So what do you do if you’re currently with someone in a long term relationship, but you think you have fallen in love with someone else. Who also happens to be in another long term relationship with someone. Do you say anything? Do you just ignore how you feel? I still love the person I’m with so it’s not like the current relationship is bad. It’s just hard when you think you also have feelings for someone else. Or if you have feelings for someone else, does that automatically mean I need to end my current relationship? Help Wendy! I’m so confused.
That Office Lady
It seems like you have found yourself in a situation where your heart is saying one thing and your head is saying another. But, which one is saying what?
Longterm relationships are not an easy thing. Falling in love is wonderful and exciting, but building a life with someone is a different ball of wax. We all grow at different paces and in different directions. Just because you came together with someone at an opportune moment for both of you – when your goals and dreams were aligned – doesn’t mean that you will stay in the same place. So, while you may love your partner, chances are there are some things you aren’t seeing eye to eye on anymore. If everything in your relationship was perfect, you wouldn’t be so tempted by the dream of someone else.
Because that’s what it is right now – a dream. This person may seem incredibly appealing right now, but part of the reason for that is their position in your life. They aren’t your partner – you don’t have to compromise with them, accept their flaws, and navigate life’s ups and downs with them. Most likely, you get to see them at their best. And even in the darker moments, you are detached enough from their life that you can see them as mysterious rather than challenging. Because they aren’t as close to you, you are more easily able to gloss over their faults and imagine that they are an idealized version of themselves.
Or perhaps, it really is love.
Oh, my darling, I wish I could tell you either way. But since I can’t, I am going to refer you to three other people who might be able to help you better than I can.
The first is you. Right now, I can tell that you are very focused on the choice between these two people. But, remember, the only person you are really beholden to, responsible for, and in a lifelong relationship with is you. I want you to take a deep breath (or five) and ask yourself what it is you really want. Not just in love, but in life. What are your dreams? Are they in your hometown or far away? Are they more to do with career or family? Are you where you want to be in life or do you have some miles to go? As much as love is important, it can’t be the bedrock of our lives. I consider myself a total romantic, but if I am not living my purpose and caring for myself, I can’t be a good partner to someone else.
If the answer doesn’t come to you after some strong self-reflection and self-care, then it’s time to talk to your partner. He or she deserves to know that you have doubts about continuing on in your relationship. I know you don’t want to hurt them, I can tell by your heartfelt letter. But, withholding the truth can hurt so much more than being open and honest. Think about it this way, if you don’t let them know what’s going on, they won’t have a chance to respond. There are obviously some things that aren’t quite lining up for you two right now. Give your partner a chance to work on them with you. You don’t owe them forever, but you do owe them an opportunity to fight for this love before it’s too late.
The last person you should talk to, if you are unable to work this out with you or your partner is this new person. Are they feeling the same? Do they plan to change their life and their relationship status to be with you? Notice that I didn’t tell you to ask them before talking to your partner. That’s because I really believe this choice you are making has more to do with cracks in your current relationship rather than your feelings for this new person. That doesn’t mean they aren’t possibly right for you. Again, I can’t know that either way. But if you are already in a relationship with someone, don’t you think they deserve to hear the truth first?
Hopefully, you see some themes here. Honesty and communication with both yourself and the people who are directly involved are key. The longer you keep your doubts bottled up, the more insidious they will become. The only way to move forward is to get centered and be honest. And if this conversation is too much for your current partner then maybe it’s a sign that it isn’t meant to be.
I wish you the best of luck, Office Lady. Remember…