I'm in a 4-year relationship that's going just about as well as it can. I love my girlfriend to death and couldn't do without her. Just recently, though, it's come to my attention that another person I've been attracted to and felt fondly towards for years actually has felt and feels the same way. We're both in relationships right now; she's technically bisexual and has a boyfriend and they've been together for a few months now, and, as far as I've been told, they're doing fine.
The issue is that I don't know what to do or I don't know how to just get over it and move on. We both still have really strong feelings for each other, but are tied down by relationships that we don't think we're ready to end. I don't really know what to do and I'm not sure how to cope (again) with having these old feelings resurface like this. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.~Distracted
This is a great question! In fact, after reading it, I shared it with my partner, Teresa, who was sitting nearby at her computer. When I was done, she just started singing "Don't cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me, don't cha," by the Pussycat Dolls. While this was entertaining, I was clearly missing her point. So she pulled up her ITunes and started playing this song (and dancing). Call me slow, but her message still didn't register with me until she said, "Listen!" The Pussycat Dolls (and Teresa) were suddenly making sense as they sang "Fight the feeling, leave it alone. If it ain't love, it ain't enough to leave your happy home."
Seems simple enough to me. If it ain't love, it ain't enough to leave your happy home.
To be curious is to be alive. And it seems to me that people who look around and still find others attractive whether they are in a relationship or not, are alive. That is a good thing. To consider sacrificing a love that you already have for a love that you might be able to have - well that doesn't sound like such a good thing to me.
Our feelings of attraction can be a complicated thing. Sometimes they surface without any warning and certainly without our consent. I'm sure many of you reading this now have ex's (or maybe current partners) that you wish you could have never been attracted to - and yet you were or are. Why is that? (Here's what I think)
When feelings of attraction surface, we have choices about how to respond. The choices are pretty simple - we can feed the feedling through some of the following:
- increasing our contact
- sharing more intimate conversations
- increasing our affection or physical contact - longer more affectionate hugs, for example
- creating time to nurture fantasies and daydreams about the other person
- creating more space in our mind for this person to occupy
Or we can starve the feelings in some of these ways:
- limit or eliminate contact with the object of our extramarital affection
- decrease shared intimacy - create more emotional distance if you must see her
- eliminate physical contact
- interrupt your own fantasies and daydreams when they surface
- no more vacancies in your mind for thoughts of her
What is important to realize, though, is that whatever you decide is a choice. We are not held hostage to our attractions, our attractions are held hostage to our actions. Because your feelings of attraction to her have been going on for a long time, you have had a lot of time to build a mystery around "what could be." As with most fantasies, they tend to be a little more appealing than reality. What you've got is real, right?
Fight the feeling. Leave it alone. If it ain't love, it ain't enough to leave your happy home.
~ Pussycat Dolls