Asking a friend: “I am happily married, but I fell hopelessly in love with my girlfriend. Should I tell her or work through with my husband? ‘ – To world

Q: I met my husband in his early twenties and we were very happy but also busy with life. We took ourselves for granted. I’ve always felt a deeper connection with women. A few years ago I met a lady and we chatted about life for a few days. She was really lovely and I felt like I had a very deep connection with her. I think I fell in love with her. We kept in touch for a couple of years and then we lost touch. We got in touch last year. We agreed to meet and it was amazing that the connection still exists. My head and heart tell me that she feels the same. We have sent messages and there are a few innuendos. We say “I love you” and I write poetry about you. I am hopelessly in love with this person, but I deeply love my husband. We connect, but before I go to sleep I think about her. Is that just a sign that my husband and I have to get through this together? I am so afraid to tell her and I am afraid of the consequences of my thoughts and how it could destroy my marriage.

Dr. West replies: Your letter is full of conflicting thoughts and you seem stuck on how to proceed. You have an exciting potential romance, but you also have an established long-term relationship that you are committed to. You need to make decisions and be prepared to get hurt – yourself included.

You talk about writing poetry about this woman and telling her in prose that you love her. Maybe she didn’t take it that literally, or maybe she’s wondering if it’s really about her. Cues rarely work when it comes to romance, and we often need to be more direct to express our feelings. But before you do that there are many things to consider.

Long-term relationships can suffer from the fact that all parties take each other for granted, as is so often the case. Relationships take work and conscious effort to keep them alive alongside the comfortable familiarity they offer. The ease of living together can lead to the fact that it is perceived as boring and arouses longing in our hearts, minds and genitals for the first glimpses of romance, appointments, insecurity and new longing. Your marriage has been decades old and there are common times when you feel choked or frustrated. Are you talking about your relationship or what you would like to do in the future? How long has it been since you did something romantic together? The fantasy of dating and excitement about this potential relationship could also be featured in your current relationship. It just has to be worked on.

Are you possibly romanticizing this situation? Poetry, love at second sight, feeling “hopelessly” in love … do you love her or do you love what she represents? Freedom from a marriage that may have ended, new relationship energy, the freedom to explore the side of your sexuality that is attracted to women or the feeling of not being taken for granted? All of these things sound terribly exciting when you’re stuck in a marriage that isn’t exciting, but are they real? I do not mean that your sexuality is not valid, but does the thought of this woman in this context fulfill something in you that you do not encounter in your real life? Long-term monogamy is difficult for many as it is difficult to constantly meet another person’s needs and new relationships are more exciting than monotonous.

You also wrote in your longer letter that you are worried about playing games. Some people would view your behavior as an emotional betrayal and others would view your interactions with this woman as sexual in nature. You have to make a decision about where to go from here as you are not fully involved in your marriage or flirtation. Unless you have a desire to leave your husband and explore this new relationship, you are giving this woman false hopes that there is a future there for you both as a free and as a single person. An affair leads to injury and gives the wrong picture of what the relationship really is like, as it is conducted in secret, restricted in its potential and increased in its harm.

It may be best to let this woman go for now while you take the time to figure out what you really need. It could be her, it could be your husband, but you have to come to terms with what’s going on. As always, I am an advocate of therapy. Solo therapy can help you find out what is going on with you. I would prefer this to couples therapy now so that you have the opportunity to find out in a pressure free environment without having to worry about hurting your husband with what you say in therapy. Couples therapy would be a good idea after solo therapy when you are more confident about what you want – or who you want.

Weed, on the flip side, isn’t always greener, and while exploring your sexuality and feeling satisfied is important for you, it doesn’t have to come at the expense of your husband’s feelings. Talk to him – he may also feel that a change is needed. This could look like an open relationship or a breakup. Whatever it is, there is work to be done figuring out what to expect in your future, work that shouldn’t hurt other people when you do it.

Dr. West is a sex educator and host of the Glow West podcast, which focuses on sex. Send your questions to [email protected] Dr. West regrets that she cannot answer questions privately

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