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TL;DR: I find one of my coworkers attractive but I know it'll pass over time. I don't want to engage in anything with this coworker, I'm just waiting for the end of the crush. I think I should tell my boyfriend because my vision of honesty tells me it's the right thing to do. How can I explain this to him and assure him I'm faithful in the meantime?


Background

When I was younger I read the story of a woman who had been married for ten years (she met her husband at the age of 16 and got married at age 20, or something like that). In her testimony, she was explaining that remaining with someone you've met at such a young age for such a long time needed concessions. She talked about the importance of sincerity, and she said that any time she or her husband had doubts about their relationship, were having a hard time or simply were attracted to someone else, they just told the other one, even if it could hurt, even if it could end in an argument.

Situation

I am in a monogamous relationship with my boyfriend, we promised fidelity to each other and we have common plans for the future (we already concretized some of them, for instance we adopted a shelter cat and it feels to us like we had a child together).

I recently began a new job and I'm not insensitive to one of my coworkers (both about his beauty and his personality). I know these kind of things happen and I am not worried, for I know it happens and it also goes. I do not want anything to happen with this coworker, I'm just waiting for this crush to end. I'd like to stress the fact that this does not prevent me from loving my boyfriend, in fact he's the man I want to marry and I have no problem with the idea of spending the rest of my life with him. The thing is, I recently thought about this woman's testimony and I began to wonder if I was faithful to my boyfriend by not entrusting my crush for another man to him.

Problem

I'd like to tell my boyfriend about this because I do not keep many secrets from him and I don't want to hide it from him, even if this crush doesn't change anything about my feelings for him or my behavior towards him. How could I address this crush with him while ensuring my faithfulness?

Based on all things specified in comments:

  • I'm not asking for help to "forget my coworker". I specifically stated that I know it'll pass, because these things happen, don't they? I'm asking for help to gently approach the issue with my boyfriend, to tell him I find someone attractive without making him believe he's not good enough for me, that I'll cheat on him or leave him.
  • If my coworker would make any move towards me, I'd not answer it. I love my boyfriend and I promised faithfulness to him, and I want to stay with him.
  • It happens oftentimes that my boyfriend tells me he finds a woman beautiful while we're crossing the street. I'm not at ease when he does this because I'm not confident about my own beauty, but we both consider it is natural to be attracted to somebody else, both mentally and physically. I'd like to emphase the fact that I'm not bothered by the fact that he tells me, I'm bothered by my lack of self-confidence. I on the other hand don't tell him when I see someone attractive, because this is not a habit of mine.
  • We're both in our mid-20s and in France, we've been together for two years, I'm his first relationship and I've known people before him but he's my longest and most serious relationship.

How it went

Some of you asked me to tell you how it went. Actually, the way I did approach the issue isn't very reproducible: Bob knows that I'm quite active on IPS, and so I told him I've asked this question and that I was amused and impressed by the number of responses I got from it. This joke gave a chance to open up the dialogue on whether he'd like to know when I find someone attractive (because as I said many times, we both consider these things happen, even when engaged in a relationship). This conversation ended up very well: I knew after that what he'd like to know or not, and I had the opportunity to let him know I'm not at ease when he comments my friends' attractiveness. However, this worked because we have an "open" relationship, where we can freely speak of mostly anything, and I'm aware that this isn't very common. If it's not your case, I'd recommend to refer to Daniel's excellent answer, or to OldPadawan's very good piece of advice if your SO has a sense of humor allowing such kind of jokes.

I'd like to thank you all for your (sometimes very creative) answers. I've learned a lot from all of you (especially when we disagree ;) ).

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    How would you feel if your bf told you about a crush he is having at work? Have either of you ever talked about anything similar before? If so, then what? and how did it go?... or in other words, how do you think he will take it and why? – Jesse Apr 5 '18 at 15:44
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    Very relevant answer on a different question: Dreamt of another girl, want to tell my girlfriend, but how without getting smited? – David K Apr 5 '18 at 19:00
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    @DavidMulder Answers belong in the answer section. Please use it. – Catija Apr 6 '18 at 15:31
  • Thanks for updating. Two things from that: 1 - I didn't realise he was commenting on your friends attractiveness. I thought he was commenting on random women, I think that info might have been helpful. 2 - Considering you've turned round and told him you're not at ease with him telling you about your friends attractiveness, does that take it to mean he was also not that appreciative of knowing? If nothing else, I think it's great that you've managed to come to a more equal position in the relationship in that regard. – Philbo Apr 11 '18 at 9:18
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    @Philbo 1- I didn't mention it because it was not about my friends that often (I think it's been maybe once or 2ce, but these are the times when it bothered me). But you're right, I should've done that. 2 - Actually he told me he didn't mind whether I tell him or not, because "I can understand why you wouldn't want to talk about, and vice versa". It puzzled me a bit but knowing him, it's not that surprising for an answer. – avazula Apr 11 '18 at 11:28

20 Answers 20

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To all those who like to comment on this: This is not an ethics and philosophy forum. This answer tries to address the goals stated by OP. It is not our place to judge those goals. If you have questions or improvements to my answer, I am happy about your comment. If you prefer a different approach, please vote accordingly or post an answer of your own.


I am gonna make some assumptions here, if they don't fit, please disregard my answer.

  1. You both don't play games in your relationship.

  2. Instead you have a developed culture of debate where you are able to focus on the issues at hand and come to solutions together.

  3. You are generally comfortable telling each other things you'd normally keep to yourself for fear of being ridiculed.

  4. You are open to each other about intimate things like sexual fantasies.

If that is four times a yes, congratulations, you seem to have met the one! If not, you should maybe go back to work on those issues first.


Now to your crush: This is obviously something that occupies your mind an he is the one you feel you have to share it with. If you are that close together, just tell him matter of fact what you feel (what you told us). Don't try to present it jokingly or play it down.

He will probably not be too happy hearing about this, but he will also probably already have noticed that there is something. Knowing what it is and being able to talk about it instead of guessing can build trust and also help you get over it. Be completely open and don't try to fake anything.

At last, you can't decide who you are attracted to, but you can give him the security of knowing what goes on inside of you. Maybe he will be a little hurt or jealous - that's okay and shows that there is affectation and also a little fear of loosing you. Talk about this too - you have your own experiences from when he mentions a beautiful woman. Offering to share your own fears and insecurities is a great way to get the other one to open up.

Remember it's not how you spend the happy times, but how you cope with obstacles, that make a relationship last.

Disclaimer: This is what I would do and what works for my wife and me since 12+ years. Of course every relationship is different - as you can see by the popularity of the "don't do it" frame challenge answers. Please proceed at your own risk!


Last I want to address some of the comments that assume that by telling you will somehow make your partner feel he is 'the person who has the job for now' or he may be loosing you next time. I don't think that's the case, as you clearly show him how you react to such incidents: You tell him and don't act on it! He does not risk loosing you, because there never was a contest. Instead he can have the confidence of always knowing what goes on inside of you, so he need not worry.

References:

Here is an article about a related experience:

It made sense to him. He got it. There wasn't any fight or rupture or jealousy—just a calm and steady conversation about what being in relationship means to him, me, and to us. We chatted about boundaries, about commitment, and about attraction. And amid the somewhat taboo and unconventional words that were shared, a valley of deeper intimacy emerged.

Article from Psychology Today:

Many people feel that little white lies, which may spare their partner some grief, are okay, and in some cases that’s true. But you can’t have a culture of honesty in your relationship just some of the time.

And "Bustle" did ask some experts: 1. Don't Lie About Attraction:

Most people don't think they would ever cheat, and most don't go out intending to have an affair," Chlipala says. "They end up setting up their own stage for an affair by not talking about their feelings in the first place." There's something about saying it out loud that can bring things back down to earth.

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I vote to not bring it up.

There are many things that are true but that don't need to be said. I'm single right now, but when I had a wife, I just can't imagine telling her, "Wow, there's this girl at work, Sally, who is just SO much prettier than you could ever be." Why bring it up? What is she going to do about it? It just hurts her feelings, makes her feel inadequate and insecure, for no reason.

There are times when painful truths are necessary, like "Your drinking has become a problem". Or at least have a point, like "The meals you make are too spicy for me." You are asking the other person to take some action, to do something different. Their feelings may be hurt, but if they are willing to listen, in the long run it could improve your relationship.

But, "This guy at work is really handsome and funny"? What is your boyfriend going to do? Besides feel put down and maybe insecure?

If there's something you would like your boyfriend to improve about himself -- if you want him to start wearing nicer clothes or brushing his teeth more often or whatever -- you'd be better off to just state that abstractly, without reference to some other man. But I gather from your question that that's not the issue. It's not that you want your boyfriend to be more like this other man. You just have feelings that you are hoping will pass.

My advice would be, (a) DON'T tell your boyfriend. He almost certainly doesn't want to know. And (b) If the feelings you have for this other man don't quickly fade, take action to kill them. (Kill the feelings, that is, not the other man!) Stay as far away from him as you can, and if at all possible avoid spending time alone with him. Force yourself to look past the haze of a crush and view him realistically: What are his faults? He's probably not really as wonderful as your emotions make him out to be. Etc.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Catija Apr 6 '18 at 21:18
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This is a difficult question because it depends heavily on the kind of person your boyfriend is, and the type of relationship you have.

In my experience, the best way to handle these situations is to first evaluate how the other person would feel about you sharing this type of information. Almost everyone is experienced enough to realize that their partner will at times have physical attractions to other people, but many are people are happier to allow that possibility to exist in the theoretical realm rather than face it directly.

Here, you can start out with

Hey boyfriend, often times you mention when someone that you see or know is attractive. How would you feel if I was open with you about the people I know that I find attractive?

The most important thing after he lets you know how he feels is to respect his feelings. If he tells you that he does not want to hear about these things, it is probably best to let it go. Again, any rational person will know that their partner will have attractions to people at various times so it is not dishonest or "cheating" to have these feelings even if you don't explicitly discuss them.

In your question, you seem to have framed your relationship in such a way that you are both capable of these conversations, so lets assume that is the case.

If you frame the conversation the way I have suggested above, it is unlikely your boyfriend will raise issues of your faithfulness because you have already drawn comparisons to his own behavior. In this case, you can simply say something like

I'm glad I can be open with you about this because I love you, and I really value the honesty in our relationship. I happen to find Greg at work attractive.

Phrasing things this way almost leaves Greg as something of an "afterthought", as indeed your attraction to him really is an afterthought compared to your relationship.

Pay attention to your boyfriends reaction when you tell him this. Leave it up to him to continue the conversation as he sees fit. He will likely have some questions, and you can clarify these - but pay attention. If he looks clearly uncomfortable it is probably best to not unload a bunch of information detailing your crush right away. If this is the first time you have discussed something like this, it may take him some time to process this attraction and come to terms with it.

All in all, start out gently and let your boyfriend continue the pace of the conversation as he sees fit. You can always come back to it later if you feel like important details were left out, and if he is still comfortable continuing the conversation.

Hope this helps!

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You want your BF to know that:

  • you found a coworker attractive.
  • you wouldn't do anything to betray him (BF).
  • you don't want to lie or hide something to your SO.
  • you want him to know he's more important to you than anyone else.

Then, I would do what I usually tell my GF when this happens. A little salt, half spoon of pepper, and a dash of humor.

wow, sweetie! We have that girl in the office now, you wouldn't believe it. So cute, so sexy! If you were not on this earth, if I had never known you, I would definitely have a crush on her. Easier if I looked like Brad Pitt too, but hey... Anyway, no one can match, she could only be 2nd to you in my heart :)

You tell him everything, no lie, what you feel, both ways, about him (BF) and about coworker. And it's done in a way that shows how important your SO is to you, no matter how much you can thrill and chill once in a while when looking at somebody else.

And MY girlfriend does the same, we often end up laughing and telling stories like "you could bring her home and the 3 of us, you know..." :))

We are humans, we can't be perfect all the time, and, sometimes, our brain, our eyes, and our body, can think, see and feel different. "Watching the menu doesn't mean you'll end up eating at Joe's" (roughly translated) used to say my old man...

Of course, YMMV, as personalities are different, so you may adapt my advice to you and your BF, with your own words.


Side notes: beside the facts that we sometimes joke about such a serious matter, my GF and I are still deeply in love years later, laugh and share as much, maybe even more, as in our first years. Maybe because when you can talk and laugh about serious things, it can make them less serious and painful sometimes. Last but not least: it never ended that one of us finally brought her/his crush back home... ^^

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    I wouldn't do that because I know I'd be hurt if my bf told me that kind of jokes but this is the way I am and I truly think this is a good answer though. Thanks. – avazula Apr 5 '18 at 20:12
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    "If you were not on this earth, if I had never known you, I would definitely have a crush on her" In that case wouldn't that be a lie since the OP HAS a crush on him ? – agemO Apr 6 '18 at 14:35
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    @agemO : that's why I said "personal experience and shared sense of humor", and "YMMV, as personalities are different, so you may adapt my advice to you and your BF". I didn't say it's what OP would say (we're not a service writing emails/letters for others), I just give an idea, a way to work around. – OldPadawan Apr 6 '18 at 14:39
  • @agemO : and that's also to be taken as a second degree joke, as you already said you found her/him so cute / so hot (so, crush?) – OldPadawan Apr 6 '18 at 14:47
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It seems like you don't want your boyfriend to treat this revelation as a big deal, so it's important to frame your revelation as an innocuous event. If you bring it up like you are asking for help with a problem then your boyfriend will be primed to view it as a problem.

I've found that it's useful to regularly revisit the agreements that you make with your partners in a relationship to get a better idea of exactly what they mean by terms like monogamous, polyamorous, or open. Since you are unsure how your boyfriend will respond to you talking about a crush, it might be a good idea to have conversation about whether they would like to know when you find yourself developing a crush on someone or not.

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I would not "bring it up" - way too much ceremony.

Do you routinely tell your SO about your day? Then it'll come up just naturally: "Omg, did I tell you about this new guy? He came in from [...] to [...], and he's so cute about it! He did [abc] / He looks a bit like [xyz] from that movie, remember that guy?".

You can take it from there. It's just matter of fact. Nothing to hide, nothing to make important.

If your SO raises a brow, you could offer a "Yeah, well. He is cute. Nothing meant, I see many cute people, I hope you do too :)".

If not, just move on to the work woes and other daily stuff.

  • I worry about answers where you already need to give a defensive response. We're all trying to help but all signs point to this not going well. And as I pointed out in my answer, there's a major difference between admitting a physical reaction to a stranger you'll never meet, and a crush level of attraction to a co-worker. – Philbo Apr 6 '18 at 16:00
  • What does "crush level of attraction" really mean? There are plenty people in the world I'd admit considering marrying if I weren't already married. That's not a real problem for my relationship. It's just a compliment to the people, mostly. – sehe Apr 6 '18 at 16:06
  • unless you want to hurt your SO you don't tell them about how cute your new coworker is. that's the kind of conversation you have with your friends, not your SO. – neuronet Apr 8 '18 at 13:44
  • @neuronet So, you do not share your day, because you might tell someone that could make them insecure? Or, you just share your woes? In my experience that gets boring ("I had such a bad day" "Oh, my day was worse!" "Oh yeah I hate that! Happened to me last week when..."). Sharing fun and positive things is important. And if it means pointing out that cute dog that see across the road, or how happy you are with your new co-worker, that is not something you should be censoring, IMO – sehe Apr 8 '18 at 15:20
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This isn't the answer you want, but I believe it is worth considering.

I'm sorry, but there is no way to tell your SO that you have a crush on someone else without hurting him. I would advise not to tell him, but to see this as an opportunity to explore where you stand in your relationship and perhaps discuss some aspects of it with your SO. As the lady whom you paraphrase in the beginning says, communicating honestly and not avoiding conflict are crucial for a relationship to flourish. But there is a difference between respectfully honest and brutally honest.

I suggest you ask yourself two questions:

What do you find attractive about your coworker? Is it perhaps something you miss in your SO? Does the crush resonate with you in some way you haven't felt in a while? Does he make you feel attractive? Realizing that you have these feelings is an important gift, because it tells you what you need in order to become (even) happier, so don't just deny these emotions. But also, don't dwell on them and make them bigger and more yearning than they are. Note them, and if they come up again, perhaps you decide to talk about them with your boyfriend. Are they something you can integrate into your relationship? You don't even have to mention your crush in this discussion at all!

But you already seem set on telling. My second question then: Why do you want to tell your SO about your crush? Perhaps you feel guilty and want to confess to your SO, so he takes the guilt off your shoulders. You don't need to feel guilty, because you haven't hurt anyone. You're responsible only for your actions, not for your feelings and fantasies. It's understandable if you need your SO to confirm your "innocence", but once you tell him, you have to take full responsibility for risking to hurt him. Another answer might be that, if you're quite honest, you actually do want to hurt him just a little. I'm not saying that this is the case, but it's worth considering. Being very blunt and "honest" can be a "nice" way to cloak aggression. ("I'm not trying to insult you, I'm just honestly informing you that your hair looks ugly, because I'm your friend.") Aggression comes from frustration -- it's what you feel when you're unhappy about something, but don't quite know how to change it. Perhaps you can use this powerful motivation more productively, for example by expressing your frustration in a non-hurtful way, and talking over with your SO what you need for your relationship to become (even) more fulfilling. Again, no need to mention your crush!

By the way, you mention that your SO sometimes tells you when he finds a woman beautiful, and that you're "not at ease" with it. Have you considered asking him why he tells you this and how it makes you feel?

Just to be clear, you're not talking about your motivations and reasons in your post, and my goal is not to impute them, but to invite you to think about them. To me this seems more important than whether or not you tell your SO. I've given you some prompts to get started. They are based on personal experience and on what seems to be conventional wisdom in relationship psychology. Of course, I'm not claiming to know you better than you do.

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    Backing up this answer with some personal experience or link to a reference would be a great start to having this question more positively viewed by the community. When writing a frame challenge answer that suggests and implies a number of things OP assumed are incorrect, backing it up will help OP and other readers better understand the perspective of where you are coming from. It also helps with any presumptuous or unpleasant tones that may have otherwise been unintentionally coming across. – Jesse Apr 6 '18 at 13:03
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I read the story of a woman who has been married for ten years (she met her husband at the age of 16 and got married at age 20, or something like this). In her testimony, she was explaining that remaining with someone you've met at such a young age for such a long time needed concessions. She talked about the importance of sincerity, and she said that any time she or her husband had doubts about their relationship, were having a hard time or simply were attracted to someone else, they just told the other one, even if it could hurt, even if it could end in an argument.

The first two things there (doubts about their relationship, having a hard time) may well be sensible things to talk about, because though the discussions might be painful, they might relate to problems that can be fixed.

However, simply being attracted to someone else isn't necessarily a problem if, as in your case, you're not going to act on it. That means there's nothing to be fixed - so risking a conversation that's likely to cause pain for no benefit is probably not a good decision.

I'd like to tell my boyfriend about this because I do not keep many secrets from him and I don't want to hide it from him.

In a way, it's nice that you want to be 100% open with your boyfriend about everything. But the reality is that in most relationships, many truths, if told, cause pain - and as above, from the point of view of the relationship, it's only worth it to tell them to your partner if there's likely to be a benefit to the relationship.

Now, it could be that there would be a benefit to the relationship, but it's not really clear what benefit you anticipate. Because of this, the course of action right now is probably to say nothing!

It may be that what you want with your boyfriend is an even closer relationship than you have now - an unusually close one where you really can tell each other everything. This is why I say that in a way, it's nice that you want to be 100% open. But the fact you've asked this question on this site indicates that you don't have that level of closeness - at least not yet. (I don't think that means it's a bad relationship - people can still be individuals with a little space between them, even in very loving relationships).

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When you bring it up with your boyfriend, frame it like you're asking him for help in managing it or making it go away, in addition to mentioning all the reassurances you put in your question.

Simply being told not to worry about something often makes it worse. Asking him for help with it - even if you don't actually need help - both lets him know what's going on and enlists him as an ally against what could be a threat to your relationship

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I've been in your shoes a few times in my relationship. Every time I've told my boyfriend about being attracted to someone else but not wanting to pursue it, or something bad I did that doesn't impact him, he's told me afterwards that he would have rather I not told him in the first place - it would have saved him a lot of drama without any downsides.

As others have said, you do need to think about how your boyfriend would react to being told, as well as how he would react to not being told and then finding out later. But if you decide not to tell him - which is an extremely reasonable decision to make in a lot of relationships, probably most of them - please don't feel like you're lying to him or keeping a secret. Rather, you're respecting his boundaries by not dragging him into things that are simply not worth the emotional energy. That is very respectable.

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First of all, I think there is no one good answer that will work for every couple ever.

There is too many parameters to account for that completely changes the situation. Those parameters are :

Your boyfriend, and what he is comfortable with, or not comfortable with : If you know for certain that your boyfriend is comfortable with you finding others attractive, or if he, himself usually talks about who he finds attractive then it should be totally okay to tell him. If you don't make a scene when he tells you that he find X or Y attractive, then he has no reason to make a scene either.

Be carefull though, as the women your boyfriend finds attractive are women he saw on the street. He likely won't ever see them again. But your coworker could be considered different, since you see them quite often. So your boyfriend might not see this as the same thing.

You, yourself, and what you are comfortable with sharing : That is also something important to consider : Are you comfortable with the idea of sharing with him the idea that you find a coworker attractive ? as you said yourself, you are no usually telling him when you find someone attractive. So if you tell him about that one person, won't he think that this coworker is somewhat special ? Since you are talking about him, and not about other guys you found attractive before ?

Your relationship : Depending on health of your relationship, it might not be a good idea to tell him that you find someone else attractive. If your relationship is in a bad period for X or Y reason, he might think that you're actively looking for a replacement, or deliberately trying to make him jealous. But if you tell him when you are both extremely happy with your relationship, he might see this as you trying to open up to him, and share more of yourself with him.

The relationship with your coworker : While you said that you have no attention on acting on your crush, depending on the time you spend with the coworker (at work, and outside work) your boyfriend might not be comfortable with the idea of you being attracted to him. If you usually spend some time with your coworker after work, or if you spend more time with him than your others coworker, your boyfriend might interpret that as cheating.

All in all I usually advise for honesty, especially in a couple, but with those parameters in mind, the only thing I can tell for anyone in a similar situation is this :

Take your time to think about it, and to think about what is better for the both of you : sharing this with your SO, or not.

Every couple is different, and everyone will see that situation differently (for example : I would be fine with my GF finding someone else attractive, but she would'nt).

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If you don't act on it, don't tell anybody about it. Not your boyfriend, not anybody.

I suggest that your "vision of honesty" almost certainly has limits that you are not yet aware of. For example, if you were going to a job interview and he thought, privately, that you were unlikely to get the job, he would never tell you his thoughts. He would instead express confidence in you to build your own confidence, and that's what you would want from him. You would do the same in return.

You clearly have more honesty in this relationship than most people in my experience would be comfortable with, but your question suggests that at times your boyfriend occasionally approaches your own limits, and you may one day find that he has limits of his own.

It can be destructive to call attention to every small imperfection in a relationship. A crush you have no desire to act on is a small imperfection. We all have thoughts in the privacy of our own minds that would hurt those we love. As long as those thoughts are just thoughts, we keep those thoughts private.

If you do act on the crush, that's a large imperfection and you'll need to tell your boyfriend about it then. But don't act on it.

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    How's that that my vision of honesty is mistaken? In fact I do appreciate when he tells me when I messed sth up, like today's lunch (way too much chili pepper). This is how we work. I understand your point here but I'm sorry that I think it doesn't address my question. – avazula Apr 5 '18 at 20:11
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    @avazula But are you happy with this policy of full honesty? You said yourself you are uncomfortable when he points out beautiful women to you. You're allowed to say to him that you'd rather he keep that to himself. Sometimes blunt honesty is cruel. – user16341 Apr 5 '18 at 20:14
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    @avazula There are limits to how much honestly is a good thing. You may find those limits soon enough. – Ed Plunkett Apr 5 '18 at 20:15
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    there is a line between honesty and hurtfulness that people sometimes need to discover the hard way. – neuronet Apr 8 '18 at 13:47
  • I see a lot of opinions here, but not a lot of back-ups. Do you have some relevant experience you can tell us about? – Ælis Feb 5 at 10:08
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You mentioned that your boyfriend commented on some women's beauty sometimes. Rather than ask him how he'd feel if you did the same, I suggest you to just do it. It is a quite innocuous way of testing his reaction and taking measures to tell him about your coworker properly. Moreover, not all the people know in advance how they would feel in a particular situation - at least, I've been surprised by my reaction more than once.

Most importantly, a while after having commented about that hot guy in the candy shop, ask him how he felt/he feels. It's important to wait some hours or a day because it allows you to know if he is still ruminating on it. Discuss if he felt insecure, if he thinks less of you because of your comment (I really hope not, but you never know) etc. Discuss also about your feelings while doing it and your feelings when he did it. Complete honesty also involves honest feedbacks. It may be worth to discuss also your principle of complete honesty to check if your thoughts about it have changed after this experience.

Reasonably, your discussion will involve a lot of reassuring one another and promises of eternal love. This is the good premise to tell your boyfriend about your coworker. Since you will have discussed in detail his reaction and his feelings, you will know better how to disclose your crush. In particular:

  • Is it worth it to call it explicitly "a crush", or it'll be better to just describe his looks and personality?

  • How much time will it last? How much detail will you share with your bf? ("He's so handsome" vs "he has got these awesome blue eyes that pierce my soul")

  • Is it better to just mention it as a "by the way" comment while telling him about your day, or is it a whole topic per se?

Etc.

My suggestion would be to not overthink it and just say it right after work, or when you're thinking about it. Say it in a context that allows the two of you to cuddle - I find that reassurance works best when coupled to physical contact. And finally, ask him for his feedback at the end - again, discussing everything including reactions is for me the only way to go to live successfully in complete honesty.

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There is a missing part in your question, you should tell us about your boyfriend's character, because it depends.

Well, as you forgot to add it, I need to guess:

  • Your boyfriend is something jealous and hard: There's no reason to hurt him just so you can feel repented. It is better to simply break up if you found someone who's better, or if you realized you will do this again and again.
    There is no good that comes from telling him. The other partner constantly brings up the infidelity. Even when they say they are over it, or however much they want to be, they will always throw it in your face.
  • Your boyfriend has an open mind: I would encourage you to find a time where the two of you can talk alone without interruptions. Be completely honest with him about it and let him know what you plan on doing to keep this from happening in the future.
2

There is a big difference between the woman in your book and your relationship:

She (apparently) had an agreement on the meta level with her husband about these things. You (from what you describe) do not.

You should see this as an opportunity to establish such ground rules of your relationship. This is a worthwhile, important discussion, and it gives your partner and opportunity to voice out her wishes in regards to these topics. Some people want to know every thought their partner has, some prefer not to be bothered with them until they matter.

Without such an agreement first you should not burden your girlfriend with your thoughts. I see questions of the "should I tell my partner?" kind quite frequently here on IPS, and in most cases the telling is clearly to the benefit of the person asking - unburdening themselves - and not necessarily in the best interest of the person about to be told.

Loving someone also means to carry a burden for them at times. Unless you know for certain that your boyfriend wants to know about such events, this is such a time.

Now if your thoughts begin to stray into areas that are a potential threat to the relationship, then you crossed the line into a territory where your partner should be informed. From what you write, you are still safely on this side of that line, and the burden is yours.

1

You can't

Faithfulness or any other matter that involves trust cannot ever be ensured. You can always break your promise or bow. That's why it's trust.(I'm not saying you would, just that on the hypothetical scenarios that may occur you might do it).

As many other said the upside potential is really low while the downside potential of explaining this to your partner might be really high. Reality doesn't matter at all, the fact that you don't want to let your feelings grow, all that matter to his reaction is his perception of the situation. And as I said on the first paragraph , trust cannot be 100% ensured, that's why on most scenarios this kind of revelations create insecurities most of the time, because even if you love your partner you cannot have absolute certainty that he/she will be able to not let this emotions grow, it just generate fear, and specially if addressed as an issue.

But then if you want to bring it up as if it didn't had importance at all, then why bring it up on the first place? The fact that you want to talk about it shows that it's important to you and you want to feel better and not feel unfaithful, even tho you know you haven't been so to your BF.

A bit more subjective, personal commentary :

I don't mean to be harsh but I feel like you're trying to adress the problem like you should show your SO your faithfulness while he isn't aware of the situation since it only exists in your head, I think it would be more important to prove it to yourself, I think you're just searching for his approval to not feel bad about some involuntary feelings you arised. You want to not feel bad about yourself for being attracted to your coworker, so to compensate you want to show yourself you're not by being honest with your BF. But this just moves a problem from your mind, to his. I think the most healthy way to deal with this it's just to overcome this crush as you were planning to do and show yourself you can do it.

I think the approach of talking to him as stated had more flaws than pros but if you want to go for it as suggested by other answers don't bring it up like it's the most crucial topic of your lives.

Also I think the approach of don't let your feelings for your crush go shows you are a both a caring person and responsable. And the same way I said I don't agree with telling your partner I can say I think this is the best thing you could do, most of this crushes are little things that arise and fall and sometimes people are too eager and don't think of the risk/reward and might lose a really promising partner for someone who really just turned them on either fiscally or intellectually (or both) but had no partnership potential at all. It all depends on what are your personal drives.

1

I would suggest initially spending some time balancing out the "check out that beautiful/handsome person" comments in public that your boyfriend does to you. See how they take it.

There's a big difference between your boyfriend saying some random person they'll never interact with is beautiful, and either of you saying that you are crushing (as in find attractive in a physical/mental/both way) on someone you see and interact with.

The former person cannot be a threat to your relationship as you'll never see them again. The latter (your crush) has a > 0 level of threat to your relationship. Regardless of anything else, I don't think it's fair to compare the two.

If all goes well with balancing out your boyfriend's comments (no confrontations, signs of jealousy or insecurity), then you can look to bring up that you've a crush on a co-worker that you will want to stress you have no intention of doing anything about apart from letting pass.

Hopefully during this time of balancing out your boyfriend's comments, the crush will already pass. At that point you could determine whether it's still worth bringing up. If so, at least you can change how you say it to something along the lines of

I thought you should know that I recently had a crush on a guy at work. You don't need to worry, I did nothing about it, just let the feelings pass.

Find someway to emphasize the point that feelings of a crush are temporary (which helps if you bring it up after the feelings have gone and you haven't done anything with this crush), and that you're even happier as your feelings for your boyfriend haven't changed, which is somehow proof of your current relationship.

Be prepared for unexpected reactions. Your boyfriend might be happy for you both to point out physical aspects of strangers/co-workers ("they're beautiful/gorgeous eyes") but feel hurt by suggestions of any sort of emotional attraction (which a "crush" would suggest).

You've already mentioned that you wish you could get past your own insecurities with your looks when he mentions a beautiful woman. If you open up this pandora's box to bring up stronger physical and emotional attraction, do you have the self-confidence to deal with that? Think of your trait that is your biggest worry (maybe you're terrible at telling funny stories etc), and consider how it would feel to hear your boyfriend tell you that a person they've told you they've got a crush on is great at that. This is the kind of level of openness you're trying to get to, and I'll be honest, I don't think most relationships need or could survive it.

Edit To add again to the difference. How much time does your worry of your boyfriend going up to people randomly on the street take up in your mind? No too much right? He's probably not on the streets that often, he probably has places to be, point being his chances to act out a threat to your relationship with these beautiful women is slim.

Now if you tell him you're crushing on a co-worker, it's a man you're around for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Even if he only considers it a minor concern, it's a minor concern for 40 hours a week.

0

You stated that often times your boyfriend will comment on a woman's beauty.

I'd wait for the next time for this to happen, and just be like "oh yeah! there's this cute guy at work..."

Anyways, the crux of this issue is that only you know how your BF will react - everyone commenting here, myself included, is biased by their own relationships. My wife and I constantly talk about our crushes and laugh about it. On my honeymoon I told my wife that I had a crush on her friend that we'd just been visiting. She said "lmao gross" and we moved on.

if your BF and you constantly talk about how liberated you are from past norms, then blab away. if your BF is very traditional (which you've indicated he's not) then just talk about it online instead.

0

In a relationship it's always best to be open with your partner about things you do, but in order to have the best relationship possible, but there are some thoughts that it's better not to share. As a simple example of this, suppose you were kissing your boyfriend and you happened to think about some time in the past when you had kissed another boyfriend. No good will ever come from telling your boyfriend that while you were kissing him you were thinking of someone else. Perhaps that would hurt him and perhaps it would not, but there is no possible good that could come from that. Although you didn't say this, it seems like you might think that by telling your boyfriend about your crush on the coworker that you will reduce the risk that anything would ever happen between you and your coworker. I believe that if you initially tell your boyfriend about your coworker then you are actually placing your relationship at more risk instead of less risk. The reason for that is by telling your boyfriend you are attempting to externalize the responsibility for not getting involved with your coworker. You need to internalize that responsibility because that is the way you keep your crush from becoming something more.

I think the best approach would be to not initially tell your boyfriend about your thoughts and feelings regarding your coworker (we'll call him Greg). Instead, make a resolution that you will be totally honest with your boyfriend about your actions toward Greg. If you encounter Greg in the hallway and have a five minute conversation with him then mention that to your boyfriend that evening. If you have lunch with a group of your coworkers and Greg is at the table mention that to your boyfriend. After you've mentioned Greg to your boyfriend several times he might begin to wonder if anything is going on. At that point your boyfriend might begin to ask you about Greg. That would be a good time to tell your boyfriend that you find Greg attractive, but that you love your boyfriend and that Greg is not a threat to your relationship. Do not share with your boyfriend that you have a crush on Greg. Continue to tell your boyfriend every time that you interact with Greg. As long as you remain totally open about your actions then your crush on Greg represents no threat to your relationship.

-2

I have two suggestions.

  1. Look for opportunities for you and your partner to get to know this coworker better outside work. This will open things up. Also, without getting romantically involved, you can enjoy spending time with this dreamboat.

  2. Share the short story, or your recollection of it, with your partner (without bringing up your coworker or anyone else specific). Talk about what you like about the story and the approach taken in it. Discuss it with your partner. This will increase your common ground and your understanding of each other.

  • What do you mean by short story? – user510 Apr 6 '18 at 14:17
  • 1
    @henning - OP wrote, "When I was younger I read the story of a woman who etc." That story is what I was referring to. – aparente001 Apr 6 '18 at 14:41
  • Are you suggesting them to have a threesome? OP didn't explicitly state that's not an option so I guess there is a slight chance this answer might be helpful. – Oleg Apr 6 '18 at 16:45
  • @Oleg - Threesome? No. I'm suggesting that they socialize together. Perhaps the crush has a partner who would of course be invited too. Note, it might be more comfortable for all concerned if there were some other people involved (e.g. group dinner, games night, etc.) at least sometimes. – aparente001 Apr 6 '18 at 18:18
  • 1
    Then I don't understand how socializing with her crush can help, maybe you can expand on that? For now you gained an upvote caused by my misunderstanding so be careful if you decide to edit, I might take it away. – Oleg Apr 6 '18 at 18:25

protected by OldPadawan Apr 6 '18 at 15:27

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