4 important options when you’re married but in love with another man.
You probably didn’t plan for it to happen. Maybe it just snuck up on you. A few texts here, a phone call there. And now…
you’re married but in love with someone else.
Even if you manipulated events just right beforehand to have it happen, it still probably took you by surprise that you actually did it.
Most people don’t go into marriage planning on having an affair some day.
Yet, it happens every day, and women are not immune to infidelity either.
Most women say they had an affair because of unmet emotional needs.
In a Trustify Network infidelity survey *
- 23% of the men surveyed said the leading cause of their affair was due to a lack of sexual satisfaction.
- 28% of the women surveyed said the cause of their affair was due to a lack of emotional satisfaction.
I think that for most women who strayed- they would probably identify a need to escape,
wanting deeper connection, or a desire to be wanted, as one of the main reasons for their affair.
So, now what are you supposed to do when you’re in love with someone other than your spouse?
Regardless of what led you into the affair, or what needs you had that you feel are now being met, it still creates confusion and chaos within.
When you’re married but in love with someone else, there’s a tearing of your soul and most people know they can’t go on like that forever.
Maybe a part of your heart is still for your husband, you love him, or did love him.
You may have kids together but the connection between you has grown cold or stale.
You didn’t plan on hurting him though, and the thought of breaking up your family leaves you confused and feeling terrible.
Yet, maybe you believe you love your affair partner. He seems to understand you and is in tune with your feelings.
You might even feel he’s your ‘soul mate’, and you can’t even remember feeling this way about your spouse.
You love the way you feel when you’re with your affair partner, and you don’t want to break it off.
But in the quiet of your soul, is the guilt eating you up?
Every effort to end the affair leaves you going right back into your affair partners arms again.
The pain and confusion come when we know we can’t continue down this path of indecision because someone is going to get hurt.
I remember feeling like no matter what I did it would hurt, and I was right.
It just hurt so bad to break it off and I didn’t want to walk through that pain. Yea, I know, kinda selfish huh?
This alone can keep you from making any decision to move forward. But I’m going to show you why that’s not great either.
So, what are you supposed to do when you’re married but in love with someone else?
What will it take to make a decision about ending the affair or continuing in it?
Realize that you’re conflicting emotions are likely
because you’re going against your own core values.
Your confusion and torn feelings are happening because you’re probably doing something
that goes against the values that you’ve always believed to be true and right.
That creates an internal conflict and mixed emotions and confusion.
So, to alleviate that pain and confusion, something’s gotta give right?
That tug of war that goes on inside our souls can be torturous. But I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to continue living like this.
When I’m having a hard time making a decision, I often find it helpful to get my thoughts out of my head.
So in this case, put all your options on paper. Believe me, I did this myself too.
You have basically 4 choices when you’re married but in love with someone else:
- You stay in the extramarital affair while staying married too. (i.e. continuing like you probably are now “married but in love with someone else.”)
- Decide to end your marriage to be with your affair partner-marrying them or not.
- End the affair yourself, and work on your marriage.
- Or, have the decision made FOR you- meaning either your lover ends it, or your spouse finds out and decides to end the marriage. (Or, your spouse knows, but has lost patience waiting for you to get it together and end the affair. Most people won’t keep that up forever).
In either case, the choice is made for you in this scenario. This happens most often in affairs that drag on a while, when you haven’t made the decision yourself.
Each of these 4 choices have their own unique consequences tied to them. Let’s look at them:
1. If you stay right where you are now,
it feels safe now because you don’t need to make a decision.
You probably realize that any decision you make will be painful. Anyone whose had an affair has been there. So often, we choose to not make a decision.
But, as I said earlier, NO decision IS actually a decision. It’s a decision to keep going the same path you’ve been going but it won’t go on like this forever my friend,
especially if you’re trying to keep this secret. The consequence to this is the decision may be made for you, as I explain in #4.
It might also be helpful to read the stages an affair goes through here.
On a side note,
are you having a hard time believing you could have even been swept up in an affair?
Or, maybe you’re on the other side of this as a betrayed spouse, and you’re thinking
only a terrible, home wrecking immoral woman would have an affair.
If so, you might like to read my post “Do even good women have affairs?”
2. Deciding to end your marriage to be with the affair partner.
It’s a choice that some people end up doing. Although most people in an affair never get that far.
This is because most affairs don’t last longer than 3-36 months.
It is the initial stage when you feel attraction, adoration, and feeling in love that affair’s are made of.
To change the direction of your life for that feeling
may actually cause you more grief and pain later.
In the beginning the bond seems so strong, the emotions are intense between you and your affair partner. You may not don’t remember feeling this connected or in love before.
The thing you must remember before jumping ship from your marriage and
breaking up the family is every relationship has stages.
This beginning phase is the excitement, euphoria stage.
( I go into more detail about the brain chemicals behind that ‘feeling’ that we all have in the beginning of relationships below in #3).
Just be aware, there will come a time when this early ‘love phase’ levels off and you’ll realize he has flaws and short comings like your spouse does,
maybe just different ones.
What relationships will be affected by your decision to end up with your affair partner?
Realize that leaving your husband will also affect your children, and your relationship WITH your children.
We all like to say ‘kids are resilient’, and in a lot of ways they learn to be.
But there aren’t very many adult children of divorced parents who will say their parents divorce didn’t affect them at all, even negatively.
In your mind, you’ll be divorcing your husband because you don’t feel in love with him like your affair partner.
But kids often take that as a personal rejection on them as well.
So if you choose a life with your affair partner, and broke up your family for that, so
just be very clear with yourself what the consequences will be on your relationship with you kids.
We often choose not to see this person’s faults or issues in this phase, which is sometimes called the “halo effect”. They seem to be without flaws like you’ve seen in your spouse.
There is often obsessive thinking about this person and longing to come back together to experience that ‘high’.
But this person also gets to show their best side to you right now. The side without bills or maintaining a house and family.
He doesn’t have to fight with you about the kids and disciplining differences or in-law issues.
These are real life scenarios and most affairs are not based on real life.
So before you give up on your marriage and family, consider if what you’re trading it in for is just a mirage or fantasy.
Read my post would your affair partner make a good husband?
3. Ending the affair yourself and working on your marriage.
This may already be something you’ve tried. Maybe you couldn’t stick with that decision and found yourself back in your affair partners arms again. It’s actually very common.
The illicit relationship of an affair creates the release of brain chemicals like Oxytocin and Dopamine.
Although the in depth facts of this are for another post, there has been research to show that Dopamine levels increase in the early phases of ‘love’.
While at the same time Serotonin levels dip. While another brain chemical comes on the scene -Oxytocin.
Oxytocin is the chemical that seems that helps create the bond between two individuals. Much like a Mother with her new baby.
But this can also happen to 2 people new in a romantic relationship.
I wanted to touch on that because it helps to understand the neurological response happening inside us when we’re in a new relationship.
If you’re just in the early phases of breaking off the affair, there will likely be some push back within.
It helps to understand the chemicals at work to keep you in the affair ‘feel good’ loop.
In other words, breaking it off, and then you’ll feel withdrawal, so we want to go back to the affair again to feel that “high”.
But don’t do it.
Stick with your decision here to end the affair and all contact with your AP, and focus on rebuilding the trust and love in your marriage again.
It can be done, if your spouse is willing, and even if they’re unsure right now.
You hold a lot of the keys to his healing and the restoration by how you behave from here on.
For more actionable tips, read this post for some great Marriage Rebuilding Ideas!
4. This last one is that the decision will be made for you, eventually.
This one is especially likely if you delay in making a decision yourself.
It’s unlikely that both men will be great with this arrangement for too long. (That’s if this affair doesn’t eat you up inside first).
So, here are 2 scenarios that could happen, Either:
A. Your lover will get tired of waiting for you to move forward with him. OR,
B. Your husband will find out and want to end the marriage quickly. OR,
C. Your husband finds out but may wait for you to end the affair and show signs of wanting to work on the marriage.
But, how long will he wait? Nobody can answer that for him.
(He could be like my husband who did wait and he tried to have patience for me to come around, but
the many months of back and forth wore on him, understandably. And we almost didn’t make it because of that).
So be certain you know what you really want before someone makes that decision for you, and then you have no choice but to live with that for the rest of your life.
So there you have it, The 4 important choices you have, along with their likely results,
when you are married, but in love with someone else.
I know I was pretty direct here, but I felt I needed to really lay it out for you on what your choices are.
Our hearts may lie to us and tell us we will never ever be happy back in our marriages or apart from our affair partner.
Just remember, feelings lie to us everyday. Between the brain chemicals that do their number on us, keeping us connected to someone that might not be good for us.
And the feeling of indecision that takes over our mind because every decision sucks.
And it really seems to suck for a while, I know.
But we have to each accept that our decisions and choices in life DO affect other people.
Whether those people are our spouse, our kids, the families involved, our jobs, the affair partner etc…
We want to believe we don’t have that much control, but it’s a ripple effect on others.
Choose wisely, and be aware that parts of your emotions that are so convincing right now, will likely change in the future if we are led by our feelings only.
Will you regret changing your life because you believed them?
Do want to read posts that offer more help? Also read Still in the affair and confused. OR, Have you read my letter to you if you are for the unfaithful wife?
If you’re a husband looking for answers about your wife’s affair, start here.