What do you do when you are attracted to someone who is not your spouse? I am not talking about an affair or actively pursuing a relationship with someone outside of your marriage. I’m talking about attraction; a nagging attraction. Take a big breath friend because if it’s you, I’m sure your heart rate just increased a little. If it’s not you maybe you know someone who is in that situation or you might need to bank these thoughts for later. I am no marriage counsellor or relationship expert; I am simply your non-judgemental friend having an honest chat about the realities of life and cheering you on in your marriage.
As we sit here together, I imagine someone letting their thoughts unfolding, “I’m attracted to someone else”. My first reply would be to reassure you that attraction is everywhere and is going to happen; relax you are normal. Secondly, you are not the worst person in the world and you are probably recognising characteristics in that person that are admirable or maybe they are super-hot 😉 My advice would be not to overthink it. Let me say that again, don’t overthink it and obsess over it or two things can happen: 1. You’ll carry a weight of guilt and shame that will keep you stagnant or 2. You’ll end up moving that attraction into feeling and we don’t want that. Shake it off; that attraction doesn’t own you or define who you are as a husband or wife. Woohoo!
I can hear someone whisper a secret they have hidden inside, “But Jess, I have a crush on the person now.” Ok you’re really struggling so let’s talk about it. There is someone you are attracted to and you feel horrible about it. You feel a connection with them, but know it’s not quit right and are lost about what to do.
And I’ll look back and regret how I ignored when they said “run as fast as you can”
– Taylor Swift, Dear John lyrics
Without knowing any details, here are my four suggestions for you to ponder…
- Don’t be naïve
Be aware of how you feel, don’t just blinding keep on going hoping that things will sort themselves out. When it comes to matters of the heart and attraction to people outside of your marriage, don’t ever think “that could never happen to me”. Be aware of your actions and thought life, no one ever thinks these things will happen to them.
- Uncover it – find a safe person
Find someone you trust (NOT the person you are crushin’ on) and let them know what you’re thinking and feeling. I mean be truly honest with them about everything. Get them to check-in with you frequently so they can keep you accountable. We aren’t good at reaching out for help with our relationships and unfortunately people often ask for help when it’s too late. Don’t be that person, it’s not too late. Those secrets you are keeping will only get worse and more addictive if you keep them hidden.
- Dig deeper into why
Maybe you are really empty and are looking for connection elsewhere. Maybe you feel invisible as a man or women and this person makes you feel known. Knowing why your feelings have developed can help you realise where the problem is coming from and that ‘this person’ is not going to fix it for you anyway. Maybe you need to go and talk to a professional counsellor to figure out what’s going on in your heart.
- Invest into your own relationship
Oh yes, we all know the saying about the grass being greener on the other side – so go do something about it. Take active steps to get your focus back onto your own relationship. Instead of messaging or thinking about that other person, focus that energy back onto your spouse. Go on dates, write love notes, make little treats for them, plan fun adventures, create space to re-connect together. It can be hard to cultivate connection at times, but you can do it. I believe in you.
If you’ve been trapped in your own struggle, I hope these suggestions are helpful for you. I hope you really listen and take them on, because although a crush might feel exciting (from all I’ve seen in adult years) it’s only going to end in pain if you don’t stop it here. The second and fourth ones are super important, so jump on them today if you can. You can do it, rip off that band aid, it’s time to get some freedom into your life. It might be hard, but you can do hard things.
Love Jess xxoo
PS – Massive shout-out to my husband who encouraged me to put these thoughts into words. Babe, I love you forever. I would choose you every time. Let’s remember to high five on Valentine’s Day this year 🙂
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