By: Taylor Murphy

You had the wedding of your dreams, your partner is your best friend, and you’ve finally found your groove with this whole marriage thing. Then, that sparkly feeling of being recently hitched starts to fade. You start realizing that your coworker is actually attractive and super interesting to talk to. Or that your friend’s friend is cute and smart. You’re still completely in love with your spouse, but you find yourself thinking of this other person sometimes and smiling, maybe even getting a few butterflies. Years (and sometimes even months) into a marriage, you’re crushing on someone else. While you may initially feel guilty about it, don’t worry. Here’s why it’s normal, what to do about it, and when it may be going too far.

Why Do Happily Married Couples Still Develop Crushes on Other People?

“It’s normal for married folks to wonder what it’s like to have the freedom to be with someone else,” Susan Winter, relationship expert and bestselling author, tells POPSUGAR. “Marriages can become routine, and a couple’s interactions predictable. The ‘sameness’ of marriage allows for stability and security but also dampens excitement and spontaneity, and this double-edged sword is what creates the perfect recipe for a crush. It’s a way to ponder a new and different romantic scenario without suffering its repercussions.”

Sometimes, the qualities your spouse lacks are what draws you to another person who does have those desired attributes, causing attraction to other people. “For example, if you’re enjoying the witty banter or increasingly emotionally intimate conversations you’re having with an attractive coworker, you might come to realize that you and your spouse don’t often have opportunities to connect in the same way anymore and that you miss that,” says Dr. Bobby.

When Does a Crush Cross the Line?

Admiring someone from afar is one thing, but actively pursuing someone who isn’t your spouse is the type of behavior that experts agree could be detrimental to a marriage. “Crushes go from innocent to harmful when they cross the line of curiosity,” explains Winter. “This occurs when direct actions are taken to engage the crush in a romantic manner . . . come-on’s, sexual discussions, and pointed flirtations can quickly escalate into real-life consequences.”

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