11 Signs Your Partner’s Harmless Crush Is Actually Serious

It’s normal to feel attracted to people outside of your relationship, but how much is too much? When does a harmless crush or attraction become something more serious? Here are 11 signs that your partner’s totally casual, no-big-deal feelings are becoming a problem.

  1. He’s in regular contact with his crush. It’s one thing if he seems a bit flustered when an attractive woman comes over to you both at a party; it’s quite another if it turns out he knows her and they regularly text each other. Yikes. A crush can sometimes be like someone’s picture in a magazine or on a website. You can say they’re hot and that you like their abs or smile, but nothing comes of it. It’s quite another story if that person turns out to be around in the flesh. Suddenly, it makes things more real!
  2. She comes up a lot. When he starts mentioning his crush at every turn, warning bells should ring loudly in your head. It’s the classic case of “mentionitis.” Bear in mind: even if he’s mentioning her in a negative way, like if she’s a co-worker who irritates him, always talking about her is a cause for concern because it means she’s occupying many of his thoughts.
  3. He’s hiding their interactions. This can easily become micro-cheating because he shouldn’t be lying to you about the fact that they’re in touch or even that they’re friends. That lie in itself can make you worry something dodgy is going on even if it isn’t because lying is such a betrayal. And also, why lie about it if it’s nothing?
  4. He’s defensive about her. You contradict something he said about her and he becomes angry. You mention that she’s a bit weird at times from what he’s told you and he gets upset. Whoa, what? If he’s defensive about her and their interactions, it’s like he’s guarding a treasure. That’s not cool. You’re supposed to be his treasure.
  5. He acts weird when you bump into her. You and your boyfriend are shopping in the mall when his co-worker or friend comes over to say hi. Suddenly, it’s like your boyfriend is a totally different person. He might seem nervous or clumsy, or maybe he becomes over-confident or a bit flirty with her. Another alternative is that he drops your hand when she comes around, and doesn’t even introduce you. Any dramatic change in his behavior is a red flag.
  6. He asks about your crushes. Ah, this is the classic case of projection. He might try to fish for info about any guys you find attractive in real life as a way to make himself feel less guilty for crushing on someone while being in a relationship. If he’s suddenly obsessed with finding out who tickles your fancy, there could be a hidden agenda for it.
  7. He asks if you’re open. If this happens to you, then you know his crush has crossed a line into inappropriateness: he asks you if you’d be keen on an open relationship, and might even mention his crush’s name as the person he’d like to have a threesome with. Oh man, no!
  8. He hides his phone. Everyone deserves privacy, even if they’re just texting their dog walker. But if your boyfriend’s suddenly become more possessive over his phone to such an extent that he even keeps it in another room, then clearly there’s something going on that he doesn’t want you to know about. If this secretive behavior coincides with the arrival of someone in his life, it’s probably more than a coincidence.
  9. He’s cleaning up nicely. He never used to put a lot of effort into getting ready for work in the mornings. But since his co-worker has joined his team, he’s putting on cologne and putting product in his hair. It does make you think that he’s trying to impress someone.
  10. He seems more upbeat when she’s around. If he’s moody around you but sunnier than California when he’s around his crush, that’s quite telling that he’s being influenced by her presence. It’s seriously not cool if it feels like you can never make him laugh or feel good, but she does it at the click of her fingers. Sadly, it might say something about his feelings towards you and your relationship. Yup, they’re going south.
  11. He tells her things first. It’s one thing if he got a promotion and told her before you because she was in the office when he heard the news. It’s quite another thing if everything that happens to him, whether good or bad, gets told to her before he tells you. That’s wrong. You’re the person in his life he should run to with news. You’re the only one who’s supposed to be his confidante, not her. If he’s always turning to her instead of you, then clearly that’s where his priorities lie.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.