The beginning of fall is around the corner. That means new fall wardrobe pieces, the return of football and chilly nights that make a great case study as to why touch makes relationships better. And although touch and attraction can be great if you’re coupled up or single, they can also be a source of major temptation for people in committed relationships (we mean, who hasn’t had a major work crush?). “It’s human to be attracted to others. What matters is what we do with that attraction. Having the impulse is okay — acting on it is not,” says Alyce Pilgrim, a mindset coach. When temptation strikes, she suggests four ways to keep your wandering eyes at bay.

Cheerful woman using digital tablet with a friend at cafe

We’re all going to check out that hottie walking down the street or flirt a little bit with our cute coworker. And that’s totally okay, as Alyce makes a very important distinction between attraction and love. Since being attracted to other people is normal (whether you’re in a relationship or not), simply looking at other people is not unfaithful to your relationship. “Temptation doesn’t mean that you love the person you’re with any less,” she says. “You can be attracted to someone and still very much love your partner. Love and sexual attraction are two different emotions, and it’s very much possible to experience these two unique feelings for two different people at the same time.” Even though sometimes those two feelings can feel really hard to manage, knowing that it’s okay — and definitely possible to feel both at the same time — is a relief.

If your temptations seem surface level — checking out a cute barista, for example — you should be (morally) in the clear. However, if you feel like these temptations might lead you to cheat on your S.O. emotionally or physically, Alyce has four tips to make sure you don’t do anything you might regret.

Flirting on a party


1. Set boundaries. All relationships are different and are founded on different expectations (even open relationships run the gamut). Depending on the ground rules you’ve set with your partner, blurring the lines might or might not be okay. However, Alyce has a rule that can apply no matter the situation: “Avoid crossing any line if you know it could hurt your partner,” she says. Depending on your relationship, that could mean texting or it could mean actually kissing someone.

2. Ask yourself if it’s worth it. The most important thing to consider if you’re in a tempting situation is what you stand to lose if you give in. For example, if an attractive guy approaches you at the bar, think about your current S.O. before accepting his invitation to dance if you think that may lead to you crossing a line.

3. Look at the big picture. While something might feel tempting in the moment, consider the outcome of your actions — both for you and the people you love. A great way to do this is to think about your long-term goals. If your goal is to stay in a solid relationship, it might be best to avert your eyes from that cutie at the gym.

4. Don’t torture yourself. Temptation and attraction are completely normal and, to a certain extent, inevitable. However, some circumstances are more threatening than others, so don’t put yourself in them (if you can help it). You can’t avoid bumping into an attractive stranger, but you can avoid a coffee date with a coworker you can’t help but flirt with.

It’s human to feel bad for having eyes for anyone other than your S.O. — but before you feel guilty for flirting with a friend you met on a business trip, know that temptation can actually *improve* the relationship you’re already in. “Use temptation to fuel your own relationship,” Alyce suggests. “Use it to create a discussion where you and your partner share what you find attractive. Who knows where it might lead. If you can both leave judgment and insecurity at the door, it will lead to a deeper connection and understanding of one another,” she says.

Have any tips for overcoming temptation? Let us know @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)