I'm In Love With A Married Man: How To Get Over Inappropriate Feelings

By Steven Finkelstein

Updated February 17, 2020

"I'm in love with a married man." Have you found yourself saying those words? Maybe you haven't been able to utter them out loud, but it's something that you've admitted to yourself, if only inside your head. For the person who finds themselves in love with a married man, life can quickly become hellish. Unrequited love is one of the most heart-rending things that can occur, and if you're on the wrong end of it, then it might feel like your entire life has ground to a halt. What can you do about it? In this article, we'll talk about how to deal with inappropriate feelings toward a married man and how you can get your life back on track.

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How Did This Happen?

There are different ways that you might conclude that you're in love with a married man. Maybe you're the sibling of an individual in your family, and over time you come to the inescapable conclusion that you have romantic feelings for their husband. Perhaps you work with a married man, and you begin to have feelings for your coworker. Maybe the scenario is that you've started reconnecting with an old love who is married, either in person or online. We'll go over each of these situations in turn, since your actions are probably not going to be identical depending on the details of what is going on.

A Married Man Within Your Family

If the married man to whom you are attracted is within your family, then that's probably going to be the toughest of these situations. If you see them frequently along with their spouse, then your feelings are going to be very raw because the person who you love is within reaching distance, but you cannot have them.

There are two key factors to go over here, and indeed, they are the same two factors that will need to be dealt with in any of these scenarios. The first one is whether the married man knows how you feel about them, and the second is whether he feels the same way about you in return.

If the married man does not know how you feel about them, then it will make things a bit easier for you. You can conceal what's happening with you and not act on those feelings. Later on, we will describe how you can get over the heartache that this choice will bring about.

If the married man does know how you feel or suspects it, then you're likely going to need to have a conversation about it with him at some point. In that conversation, you can make it very clear that you don't want to wreck their marriage, so you're not ever going to act on what you feel. Hopefully, that will be sufficient for him, and he will not ever see the need to tell his spouse based on your promise to behave appropriately.

Does He Feel the Same Way About You in Return?

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When a married man falls in love with you, and you feel the same way about him, it can be exceedingly difficult. These things do happen, particularly if the love between the married man and his spouse has soured. He might be looking for affection outside the marriage, and that might make him vulnerable to your advances.

You need to decide as to whether you are going to act on your impulses, and it's probably going to take a supreme act of willpower for you to resist if you believe he feels similarly about you as well. The two of you must both look at things from a moral standpoint. You know the hurt that it would cause if you carried out an affair behind the back of the man's spouse. It would also likely cause a rift in the family that might never be mended. Think about those things very carefully, and try with all of your willpower to refrain from acting on how you feel.

A Married Man With Whom You Work

Sexual tension and feelings of love can certainly come up between you and a married man with whom you work as well. Maybe you have the sort of job where you work in close quarters with someone. Perhaps your cubicle is right next to theirs, or you take work trips to conferences together. You might know intimate details about their marriage if the two of you are friendly toward one another. The more you discover about him, the more you might feel that he is perfect for you. The one small caveat: he's married, and to the best of your knowledge that is not going to change anytime soon. What can you do?

The same two questions must be asked as if the married man was a part of your family. Does he know about your feelings, and does he reciprocate? If he doesn't know, then you must keep how you feel to yourself. There is no other answer here. If you try to act on your feelings or make them known to him, then not only will you make the situation at work untenable, you might even lose your job over it.

If he feels similarly to you as you do about him, that complicates matters even further. The sentence "I am in love with a married man, and he is in love with me" is the fodder for romance novels, but in real life, having an affair with this person can wreck his marriage, and it can jeopardize both of your careers.

You must look at this situation in terms of a cost/benefit analysis. You can't allow yourself to act on your impulses. Forgetting the moral turpitude for a moment, the cost of moving forward is just too high. You should tamp down your feelings, and if you find that you can't do it, you need to resign and find a different job.

The Old Love Who Is Married

If you have an old flame with whom you were once involved, but now he is married, it can become problematic if you reconnect and you find that you still have feelings for him. This situation is particularly challenging because, for both of you, the weight of the previous times that you spent together may be weighing heavily on both your minds.

Consider once again those two questions. If he does not know how you feel, then the best thing is to cut off contact with him. To keep in touch will only cause you pain. He might be surprised or hurt that you no longer want to communicate. It may then be necessary to explain to him what is going on. You can do so delicately, though. You needn't tell him that you are still in love with him. That will accomplish nothing. You can say instead that you retain some feelings and that you'd prefer if the two of you went your separate ways. You can wish him well, and hopefully, that will be the end of it.

If he still loves you as well and there is any consideration on both your parts about him having an affair with you, then once again there is a moral issue about which must think, and a cost/benefit analysis will be necessary. Maybe you know his spouse, and you're probably not okay with the idea of hurting them if the two of you were found out. Maybe he has kids now too, and you know that moving forward could wreck their lives. This is not even mentioning that you might be married and have kids yourself. In almost all situations, it would be better if you cut off contact with him, for the sake of everyone involved.

Consider Your Actions Very Carefully

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In all of these situations, there are a couple of choices that you need to make, the first being whether you are going to act on your feelings or not. The second is how you are going to deal with the heartache whatever your decision happens to be.

In almost all circumstances, it is better not to have an affair with this person even should they be willing to do so. The one exception might be if you're completely sure that their marriage is ending soon and that the divorce papers are on the verge of being signed. If you're unattached, then this might be appropriate, but even then, you should proceed with extreme caution. What if he abruptly changes his mind and decides that he's going to stay with his wife so they can give things another try?

If you choose to refrain from acting, then there is no doubt that you've made a more responsible and indeed a more adult decision. Getting tangled up with someone married is a complication that you don't need in your life, and it's more than likely to lead to hurt feelings, either yours or someone else's. Even if you don't feel hurt personally, then you know that if the man's infidelity is found out, then it could destroy his domestic life, and then you'll feel like a homewrecker. Is that truly something you want on your conscience?

Even if you're okay with it, word of what happened is likely to come out. If the two of you run in the same social circles, you can be branded with the scarlet letter of the adulterer. You might be barred from school or work events, or you might even run the risk of your vehicle being vandalized or bricks thrown through your windows at home. If the spouse of the married man with whom you had the affair is the vengeful type, such things might happen, or even worse.

Getting Over Your Feelings

Assuming that you've decided not to act on your feelings, the best thing that you can do is to make a supreme mental effort and move on with your life. If the married man is in your family and you can't stand to be around him because of the depths of your love, then try to avoid family functions where you know he will be there. If other family members ask why you're distant, try to make up some plausible excuse. If you work with the person, then getting a new job is probably going to be your best bet if it is that painful to be around them. If it's an old flame on social media, then don't communicate with them any longer, and don't see them in person anymore either.

It's going to be hard for you, especially if you feel so strongly that this is the right person for you. You might curse the cruel fate that put this man in front of you who seems like your ideal mate, but you cannot have them. In all likelihood, some therapy will be needed so you can get over your feelings of anxiety about the situation. It's helpful to talk to someone impartial who has nothing to do with the situation, and a mental health professional should be able to give you some good advice.

Of course, the other thing that you can do is to find someone else to date. That's the best way to get over such strong feelings. There are, as the axiom goes, much fish in the sea. You might feel that this married man is the only one in the world with whom you can be happy, but if you stop and look at the situation objectively, then you'll realize how absurd that viewpoint is. You must rein in your feelings, get them in check, and explore some other possibilities. That's the most adult thing that you can do.

Moving On

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Moving on from loving a married man and not acting on your feelings might seem at the time like it's one of the hardest things you'll ever have to do. The heart does indeed want what it wants, and sometimes, your feelings can be irrational. It doesn't always feel fair, the twists and turns life takes, and you might find yourself shaking your fist at the heavens because this sort of thing has befallen you.

You'll get past it, though. You have the strength inside you to do so. Someone might seem perfect for you, but if they're married already, then the simple reality is that they're not perfect, and unless they suddenly become single again then you need to forget about them. By doing so, you'll become a better person because you resisted temptation, and it's precisely that sort of thing that builds character. You may end up coming out of this situation, having a more well-rounded and pragmatic view of the world.


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