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If you’re in a relationship but have feelings for someone else, do this

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You’re in a long-term relationship but have feelings for someone else.

And you find yourself in a dilemma, being in a committed relationship only to come across someone with whom you feel an initial attraction.

You thought it was just an innocent crush and a physical attraction, until you started to develop feelings for the other person.

Maybe your relationship is going wonderfully, or maybe it’s been going through a rough patch…

Either way, you’ve found yourself in a tricky situation, and you’re probably feeling a bit confused with lots of questions running through your mind.

Is it ever possible to have feelings for two people at once?

This is a highly confusing situation to be in, so let’s break it down into stages.

Firstly, you’re going to have a chance to explore what you’re feeling.

Then, we’ll dig deeper and think about where those feelings are coming from.

And lastly, we’ll think about what these feelings might mean for your relationship and how you should start to move forward from here.

Each of these three stages will be much easier for you with the help of a relationship expert. Having someone completely neutral to talk to and getting specific feedback and advice for your situation is going to be better than going it alone.

Check out the online service from Relationship Hero. You can chat to someone from the comfort of your own home (or somewhere else if you live with your partner) to get empathetic, specific, and genuinely insightful advice – all at a time to suit you. Here’s that link again to connect with one of the experts now.

Stage one: exploring your feelings.

So, you know that this person has got you feeling something. But, if you’re in a relationship, you’re probably hiding these feelings away rather than facing up to them and examining them.

Ask questions such as:

– Is it a purely sexual attraction or are you experiencing lust towards this person?

– Are you craving physical contact with them or is it their personality that attracts you?

– Do you enjoy their company and do they make you laugh?

– Do you want to spend time with them and want to know their opinion on things?

– If you’re totally true to yourself, could you ever see yourself in a long-term relationship with this person?

Stage two: understanding the root cause of your feelings.

Right, so now you’ve spent some time figuring out what the nature of your feelings are toward this person, it’s time to think about where they come from.

There are three main areas you need to consider: are they a result of the person themselves, are they a result of your current relationship, or are they all due to something just within you, and nothing to do with this person or your current boyfriend/girlfriend at all?

Let’s examine these more closely.

1. You like them for them.

Maybe your relationship is going really well. You’re happy and fulfilled with your partner, and genuinely want to keep building your life with them.

In this case, if you’ve met someone you’re feeling attracted to, consider carefully what it is about them that makes them so special.

For all you know, it is just an innocent crush, and it is not uncommon to develop crushes.

But if you find yourself connecting deeper, that is a warning sign.

2. Your relationship is missing something.

Sometimes, the underlying causes come from what’s missing from your current relationship.

It can be due to a long distance relationship and consequently, the long periods of absence of physical affection or emotional intimacy.

Or maybe you and your current partner are going through a rocky patch.

Maybe you feel neglected, unloved, misunderstood, and have started to look elsewhere for someone that might give you the things your partner doesn’t.

When someone feels like this, it can be fairly easy to start experiencing an emotional attraction toward someone else which you may mistake for romantic feelings.

These aren’t necessarily a result of your partner being a bad partner, but just because someone else is filling the void.

The question is, is it worth breaking away from a long-term relationship?

Long-term relationships are hard to build, so weigh things carefully and think if it is just the excitement of having a crush or a genuine affection.

In cases like these, you need to step back and try to work on your committed relationship.

3. You’ve got some things you need to work through.

If you’re looking elsewhere, don’t always assume that it’s the relationship you’re in that’s the problem.

It might be that you have some personal issues that mean you find it hard to be in a relationship and might even be trying to self-sabotage.

Maybe you have issues with commitment, or intimacy.

Maybe you expect too much from a partner and start looking elsewhere when your partner is unable to meet your unrealistic expectations.

Take some time to consider whether there might be something in you that you need to work on that’s led to these feelings developing.

Stage three: moving forward.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that this situation isn’t sustainable.

After all, if you’re reading this article, the feelings you’re experiencing are probably slightly more than just a passing fancy.

So, it’s time to consider how you’re going to move on from the situation.

If you decide to pursue your feelings.

You may decide that your feelings for this person are real.

I don’t need to tell you this, but you can’t do anything about those feelings whilst you’re still in a relationship.

It might be tempting to look for confirmation from the object of your affections that they reciprocate before you break up with your partner, but that’s not fair on anyone.

You need to end the relationship you’re currently in before you decide to make a move on the person you’re interested in, fully aware that you could risk losing a long-term relationship in favor of someone who’s not yet proven their worth to you.

On the other hand, the new person might be the one relationship that you have a true emotional intimacy with.

It may be a good choice or not.

It might be the start of something wonderful, but you need to be conscious that there’s going to be a lot of heartache involved.

Here is one question – if anything in your life goes bad, who is the first person you seek?

If you decide to stay with your partner.

On the other hand, you might decide that what you’ve got with your partner is special, and you want to stay with them.

In that case, you’ll need to draw a line under your feelings for this person.

It’s your decision whether or not you feel you need to tell your partner about the feelings you’ve been having.

There’s an argument for both courses of action, but it’s ultimately down to you, provided that nothing has happened between you and the person you have feelings for.

If anything has gone on, then you’ll need to be honest with your partner about it.

But if it’s just been feelings on your part, and nothing more, you can decide whether or not to tell your partner.

If you think that they’ve been a result of issues in your relationship, then your partner probably needs to know what you’ve been thinking and feeling so that the two of you can make a conscious decision to work on those issues and move forward together.

Make sure that you pick the right time to have that conversation, when you’re both well-fed, well-rested, and sober.

Basically, your conscience will always let you know whether this is a conversation that needs to be had.

If you’ve realized that this is a result of some underlying personal issues, then you need to take active steps to work on them, so that this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.

Either way, in an ideal world you would stop having contact with the person you’ve been having feelings for.

Out of sight, out of mind.

After all, if you’re serious about moving forward with your relationship, having contact with this person could make things tricky.

But, of course, we don’t live in an ideal world, so it might be someone you can’t escape. Perhaps someone you work with or see a lot of for any number of reasons.

In that case, you’ll need to have the strength of mind to be able to put your feelings aside.

You can still minimize the amount of time you spend interacting with them and control the nature of those interactions.

There’s no one right answer.

If you’ve found yourself in a situation like this, the key is to be true to yourself, and make sure you do everything you can to make sure no one gets hurt (more than is necessary).

Situations like these are tricky to navigate, but as long as you’re honest, considerate, and don’t let yourself get carried away by your feelings before you’ve figured out what they really mean, the best course of action should soon become clear.

Still not sure what to do about your feelings for this other person? It’s not an easy situation to be in, and it might be all the more difficult if you don’t have anyone to talk to about it.

Before anything else, consult with a relationship professional to sort out your feelings and help you make a decision. They can help you think more objectively so that you can take your romantic life in the right direction for you.

If you decide to stick with your current relationship, you will likely want to have further counseling with a professional to discuss your issues with your partner and to make your union stronger.

You might be tempted to talk to your partner about feeling neglected, wanting more quality time, or even coming clean about having feelings for someone else. But without expert guidance, attempting to fix things yourself might boomerang and emotions might get out of hand.

Talking to a family member or friend might not be a good idea as they might be biased.

Besides, it might be awkward to have them mediate when you talk to your significant other.

Speak to an experienced relationship expert about it. Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours and help you think more clearly.

Relationship Hero is a website where you can connect with a relationship counselor via phone, video, or instant message.

Talking to a relationship expert can help point you in the right direction.

Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to solve problems that they never really get to grips with.

If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, speaking to a relationship expert is 100% the best way forward.

Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service Relationship Hero provide and the process of getting started.

You’ve already taken the first step just by searching for and reading this article. The worst thing you can do right now is nothing. The best thing is to speak to a therapist. The next best thing is to implement everything you’ve learned in this article by yourself. The choice is yours.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it normal to have feelings for someone else?

Emotions are complicated things. Human relationships of all kinds are based largely on the way we feel about the other person. Those feelings can be platonic or romantic or even sexual.

Emotions are not easily controlled. They form out of our experiences and our thoughts about those experiences. It’s not that uncommon for a person who is already in a happy relationship to develop an emotional attachment to another person.

This might happen because they spend a lot of time with that person or because they are physically attracted to that person. It may even happen because they spend a lot of time in their own heads and fantasize about what it might be like to be with that person.

Is it wrong to feel this way?

Having feelings of any kind is never a matter of right or wrong. They are your feelings and that’s all that can be said of them.

What matters is whether and how you act on those feelings. It is wrong to act on those feelings by flirting with the other person because you are then engaging in an emotional affair.

And it is most definitely wrong to engage in any kind of deeply intimate physical behavior with the other person. A brief hug is one thing if they are a friend, but holding hands, kissing, and any form of sexual intimacy is wrong. There is no way to frame it other than cheating.

What should I do if I think I’m developing feelings for someone other than my partner?

The first thing you can do is to limit the contact you have with the other person. That goes for digital communication as well as physical encounters.

If you have to see them for work or they are a friend of yours, you should try to avoid being alone with them if possible. This will reduce the chances of your feelings developing further.

If you don’t have to be in contact with them, don’t be. The more space you can put between you and them, the less intense your feelings will be until they eventually begin to fade.

If it’s a friend you are falling for, it might be best to let them know about your feelings and be honest about why you can’t see them for a while. It doesn’t have to mean the end of your friendship, but it will give you time to rebalance your emotional connection with them. If they are a good friend, they will understand.

Can you love two people at once?

Some people will say that love is only true if it is for one person alone. Others will say that you can have feelings of romantic love for multiple people at once. There is no single answer here.

The real question is whether what you are feeling for this other person is love or something else. It might be lust or an infatuation or an idealization or some other state of heightened emotion.

Even if it is love, there are multiple types of love that you might be feeling. You might be mistaking the love you feel for a great friend as the love you might feel for a romantic partner. They share some of the same characteristics. This can be incredibly confusing, especially when the friend is a member of the gender you are attracted to.

The love you feel for your partner might have developed into something akin to a deep level of comfort whereby you can be completely yourself around them. The love you feel for this other person might be a flash of passion that will eventually burn itself out without you having to do anything.

How do I stop thinking about the other person?

Your mind can only focus on one thing at a time, so the best way to stop thinking about someone is to think about something else.

To really accelerate the process, you can make this something else your current partner. If you think about your partner instead of this other person, you will change the direction of your feelings. Just be sure that the thoughts you have for your partner are positive ones.

Alternatively, think about work or immerse yourself in a hobby. Or learn something new. Do whatever you can to keep your mind busy and your thoughts won’t be able to turn to this other person.

If you can stop seeing or communicating with this person, that will help keep your thoughts elsewhere. Out of sight, out of mind. Just don’t expect your thoughts to suddenly stop overnight. Be patient with yourself and don’t berate yourself if you slip up and start thinking about the other person again. Return your focus to something else and keep on going until those unwanted thoughts are few and far between.

Should I choose my old love or my new love?

Whether you decide to stay with your current partner or try to forge a new relationship with this other person is entirely up to you. No one can tell you what you feel or don’t feel for either of them.

Listen to your heart but don’t rush a decision. It can be tempting to think that the new and exciting feelings you have for someone else are a sign that you should choose them, but those feelings won’t last forever. And just because the feelings you have for your partner aren’t quite as electrifying as they once were, it doesn’t mean that you don’t care deeply about them and want them in your life forever.

If your relationship is on rocky ground, decide whether or not the issues can be fixed. Don’t assume that they can’t and decide to run into the arms of this other person just because it feels like the easier option. The other person might not reciprocate your feelings, or the realities of a relationship with them might not live up to your fantasies. Or you might carry personal issues with you that lead to the same problems as in your current relationship.

It might help to talk things through with someone impartial who can guide you toward your truest feelings and the decision that’s right for you. If you think this would be a good idea, speak to someone at Relationship Hero who will be able to help.

What should I do if I’m only physically attracted to the other person, but wouldn’t want to be with them?

If your feelings are purely physical, you still need to be careful. You may not want to leave your partner for this person, but the fact that you are attracted to them might lead to temptations at some stage.

Putting distance between you and them is a good idea so as to remove those temptations. You can also try to find aspects of their physical appearance that you don’t like so as to counter the attraction you have for them. Do they have bad eyebrows? Are their feet abnormally large? Do they wear too much makeup for your liking?

Don’t think about them during sex with your partner or at any other time you find yourself getting aroused. The last thing you want to do is to form an even stronger attraction to them by stimulating new connections in your brain around them and sex.

Other than that, if you know you wouldn’t ever act upon your attraction to them, you don’t have to do anything at all. It is okay to feel physically attracted to people other than your partner.

I’m happy in my relationship. Why am I catching feelings for someone else?

Being happy with and around your significant other does not exclude the possibility of having a crush or being happy with and around other people. Feeling a crush or attraction for something else is exciting and can be tempting to pursue, but are you willing to risk losing a committed relationship?

Should I tell my current partner why I am breaking up with them if I want to pursue my feelings for the other person?

If you have decided to end your current relationship in order to see if your feelings for this other person are reciprocated, you face a dilemma. You could tell your partner about your feelings and use that as a good reason to break up with them. Or you could not.

There is no right or wrong answer. If your feelings for someone else are the primary reason why you no longer want to be in a relationship with your partner, you might have to bite the bullet and tell them. It’s an act of kindness and respect to provide some sort of closure for your partner rather than leave them confused and not knowing what went wrong.

On the other hand, if your feelings are simply the culmination of many other relationship problems, you don’t have to bring them up at all. You probably already have enough of a reason to end things.

Can’t I have both of them?

In a monogamous relationship, you commit to just one person at a time. If this is the type of relationship you have entered, you can’t have both your current love and your new love – that would be cheating.

If you agreed to have an open relationship with your partner and have developed feelings for someone else, you may well be able to have them both, depending on the rules you set out for your relationship. Those rules might exclude each other’s friendship group or relationships of an emotional nature (i.e. sex outside of the relationship is okay, but love is not).

Do my feelings mean I’d be willing to cheat on my partner?

Having feelings for someone else is very different to deciding to act upon those feelings. It is quite possible to keep your feelings contained entirely within your mind and to never do anything about them.

Even if you are fantasizing about a sexual encounter with this other person, it doesn’t mean that you’d ever be able to follow through with it should the opportunity present itself in real life. Your morals and values might stop your temptation in its tracks before you crossed that red line.

Don’t beat yourself up about the feelings and thoughts you have, even if they feel wrong to you. Work on dealing with them by all means, but don’t punish yourself for something which only takes place in your head.

My current relationship is my first and it’s a long-term thing. Am I missing out by only experiencing one love in my life?

Being with your first love forever is a fairy tale for many. But even if you are happy in your relationship, it’s natural to wonder what it might be like to be emotionally and physically connected to someone else.

That doesn’t mean you are missing out on anything. If your relationship is happy, healthy, and fulfilling, no other relationship will give you more than you already have. Chances are that you have been lucky enough to meet someone with whom you are incredibly compatible with on the first attempt. Don’t think otherwise and don’t think that the grass is greener anywhere other than where you are now.

Wonder by all means, but don’t act on anything if you value your current partner and relationship.

What’s the difference between having feelings and having a crush?

Developing feelings for someone means you see them as being genuinely compatible in terms of a relationship. You have feelings for them because you could see yourself with them. You know them well and like what you see.

A crush, on the other hand, is a passing attraction based more on surface level things than anything else. A crush often takes place when you don’t really know the person you are crushing on. Perhaps you see them from afar in your class or around town, but you’ve not spoken to them much or gotten to know them at all. Crushes can turn into feelings if you take the time to get to know them, but they often remain simply as crushes.

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About The Author

Katie is a writer and translator with a focus on travel, self-care and sustainability. She's based between a cave house in Granada, Spain, and the coast of beautiful Cornwall, England. She spends her free time hiking, exploring, eating vegan tapas and volunteering for a local dog shelter.