Being married but in love with someone else is a tricky situation. In the normal order of things, boy meets girl or vice versa, falls in love, gets married and settles down for a happily ever after. In comes the perfect house with a white picket fence, a pet or two and cute kids, not necessarily in that order.
But, sadly, life is anything but perfect. And most often than not, the normal order of things tends to get shaken up, jolting a seemingly happily married couple out of their sanguine reverie. This happens when one or both spouses fall out of love with each other or fall in love with someone else. Yes, that happens and contrary to what you assume, it happens pretty often. Well, that’s’ how life is! Can’t really expect it to play fair, can you?
Just to be clear here, we are not talking crushes. Crushes happen too! It could be the cute receptionist in your office or the handsome neighbor next door, or even the chirpy waitress at the local bar. But, while crushes are an intense but fleeting attraction or an infatuation for someone usually unattainable or inappropriate, love is intense and goes to the bone. Wonder why people talk about loving from the bottom of their hearts when love is more a bone-deep kind of feeling.
Let Your Mind Meet Your Heart
A quick word before we move further on the topic of crushes and love, remember that your feelings are your own. No one can invalidate your feelings nor dictate how you feel about certain people in your life.
However, you also have to recognize that you are not alone in any relationship. Your decisions can create a chain reaction that can alter your whole life and the lives of those around you.
Let your heart say its piece, but you need to pay heed to your brain as well. Sometimes it’s as simple as mind over matter.
When Life Gives You A Crush
Is having a crush normal for someone who’s married? Crushing on that fresh grad in the mailroom or the new receptionist is normal. A recent employee survey found that almost 3 in 4 people (that’s about 74%), who are either in a long-term relationship or married, admitted to having a crush at work.
This harmless little attraction doesn’t really damage your relationship with your spouse. In fact, if research is to be believed, many couples have admitted that having a crush on someone has only made their relationship with their spouse or S.O even better. Talk about adding some spice to a relationship.
How Does a Crush Develop?
A crush is like an unexpected gust of wind that blows by on a hot summer day. Crushes bring something that you may not find in your current relationship, at times it’s even the mystique of a new partner that makes you want to look at someone a little bit longer. And, as quickly as they come, they’re gone with the wind too.
Crushes are usually someone you see or interact with quite often–most often colleagues. The time you spend in close proximity with them allows you to notice that they are physically attractive or interesting to be around. The longer you look, the more likely the chances of you starting to fantasize about them. Which takes us to the next question –
Is Fantasizing About Someone Else While You’re Married Okay?
This is a tricky one. Having a fantasy or two about your crush is quite normal and doesn’t instantly make you a bad husband or wife. But when you begin to set things in motion to make those fantasies real, then it is definitely not okay. What isn’t okay either is when you let your crush get in the way and create an emotional distance between you and your spouse. Let’s just say you’re swimming dangerously into emotional cheating territory.
Are You Really In Love With Someone Else?
Both crushing and falling (sounds painful when we put it that way) give you the same floaty feeling (comes with all the butterflies in your stomach), the giddy excitement and the nervous anticipation. Telling you the similarities between having a crush and falling in love with another is not meant to discredit your feelings. But attraction on its own is a very confusing feeling, especially when you are caught in between your spouse and a potential lover.
Before you jump the gun and declare that you’re married but in love with someone else, you need to determine whether you’re actually in love with another person or whether what you are feeling is just the heated rush of a new crush. How do you do that? You start by asking yourself the following questions.
- Do you find yourself sharing minute details of your life with them?
- Do you feel overly protective of them?
- Are you finding ways to spend more time with them?
- Do you miss them when they’re not around?
- Do you find yourself constantly thinking about them?
- Do you feel guilty about hanging out with them but can’t get yourself to stop?
- Do you keep comparing them to your spouse and they constantly come up tops?
- Are you lying and keeping secrets from your spouse especially about your equation with this new person?
As you ask yourself these questions, you’ll probably realize that you felt the exact same way with your spouse at the beginning of your relationship. So, what changed? How responsible are you for that status quo with your spouse? Tough questions no doubt, but ones that require deep thinking and honest self-evaluation. Once you’re done with them comes the next big question.
You’ve Fallen in Love with Someone Else. What Now?
Well, you’re married and from how I see it, you’ve got the following options –
- You can end your affair and decide to work on your marriage
- Stay in your marriage but continue to be unfaithful (you’re not being fair to anyone here, except probably yourself)
- Leave your marriage to start a new life with your paramour
Perhaps you’re reading this article in a panic because you think you may have fallen in love, confirmed that you fell in love, but you’re married too and you want to make it work. We can go with that for now while also accepting that the other two options can cause irreparable damage not just to you, but to those around you, including the kids and the consequences could spill into your new relationship too.
While the choice to stay with or leave your spouse is totally up to you, in the interest of being fair, I suggest that you weigh in the pros and cons of every option before arriving at the final decision.
It takes an incredible amount of courage to own up to an affair whether physical or emotional, but if you want your marriage to work, you really have to want it enough to do it. Remember that love and marriage require two people with an endless capacity to forgive, forget and let go.
So, Where Do You Go From Here?
You can start by reigniting the spark that you first felt for your spouse before life and its responsibilities got in the way. All it takes is a spark to start a conflagration so it’s never too late to take that first step.
More Personal Advice
How Do I Fall in Love Again with My Spouse?
I have written articles that discuss how you can restore your marriage and bring back the spark. But here are some things that you can do to reignite the flames of love.
- Say ‘thank you’ or ‘I love you’ often through flowers and cards. Bring back all those the little things you did to say ‘I love you’ to them when you were dating.
- Compliment them from time to time and be sincere about it. There’s no use complimenting your S.O. if you’re just saying it for the sole purpose of saying it.
- Do household chores together. You can bond over doing dishes or folding the laundry.
- Make date nights a thing again. You can have romantic Friday nights where you cook together or surprise the other with a candle-light dinner. How about date picnics at the local park? Yes, yes, yes!
- Don’t be stingy with the words and the touches. Go all out. Flirting doesn’t have to end when marriage begins, but sadly, not many couples remember that.
- Spice things up behind closed doors. Remember those crush fantasies? They’ll come in handy here.
- Tease them with a saucy or potentially saucy text. It doesn’t have to be explicit. On a date night, try texting them that you can’t wait to get them home. See where that brings you.
- Communicate and be their best friend. Try less of the ‘I told you so’ and more of the ‘thanks for doing that.
At the end of the day, you need to remember that no marriage is perfect. A good marriage requires a lot of patience, perseverance and pride in your spouse along with a great deal of hard work, not to forget, copious amounts of love. That’s what goes into happily ever after. Did I hear someone say it was easy?