Q. I've always thought my husband's best friend was a nice guy, and we've enjoyed hanging out with him and his girlfriend. But recently, they started having troubles. At a party we were hosting with them, his girlfriend got really intoxicated and was very flirty toward everyone, including my husband (but excluding her boyfriend). Later in the night, the best friend came and sat with me, and I wanted to flirt with him in the same way. I don't know if I was hoping to give his girlfriend some of her own medicine or what. Two weeks later, the couple broke up. Now that he's single, I can't stop thinking about him. Last weekend at another party, I almost told him I wanted to kiss him. I don't want to ruin his friendship with my husband over a crush, and I certainly don't want to ruin my marriage over it. So what do I do to make my feelings go away? -E.J., 31, Clearfield, UT
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A. Start by staying away from any parties where you're likely to run into this guy. For that matter, stay away from any parks, cafés, dry cleaners, malls, or Starbucks where you're likely to run into him. Just stay away. Do this for long enough and your crush will fade; it may not vanish completely, but the urgency surrounding it should lessen. And that's what you're aiming for, ultimately. You want to reduce the impulse to act on your crush.
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Second, relax a little. Acting on your crush is one thing - you can certainly create a huge mess by following your fantasies - but simply having a crush on a man who is not your husband will not immediately and automatically lead to the ruination of their friendship and your marriage. Somehow we suppose that the moment we say "I do," a magic spell is cast upon us: No man will ever catch our eye again, and if one does, it's cause for alarm. But this isn't true. We humans are drawn to other humans; it's natural and, in moderation, it's fun. I have a Southern friend who thinks it's impolite for her friends not to flirt with her husband; it demonstrates that they think he's not attractive.
There's no reason to beat yourself up over your attraction. To have a vital marriage, you and your husband must be awake to what's in your hearts - and at the moment, this is what's in yours. Examining these feelings, rather than shoving them away, is part of being present in your own life.
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Mind you, I'm not suggesting you run and confess everything to your husband. In our tell-all culture, it's rarely popular to suggest that there are some things you can (and probably should) keep to yourself, but this is one of them. Instead, acknowledge your crush for what it is, do not nurture it, and soon it will pass.
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