I’m Married But In Love With Someone Else

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You probably never meant for it to happen. It’s not as if you went looking for a lover.

However, once you fell in love with another person than your spouse, things got rather intense. You’re already in what some refer to as an emotional affair. Perhaps you’ve gone further and the relationship has turned physical.

HOW DID IT HAPPEN?

It may be difficult for you to know exactly how you got into this situation. Some are honest enough with themselves that they know step-by-step how everything came to be as it is now. Others have more difficulty, their mind confused because what they are doing is so contrary to what they believe and value. Some feel that God sent them their soul mate. Others blame it on the way their spouse’s actions or lack of actions.

Underlying vulnerabilities very likely made the new relationship possible. Highly revered marriage researcher John Gottman writes in his book The Marriage Clinic:

…many clinicians…have been quick to point out that ‘affairs involve sex, but sex is usually not the purpose of the affair’…In fact, most clinicians who have written in this area report that affairs are usually about seeking friendship, support, understanding, and validation…they are about getting the acceptance that is missing in the marriage.”

My work with thousands of couples in crisis indicates that this is exactly the case. Relationship affairs – as opposed to the one-night-stand type affairs that are wholly about sex and not at all about relationship – usually find root in a person’s feeling unloved, unaccepted, disliked, or disrespected. That doesn’t mean that the person necessarily went looking for affirmation and validation from someone else. However, when it came, it captured their heart.

Maybe you describe this new relationship similar to the way others I’ve worked with:

  • I’ve never been loved like this.
  • No one understands me as well as he/she does.
  • This is the person I was meant to be with.
  • I can’t explain how this feels because I don’t think anyone else can understand it. It’s intense. Amazing. Wonderful.
  • Most likely your desire is not to hurt the person you’re married to, but rather to live in this new level of love that you never knew existed. You don’t mean to harm family, friends, coworkers, church buddies, or anyone else. Your desire is to have, not to hurt. (There may be an exception to that if you feel that your spouse has been unkind or hurtful. If so, that degree of negativity toward your spouse probably increased its intensity after your affair began.)

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

You have four potential paths before you. Either you stay in your marriage while continuing a relationship with your lover, leave your marriage for your lover, end the affair yourself, or your lover ends it.

Each possibility carries consequences. Short-term consequences and long-term consequences. If you choose short-term, you may decide to end your marriage for your lover. The intensity of your present emotions may make that the choice that seems most likely to make you happy. However, there are long-term consequences that will come with that choice. Consequences involving your family, your children, your friends, your religion, your personal beliefs and values, and your spouse. If you think that being with your lover more than makes up for any difficulties in these areas, you aren’t alone. Nearly everyone who makes that decision figures that because of the deep love they now feel, everything balances out in the end.

Unfortunately, it rarely, if ever, turns out that way.

Your emotions are intense now, but they won’t be forever. Within a couple years, if not before, you’ll discover that the Cinderella or Price Charming you’re in love with isn’t quite as wonderful as you think. In the ecstasy of new love people overlook flaws, quirks, and problems in the other. When that emotions evolves, as it must and will, you’ll start to be bothered by things that never bothered you before. You will discover that Cinderella and Prince Charming exist only in fairytales. All the rest of us are flawed and at time hard to live with.

Repeatedly those who left their spouses for a remarkable love come to me after a few years and say they wish they could do it all over again. This time they wouldn’t abandon their marriage but would figure a way to work out their problems. They wouldn’t expect their children NOT to be negatively affected by the divorce. They would look deeper into their hearts to see that their beliefs and values are part of their very identity and realize that to live in contradiction to them would lead them to become someone quite different than they were. They would admit that there is never a “happily ever after” and that leaving one relationship for another is trading one set of problems for another.

In short, they would have stayed in the first marriage and done all they could to make it work.

MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION

Though logic doesn’t reign for you at the moment, take one quick moment to see past the feelings into your future. What do you honestly, at the deepest level of your being, expect it to be ten years from now if you abandon your marriage, maybe destroy another in the process (if your lover is married), and violate your core beliefs?

Happy?

Not likely. Happiness comes from doing the right thing; not the selfish thing.

If you wish to learn how to overcome the deep emotion you currently feel for your lover and find the way to have a fulfilling marriage with the person your mate, we can help. While I cannot guarantee success, our percentage over the last decade is more than 75% for those who attend our workshop in Nashville, TN. We’ll do all we can to help you have the best future, full of love…not regret.

Comments

  1. Ed says

    Hi…thanks for the info. I been married for fifteen years. I have strayed online and met a woman I am falling in love with. I am stuck between rock and a hard place. I want this woman so bad!
    Shes from another country and wants to fly here to be with me.
    I don’t want to hurt anyone but my wife and I have been on rocky road for a while. I have two children also.

    • Spencer Sutton says

      Ed,

      We understand your situation because we see it everyday at Marriage Helper. As you have probably already discovered, you’re in a tough spot because I’m guessing your belief and value system is telling you to stay with your spouse while you intense emotions (we know this as Limerence) are trying to convince you this woman is the best decision.

      My advice is to give us a call at 866.903.0990 and let us talk to you about it. And if possible, we would love to see you and your wife at one of our workshops for marriages in crisis. You can find more information under ‘Marriage Help’ on our main menu.

      In the next couple of weeks we will also have a great video series that Joe put together for spouses in your situation. It will be extremely valuable in your decision making process. Let us know how else we can help!

  2. Chesca says

    I’ve been in love/involved with a man who lives with his ex wife for over ten years now.
    At first my four children were part of the relationship, for the last 3 years they think I stopped seeing him, yet I’ve kept it a secret from everyone.
    I’m almost 40 years old and hes 50, we’re both continuing to fulfill our obligations to our separate households, but it’s wearing on us keeping it as a “love affair”. We’ve both tried to walk away from one another, always finding our way back to one another.
    It’s an emotional, mental, spiritual not just physical bond we have for one another.
    What do we do?

  3. Jane says

    I have worked with my coworker for 12 years and I have been married for 11 yrs to my husband. Out of those 12 yrs my coworker and i have had a relationship for 5 yrs. The problem is that I have fallen in love with my coworker. We have been through it all together. But my husband is the perfect man and has not done anything wrong. I’m so confused because I don’t know who to choose.

    • Spencer Sutton says

      Jane, I have asked Joe to give you some feedback on this post. I’ll put it up here and notify you when he’s done that. Something that I would offer – think about your belief and value system. If your belief and value system says that your marriage commitment it important and that you would not want to break this commitment that you made before God, friends and family, then your choice is clear. We understand that acting on that belief and value system is easier said than done. If you would like us to help (without judgement), feel free to give us a call at 866.903.0990

  4. Josh says

    I have cheated on my wife with one night stands and now she is in love with someone else she recently met. She tells me that he understand her, listens to her and is just a good person. She filed fit divorce two months ago but we decided to work on it but she finally decided she was done. I want everything to save our marriage because I know deep down we love each other but can’t seem to make it work. Wet have three kids and I don’t with everything in me nit to create a broken home. What can I do?

  5. Donna says

    I have been married for 5 1/2 yrs but with my husband for 10 yrs. He was divorced with 2 kids. We had twins together. Right before we married he had an affair. I believe it happened before. I lost that “prince charming” feeling. Then I became a slave in the house and overworked with 2 jobs to keep up with his child support and alimony. He was very selfish. I met someone 2 years ago. The man I met has had drug, alcohol and legal issues in the past, but I fell for him HARD and can’t seem to break it off. I am a caretaker. But I fell for the man inside of the mess. My husband is the opposite but has clingy issues and we never agree on things. I know if i leave him I will end up with a mess. But why can’t i end this long term love affair???

  6. says

    I married young, and we are almost to year five. Recently, another woman has captured my heart. Right now, the latter relationship is platonic; flirtatious at most. But it may be headed toward more. I do not want to violate my marriage vows/divorce. On the other hand, I want children and my wife, at bottom, does not. This other woman does, and just today we looked longingly together at another happy family.

  7. Thomas says

    My marriage of 29 years has never been the marriage that I dreamed of. I find myself to be more of a father-figure to my wife than that of a husband. I have never liked this role. My wife and I have had many discussions about this before. For all these years, I have just accepted the way things are. I can’t accept it anymore.

    I met a lady online 8 months ago. She seemed really nice and intelligent. We have been really good friends and can talk about anything. We have shared so much between us and it has turned out to be a beautiful friendship. For that, I am very grateful! But in the last month, a very strong attraction of ‘more than friends’ between us have developed; we have been having an emotional affair. She seems to be a perfect match for me, and she is everything that my wife is not. We are supposed to meet in person for a few drinks soon.

    I am very afraid of what can happen when we actually meet. I can see how this situation could go really bad, really fast. She is everything that I could ever want in a partner, BUT I don’t want to hurt anyone, especially my wife. I have to admit that I am torn right now, not knowing what to do. Should I pursue my happiness with this other person or should I stay in this less than adequate marriage and acknowledge the fact that it is all just a dream.

    Deep down, I don’t want to be married to the one I am married to. But I certainly don’t want to be the cause of my wife’s sadness either. The temptation is there. I never thought it was possible, certainly not possible for me. But here I am.

  8. carmen says

    I have been married for ten years. My husband and I have had many issues in our marriage. For the last three years I have connected with a man I met when I was 15 years old. I talk to him everyday on fb. I have fallen madly in love with him. He lives in Boston and me Toronto. I often fall asleep thinking of him. The problem is I’m married and I have a daughter who loves her dad much. I feel so stuck and just want to cry.

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