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Dead Christine, Astonished in Ann Arbor

| December 14, 2015

ccc 2Dear Christine,

I was lucky enough to nab the love of my life about 4 years ago and we’ve been blissful ever since. I have no doubts about my feelings for her. Last weekend I had to go into work on a Saturday and others were there. Everyone was casual in jeans and such.  My boss, a man a few years older than me was there and its so weird I almost have a hard time writing this, he was HOT in his blue jeans!  So, that night I had a sex dream about him and I’ve had a few since.  I would never act on it and I doubt he even knows who I am. He has a wife and kids.  I have NEVER been attracted to a man in a sexual way.  Is this normal? Could I be Bi?  I never thought so.  Should I tell my wife?  Thanks,

Astonished in Ann Arbor

Dear Astonished,

We are sexual beings, wired to feel that chemistry with people that suddenly look hot to us that we never thought about sexually before.  It’s just part of being human.  It’s not like you were out looking for your boss to be hot, or to be attracted to a married man, or a man at all!  It’s not like it makes you bi or gay and if this is where it ended, you didn’t cheat on your wife either!  It just happened. There is nothing wrong with feeling turned on by anyone, even if that person is your boss! There could be something wrong with actions you might take on those feelings!  You could lose you your job and your marriage.

How open are you with your wife?  Do you share personal attractions each of you might have for someone else?  I have known couples who have rated individuals walking down the street as they sat at a sidewalk café, each sharing who they found attractive and comparing each other’s choices.  It can be fun!  It also could be threatening if the two of you have never talked about the possibility of being attracted to anyone but each other.  I would encourage you to talk to your wife about this, as being honest and open deepens emotional intimacy.  If she has any questions or fears, she has the opportunity to ask them.  If you are afraid you might act on your feelings, it’s really important to talk about them, if not to your wife, then to a therapist or someone you trust to help you sort out what your priorities, values and needs are.

Feeling an attraction so anyone is completely normal and does not have to be a threat to your marriage.  Keeping your feelings a secret could end up being a problem, particularly if your wife noticed your reaction to seeing your boss.  I have always told my wife of any attraction I’ve had to someone else, because I want her to know that the attraction is there, but there is no threat.  I choose to be with my wife each and every day, and when that changes, I know it will be time to get some therapy, and maybe end the relationship.  Likewise, she has told me when someone has had a crush on her.  I particular I remember a student (adult) when she was teaching.  I later met the student and I found the student’s crush adorable.  My wife kept good boundaries with the student, and we kept talking honestly to each other throughout the situation.

It’s ok to feel whatever you feel because you are not your feelings.  You are more than your feelings.  You have the awareness to have choices in your behavior, even though you do not choose what you feel.  I would encourage you to tell your wife about your attraction to your boss, so you can process with her and protect your job and your marriage.   Good luck!

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD.
Psychologist

Christine Cantrell, PhD
Psychologist
christineccantrellphd@gmail.com

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