Monday, October 23, 2006


I’ve been married for almost 25 years, and together for 2.5 years longer than that. When i was first married i was so young. I was younger than you might think although i was 24. I am a late bloomer. I really think that is a good thing. But i got married so young for me.

And it has not always been easy. (There’s a surprise.) But what i am thinking about today is the crushes i had after i was married, and what i do about them. Because that part of me, the part which idealizes people, did not die when i got married. Oh no, it did not. I have had maybe 5 or 6 serious crushes since i have been married.

When i was a young married, i wondered if these crushes signified the end of the marriage. How could i be so attracted to someone and still love the man i married? It was not possible. I dreamed of my crush, and woke up with my downy nether regions damp and needy. Sometimes i was moody and unpleasant while i held this secret close to me.

An aside: my moral compass did not allow me free reign even in my dreams. I would always stop before consummation. I am married. That is not right. I resented that my goddamned morality would not allow me to sleep with other men even in my dreams.

I yearned. I ached. I looked for signs about how the crush felt about me. Sometimes the feeling was returned. But i never was unfaithful. That is something that i would not do.

As i grew older, i learned to deal better with these crushes. I kept them to myself. I enjoyed the hell out of them. That feeling of aliveness. I grew to understand that these feelings did not signify the end of the marriage world. I used that feeling when i made love to my husband. And as i grew, i never felt guilty about doing that, as i had when i was younger. I grew to understand that these feelings are the flush of heat of first love, not the love that i really wanted. Not the mature love that (i believe) only comes with the true understanding that the man i married is as wonderful, as base, as stupid, as giving, as selfish and as generous as i am. My crushes were as i wished they were, although i knew that was not the truth. (I knew that the truth about the crush person would reveal itself eventually, and it always did.)

But i always keep these feelings to myself. I do not want to know who my husband might think about when we make love. I do not want him to know about who i might be thinking of when i make love to him. It’s all make believe. And that’s okay with me.

I wonder how many marriages have broken up because of crushes. Tearing a marriage asunder, only to realize that this person, this perfect person, is just another human being. So do we learn from this experience, or do we move on to another soul mate? I'll bet we all know some of these "serial monogamists".

It’s been awhile since i had a crush. I think it’s because i don’t work any more. There are no men in my life, except my husband. Who knows where that will lead. I kind of miss it.


thailandchani said...

Meno, I believe a lot of marriages have broken up because of crushes. People don't recognize them as such and make impulsive decisions about the future. In my opinion and experience, crushes are normal. I also believe there is nothing wrong with enjoying them, and, yes, even having sex in fantasy. We human beings are designed to be attracted to each other. As long as we remember what's really important, there's certainly no harm in them.


Thailand Gal

Anonymous said...

I learned.

Still dealing with the aftermath, 6 years later.

But it didn't keep me from noticing the green eyes on the plumber that was here today.

Liv said...

surprisingly, I only had one crush over the course of my 8 year marriage. Pretty sure my feelings were unreturned, but the urges that I had were so powerful. It was a little scary. In the later years of my marriage I was consumed with my truly unreachable dream loves. By truly unreachable, I mean celebrities or other persons of note. I think it was safer for me because I knew there would never be the complication of a real relationship.

SUEB0B said...

When I was younger, I was helpless in the face of powerful crushes. It took me a long time - decades - to realize that my longing wasn't for another person, but for wholeness.

Girlplustwo said...

ahhh..i love it. i love that you know that crushes are perfectly normal.

there is dreaming, and there is the wanting, and then there is the doing.

that said, i know where my own line is. the rest is just biology, cursing it doesn't make it go away.

suebob is on to a whole other something though, yessiree.

Anonymous said...

Oh, sweet Jesus,and oh, sweet meno, this is one sweet sentence: "Because that part of me, the part which idealizes people, did not die when i got married."

I'll return to what you wrote and reread it, for it's marbled with other exquisite sentences, but the notion that crushes idealize people and that this shouldn't die in matrimony is so true that I started when I first read it and ache when I reread it.

I can crush on 5 people in a day, but I'm too busy to feed and water any crush, so I don't even need them to wither by seeing someone as less than ideal, bit by bit. My crushes die without dallying. But for a sec, I'll adore someone and then another in another sec. Then the phone rings and each crush is crushed by someone/someone/someone wanting/wanting/wanting something/something/something.

This is well. Crushes make me stupid: they're the tail that wags me.

Lucia said...

One of the things I fear most being in a long-term relationship is not ever having another first kiss. It makes me profoundly sad to think about that. When I'm carried away on waves of crushes, I wonder, why can't I have both? Why not? Because it'd likely really make a mess of my life. But, no mistaking, I want those men. Yes, I do. I want Matt and Cliff and Omar too.

Andrea Frazer said...

I think about crushes all the time. I still think about the love I had for a man in college who I never even kissed, and this leads me to agreeing with your point about how crushes only last while idealism reigns. It's probably how I can still see him every so often (he's now bald headed and chubby) and still get that "downy feeling in my nether region" as you so nicely put it. Great post. Poignant and real as usual.

Dick said...

I didn't know that girls did that too! A good post and one that does make one think. I have always felt that pretty girls were the flowers in the garden of life and it was perfectly okay to enjoy viewing them as I stroll through my life. It is just that you shouldn't try to pick one if you already have your own boquet at home.

Marshamlow said...

I completely agree, great post. I think there is a world of difference between love and crushes and that many people just don't get that, glad I was able to figure it out and you too.

Lynnea said...

It took me a long time to understand the difference between love and crushes. I dated so many crushes and when it all fell apart I would be so disappointed that they were not the perfect person that I had seen in my mind. Nor was the relationship. But when I married, I married because the feeling was not that mad rush feeling. It was complete calm. Utter comfort and being able to be myself all the time around him. I think the longer two people are together the more apparent what "real" love is becomes. But I still have the crushes too, becuase its fun.

karmic said...

I loved your post and the honesty with which you have dealt with your feelings.
I think most people have crushes. A lot of us choose not to act on them. What I have with my partner can never be replaced by acting upon some crush. As peopel stated it's often the acting out on crushes that ruins things.

Bob said...

I can SO identify with you on this. I've been married almost 22 years and while I have never contemplated leaving my wife for another woman, a handfull of times my desire for someone else was almost overwhelming. But at those times, always in the back of my mind, was the fact that I can't live without my wife and no affair would be worth the loss of that. So occasionally I pine for someone (from afar) but go home to my life's love.

meno said...

thailand gal, i think so too. i know quite a few people who have left their spouses after finding true love, and then left that person too when the next true love came along.

de, i'm glad you learned. I don't have to imagine how painful that situation is. As for green eyes, you're not dead yet!

liv, those feelings are surprising in their power. Celebrities are safe, and some of them are damn cute.

suebob, beautifully said. Sadly there are many folks who never learn this.

jen, knowing where that line is is what morals are.

holly, stop it! You're making me blush. You are a busy woman if you can crush on 5 people a day. :)

lucia, yeah, it'a all a matter of choices, and some of them aren't easy. I want those men too! Your comment made me think of having the last kiss.

mamap, college had lots of fodder for crushes. I had this thing for one of my history professors. And thank you for the compliment.

dick, so we are not so different after all! Your comment is a lovely way to put it. I had a friend who used to say the same thing in a funnier way to her husband "You work up your appetite anywhere you want, but you eat at home!"

marsha, thank you. I think figuring that out is a rite of passage of some sort. Necessary, but bittersweet too.

maggie, that's one purpose in dating, to figure out that no one person is so perfect that they will (as suebob put it) make you complete. But crushes are still fun!

sanjay, thank you. Acting out on crushes can ruin lots of things, and spells the end of the crush (idealization) as well. Best to leave them alone.

Anonymous said...

So true, so true. There's nothing wrong with feeling a crush; it's unhealthy to try and deny it, I think. There's a vast world between feeling it (out of your control) and doing something about it (totally in your control).

Anonymous said...

The world would be a much better place if everyone, as you do so well meno, started addressing these sensitive issues in such an honest and forthright manner. I sometimes envy the denialists. I sometimes wish I could contrive this fantasyworld in my head and live by its rules. My sister is like that. She has the smooth face to prove it. But then, if such were the case, I would't have experienced this overwhelming sense of relief.And cried at how similar we all are. Thank you.

Antonia Cornwell said...

My marriage broke up because of my long-term, heart-rending, passionate, all-consuming longing for the man I'm with now, that just got worse and harder to ignore as time went on, and I have no regrets: on the contrary, I often think about Ian or look at him and think "Thank God" with all my heart. What I worry about is how bonkers I would be if my marriage had stayed together. (But I was a twat for marrying the wrong person in the first place.)

meno said...

bob, it is an overwhelming feeling. I'm glad you resisted, and that you are happy with what you have.

nancy, it is unhealthy to deny it, at least to yourself.

caro, i hate denial. It really pushes one of my buttons. People in denial are not interesting to talk with. You are welcome.

antonia, and i am glad you did too. If we all had to stick by every stupid ass decision we made in our youth, we'd all be miserable. It's about knowing the difference between what is real and what appears to be ideal.

amusing said...

A look at these issues and other relationship confusions, read A Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood and Marriage.

See also companion volume, The Bastard on the Couch: 27 Men Try Really Hard to Explain Their Feelinsg About Love, Loss, Fatherhood and Freedom

Mother of Invention said...

This is so normal and I have experienced the exact same thing. I used to feel guilty but I know that it was harmless and probably was healthy in that it made me feel sexy and attractive, especially if the person gave you some special attention, but at the same time, understood that you were indeed married and that wasn't going to change. It actually heightened the whole sexuality thing between my husband and I.

Crushes always took me by surprise, but I was glad I never acted upon them!

Bobealia... said...

Great post Meno. Look how you got everyone talking. I had a big crush just before I got married. It scared me actually. I think that crushes scare me, but I have lots of "issues" about infidelity. I was actually going to post about it sometime soon (after the whole housemate does the Caribbean story). This post and all the comments have helped me. To hear and understand that it doesn't always have to be a slipery slope is a good thing. I also related to Maggie's comment about my husband not being a crush when I met him.

meno said...

amusing, i've read that book. I loved the title. But i haven't seen the male version, or are you yanking my chain. "The Bastard on the Couch" That's awesome. There'a another book called "Undressing Infidelity. (and some snappy sub-title)" that is just a series of interviews with various women. I found that pretty interesting, and ultimately depressing.

MOI, i think it's normal too, but i don't recall much conversation about it, telling us that it is normal and not the end of the world as we know it.

thanks bo. I have been surprised a bit by the response. Everyone seems to know what i mean. I wonder if your pre-wedding crush was a scared thing. I look forward to reading about it when you do the post.

Anonymous said...

Meno wrote: "holly, stop it! You're making me blush. You are a busy woman if you can crush on 5 people a day. :)"

Oh, they're quick crushes...and it doesn't take much. An apt word. The way they enter the room. Their choice of adorning colors or complete indifference to adornment. I'm a crush-slut.

Anonymous said...

Meno -- if you are "making love" with your husband (with your body) but your MIND is "making love" with someone aren't really "with" your husband because the thing that makes you really YOU is your mind. A body is a body, but a mind is so individual and special that no one's can be like it. So in essence (though you'll hate hearing it) -- you ARE betraying your marriage when you allow this kind of behaviour. I cannot imagine sex with my husband if I know or think he's imagining me as someone else. How totally gross. What can you be thinking!!!???

SuperP. said...

My father would sometimes smile at my mother 'fluttering around the house' getting things tidy and her glow affecting them both in the hours they spent together after we had gone to sleep.

One day, when I was old enough, he explained to me that women have crushes. My mother understood them to be what they were and never acted on them. My father understood them, too.

He told me that women must be allowed to have their crushes and that as imagery is for the man, crushes are for the woman.

It's what you do with your crush that can hurt you.

Crush on.

Now.. I read that you are not religious and I will mention that a lot of your criticisms come from the viewpoints of having to rip out your eyes if you glance at another woman, somewhere in the bible.. and I am Christian and I think I understand what God means.. about lust begetting lust, begetting lust.

Somehow, I could be wrong, I think that as my Dad said, an innocent little crush, kept moderate, can enhance what you have, unless it has come about by way of filling a void in your marriage.

And, to those who berate you: you are casting stones.

God Bless. (no offence)

SuperP. said...

ps.. Men who oogle women as 'art' and 'creations' are using the same technique as women who use the power of 'love' and 'passion' in their love-making.

Love making with your husband and sharing your appreciation for the 'passion' that you can find in the world, is restorative. Not cheating.

It all depends on perspective.

Only you know your motivation. Why is everyone so threatened?

meno said...

anon, i do wonder why everyone who has any criticism is always anonymous. I don't hate hearing it. I understand and respect that you feel this way. I guess we'll have to just disagree on this one.

penny, your father sounds like he is a wise man. That's a really sweet story. And i never take offense at people wishing me well. Just like someone saying "god bless" after a sneeze, i take it as a courtesy. Thanks for your comments.

Mother of Invention said...

Classy response to anon.

Anonymous said...

It feels good to know i'm not the only one. I fell truely in love with a sheriffs' deputy. I can honestly say i have never felt this way befor. I am married, but this crush made me feel alive . I lost about 60lbs. i look 15 years younger. what i feel for him has gone on for almost 2 yrs. Nothing physical. I yearn to only see him to hear him if i could only be near him. But he is mature. Maybe he feels this is only a crush . But i really feel i would do anything he asked of me. HELP.

Anonymous said...

Good job..You have written about "crushes after being married" so well...
Reading all of your comments have blessed me today..
thank you and thank those of you who commented.

Anonymous said...

OH THANK GOD! I'm not alone! I'm not married, but in a committed 4 year long relationship and I've had my share of crushes and those crushes returned. I felt so horrible over one dinky crush that I even transferred jobs to avoid the it.

I still think about that tall dark and handsome man with the deep blue eyes and ripped muscles.. but I have one of my own muscle men at home so I didn't understand why the attraction was so great.

It's cause I'm human, I'm normal, YAY! LOL

PS. I do have to say that the raw sexual fantasies and frustration that the crush produced were all taken out on my man, and he enjoys every minute of it.. hehe!