Many married people fall in love with somebody other than their spouses. They never intended to hurt their husband or wife, but they can’t deny their feelings.
This is among the most difficult emotional situations people will ever face. Their marriage was supposed to last forever. But it doesn’t matter how long they’ve been married. When cupid’s arrow strikes again, there’s no predicting what the future has in store. At one time you loved the partner you married, but circumstances changed and now you’re left wondering what you should do.
Why Look Elsewhere When You’re In Love?
If you’re married and you’re not as happy as you used to be, there’s a chance that you’re headed toward having an extramarital affair. Though affairs are generally one-sided, they profoundly affect both individuals.
What’s been making your marriage unhappy? Are there outside stressors, such as financial difficulties? Some such pressures ease over time, but when you’re mired in difficulties, the bonds between married partners can change. This is true even after the pressures ease, because the subsequent fights brought out the worst in both you and your partner, and there’s no going back.
It’s important to talk to your partner about your feelings. Some marriages can be salvaged through heart-to-heart conversations and counseling. But if there’s no desire to continue sharing life with your partner, you’ve probably already involved in an emotional affair.
Marriage Doesn’t Necessarily Equal Love
Few things are more difficult than being married to somebody whom you no longer love. Being married doesn’t mean you feel the same way toward your partner as you once did.
It quickly becomes obvious when there’s no longer love in a marriage. Your spouse likely still knows you better than anybody else does and will see the signs that you’re not in love anymore. Your sex life fizzles. You don’t talk to each other as often. You stop doing anything fun or going out on dates. You work longer hours. You may not realize that you’re displaying these behaviors, but your partner will certainly notice, and may even feel the same way as you do.
Because you’re married, there’s still an element of trust involved. Being distant is completely different from lying about why you’re distant. Lies will lead your partner to start seeking clues. They’ll search your phone, or follow you when you go out, or insist on going along.
Someone Will Get Hurt When a Marriage Ends
No matter the outcome, somebody will get hurt when a marriage ends. It could be you or your spouse, or it could be the person you’ve fallen in love with. You need to emotionally prepare yourself for the possible consequences. If you and your spouse work things out, the outside person you fell in love with, or that fell in love with you, will be the one who gets hurt. If you and your spouse divorce, he or she will be hurt. If they both dump you, you’ll get hurt and may even end up being the villain.
A lot of emotions are tied into situations like this. There’s love, mistrust, anger, pain—every feeling on the emotional spectrum will be involved, because you’re making significant decisions that will completely change your life.
It’s okay to live as you please, but you impact other people. You and your partner are not the only ones who will be impacted by this decision. If your new love interest doesn’t know you’re married, he or she may leave you when they find out. If they know and don’t care, they’re telling you a lot about the type of person they are. Will they cheat on you? If they love you, they’ll know what you’re going through and shouldn’t insist that you end your marriage before you’re ready to. They’ll be patient, but you’ll eventually have to make your decision, even if you end up single. That’s always an option.
Telling Someone You’re Not in Love With Them Anymore
This is the most difficult part of all. Your spouse deserves the truth and will find out no matter what you do, so it’s best to be honest and tell him or her. How long you wait to have this discussion is up to you, but the best advice is to tell them sooner rather than later.
It’s best to keep things simple and not go into all of the details at first. Your spouse may get angry, or beg and plead. They may even be happy or relieved—what if they’ve also been seeing someone else? So, be prepared. If they ask if you’re seeing somebody else, you’re free to say you’re not ready to discuss that yet.
Life’s Too Short to Spend with Someone You Don’t Love
When you’re in love, it’s hard to logically think through things. Love can cloud your judgment, but you only get one life to live. If you no longer love your spouse and have fallen in love with somebody else, you should be free to follow where your heart leads.
In a marriage, two lives become one, and partners believe they’ll love each other forever. You got married because you were happy together. But life is fragile. Nobody wants to look back on our lives with regrets. Staying in an unhealthy relationship is far more harmful to you in the long-run than the discomfort of the difficult conversations involved with ending a relationship).
There’s a lot to process. But if you’re sure about what you want, you need to find the courage to do what needs to be done to achieve it. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It’s up to you to figure out what you’ve been missing. Is your marriage worth saving? Or would you be better off if you began a new relationship with somebody you love?