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You Have a Decision to Make.

(0:00) It may be that somebody has told you that you’re really not in love with this other person; that it’s a fantasy, that it’s infatuation, or that it will go away. I’m assuming, of course, that you’re here because of the fact that you are trying to make a choice between whether to leave to be with your lover, or stay with your spouse. In other words, you’re married, but you’re thinking:

“Maybe I should end the marriage and go to be with this other person because I’ve never felt love like this.”

If you expect me to tell you that you’re not in love with that person, then you need to change your expectations. I won’t. I understand that you are in love with that other person, and will not deny that, but I will ask you to think about a couple of things as you plan your future.

Because, as you make this choice, you need to make the best choice concerning everyone (especially yourself).

I’m Dr. Joe Beam, with Marriage Helper. We love having people watch our videos. You see that subscribe button right down there [on YouTube]? If you’d like to keep up with our videos as they come out, click subscribe and you’ll always be notified. We talk about all kinds of things having to do with relationships, including this one: “I am married to one person, but I am in love with another person. I’m trying to decide whether to end my marriage and go be with this other person.”

Now understand, it is a “kind” of love. You see, in the social sciences we can identify various kinds of love. By the way, the one we never try to identify is true love. Why? Because that’s whatever a person is feeling at the moment. It’s too subjective or too different per individuals. Therefore, we can’t really quantify or identify it.

But, there are many kinds of love we can identify. If you’re madly in love with this other person, then we can look at certain characteristics and classify it in the social sciences as limerence. It’s a kind of love, without a doubt. It’s an intense kind of love. If you’d like to learn more about it, be sure to check out our other articles and videos. Look for the ones that talk about limerence.

I understand it. I’ve experienced it.

As a matter of fact, I’ve been in the very spot that you’re in now. I was married to one, and I was madly in love with another. I had to make a choice.

“Will I end this marriage, will I divorce my wife, so I can go be with this person who is the love of my life?”  To me, it was the kind of thing that people today call “soulmates.”

Believe me, I understand the intensity of that decision. But the very fact that you’re reading this means that you haven’t really decided. Now, I’ll suggest a thing or two that you should seriously consider if you’re trying to make that decision. What I would call “essential considerations.”

First, Think About Who Your Decision Will Affect..

(2:48) One would be, “Who all will be affected by your decision?” Someone is going to be hurt by whatever decision you make. You say, “What do you mean?” Well, if you’re married to one who loves you and wants to be with you, then if you leave her or him for this other person, then you obviously are hurting the person you’ve been married to for a while.

Or if you decide, “No, I’m going to end my relationship with this person that I’m madly in love with and I’m going to go back and make my marriage work,” then you’re going to hurt that person.

And by the way, it’s highly likely that either decision is going to wind up hurting you.

So, it’s not a matter of, “How can I make a decision that hurts nobody?” Because at this point, that’s an impossibility.

I mean, I wish it were a possibility, but it’s not. Someone’s going to get hurt.

Next, The Possible Negative Effects on Children:

(3:35) Oh, and by the way, if you have children in this marriage, then you’re going to hurt them too. No matter how old they are, it’s going to cause them some kind of pain. Younger children have some kind of effect that comes from the parents’ divorce. Older kids have a little bit of a different kind of effect that comes from divorce.

If you’re thinking, “Well, how are children hurt?” There’s a plethora of research out there about that. I’m not saying it’ll doom your children, or it’ll destroy their lives forever. Don’t misunderstand this (because I will not ever lie to you)…

…but will there be an effect on them? And the answer is, in all likelihood, yes. As a matter of fact, it’s almost impossible for it to not hurt them.

For example, if you have school-age kids, we know that some of the ways it’s going to manifest itself will be in their grades, particularly in courses that involve logic, like science and mathematics. Why? Because their emotions will become a little bit raw. And it’s also much more likely that they’re going to get involved in some kind of behavioral problems. I’m not saying they necessarily will, but the odds of that happening increases.

Also, if you divorce and you have kids, and she or he winds up marrying somebody else, then those kids will have exposure to that other person. Now, you’ve got a whole new thing going on. You’ll consider how good a person the new person is; this new person that might be introduced into the picture if your spouse remarries.

Or even if he or she doesn’t remarry if they get into a really intense relationship. Even if they start dating a lot of different people..

Your kids get exposed to other relationships.

You have to be thinking, “Wow, I don’t know if that’s always going to be a good man in my kids’ lives, or a good woman in my kids’ lives. How are they going to be affected by that?”

Now, I’m not trying to beat you up. Remember, we always tell the truth no matter what. All I’m trying to say is, if you’re going to make this decision there are things I hope you’re considering. Because, if you’re a good person trying to make a decision that’s going to cause the least amount of damage as possible, you’re going to be thinking, “Who’s going to be affected, and how is it going to affect them?”

Now, be honest with yourself. Don’t listen to somebody who says, “Oh, kids are resilient, no big problem, they’ll get over it, that’s fine.”

 

(5:47) One guy who was leaving his wife for a woman that was 20 years older than him, interestingly, said: “She told me that my three year old and my one year old won’t have any negative effects if I leave those two little girls and come be with her, because years and years ago, she left her husband and it had no negative effects on her little girl at all.”

Now, I asked him this question: “Do you think, since she wants you to come be with her, divorce your wife to be with her…do you think that she might be a little bit slanted in her opinion about this?”

And, because of the fact that she doesn’t want to feel badly about whatever could have happened negatively in the life of her own daughter, “Do you think maybe she wants to see only the good and not the bad?” In other words, I’m not sure that that person is a good resource to help you make that decision. She’s got a biased interest in you making a decision in a particular way.

We even sometimes hear about counselors and therapists say, “Kids are resilient. No negative problems, everything’ll be fine, I’ll help him get through it.”

That’s wrong!

If they tell you that the kids are resilient, or that “there’s no long-term problems and that they’ll get over the short-term problems very quickly..” that counselor or therapist does not know what he or she is talking about.

Good counselors are awesome! If you’ve got a good counselor, use him or her to help your kids if you decide to make any decision that causes your kids pain. But, be very careful that they don’t say “kids will get over this fast.” Article after article after article in the scientific journals or social science journals all have information about all the various ways this negatively affects kids.

Now I’m not saying you can’t make your own decisions. Certainly, you can. But I’m saying, “Be honest with yourself.” Don’t believe the lie or tell yourself the lie, “No problem! The kids will be fine and there won’t be any negatives of this to them.” At least be honest and say, “If I make the decision to go this way rather than this way, then this is how it’s going to affect my kids.”

At least be honest with yourself, because you love your kids. And if you’re thinking, “But I don’t have kids, you just spent a ton of time talking about kids, that’s not applicable to me,” well, still think about the lover and the spouse. Because whichever decision you make is going to have a negative effect on them.

You say, “Well, how?”

(7:54) Well, your spouse will go through a mourning period because of the fact that you’re not going to be there if they want you to be there. That’s kind of a “death” in a sense. Also, it’s going cause your spouse to have a lot of self-questioning, like, “What’s wrong with me, what did I do wrong, why am I not equal to this person that you left me for?”

You know that he or she is going to go through those kinds of things no matter what you say and no matter what you do; they’re going to.

On the other hand, if you leave the lover and go back to your marriage, then the lover is going to go through those same kinds of things, wondering, “What’s wrong with me?” “Why would he or she leave me?” and, “How in the world could you come and get involved with me and lead me to love you so dearly, and now back out of it?”

It’s a tough decision.

And as I’ve already said, either way..

…somebody’s going to get hurt.

Here’s How Limerence Happens:

(8:44) If you are deeply in love with this person, this thing that we in the social sciences call limerence, you probably didn’t go looking for it. What I mean is, there was a person that was in your life that you had some kind of “contact” with. Maybe he or she worked in the next office, or maybe you saw them at lunch because you always went to the same place. Maybe you went to the same church. Maybe this other couple was your best friends and that’s how you got involved with him or her because you always had access. Access is the key.

What happened in the beginning was, you found out you could talk to this person about things that you typically don’t talk to other people about.

They were very accepting. You probably didn’t have your first conversation that way, but because you liked each other, you enjoyed each other, or you found him or her attractive… somewhere along the line you started opening up and sharing your heart, your mind, your thoughts, your fears, your aspirations, and all those kinds of things.

Conversations with him or her began to become like the following:

“Nobody’s ever got me like you do. Nobody’s ever understood me like you understand me.”

Then he or she started opening up to you. That understanding got stronger, not just of him or her understanding you, but you understanding him or her, and then you formed an intense emotional connection.

For example, “I don’t think anybody else has ever felt this way, ever. I mean, why couldn’t my marriage be like this? Why have I never experienced a relationship like this? I don’t even know how to tell anybody else, because I don’t think anybody else has ever felt this way.” It’s almost like there are two souls merging into one body.

That connection is so immense, you don’t want to lose it, yet here you are reading about it. Which, probably means that you are also thinking, “But I’m married to this person over here and it would be wrong to leave him or her for my lover.”

So, you started hiding things.

You started going places where nobody would know where the two of you were. You talked about things beyond what you can or should talk about with anybody that you’re not married to. You probably held hands, which led to hugging, which led to kissing, and in all likelihood, you made love to each other and you have had a mixture of feelings about that.

You’ve been hiding and hiding, and you don’t want to hide anymore.

You don’t want to have to sneak off to some restaurant in another town. You don’t want to slink off to some hotel somewhere. You want it to be open. You want to just  completely be with this person. That’s how it all began and now you’ve gotten to the present.

Here’s What Limerence Causes:

(11:09) If you are having an emotional struggle with making the decision, “Do I leave with my lover, or do I stay with my spouse?” You’ll probably be going through this thing that we in the social sciences call cognitive dissonance. That’s what happens when you do things against your beliefs and values.

It messes you up inside.

You feel bliss when you’re with this other person and you miss him or her when you’re not with your lover, but then on the other hand, you feel guilt about it as well. When you look at your children or your spouse…

or maybe you’re still going to church if you’re a church person, and you’re sitting there listening to the preacher or the pastor speak…

and you have these pangs of guilt and it’s kind of ripping you apart. You get into this emotional roller coaster.

Because your beliefs and values are one thing and what you’re doing is a different thing, then it’s kind of messed you up inside. Now, you’re actually contemplating altering your beliefs and values to make this okay. Thinking, “Maybe that’ll be a good thing, maybe that’s what I need to do.” And in this emotional roller coaster, because you are so intensely in love, this “limerence thing” with your lover, makes you think about her or him a lot.

You tend to daydream about the things you’ve done together and the things you’ve talked about. You tend to cherish the little items that you have shared with each other. You tend to cherish the places that you’ve been together. You tend to fantasize about the future, the “what it would be like with him or her,” so you feel all this ecstasy. Then, when you’re with him or her and you see signs of reciprocation, or you can see the love, or even you hear the “want” in the voice. Then, it seems like, “Ah, this is heaven. This is absolutely amazing.”

But…you’re also aware when he or she starts acting differently…

Sometimes you see that he or she’s “not having a good day” and sometimes they may appear to be pulling away from you a little bit. Or, sometimes they see something negative when they’ve been so warm and friendly and you’re watching for signs of rejection.

At any time you think he or she is not reciprocating with this amazing love you have, this “deep longing” you have to be with each other. It just makes you feel miserable.

As a matter of fact, you may even have had physical manifestations when you think about him or her pulling away from you..

…Heart palpitations

…An upset stomach

…Sweating

…Rapid breathing.

Even if you don’t have the physical manifestations you could get the emotional ones such as: going from ecstasy to misery, (sometimes that fast) and then thinking to yourself, “Oh my goodness, what’ll happen if she goes away or he goes away?”

You’re struggling with this; you’re comparing.

You’re comparing him or her to your spouse. When you do, your spouse almost always loses because your spouse, not your lover who you have all these intense positive emotions about, is “keeping you” from being with your lover. Again, your spouse is “keeping you” from being with your lover.

So, when you make those comparisons, your spouse tends to lose. Even if you say good things about him or her, like, “Oh, but I love him, I love her. This is a good person, I can’t say anything bad about him or her.” You know in your mind, whenever you compare the two, who wins. That’s the present you’re living in and it’s got you miserable.

Consider Your Decisions Wisely

Now, you’ve got to do something. When it comes to your future, you know you can’t live like this.

You’re going to make some kind of decision. You’re going to decide either to end your marriage and try to go be with this person, OR you’re going to end this and try to make your marriage work.

(14:36) By the way, don’t try to do both those things at the same time. You say, “What?” Don’t try do to both those things at the same time. Don’t think, “Well, I need to decide about this and fix my marriage or decide about my marriage at the same time.”

They’re actually TWO different decisions:

“What are you going to do about this?” That’s decision number one.

Then, “Am I going to try to make my marriage work?” That’s decision number two.

Count the cost. What I mean is,

  • What do you have to gain if you leave with your lover?
  • What do you have to gain if you stay with your spouse?
  • What do you have to lose if you leave with your lover?
  • What will you have to lose if you stay with your spouse?
  • What would I gain? “Oh, I’m going to get to be with this person that I feel these amazing emotions for. That’s worth all the loss on the other side.”

Here’s the bad news. I’ve been there, I know how this feels. Not only have I, thousands of people have. I know, you don’t believe that. Right now, you think, “Nobody’s ever felt this way.” But yes, thousands upon thousands upon thousands have. I’ve worked with a ton of them myself. In addition to my own story, I’ve heard their stories and I can tell you this:

What you feel right now, this intense positive emotion you’re feeling at the moment toward your lover, is not going to stay that way forever.

I know you think it will; in fact I know you believe it will.

You’re looking at me thinking, “You’re an idiot. You have no idea what you’re talking about.” That is exactly what I would have said when I was in the situation you’re in right now. But eventually it’s going to change.

Right now, you make decisions thinking, “This is the way I’m going to feel. He/she’s going to feel for the rest of our lives. Therefore it’s worth all I’m going to give up for it,” and I’m telling you, guaranteeing you, it’s going to change. It cannot stay that intense. Nothing in life can stay that intense. It’s going to end. And so, think about this: “What am I going to gain, what am I going to lose?

The 10-10-10 Rule to Follow

(16:20) Suppose you decide to get in that relationship with your lover…what you realize someday is that it begins to fade/begins to go away. Do you know that in all likelihood, even if you divorce your spouse for this person, the likelihood that you’ll actually wind up marrying this person is extremely low?

And if you do marry the person, the likelihood of your divorcing is exceptionally high, extremely high. Most of these couples just don’t make it long-term. Part of the reason has to do with counting the losses. She, he, they…are going to count the losses. You, you are going to count the losses.

You will look over at what you gave up, you look at the person who loved you, you look at your children and what you put them through. You will look at what it’s cost you in terms of friendships, or even what it’s cost you in terms of your own morality.

So, think of it this way: 10-10-10, if you can be honest with yourself. That is:

Whichever decision I make, how am I going to feel about it in 10 MINUTES, 10 MONTHS, and 10 YEARS?

Now, if you decide to stay in your marriage and end the relationship with this person over here, you’re going to grieve. You are. You’re going to mourn. You’re going to go through a lot of misery because of the fact that you’re giving up someone who’s very important to you.

But think 10-10-10, not just how it’s going to feel right now…even in 10 days. But 10 months ahead, how is it going to feel? It’s going to change some. And in 10 years, am I going to look back and be very happy that that was the decision I made for my life? If you can, think that way.

One last thing for you to consider. Consider who YOU are. Because, if you change your beliefs and values so you can go do something in contradiction to your beliefs and values, you will become a different person.

You can look at yourself in the mirror some day (or maybe you already have) and think, “Where’s the ‘me’ I used to be? Where’s the good guy, the good gal; where’s the person I liked being? Why have I become somebody different?” When you change your beliefs and values, you become a different person.

Just so you know, there are a lot more things to think about. Go to our website, MarriageHelper.com where we have a lot of free resources. Or call us to talk to one of our client representatives and we can help lead you to good resources for you to use as you make this decision.

Again, think carefully about your future before you make the decision. Get some people to help you think about all sides of it. It’s your decision.

Make some comments below [on YouTube], ask your questions below [on YouTube]. We’d love to answer those things. We’re here, and we would like to help.

Choosing between a spouse and a lover can feel unbearable. We can help. Get This Free Guide!

 

…MORE on Choosing Between Lover or Spouse

“I’ve never loved anyone the way I love her. I never knew I could feel like this. So deep. Fulfilling. Amazing. I can tell her anything; my dreams, my fears, my strengths, my flaws.”

John spoke slowly but fervently as he explained his relationship with Sheila . It was not his idea to visit with me; he had come because another friend asked him to do so.

“I trust her with my secrets. She understands me more than anyone. And I know everything about her. She’s told me everything.” He looked away, apparently visualizing Sheila. “She’s even more beautiful on the inside than she is on the outside. I’d die for her and she would do the same for me. I don’t know why God didn’t send her into my life until now, but He did. We were meant to be together.”

A few days before our conversation, John’s pastor had confronted him about Sheila. John admitted his feelings for her and his intention to divorce his wife and marry her. The pastor lectured John that what he felt was not love, but an unhealthy lust that would destroy him and his family.

love“So, do you believe I love Sheila, or do you, too, think that I’m deluded?” he asked.

“I believe you love her,” I replied.

He seemed surprised, though pleasantly so. He figured I would take the same approach as his pastor and others who defined love in a way that denied the authenticity of his intense emotions. I had no doubt that John deeply loved Sheila with a kind of love that involves a concentration of feelings most types of love cannot touch.

“Love exists in many forms, John. For example, your pastor knows that in his Bible the kind of love called agape differs from liking or friendship love. What you feel is a measurable and identifiable kind of love. It’s an intense love we call limerence. So, yes, I believe you.”

He visibly relaxed.

I gently told him that before he made himself too comfortable, he needed to hear the rest of what I wished to share. He had been talking for nearly a half-hour; now it was my turn.

“John, the thing to consider isn’t whether you love Sheila. The most important thing to think about is what you do next and how that will affect the rest of your life. Not just your life, but Sheila’s as well. Also the lives of your wife, children, parents, friends, and even your church. I don’t doubt you love her, John, but I urge you to think about where that love leads.”

The Beginning

Before leading John through considering his future, I guided him through his recent past, starting before he and Sheila connected emotionally. I did not ask him to tell me about his past. Instead, I told it to him, though I had not heard it from anyone. It was not an effort to impress him, but to demonstrate to him how deeply I understood him.

“I’ll just hit the high points without a lot of explanation, John. Correct me if I get something wrong.

“Though you found Sheila attractive, you initially had no intention of anything other than friendship. At first, your conversations were nothing special, just friends talking about mostly inconsequential matters. However, as you enjoyed being around each other, you became more open and transparent. Gradually, you evolved to discussing personal matters, trusting each other, and liking the attention and validation. Somewhere along the line, one of you began to slip in words of affection, cautiously at first, and then openly. Well before either of you openly professed love for the other, you both knew what the other felt.

“As your relationship deepened, you began to hide the amount of time you spent together, the increasing numbers calls or texts, and the escalating emotions you felt for each other. Neither of you considered the possibility that you violated boundaries as friends, co-workers, or Christians, though both of you were still actively involved in your churches. Nor did either of you entertain the idea that by your deepening desire to be with each other you violated your marriage vows to Melinda. You each believed strongly that both of you were good people who had no wish to do anything wrong.

“With time, talking led to handholding. That eventually led to warm, clinging embraces. Next came kissing which finally progressed to full physical expression of your emotions.

“Guilt followed your first lingering kiss. It reached its peak when you became sexually intimate. Before you left each other after that first time, you wept and prayed together, asking God to forgive you and help you not sin again.

“Soon the prayers ceased.

“Now neither you nor Sheila feels a need to ask God to forgive. Instead, you thank Him for bringing you together.”

The Present

He stared at me for several minutes before speaking.

“Yes, that’s pretty much the way our love developed. So what does that have to do with anything?” John asked warily.

“I walked you through that very brief history for two reasons, John. First, it’s significant that I told your story to you, not you to me. I probably missed something here or there, but I got the main parts right, didn’t I? Why is that important? Because it means you aren’t unique. What you have isn’t magic or extraordinary. I’ve heard the story so many times in my work with marriages in trouble – sometimes from the guy’s perspective, sometimes the gal’s – that I know it well.

“Second, John, because I know how you got to where you are, you need to realize that I can tell you where you’re headed. How? Same reason. I’ve heard the stories.

Hundreds of them. Sure, I might miss something here or there because every situation is a little different, but I’ll get most of it right.”

He was not enthusiastic about hearing my predictions, but realized it would be irrational to refuse.

“John, if you divorce Melinda and marry Sheila, the odds are better than 8 out of 10 that you and Sheila will divorce. Even if you stay together, which is not likely, you will have difficulties in that marriage because of the way it started. I know that you believe I’m wrong. Even when I tell you I’ve seen the same thing repeatedly over the last twenty years, you think that you will be the exception. Everybody thinks that. Nobody is. Allow me to explain what you have before I predict where you will wind up.

“John, you love Sheila so intensely that you think no one else could possibly understand what you feel. It’s so deep that you don’t know how to find words to describe those feelings adequately. Because your emotions exist at a level beyond anything you’ve previously experienced, you believe them to be extraordinary – nearly magical. You cherish those feelings so dearly that you want to do whatever it takes to maintain them.

“I understand that. Really. And I don’t blame you for not wanting to let them go. However, no matter what you do, what you feel now isn’t going to last. We know from science and from our own experience with thousands of people that limerence lasts somewhere between three months to three years and then it begins to fade away.

How long have you felt this way about Sheila, John?”

John angrily replied, “About nine months. But you’re wrong, Joe. It won’t go away. This is real. Very real. It’s not some infatuation that flashes and dies. I’m not drugged. I’m in love.”

I reassured him, “I have no doubt it’s real, John. However, though you don’t want to hear it, you are intoxicated. Your brain makes the chemicals driving these amazing emotions. I’ve felt it. I know what it’s like. The reason it has to fade, John, is that the emotional state you’re in now would destroy your life and livelihood if it lasted a lifetime. Admit it; you spend a lot of time thinking about Sheila. So much that some things in your life don’t get the attention they need.”

He began to debate, “No. Not a thing. You’re wrong about that.”

“John, think about your children. Honestly, do you spend as much time with them as you used to? You still love them, but if you are honest with yourself, you know that you will miss events with them if Sheila wants you with her. Same with your parents and your close friends. Spend much time with any of them lately, John?

“And what about work? You’re not a guy who does some rote work for 8 hours a day and goes home. Your job requires you to think, be creative, and plan. Isn’t it true that some days when you feel euphoric about Sheila, you find yourself amazingly productive for a few hours, but gradually lose the productivity because you become so focused on thinking about her? And what about the days you get very little done because you find yourself obsessing about whether she’s happy with you? Isn’t it true that if she isn’t having a good day, you worry and find yourself ineffective at everything you do? Yeah, John, I’ve been there. I know all about that.

“Long-term relationships aren’t based on euphoria. They especially cannot ride that emotional rollercoaster you find yourself on because you are so finely attuned to Sheila’s emotions that you react to nearly everything.

“As I mentioned, John, the love you feel is called limerence. That is an identifiable and measurable kind of love. It may be more intense than any other form of love. Dorothy Tennov, PhD, named it limerence in 1977 to describe what people feel when they are madly in love with another person. Helen Fisher, PhD, and her associates now do most of the research concerning it. We know from their research that powerful brain chemicals are associated with limerence and, as a result, a person in limerence behaves differently than he did before, and differently than he will after limerence fades. And it will fade, John. It always does. It does not last.

“I’ll run through some characteristics of people in limerence, John. I’ll describe them as if they represent what you feel about Sheila. Stop me whenever I list one that isn’t correct.

“You see no flaws or faults in Sheila. In fact, you cherish and adore letters, words, and events associated with her. Those things are special to you.

“Your life has become crazy both physically and emotionally. For example, you experience some of these – euphoria, energy surges, insomnia, lost appetite, abrupt mood swings, or rapid heartbeat. You may even occasionally feel anxiety and panic.

“When your pastor told you that you were not in love with Sheila and should end things with her, you felt even stronger emotions for her and wanted to go to her immediately.

“You’ve exhibited signs of emotional dependency on your relationship with Sheila, like being possessive, becoming jealous, fearing rejection from her, and feeling anxiety when separated from her.

“You crave emotional union with her. You feel a sense of understanding for her and connection to the point that you’re willing to sacrifice for Sheila. If it means ending your marriage, losing your job, or even giving up your religion, you’ll do what it takes to please her and to be with her.

“You’ve already reordered some of your priorities for her. For example, to please her have you changed the way you dress, your mannerisms, or maybe even some of your habits?

“Beyond that, you’ve changed some of your beliefs so that you can be with her. Did you once believe that adultery was a violation of the Ten Commandments, but now believe that God sent you the woman with whom you commit adultery? You used to go to church, but now you’re looking for a different kind of church – one that you never would have considered before – a church that will accept you and Sheila though you left your wife for her.

“You love making love to Sheila, but sex isn’t the core of your relationship. You want the emotional union much more deeply that you desire the sexual union with her.

“I didn’t list everything, John, but that’s enough to get the picture. You are in limerence with Sheila, John, aren’t you?”

He tried to look smug, but could not pull it off. Instead, he demonstrated a mixture of anger, frustration, and anxiety. “Okay, mostly you described what I have with Sheila, but not exactly. Besides, when a person is in love, he feels those things. You described true love, nothing more, and I already told you that I truly love Sheila.”

The Future

“John, those things describe a particular type of love called limerence. Limerence isn’t always a bad thing. When two single people fall into limerence, nobody worries about them. But one reason we don’t worry, John, is because we know that their limerence is going to grow to a different kind of love. No one expects them to be in that euphoric romantic stage for the rest of their lives. If we did, we would worry, because we know that life cannot be lived that way for long. It is too exclusive, too selfish, and too unproductive for them as individuals, a couple, and for society as a whole. We expect them to develop a more mature and broader level of love that is not as intense but is much more fulfilling; a love based on giving as well as taking, a love that is much more secure and less driven by moods, a love that is stable rather than reactive.

“If you think that is what you will develop with Sheila and that will fulfill you as limerence subsides, you’re wrong for several reasons.

“The first is that the best person with whom to have the stable, long-lived kind of love is Melinda, your wife, the mother of your children.

“The second is that when the limerence subsides you will have lost your wife, your children, many of your friends, your church, and probably your own view of yourself. You’re trading all of that for the intense emotions that you feel today. How do you think you’re going to feel when that intense emotion no longer exists as it does now? We know from our work with thousands of marriages in crisis that you have a great likelihood of resenting Sheila. The object of your love probably will become the object of your resentment. While you’re in limerence, you won’t see her flaws. When limerence fades and you comprehend the costs of all you sacrificed for her, it is extremely likely that your mind will exacerbate her flaws. You’ll wonder how you were so blinded and you’ll resent what your relationship with her cost you. We see it every day. Nearly every person we work with who leaves his or her spouse for someone they love with limerence, and then marries that person, winds up divorced eventually.

“The third is how your relationship with your children will change. Same with dear friends, and people you love that you went to church with, but let’s concentrate on the kids. Sheila may love them, but she’ll never be their mother, even if Melinda were to die prematurely. Most kids resent the person their Dad left their Mom for, or that Mom left Dad for. They may treat her kindly, callously, or indifferently, based on how angry they are with you and whether or not they want to keep emotional connection with you. It’s terribly unfair to them, and ignoring reality, to expect them to love and cherish the person they’ll view as the destroyer of their family. If you delude yourself into thinking that they’ll get over it, or that they’re old enough to understand, your delusion won’t last long. Your kids will rupture that fantasy.

“Add to that the emotional logistics concerning who spends holidays and vacations where, what roles people play and who sits in what pew when your kids’ weddings occur, and how people interact when someone passes on.

“Finally, consider God’s view of all this. I bring that up because you mentioned your pastor and your past church involvement. The Bible you once believed says that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:10), and that adulterers will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). If you are honest with yourself, you know that you quit believing those because they contradict what you want to have with Sheila. However, as you abandon those beliefs for her, what changes inside of you? You see, part of your identity is your belief and value system. When you change that, you change you. That’s the principle behind conversion. When a person becomes a Christian, she becomes a different person because she changed her beliefs and values. It works in reverse as well, John. As you change your beliefs and values, you become a different person. Right now, in the depth of limerence, you probably don’t see it. If you do, you may not care. Believe me; you will see it in years to come if you pursue this course. If then you don’t care, it will be because of who you have become. Think you want to be that person, John?

“Your future will be determined by whether you choose to continue with the divorce and pursue Sheila, or to end things with Sheila and work out your marriage. I know that you feel that your marriage is hopeless, but that’s part of being in limerence. I’m fairly sure, John, that if I had met you before you developed relationship with Sheila, you might not have categorized your marriage as great, but you would not have listed any major problems, either. However, I’m just as sure that you now have a list of frustrations and disappointments with Melinda and your marriage. We call it rewriting history. That means that your mind actually focuses on any bad thing that happened with Melinda and makes it worse. Because of the intense emotions for Sheila, your own conscience had to justify your leaving Melinda. If you want to tell me all the terrible things about her, I’ll listen, but what you feel and believe about her now is tainted. Your memory is real, but it isn’t valid. Whether you meant to or not, you’ve changed things in your memory to make what you want to do acceptable.

“In short, John, unlike your pastor, I believe you love Sheila. I also know where this love leads. If you were both single, I’d congratulate you. But you are married. Divorcing your wife to be with Sheila creates negative consequences for you, Sheila, Melinda, your children, parents, friends, and the kingdom of God.

“You may justify it in your mind and proceed. It may even seem good for a while. Nevertheless, the limerence will fade. When it does, you will come face-to-face with the consequences for you and all those others I mentioned.

“We will help you then or we can help you now. If you let us help you now, there will be far fewer awful consequences. Do the right thing, John, and good things happen. They will not be as exhilarating as limerence, but they are much deeper and more fulfilling.”

His eyes indicated our conversation was over; he barricaded his mind and heart from me. I had anticipated that and had come on as strongly as I did because I feared I would have no second chance. Therefore, I had tried to plant as many seeds as possible.

The Decision

That conversation occurred a few years ago.

Though hardly anyone believed it could happen, John decided to end his relationship with Sheila and try to restore his marriage. About a year after he made his decision, he explained it to me, “I hated you for saying it, but you were right. I’d become someone else because I had let go of what and who I am. After a lot of soul-searching, I realized I wanted to be me again. I loved Sheila, but finally accepted that the future I desired for us could never equal the fantasy I’d built in my mind. I wanted to be with her – there are days when I miss her intensely – but deep inside I wanted peace with myself, with my God, and with my children. At first, I didn’t really care about making peace or reconnecting with Melinda, but with time that worked out as well. I love her…guess in a way I always did. She’s a good woman and we have a good life. Not only did she forgive me, she stood up for me to her family, our friends, and our church when she took me back.

“It feels good to know I did what was right. Always will.”

John and Melinda worked on healing their marriage. They allowed me to help them understand how he had fallen into limerence, how to heal their marriage, and how to learn to love each again. Actually, they learned how to love each other more than they ever had before.

It was not easy for John or Melinda. His deep emotions for Sheila did not end immediately. They had taken time to develop and, therefore, they took time to reside. During the process, John went through a grief process similar to those experienced by people who lose loved ones to death. However, he worked through it.

Admirably, Melinda understood and coped with amazing strength. She forgave John. She forgave Sheila, though for obvious reasons she maintained no contact with her. Neither did John, though when he ended his relationship with Sheila, he worried about her future. Sheila reacted badly initially, but eventually she, too, healed her heart and moved on. She fell in love with a good man. Wisely, she told him her experience and they sought counsel before they married. They, too, have a good marriage.

The story of John, Melinda, and Sheila is neither unique nor rare. Sometimes the husband falls into limerence with another. Other times the wife. While the dynamics change slightly, the same principles apply. With the right help, their marriage can be saved and they can love each other more deeply than before.

We see it every day and we can help your marriage just as we have thousands of others – no matter what you feel right now.

If your marriage is in danger of separation or divorce, call us at (866) 903-0990 to speak with someone or use the form below to request more information about our Marriage Helper workshop for troubled marriages. Our success rate over the last decade is saving 75% of marriages that come to our workshop, even when adultery, porn, anger, or other things have deeply hurt the relationship! (If you’re thinking your spouse would never come, contact us by phone or the form below and we’ll tell you what others who felt the same way did to get their spouses there.) We will keep everything you tell us completely confidential. Our motivation is to help you determine if this workshop is right for your particular situation. We also offer solutions for couples who can’t attend the workshop.



51 thoughts on “Choosing Between Lover or Spouse

  • October 6, 2014 at 4:14 am
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    I believe some is true of this story I want my marriage back sobad I wwould doanything to have it all back the way it was I feel like a failure and so low and lost I hurt the people that have always been there for me it’s been almost a year now that I haven’t been with my wife and kids we talk now and go out but it’s not all the same I want for everything to go back the way it was I desperately need help I’m willing to do anything to hold them in my arms again and be able to tell them let’s go home I can’t live without them in my life this is my last chance any advise would be very appreciated thank you

    Reply
    • September 9, 2015 at 5:11 pm
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      Joseph, my husband who has recently had an affair wants to hear your story and to know it is true. We are trying to heal our marriage and I’m so sorry that you lost so much. If you are willing to share, let me know and I will give you his email address.

      Reply
      • September 11, 2015 at 11:31 pm
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        Kim, Joe’s story is very true and he shares it openly in different areas of our organization. We receive thousands of people contacting us every month, so Joe does not have the time for personal emails. I would encourage you to have your husband look at the articles on the website as well as the video of Joe on the marriage seminar pages.

        Reply
  • February 6, 2015 at 5:27 pm
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    What about a 7year affair? How do you end it or know if you should? I know its a sin. I am in a sexless marriage which makes it hard to choose…I love my husband and I’m not sure I want to end it and I care for my bf and its hard not to see him…I’m asking for help…

    Reply
    • February 9, 2015 at 3:19 pm
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      Katie, if your affair has been going on that long, then you are very deeply involved in the affair. I can’t provide you the kind of help that you truly need to help your situation over a comment – and you wouldn’t want me to. There are a lot of different things contributing to what is going on. I highly, highly encourage you to contact our Marriage Helper representative. His name is Johnny. He will not be able to solve your issues, but he can explain to you the different things we have that CAN help you. His number is 615.636.8086. His email is johnny.cardwell@marriagehelper.com.

      Reply
    • November 19, 2016 at 7:51 am
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      Katie, what did you end up doing? Your situation sounds like mine except I met my lover when I was 13 and he was almost 17. I fell head over heels in love with him but he wouldn’t even kiss me until I was almost 16. We never had sex as we were both holding out until marriage. But then when I was 18 and he was almost 22 he thought I had “been” with another man (I hadn’t) and a few months later he married a friend. Five years later I married my present husband but I never forgot the love of my life. In 1995, after 21 years of a mostly sexless marriage, my husband and I became completely celibate. I had tried years earlier to get him to counseling but he wouldn’t go. Our marriage became like mother/son. Then six years ago my first love called after 41 years of no contact. Wild horses couldn’t have kept me from seeing him even though I knew it was wrong. And now here we are, two middle-aged adulterers getting together every week but financially unable to leave our marriages. I know this can’t continue but like Katie I don’t know what to do. I love my husband like a son, but I’m in love with my lover. I pray everyday that God will forgive me.

      Reply
  • February 24, 2015 at 2:50 am
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    Im in a 8 year affair it started when we met whenn my then boyfriend left me ww dated for a bout three months and as soon as my bf came backaand decided it was time for us to marry I left him …but the truth is after all thistime all the hurt and pain I have eendured in my marriage I always felt I choose the wrong man …..now he is fed up wants to move to the next stage he wants to marry my husband and I have been separate for 1 1/2 now I still feel guilty my bf is a good man why do I still feel so torn…..

    Reply
  • August 26, 2015 at 8:12 pm
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    This is so hard…I am married and have two children with my husband I left him while he went to prison for 5yrs ,I got into a reliship with my bf who I love, I love them both, my husband is out of prison and wants me back and forgives me for everything I have done to him…. and my husband and my boyfriend know about each other, there making me choice, they both love me, they both want to hurt each other, when I’m with my bf he treats me good I get this high off of life it’s unexplaineable, he is my best friend he knows everything about me, my husband is controlling but he has changed since he got out if prison and said he is willing to do anything, but if I make the wrong choice I will pay for it and he will make my life a living he’ll,, and I want my family back but I’m not in love with my husband, I care and have love for him, I’m confused, and I have been with them both, my husband to get me jealous started dating other women around me to get a rise outta me it worked I become angry, and threthen me with my kids, I k is the safe choice is with my husband but will I be happy??? I don’t know what to do, I need help my mind I can’t hear what it’s saying my heart won’t answer me, I feel like I’m going to break…

    Reply
    • September 11, 2015 at 11:40 pm
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      We understand how you feel, Ashley. We really do. As long as you are safe, you need to try and make your marriage work. If you aren’t safe, then that still does not mean it is a good idea to be with the boyfriend.

      Reply
  • September 9, 2015 at 4:56 pm
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    Does limerance last longer if a person is involved in a long distance relationship?

    Reply
    • September 11, 2015 at 11:31 pm
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      Yes, if the two people in limerence are distant from each other (proximity wise) it draws out the limerence.

      Reply
      • May 23, 2016 at 3:08 pm
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        My husband has been having an affair for about a month with someone. He is is another state for work & she works at the hotel he is staying. I was hoping that when he comes home in July, them being apart would make him realize he really loves his family. You are saying this will get worse when he gets home?

        Reply
        • May 23, 2016 at 6:14 pm
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          Hey Jamie-

          Each situation is different. We don’t know yours so we can’t say.

          Please feel free to join our Facebook group page. “Save My Marriage” is the name of the group.

          We hope to see you on there!

          Reply
          • April 1, 2017 at 6:00 am
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            Hey I just tried to join the Facebook group. I’ve always gotten into affairs since my 5th year of marriage, realized I’m always seeking the “Limerence” stage. The latest affair started in August 2016 and now we are in the verge of breaking up as my wife found out about it.
            It’s painful and I’m aware of the Limerence stage and will avoid it all costs in the future.
            Time will heal all pain

  • September 15, 2015 at 10:15 pm
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    I found this article an eye opener especially when mentioned that when there is a distance between two people that it draws out the limerence. May I ask how so? I felt more secure knowing that my Husband’s emotional affair with the other woman of three years had moved to the lower United States as we live in Canada.

    Reply
  • February 19, 2016 at 7:58 pm
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    My husband left a few years ago and married the woman he’d been cheating with–and she’d left her own husband. They’ve been married for two years so far and from what I can tell all is not well in paradise.

    I do want my husband back. I said my wedding vows unconditionally–not “until divorce do us part.” The Bible calls their marriage adultery.

    I’ve been keeping busy, I’m very active in my church and everything. Our teenaged son still wants his dad home–and so do I.

    John’s story sounds quite a lot like my husband’s.

    I don’t interfere, for the record. I simply packed up our son and moved across the county, so it’s only like a 20-minute drive for visitation.

    So…any advice? I know my husband still has love for me…the OW keeps doing what she can to kill it, though.

    Reply
    • February 22, 2016 at 6:25 pm
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      If possible give us a call & let’s see what course we have that would benefit your situation the most! (615) 472- 1161.

      Reply
  • May 4, 2016 at 2:10 pm
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    Hi. The story Joe describes I think is pretty much what my husband felt when he left us a year and a half ago. He has not returned home but for what he tells me I think its what happened.
    He still with her, and in the past 6 months he has break up with her at least 4 times, he gets close to the kids and me and then returns again with her.
    I have a big question, in your experience, how long do you think this coming back and return to the OW will last. I am getting kind of tired but since I have endure so long, sometimes I think it just a matter of time for it to dissolve. In the meantime I’m working on my PIES.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • May 4, 2016 at 3:58 pm
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      Hi Alex,

      Thank you for sharing with us. We can’t tell you an exact amount of time as it is different for every person.

      Keep working on your PIES and following your heart.

      Please look online at marriageradio.com to listen to our podcast that deal with this exact issue! It’s free!

      Reply
  • May 23, 2016 at 5:38 pm
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    My husband is in another state for work and is in love with someone there. This has been going on for about a month and he is due to come back home in another month. I was hoping once he gets back to our home and around his family that he may see that he needs to do the right thing and work things out. But, if distance draws it out, I could be very wrong. Right now, he stays at the hotel she works at (or her house) and there is no trace of us there. Do you think it will be different when he gets back to his home? We have been together since I was 15 & he 17. We had never been with anyone else until he cheated.

    Reply
  • June 8, 2016 at 5:53 pm
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    im not married, but i i have a one year old, and we lived together for a year. i bought a house for us.. it was kinda of a marriage you can say.. but during that year i went out with someone…. this person haa been waiting for me for over. year… my excuse is my son.. but honestly i dont want my son to grow without me or his mom… bit things between me and his mom are not that great… we are not married but i feel like in a way we are.

    Reply
  • July 2, 2016 at 1:34 pm
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    Hi I read your story. How does a woman move on after a 26 years of marriage How does someone start over ? How do you stop loving the other person?

    Reply
  • August 8, 2016 at 1:40 am
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    Married to wife 7 years but totally committed for 23 total consecutive years…..after kids got to college her feelings seemed to change and she had affair….wont stop contacting the OM and cant make her mind up about moving out or staying….if under the influence of said limerence how long must a person linger holding out olive branch for the spouse to come to their senses?

    Reply
      • May 15, 2017 at 9:58 am
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        Hi,

        Would you recommend asking your spouse to read this article if they are set on leaving you and their children for the OW (who lives on the other side of the world)?

        Thanks

        Reply
  • November 13, 2016 at 3:56 pm
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    Hi
    Hopefully someone can help.
    My husband been having a affair since last year. In februrary he left to move in a flat with his 17 years old son. Saying he need time apart to think. His OW moved in with him too unknow to me. She also apparently tjought i knew. Well he lived a double life for 6 months untill i pull the plug and contacted the OW. All his lies came up. But they decided to give a go.
    Unknow to her he still texts me and call me. Also call me his best friend and soulmate. That he will fight for our friendship . We also have a 9 years old daughter.
    He says he keeping those texts and calls a secret as she is not ready to accept our friendshio but once she is secure in their relationship he will tell her???
    He also said she lied to me and agree those lies where nasty. Really why do u want to stay with someone nasty???
    I could have been nasty to her but i choose not to. I am better than that.
    Its like he doesnt want to let me go.
    Also if he loves her why does he portrait her as nasty selfish and so on to me?? I would have thought he would portrait her as nice and understanding not the opposite???
    He also admitted that him moving together with her straight away was more convenience at the time to do with finances. And if to do it again he wouldnt??? What does that mean???
    I said to him that what he saying come across as he is trying to make out the best out of a wrong situation. He said yeah maybe but that is my mistake to make and to deal with.
    So why all this?? Why keep hugging me kiss on cheek?? Why calling me is best friend and soulmate?? Why saying he will fight for friendship?? Why believe she will accept it?? I know she wont. Dont think any woman would as she doent trust him and wont trust fully ever again.
    Why saying if she doesnt accept it well tuff on her or she accept or she can leave???? Really??? Who would say that??? Or are those just words?? And why saying that to me???
    I just dont know what to do. Sometimes i do see his old self. Sometimes i see who he is with her and that is not a nice person. He is totally different when she is around. Even let her call him by his full name wich after 14 years together i never used as he always hated it but he let her?? Even so he told her he doesnt like being call that she still does which tell me she doesnt really care about his like and dislike?? Could be because his full name sound posher!!As she loves branded stuff and is all about apparences. Branded stuff he use to hate as to much look at me but wear now because she has been bying him all his clothes like what he had before is not good enough and lets erase it. Or erase who you were before.
    I dont know what to think and what to do.

    Reply
    • November 14, 2016 at 9:14 pm
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      Good afternoon,

      I am so sorry you are going through this..

      My heart goes out to you..

      Are you a member of our Save My Marriage Facebook Group??

      We have a wonderful support system on there and we would be able to help guide you.

      Reply
  • November 21, 2016 at 8:44 pm
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    Thank you for sharing this story.

    It is crazy to think that I am not alone in this. I am currently married (going on 4 years) and currently seeing another guy.

    Our relationship started just talking through social media, and then we started going on bike trail rides and running errands with each other. He has a girlfriend. We hit it off right away, our personalities meshed, neither of us really had to try. we have been seeing each other for 2 months now. He says he can see a future with me, but still wants to get to know me. Which is completely understandable, as I don’t plan on rushing into anything.

    Soon it moved into texting, calling, and trying to see each other whenever we can. He plans for future activities and wants me to meet his work friends. The thing is, I don’t feel guilty. I actually feel really sad that I need to choose between him and my husband. Me and my husband have a 3 year old son. We got married at 19, and it was a wedding because I was pregnant (granted– we got engaged 2 months prior to finding out). Everything was just hard from the beginning. I come from a loud family who likes to have parties with family friends and drink. He doesn’t think that is really acceptable and I always have felt like he was trying to mold me into some person (even though he claims he wasn’t). My husband wants this life on the water, with a ton of money, not needing to work, etc. While all that sounds nice, I could care less if I have to work the rest of my life. I actually enjoy working. My boyfriend is just like my parents, he likes to have fun, they haven’t met but I feel like they would just get along so well. My mom and sister never really liked my husband, and they told me to not rush into marriage (which of course I didn’t listen — wish I had now).

    My husband wants to move 2 hours away, and I am back and forth on the idea of moving. Part of me thinks maybe we can start fresh, and the other part of me wants to stay and start fresh with my boyfriend. It’s very stressful because people tell me to do what I want, and what will make me happy, but I don’t even know. After reading this story it just hits so close to home, but I still have that overwhelming sense of doubt and unsure-ness, with the whole situation.

    Still trying to make pros and cons lists of moving, as well as staying in the relationship to see if feelings grow back for my husband, and subside from my boyfriend. I just don’t want to miss out on something that was supposed to happen all along with my boyfriend. I have never fallen for someone like I did with him. It took me months to even consider dating my husband, and I haven’t been faithful to him in the past ( a few times) and I have never felt like this with the other people I have seen. I know I am the problem, but it helps to read this story and try and consider everything.

    Reply
  • April 1, 2017 at 6:03 am
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    A very helpful article and it applies to my current situation very much. I’ve also gained a clearer mind after digesting this article.
    I’ve always gotten into affairs since my 5th year of marriage, realized I’m always seeking the “Limerence” stage. I was married at the age of 23 and now it’s my 9th year of marriage.
    The latest affair started in August 2016 and now we are in the verge of breaking up as my wife found out about it.
    It’s painful and I’m aware of the Limerence stage and will avoid it all costs in the future.
    Time will heal all pain

    Reply
  • April 5, 2017 at 5:53 am
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    Hi I have been reading a ton on limerance and think Im a victim of a wayward spouse who is, and has been currently in it for about 9 months . Im wondering what can (if anything) be done to save my soon to be ex husband from his obvious limerance. He left me to pursue a waitress and college student he met at a resort that we stay at closer to our home every summer and since he met her 10 months ago, and decided to call it total quits with me because of his “love at first sight” with her, hes developed an infatuation that he has changed his (all while destroying ours) life, to keep involved with. Its been 9 months since HE RUSHED me and our teenage daughter out of the home we shared (he bought it 6 months prior to our relationship -when he moved back from graduating college 16 years ago) and we’ve been married 14 years, and livig in the home up until he met her and threw US out at the end of the summer of 2016. He has gone SO far with this, he drew up the divorce papers and sent them to me shortly after going completely public with his limerant relationship to the girl he left for the past fall of 16-who I should add- is half his age ( she is freshly 20, we are both 41) and does NOT have a good track record for a girl so young, already having lived with 2 older men prior to meeting my Husband- and SO YOUNG!. He has even spoke of MOVING HER INTO OUR HOME already when she gets done with her SECOND YEAR OF COLLEGE 4 hours away from us that she is attending and living at. He spends ALL his time there during the week, and she comes home to stay with him on weekends EVERY weekend since theave met AMD Ive been gone from our home, so- 9 months. I haven’t even gotten mine and my daughters stuff out of there because he is AFRAID his new limerant 20 year old will find out that- god forbid-he let me BACK INTO THE HOME WE SHARED for 14 yrs to simply get all our things, and up and leave as she in the beggining was terrified of him wanting me back which he has proved he does NOT anymore. He has reached out to me a few times over the past 9 months…at first for sex and love, then totally broke it off for her about 3 mo after I left while she moved out and transitioned from her last bboyfriend, to my H. and Ive done everything to try to keep my composure and NOT freak because all the websites I read say to just be short, direct, honest, and MYSELF. He is a classic case other than there is ZERO decision left on his part in his mind. He wants HER and nobody else and I AM OFFICIALLY TOTALLY a “friend” only.. (after about 5 months he called and begged for friendship with me) and has even already asked ME TO MEET HER and tell her that I don’t dislike her, and accept her, so she can begin forming a FRIENDSHIP with my daughter . which was our last conversation and I said NO WAY and he hasn’t coNTACTED ME SINCE, as he was supposed to also borrow my daughter money for the prom (she’s 17) and has reneged on that promise (among MILLIONS) of others like being in her life, namely, since he kicked us out . at first he was in her life, but has now officially abandoned her for the new girl too, and has taken her on lavish vacations around the world and on vacations I ALWAYS wanted to go on…all while being a new person doing things with her he claimed he would NEVER GET CAUGHT DEAD doing before — and absolutely LOATHED while we were together the Last 14 years.
    I am scared he will get this young girl pregnant, then she will leave him, and I will be raising a child of his who isn’t mine because he will suddenly be left alone and without someone to baby him and take care of A BABY. I knew he wasnt father material when we married, and was happy with my one daughter from a previous relationship years prior to getting into a relationship with my H. That’s why we never had kids because he did what he wanted –and I thought he never wanted kids– nor would he have been a star parent.
    He actually told me he can see himself have. A WHOLE FAMILY of kids with this 20 year old because she is his soul mate. Others who know him say he has gone off the deep end and currently living both a delusion AND fantasy…going to stay with her all week while she goes to college – and her coming to stay with him on weekends because we live in her hometown’–until summer when she can move in with him and they can be together every day without having to travel. They havrnt spent more than one night apart since meeting this summer, and periodically on some nights they WERE apart, he called to say he still missed me and our daughter, BUT….. Said even tho he misses us, OUR marriage is ovEr because of his dream girl who is moving with him in the summer of 2017. He is NOT himself and Im not the only one who sees and when he reaches out to me, he acts as though he has completely let go of us– yet—there’s still a part he cannot totally let go…but its all lies lies he tells about wanting to try to be a part of my daughters life… Borrow her money for prom…etc. Then he even wanted to sneak and met me during January. ..but I SAID NO
    NOW ITS strictly platonic “acquaintance- ship” between us because I simply don’t call nor bug him — we only talk when he reaches out to me as a friend once or twice a month since about October of last year. He seems to for some reason want to talk about how he feels guilty that OUR marriage fell apart- but how it was “meant to be” so he could find her. And only talks about the bad times…which honestly only occurred since he met her and began an affair behind my back for a total of a month before kicking us out and totally pursuing HER.
    I KNOW Im probably barking up the wrong tree trying to delay divorce and save my marriage…but something tells me when this relationship dissolves with the little girl, he will need me again- even if I do sign the papers and go thru with the divorce he wants. He says NO NO and woNT DO counseling he said he met his soul mate and its over. Except for i know because we live in a small town that things ARE starting to fall apart between them and their coming out with the relationship to the public has been a big stress on him…but his family who still loves me dearly, is sadly starting. To accept her and him together. What do i do? He doesn’t want me at all only on his terms and as a friend. Counseling chances are long out the window I feel he is never turning back untill SHE leaves HIM. BUT HE IS WEALTHY and takes her places and buys her stuff none of her exes ever had the money to do for her. Until then I don’t have a chance do I.
    What can I even SAY to him when he wants to tell me all the time ONLY how he will be with her forever or a very long tine like he always says and how “everyone needs to accept it and get over it already” because they LOVE each other.help!

    Reply
  • April 14, 2017 at 6:34 am
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    I have been married 10 years and we have 2 young daughters (under 7). In the beginning stages with my husband I had come out of an abusive marriage about 2 years before I met him. He was a breath of fresh air.. hard worker, loyal, strong, good personality. I fell for him instantly, knowing I would marry this man. 2 years later we got married and had our first child in 2010.

    Even during the early parts of our marriage I felt isolated, stuck, and disconnected from him. He didn’t do anything in particular wrong, besides working too much and not being present. He spent 80 hour weeks building a business so I could stay home and raise our children. Emotionally we didn’t connect well. Things in bed were terrible too, and always have been. I assumed that was the way it was supposed to be, and it was still much better than my previous abusive marriage.

    I couldt help but reach out to other men emotionally. Mostly texts, and I chose men that lived very far away because I know I wouldn’t be in danger of physically cheating if there was no way to see them. I would chat and text day and night, and sext, send pics and I loved the attention. I “fell in love” several times over the course of years with different me .

    Last year I started chatting with a man that was closer. He was single and I was always alone so we met for a drink. Things progressed quickly and it became a year long affair. I fell in love with him. I think about him constantly and he does too. He is willing to wait for me, support me, build a life with me, and help me move forward in life. No one has ever made me feel as wanted and loved and understood. No one has ever put in effort with me this way before. Even as I play with my kids or argue with my husband I’m thinking of him and waiting and planning the next time I could see my lover. As my husband grew suspicious we started going to counseling. The guilt was eating me up. I confessed to my husband and told him the affair was over, that I will no longer contact the lover and he wants to work out our marriage.

    I don’t want to work it out. I feel despair and trapped when I think of continuing life with my husband. I had a taste of happiness and freedom with my lover that I can’t even look my husband in the eyes. I recoil from his touch, I cringe when he kisses me, and even though I love him and care for him, I do not love him romantically, and I haven’t long before the affair started.
    I’ve secretly still been contacting my lover even though my husband knows about the affair, and I want so badly to run to my lover and leave my marriage. I feel I have to choose between my happiness, my needs and feelings and those of my husband and children. I’ve always done what was right, done for others and put myself last.. but I’m terrified at the thought of never being able to be fulfilled, emotionally and sexually with my husband, and I cannot give up my lover. I love them both and I’m destroying my family for my selfishness but the need is so great I’m lost.

    Reply
    • September 21, 2017 at 2:50 am
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      Wow Jane! Your story sounds exactly like my life! I have been married now for over 20 years. We have 2 children 11 &9 yrs old. I started an affair with him in 2010. Carried on for 1 year. Then lost contact for a bit. We reunited in 2014 and going very strong since.
      My husband is a very good man. He is loyal ,honest, hard working, social etc. I too like u, came from an abusive relationship before I met my husband. So when I met him, I knew he’d be a great husband and father.
      He is, but lacks affection and a connection to me. I thought I was just too needy and tried to accept it being that he is a good man.
      But then when I started seeing my bf, he has all the qualities my husband was lacking. I have fallen so in love with him. He too feels the same for me. That we are soulmates. He is willing to wait for me.
      I worry about making the best decision. I want to be with my bf but am afraid of regret for my kids and I.
      So many years are going by and I just can’t seem to make a choice.
      I desperately need guidance and help!!!
      PLEASE SOMEONE HELP ME 😥

      Reply
      • September 26, 2017 at 3:43 pm
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        Please call us at 615-472-1161, so we can help. Thanks!

        Reply
      • January 20, 2018 at 8:05 pm
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        I have read the whole article and all the comments.

        These two comments really struck a chord with me. I am female and in a long term relationship with the father of my children (8&9). He has been unsupportive from the word go, but I admit I never really noticed before we had children as I possibly enjoyed mothering him. However once we had children all this changed, I felt alone and isolated and unsupported. Over the years I have had what I can now only describe as a number of “emotional affairs” (a few very select and very deep kind of friendships with both men and women), just because I was looking support and appreciation. I never really realised that until somebody pointed it out.

        At some stage I asks my partner to go to marriage counselling, but he refused and told me that there was nothing wrong with him and if I had a problem I need to sort myself out.

        Fast forward to the here and now, I have an extremely strong emotional affair with a man, a man I can imagine starting a new life with, but I am worried about my children. I love my children more than anything else in the world and I can not bare the thought of them having to come from a broken home. Then again I hate the idea of letting them watch me suffer and accept a loveless relationship.

        And now to top it all my partner has engaged in sexual acts with another man. I found out and he has admitted it is true and that he very much regrets his actions.

        Anyway, I am pretty sure I should run, but I feel trapped. Any kind words would be very much appreciated. 🙁

        Reply
  • July 7, 2017 at 11:49 pm
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    I’m in a similar situation. I’ve been with my wife for 10 years and we have two beautiful children. We lost our spark about two years ago and we both were just living around each other. It was a real rough patch. I went out side our marriage and had an affair that is still going on. I feel very much in love with my new girlfriend. I love my wife and my children with all my heart, but I also love my new lover. Not only do I feel she may be my soul mate and have dreams of marriage with her, I also have a 3 month old child that Is a product of my affair. My situation of a little different than the story above. Please help me..

    Reply
  • August 5, 2017 at 2:46 pm
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    I am the other guy. I met my married girlfriend approximately five years ago. We started out talking about things and it eventually progressed into a physical relationship. I have known her husband and knew of him for numerous years prior. This man does not have very many friends as he has no social skills he is very controlling and mentally abusive toward his wife. My girlfriend and her husband have three beautiful children and she’s a great mom. Her husband has recently found out about our long affair and wants her to choose between him or me. I love this woman with my whole heart and she loves me she has made it very plain that if she does divorce she has no intentions of moving in with me but rather being on her own. She states that she needs to find out what it’s like to run a household and do things for herself. She is very torn as she says that her husband still loves her but she is not in love with him she has further stated that she’s not 100% sure that even her and I would be together in the future. We love each other very much I guess my question is I have offered to step back and let her work on her marriage and have no contact with her whatsoever during this process but that I would wait for her if a time comes when she would want to pursue a relationship with me. because of his abusiveness in the past she can’t forgive him but not forget about it. Do you think they can restore their marriage if I step out of the picture. I am so confused as what to do here as we are both Catholic and know that what we have been doing is wrong in the eyes of God. I can honestly say that I totally love this woman and that she totally loves me I don’t believe that I’m fooling myself as we have known each other for approximately 30 years total. Please help me do what’s best for everyone involved

    Reply
  • April 6, 2018 at 1:24 pm
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    I have been married to my husband for 4 years but met a woman, CD. She is a lesbian and as I have many gay friends and even family members it didnt bother me when we started chatting on facebook. I fell inlove with her and we have been in a relationship for more than a month now. I broke it off about a week ago. My husband found out and we want to work on our marriage. We went to see our pastor and I confessed everything and told my husband I wanted to work on our marriage. However, I cant seem to forget about her. I constantly think about her and miss her. I want to make plans to see her without my husband knowing then stop myself. I dont want to feel this way about her but cant seem to stop. Im still inlove with her eventhough I don’t want to be but i cant seem to help it. I’m not even sure why I want to work things out with my husband as I cant stop thinking about her.
    Need some advice please!

    Reply
    • April 10, 2018 at 6:35 pm
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      Hi, please call us at 615-472-1161 so we can tell you about our resources and how we can help!

      Reply
  • August 4, 2018 at 8:07 pm
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    Why is it always posited that the person having the affair is the one with the choice to make?

    The spouse who didn’t have an affair also gets a say and if that person doesn’t want to be sloppy seconds, that person can also make a choice between being married to a lying cheater (all cheaters are liars) or not.

    Reply
  • August 6, 2018 at 4:12 pm
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    This article seems to fit my situation. We have had typical issues in our marriage for a couple of years but never to the point i thought he wanted to separate. Had a gut feeling last year he and his co-worker (much younger) were involved. When he asked for separation last year i eventually found about them. Since last july, he has been going back and forth between me and the other woman. He has done it again about two weeks ago. He said he needs to let her in his life versus keeping her at arms distance to really know if somwthing is there versus just a fun time. He is unable to reconnect with me because she is in his head. I dont know what to think anymore, how to handle the situation, what to do, etc… in a way it makes sense what hes doing but i feel i am loosing him to her. Yes i dont either want to be with him if hes not fully commited to me. We have been together for about 10 years and married about 5 years. One child. At the moment, i have taken a step back, accepting their rekindled relationship and him letting her in his life. He wont close the book with me, he still has feelings but he cant fully commit to me because of his feelings for other woman. I just hope that one day he will wake up from this fog. Is this typical this situation?

    Reply
  • August 10, 2018 at 2:00 pm
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    Why is it framed as the cheater choosing between the spouse and their lover? It seems to me that it’s the betrayed spouse who calls the shots.

    Reply
  • August 15, 2018 at 1:49 am
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    I’ve been married for 33 years. My husband is a wonderful
    Man. He has suffered through some family and family business issues. He drinks too much, smokes too much and I feel on a path to destruction.
    He is in massive depression. He just wants to lay in bed, read all day and then drink until he falls asleep. I’ve begged and pleaded with him to love me, love us. Please come back to me.
    We haven’t been intimate in over 4 yrs. we don’t sleep in same bed. And haven’t for 4 yrs.
    It never was spectacular but we gave been a strong partnership and had 28 good out of 33 years.

    I met a man 2 1/2 yrs ago yhay I have fallen completely in love with. We love to hike, cook together, be healthy… Laugh and be Silly. We explore new things. We are part of an animal rescue organization together. He isn’t a big drinker, but enjoyes exploring and learning about new wines. He takes care of me. We have a great and loving sex life together.
    My husband recently found out about this and forced me to choose.
    I chose my husband. He’s been a good man to me for 33 years. Planned for our future. And been there for 28 out of our 33 years together before he gave up on life. Still good to me after everything that’s happened. Just on a path of destruction. He willl die of alcohol or tobacco abuse. He can barely walk.

    I am mourning, missing and heartbroken over this other man. I am so not sure I made the right choice. I have found absolutely so much happiness with this other man. A love that I never knew existed. Never thought possible.
    I am so happy and love who I am when I am with him. I miss being the person I was with him, healthy, happy and so much in love.

    But I know if I left my husband… I would be miserable worrying about him every day. What would happen to him?
    He has been good to me. We are best friends
    We have been through a lot in 33 years..
    Just not the passion, love laughter, and enjoyment that I’ve learned really does exist on this world

    Am I making the right decision, staying with this marriage that is basically a friendship?

    Reply
      • October 7, 2018 at 8:07 am
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        My husband was/is having a emotional affaire for a year now. I found out 1 january 2018 after a good marriage without any problems. We have two daughters I tried to understand and be patient and tried not to tell anybody but it did not getting better. It is like a midlife crisis. He gets more distance to me and cant make a dissision he is so in love. But he still loves me he says. The woman is also married and had 2 children. I cant live with him knowing another woman is on his mind, so I decided to let him live with his father for a while now , to clear his head. So we had to tell the children everything. I love him and I cant believe this is happening.
        My question is when I saw you speling on YouTube (like you where talking to my spouse) :
        should I send him your film “im in love but married” is that smart or not?

        Reply
  • October 5, 2018 at 1:43 pm
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    I am currently in a relationship with a married man. He has been married since he was 17, been married for 13 years and has 3 young children under the ages of 9. We started out as friends just as any affair usually does, but quickly fell in love. We began planning our future together, he planned on leaving his wife and then we got caught. His wife would go back and forth. She forgave him then wanted him out, then forgave him and wanted him out. Now it’s back to she wants to work on the relationship. He tells me over and over he’s not in love with her and knows he can be way more happy with me. He say’s he’s not even attracted to her anymore and cringes when she touches him. He is a good man despite the affair. He does have a good heart and wants to do whats right so he told me he wants to give her the respect of giving it once last shot. His main reason is for his kids. He said that if it didn’t work out and she asked him to leave one more time he was gone. He wants to know that the marriage ended because they just weren’t good as a couple. Now to me it sounds like the wife just is enjoying the family life, lifestyle ( he makes really good money) and just wants to make it work because she is afraid of losing what she has. Any woman who would be able to forgive a man for cheating to me doesn’t have much self respect. I know I’m the other woman and what I have done is wrong but that’s just how I feel.

    To this day we still stay in touch, meet up and see each other. To appease her he has blocked me from all social media and my phone number but we still communicate through a fake Facebook,profile. If he really wanted to work on his marriage he wouldn’t be still trying to be with me. would he? He tells me his heart is just not in it with her and just wants to do this for his own conscience and for the kids.

    I have tried backing off to let him figure this out on his own but he doesn’t want that. He says I’m his best friend and needs to talk to me every day.

    Please tell me what I should do? Is this a lost cause?

    Reply
    • October 10, 2018 at 9:20 pm
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      Hi, Sadie. Please call us at 866-903-0990 so we can help!

      Reply
  • October 24, 2018 at 6:23 pm
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    Im in an sexless unemotional marriage we live like room mates.6months ago i met a younger man and we hit it off, he has asked me several times if i would leave my husband. I heditated , said i dont know, he is not happy, he said im a hippocratic because i believe in God n so does he. He recently told me he cant c me anymore because im married, I still have feelings for him. By d way my husband cheated on me twice before.
    Unsure what to do

    Sexless n unemotional marriage

    Reply

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