Was my husband’s CRUSH really harmless?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My husband revealed through a night of twentyquestions that he had a crush on a coworker about six months ago. We were having some minor marital problems. I guess she said “Hey good looking” and they flirted. It boosted his ego. He found her attractive. Apparently this is the first girl he was ever attracted to in the seven years of our relationship and he was “freaked out” by it. Throughout this time period I casually asked him if he had any “crushes” at work and he always said no

Nevertheless, I went on vacation and he said that when I was gone he thought to call her over for a movie. He picked up the phonebook, found her number and never called. He said he realized how stupid that was because he was attracted to her.

He admits that he thought she was sexy and often checked her out. He also admits he masturbated with thoughts of her body a few times (he thinks this is pretty normal…)but when I ask if he’d take a lie detector, about cheating or thoughts of cheating on me, he would pass. he said it never went there because he loves me and it was just a stupid attraction because he didn’t feel valued and loved. She quit about 4 months ago, so I guess the crush lasted about three months.

I’m hurt he even considered calling her. He thinks he’s a man of integrity who looked “temptation” in the eye and honored me. I can’t get this girl out of my head and I feel so betrayed. Advice? How can I trust him again?

I’m worried that his thoughts went too far this time, and he argues one can’t control his thoughts and attractions, only their actions. He also said my divorce threats made him subject to ego-boosting, and that was it.

He says cheating was never an option with her, it would have never went there and never would, that he holds our love sacred and would always forsake all others. Is this “really” innocent, or is he just trying to get me back?

We started counseling yesterday and our counseler hasn’t really focused on this issue much as we have a lot of stress in our marriage and started to distance ourselves (Although, I didn’t feel distance at all when this happened)

I love us, our marriage and our family. How can I understand what happened? He can’t explain it either — he thinks he just felt unappreciated. Why would he think to call someone else? I feel so betrayed.

A: Your husband is right. No one can control his or her thoughts and attractions. What people can control are their actions. What makes marriages last is a commitment to the commitment. Your husband has demonstrated that. He thought about calling someone else but stayed loyal to you. Instead of celebrating that, you respond by feeling betrayed. Perhaps there is more going on between you than you shared in your letter. Or maybe this incident stirs up painful memories from another relationship. Your pain is real but it seems out of proportion to the situation.

I’m really glad you started counseling. I hope you tell your counselor all that you’ve told me and that you stick with it long enough to resolve your worries. Then perhaps you and your husband can both relax and enjoy your love and your marriage.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Feb 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). Was my husband’s CRUSH really harmless?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/02/05/was-my-husbands-crush-really-harmless/

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