Your Office Crush Might Not Ruin Your Relationship

Young couple in bar having drinks and talking 2

Just keep it to drinks, Susan.

NEW RESEARCH IS SHOWING that crushing on someone else outside of your relationship might not spell trouble after all. And not only that, but that the crush has the potential to actually make your relationship stronger.

This research was done by sexual health researchers from Columbia University, Indiana University, and the University of Kentucky-Lexington. They surveyed 160 women aged 19 to 56 who had been in serious relationships for three or more years to see how other people may have played into the equation. Their answers were kept anonymous to encourage honesty.

What they found was that 70 percent of the women admitted to having a crush on someone else while with their current partner. (And most of those crushes happened at work.) The majority of the women said that having these crushes did not affect their relationship, and some of them also said that it actually made their current relationship better. Basically, having a crush on someone else gave them the opportunity to transfer that emotion back to their partner in the form of sexual desire. It’s that age-old adage: “I don’t care who turns you on as long as you come home to me.”Or something like that. Okay.

However, let it be known that crushing on everyone besides your main slice probably isn’t a great sign. There’s a psychological term called “attention to alternatives,” which basically highlights the fact that people with high relationship satisfaction tend to pay less attention to other people, but that people who are not satisfied are more likely to look for satisfaction elsewhere. Pretty straightforward concept, but wait! It goes deeper.

One of the things that people may be responding to when they feel dissatisfied in a relationship is their lack of self-expansion. At some level, we all want to grow in life, and when we don’t feel like we have any opportunities to do so in a relationship, we will be more open to other attractive people who could possibly provide those opportunities for us. Research has shown that people with low levels of self-expansion are more likely to want to cheat. Makes sense, and it’s something to keep in mind next time your boo suggests staying in to watch House of Cards for the fifth night in a row.