I am a 19 year old sophomore in college, and I’m having a bit of trouble with my boyfriend. We’ve been dating for basically a year now. He loves me completely, and is interested and attracted to only me. He feels that this is the way that relationships work, and I once upset him when I said “Mmmm” at someone's mention of a certain very good-looking celebrity.
Being attracted to anyone that’s not him is a big no-no, because that means I want to do the HND with them, apparently. And crushes are okay, but only if it just means thinking the person is cute, and doesn’t mean wanting to be with them, or anything physical. This includes celebrity crushes. He doesn’t want me to react to anyone else, because he wants to be the only one I get weak-kneed over.
I don’t usually get crushes on other people, but sometimes I do develop them. And at times I don’t know whether it’s just chemical or not. I know in my heart and in my head that my boyfriend is the only one for me. I love him whole-heartedly. But is it wrong for me to fantasize about someone who isn’t him? Even if that so-called someone isn’t even available, like a celebrity? Is he being jealous, or is it warranted that he feels this way?
And I'm not just saying that because I'm still getting over the flu someone gave me for Christmas, either.
And at the risk of stating the obvious: no, there's nothing "warranted" about your boyfriend playing Thought Police with the contents of your fantasy life. Even in a relationship, you still retain sole and total ownership over the stuff inside your head. Your thoughts, your feelings, your opinions and interests and attractions: these are yours to have, and nobody else's to regulate.
Which means, among other things, that you could be rocking yourself to sleep every night coming up with creative make-out scenarios involving your mailman, the varsity football team, and every member of the Hunger Games cast, and you'd still be firmly on the side of the angels. Your only responsibility, knowing that this stuff brings out your boyfriend's insecurities, is to be considerate and put a filter between your brain and your mouth so that your fulfilling fantasy doesn't become his upsetting reality—just as we all do with feelings that are best expressed after a little light editing for kindness and good taste (Saying "Yum!" when Ryan Gosling wanders shirtless across your TV screen is perfectly fine; describing in vivid detail how much nicer his pecs are than your boyfriend's, not so much).
And the next time your boyfriend demands that you stop feeling any and all neck-down attraction to guys who aren't him, tell him you'll do no such thing—not just because it's physically impossible, but because his fixation on this is utterly missing the point: that love isn't about creating a world free of romantic distractions. The most loyal, loving, flawlessly devoted person you'll ever date will still be attracted, sexually or otherwise, to other people. There's nothing you can do about that. Heck, there's nothing they can do about that. Feelings aren't something we get to choose, or define, or regulate. Which is why the thing that truly matters isn't how you feel, but how you deal—and that even when you're attracted to somebody else, even when your loins are practically on fire with the undeniable, uncontrollable ju-ju of a big sweaty crush, you choose to resist that desire in the name of devotion to their one-and-only. The expression of your love is in that choice. And when you make it over and over, despite the challenges and temptations, you've got a loving, lasting, romantic relationship.
Take that choice away, however, and you get a person who wants you because she's got no better or more enticing options. And there's nothing romantic about that.
Does your SO demand that you never ever crush on anyone else? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.