable enough to post this question. Crushes are normal, and you should learn how to cope with them.

I agree with many of the comments here, and I also want to suggest that you talk over fantasies and crushes with your spouse. If this is too much for you to handle during this current crush, then maybe wait until it fades enough that things have calmed down enough for you. I'm not sure if this part is good advice, someone who has more experience can probably say.
posted by bleary at 9:31 AM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fantasies are totally kosher in a marriage.

Speak for yourself.

Maybe I'd be OK if I knew my husband fantasizes about some beautiful stranger that walked by, or maybe someone from TV, but I'd be pretty pissed off if he were fantasizing about someone he works with every day. Totally unacceptable in my marriage.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 10:02 AM on October 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


As CrazyLemonade said, I think there's a definite distinction to be made between spending a few seconds imagining banging some random chick/guy you pass on the sidewalk, on a billboard, or an ad on TV, versus fantasizing about banging someone you're flirting with at work and spending a tremendous amount of your waking hours with.

For this reason I think that teg4rvn's comparison is not a fair one at all. I'd be pretty upset to learn about this if you were my wife.

I think it's pretty dangerous territory, especially coupled with your lack of agency which 256 caught on to very quickly.

Also, you only *think* no one has noticed it. Trust me, a lot of people have.

Every marriage is different of course, and this is just my opinion.
posted by althanis at 10:37 AM on October 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


I apologize for the double post, but let's play along with the scenario where your husband banged the girl at Circle K, the blonde in the next car over, and the Axe girl on the billboard, all in his head.

You may or may not be fine with that.

But if we take this to it's logical continuation, would you be fine if, when he finally got to work, he spends a large amount of the next 8 hours fantasizing and flirting with his sexy, flesh and blood coworker?
posted by althanis at 10:42 AM on October 21, 2010


I tend to think the litmus test is whether you've told your husband about this guy or not, and what you've said. Fantasies and flirting don't always lead to "marital ruin," but secrets- especially those that keep adding up over time- sure as hell do.

Sage, sage advice. Fantasies, flirting, even fucking someone else do not necessarily lead to marital ruin (for some, they can even improve one's primary relationship). But lies and secrets...
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:45 AM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


However, I work with this man at the office that I find extremely attractive. We work closely together on a daily basis. There is some chemistry there - the goofy smiles, standing a little too close in personal space, etc and it appears to me to be mutual. I have fantasized now quite a few times what it would be like to be with this man.

I realize that I could be playing with fire. For my part, I make sure that I initiate conversations only for work reasons. I don't have lunch or coffee with him, and I don't see him socially. I have also never told anybody about this crush (until now).

However, I don't want to stop fantasizing about him - it adds colour to an otherwise colourless workday, makes me horny which is improving sex with husband, etc. I am just concerned about this becoming a slippery slope which inevitably leads to emotional or physical affair.


I don't think it does any good to try and stop thinking about a pink elephant. It turns it into something else.

First, you are doing the right thing in the steps you are taking so far. Sticking to work conversations, avoiding lunch or coffee and and not seeing him socially are all very good signs that things will be fine.

Second, to help you deal with these fantasies, you should be open with your partner and tell him of the crush. You need not throw it in his face, just say you have a little crush at work. This will allow light and air into what must be a very hot and dark and difficult room.

Third, learn to acknowledge and let pass the fantasies. You should not use them for fun or arousal. I suggest common mindfulness techniques. When you have a feeling of crushing, just acknowledge it in your head and say "crushing." Then return to what you are doing. You might do it 200 times an hour--you may even be alarmed at how much you are doing it. Don't be. Continue to acknowledge. Some people use a golf shot clicker for this. Just click the clicker every time you have a sexual or crushing thought about the man. Record that number at the end of the day.

This generally results in a reduction of the thoughts and crushing feelings.

Is this sort of private sexual fantasy kosher in a marriage? Am I tempting marital ruin? Should I be training my mind away from such thoughts or continue to allow myself to indulge?

I do think that allowing yourself to "indulge" is dangerous and not fair to your partner. Learning to accept the feelings for what they are without acting on them or using them for your own private enjoyment is the course most likely to preserve your marriage.

Don't worry this is a common problem and you are doing very well.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:30 PM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, you only *think* no one has noticed it. Trust me, a lot of people have.

That may or may not be true, but it seems a bit condescending to assert that you know more about the situation from the internet than she does from the building she works in.
posted by Phyltre at 12:38 PM on October 21, 2010


I must agree with althanis that my scenario is likely not a fair one. To clarify, things that happen inside your own head with this guy are fantasy; things that happen with this guy in the flesh, including flirting, are not. Stick to the former.

My preference would be to not disclose this crush to your spouse. While I have no data to back it up, I think it would be the rare male who wants to hear about this.
posted by teg4rvn at 12:47 PM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


It may not be as mutual as you think, OP. Or, maybe worse: he may be more serious about this than you. The first situation could lead to him going to HR about it, or laughing with other co-workers about it. The second could lead to him unexpectedly making a move, which could test your resolve more than you've bargained for.

So stop flirting. If fantasizing about him as a sex partner is interfering with your ability to make it through the day without treating him like a potential sex partner, then yeah, work on extinguishing that, too, the same way you would any habit: notice that you're doing it, notice what brings it on, replace the habitual thoughts with some other thoughts.
posted by palliser at 1:12 PM on October 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Look, you are married, not dead, but please bear in mind that what we dwell on has an effect on our actions. Seriously.

For one, moments spent fantasizing about this man are moments where your husband is suffering in comparison.

For another, lots of people have no intention of ever having an affair and then days, weeks, months, or years later find themselves in one. It didn't happen by accident.

Finally, do this thought experiment. What if this were your husband fantasizing about a female coworker? Pay attention to how this makes YOU feel. Not good, huh?

You don't have to act on or tell your husband about this for this to affect your marriage. It might be very subtle at first. But it probably wouldn't end up subtly, one way or the other.

Finally, do not take this as chastisement from me. I am sure every married person to include me on this thread has had to deal with inappropriate crushes. I am simply pointing out to you why it is important to not take this lightly.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:36 PM on October 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am usually pro-flirting and pro-fantasizing but you work closely with him so...stop it.

Stop it, and I'd also suggest that you tell your husband about it ASAP.

Keeping a secret just makes it easier for you to escalate without him being suspicious. Don't tempt yourself.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:45 PM on October 21, 2010


Interesting thread. I'm in an LTR, and have had flirtatious/ fantasizing stuff come up over the years and I understand how it can just be fun, and add a dimension of color/sensualness to life without being destructive. I personally think that's OK. But I've talked about the openly with my partner. Not to the extent I reveal every little fantasy or every person I've ever flirted with, but enough so that in our relationship, I know we're both on the same page about it. I have never crossed the line physically with anyone, and the fantasies are just left as such: fantasies.
posted by Rocket26 at 2:00 PM on October 21, 2010


Nthing people who suggest to cut down on the flirting, even if it's fun. Therein lies the slippery slope. Also nthing people who say fantasizing is normal and harmless and, in my books, fair game. Whether routine fantasizing about the same coworker is acceptable would, based on the posts here, seem to vary by relationship. (I assume people I've dated had crushes on others during the time we were in a relationship - I know I did - and although I wouldn't have wanted to know about those crushes per se, it wouldn't have shocked or especially bothered me to find out, unless they'd taken it to another level: spending extra time together, flirting beyond the casual and not too frequent, etc.)

I would disagree with the "tell your husband about this posters. Unless you have a relationship wherein these sort of confessions are normal, or feel so out of control that you might cheat in spite of yourself, what purpose would it serve, other than to make him feel insecure?
posted by nicoleincanada at 3:56 PM on October 21, 2010


To explain that last bit a little further - in a past relationship, I took pride in the fact that I was open with boyfriend about crushes, joked about them, etc. I thought it was a sign of transparency and trust in him.

It wasn't until after the relationship ended that I could look back and see that this was really an excuse for me to unburden myself, and that he wasn't as ok with those confessions as he allowed me (or I allowed myself) to think.
posted by nicoleincanada at 4:00 PM on October 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


there are plenty of marriages out there where the husband would love to hear you tell him all about this fantasy.

it would be the rare male who wants to hear about this.


There's a middle ground between these two reactions, and it's the reaction I suspect most male partners (indeed most people) would have.

I wouldn't be remotely aroused to be told about my partner's crush or fantasy, but I'd be very glad I'd been told, for two reasons: 1) The disclosure of my partner's inner life would show and strengthen trust and connectedness; 2) the very fact I was being told would be reassurance that my partner valued honesty with me more than she valued the crush itself.

So what appears to be a threat to your marriage, may actually be an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your husband.

(And -- assuming your husband is a mature adult whom you've never cheated on -- I really wouldn't worry about the possibility he'd be *upset* to learn this; at worst, he might be non-plussed, but adults understand that nonmonogamous fantasy is an inevitable part of most people's sexuality.)
posted by foursentences at 4:45 PM on October 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Seconding foursentences, it is a good thing when both people in a marriage can share this sort of thing with a view of keeping each other accountable. I do have this with my own husband and it works quite well. Again, we both understand biology so we don't freak, but we also don't give inappropriate crushes a foothold either.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:56 PM on October 21, 2010


I'd agree that the idea of "unburdening" yourself is fraught with many issues.

A friend of mine was dating this awful, awful girl in a terribly codependent relationship that often involved her smacking him in public. I was discussing this with him and he said, "You'd never believe this, but our relationship is based on trust and honesty." Well... sure, but in this case that included a lot of her "honestly" yelling, "GOD, THIS SUCKS ASS!" when we were all out on the town, or the two of them getting into some embarrassing snit that made them not talk to each other, but "trusting" that it would all boil over in a couple days. What's the point?

It's like a three-legged stool. You've got trust, honesty and respect... but if you're missing one of those things, the others can't hold it up.
posted by Madamina at 4:57 PM on October 21, 2010


Crushes and flirting are awesome in my world, even better if you bring all the energy home into your sex life with your husband.

I can't imagine sharing 99% of the thoughts that flit through my head in a day with my partner; I can't imagine why you'd need to disclose this to your husband as some sort of confession.
posted by desuetude at 9:28 PM on October 21, 2010


I allow myself to have crushes on people I will probably never see again or at least in the presence of my husband (waiter, random guy in line, etc.) and I tell my husband all about them, with schoolgirl giddiness. He knows its a stupid crush that will pass and be replaced by some other random guy.

He gets amused.

If I start getting a crush on somebody at work, though--a place where I spend hours upon hours with men he hardly knows--I do my best to not nurture it. Too much fuel to the fire, and all that.

My recommendation is to try to find another subject or set of subjects for "safe" fantasizing, if you enjoy doing fantasizing (and who doesn't?). You are basically putting most of that sexual energy into someone who is a tad close to you.

And also sexually experiment more with your husband.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 11:59 PM on October 21, 2010


I would offer that it is a very slippery slope..and one that is easy to quickly start justifying further actions. Once you get used to perverted thoughts, it becomes normal..then you verbally flirt. At first, maybe that feels dirty..but soon, you become used to it..and it is the standard. Then, maybe you start having more social interaction..like coffee, lunch, etc. And you become friends/close acquaintances. And that becomes the norm. At this point, merely having those sexual thoughts from a great distance that you had in the beginning, well, that's all old news now..and before you know it, you are having physical contact..intimate contact.
Not to say you would do all that...but it's a slippery slope that one can easily slide down...you get caught up in all the excitement, passion and fun...and before you know it, you've wrecked your life..your career..your husband's..kids..etc. Again, might not end up that way..but be careful. I would fight it with every fiber of my being.
posted by Yunani at 12:12 PM on October 22, 2010


I would actually argue against the "slippery slope" cited by many people upthread. You're not on a waterslide.

You can think thoughts, you can make decisions, there's a lot of room in your head. More importantly, there are many, many corners to turn, both in thought and deed, before you "find yourself" with a wrecked marriage.

I would warn against anyone ceding responsibility for their actions to any concept like "lust" or "caution."
posted by desuetude at 11:42 AM on October 25, 2010


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