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I Have A Crush On My Husband's Friend

Question:

I have been married for the last 8 years. My husband and myself have been experiencing problems. We went to marriage counseling, but counseling has not been helpful. My husband and I still love each other, but we fight constantly. One night I went to a friend’s house and met another man (who I will call RJ) who I fell in love with on sight. The feeling I experienced were so intense, I now understand what people mean about Cupid’s arrow. 2 years latter, I still think about RJ non-stop. I have told my husband that I have a crush on RJ, and therefore would prefer not to be around RJ because I find it difficult. However, despite my request, husband has become close friends with RJ, and now I see RJ a lot. Personally, I think my husband enjoys watching my discomfort when I am around RJ. I know my feelings for RJ will go nowhere except to my heartache, but I am experiencing such intense feelings, that won’t go away. My husband wants me to talk with RJ, and tell him how I feel, and see what happens. Which is just a little too weird for me. Should I tell RJ how I feel, or let sleeping dogs lie?

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Answer:

I think you should let sleeping dogs lie. I see no benefit to you expressing to RJ that you have a crush on him. Doing so will violate the implicit boundary that surrounds your marriage and makes it special from all other relationships. It will likely cheapen your marriage and weaken your bonds. Maybe that is what your husband is wanting; to weaken your bonds. His encouragement of you to speak to RJ appears passive-aggressive to me, and suggests that he is angry but not expressing it directly. By “giving you” to RJ, he is maybe satisfying an urge to abandon you, or punish you in some manner. Either that, or he is, as you say, “weird” (as in sexually kinky) and trying to find a way to communicate it to you. I personally prefer the former explanation.

Your intense feelings for RJ are likely based on some sort of crush or “transference” reaction. You fell for him too quickly and too intensely for it to have been based on anything real and solid. You are realting to a fantasy of who he is and not to who he really is. If you pursue RJ, you are likely to smash into some behavior that makes you confront the fact that he is not who you think he is, and you are likely to become disappointed. If you were single and dating, that would be a fine experiment, but you aren’t single and dating just now. You’re married and I think wanting to stay that way.

The fantasy relationship with RJ is a projection of what you are wanting from your husband, I’ll bet. You can’t get it from your husband, but you still want it despairately, so you superimpose it onto the profile of someone you’re attracted to and voila, you’re head over heels. Rather than taking to RJ, the good thing to do would be to explore that fantasy of who you think he is, because that is going to be your map of what you are longing for in a mate. Getting clear on what you want will enable you to have a better and more explicit dialog with your husband about what you need from him in order to be satisfied in the marriage. You need to work on your marriage with your husband. Even though you’ve said that counseling has failed, I recommend that you both go back to couple’s therapy with a new counselor. That might not work either, but, then again, maybe a new therapist, a different approach and some time gone by will do the trick. You have nothing to lose really.

Marriage is about compromising. Just as you’ll need some things from him, he’ll need some things from you too, that you might not completely understand, but will need to accept if you’re to find a way to make it work. If you can’t mutually arrive at such a compromise place, you’ll likely keep fighting, which is in turn likely to be a sign that the marriage won’t ultimately work out (at least not with you feeling good about it). If that turns out to be the case, then you’ll be able to leave cleanly, and then get out there and find a new RJ you can really connect with.

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