Involvement with people who are taken, especially married, isn’t the most popular topic, but the reality is that it happens sometimes. My feelings for a married man snuck up on me and then creamed me like a ton of bricks.
Please don’t judge me—I know this was a mistake. I can’t control what you’re thinking, but I can ask you to try to withhold judgment. My experience falling for a married man is really difficult to talk about, but I’m going to share it just in case someone else can identify. It’s a fact of my life that I’m not proud of but it happened and I’m deeply aware that it was a mistake. So, here it is.
It started as a friendship. I was friends with this person for a long time—about a year before I developed romantic feelings for him. There were some weird points where he acted like we were more than friends, but I always just shrugged it off because I wasn’t interested. I wasn’t even attracted to him at first because I didn’t see him like that. Though I have to say it was the first time I had a significant friendship with a married man.
It grew into an emotional affair. Towards the end, my feelings scared the crap out of me. I realized that I was attracted to him and that being around him made me swoon. I still talked to him and spent time with him for a few weeks once I realized what was happening. I can’t speak to how he saw the situation, but talking to someone all the time—day and night—who isn’t your wife, was an emotional affair to me. It grew to be all blurry and weird.
I had feelings even while knowing that nothing was going to happen. He had a wife. He was with said wife. Although he sometimes talked to me about their problems, they weren’t splitting up. I knew that my feelings were totally useless, yet they showed up anyways without my permission. He and I weren’t going to be together, so the feelings just ate away at me.
I was able to make excuses because nothing physical happened. For the few weeks that I was conscious of what I was doing, I made excuses because nothing physical at all happened. It was easy to excuse that we were talking all the time because I only saw cheating as a physical act. I now know that’s false—emotional intimacy with someone who’s married is totally wrong and almost as bad as being physical.
I made excuses because we worked on creative projects together. I made up all kinds of excuses. One of the other ones was that we were just as close as we were because we were creative souls who complimented each other’s projects. I started to realize this was BS as he began to be what I thought about before bed and when I woke up; not a normal thing for a purely platonic creative partner to do.
It was frustrating because he didn’t admit to anything. It was kind of a mind f*ck because I felt like I was in it alone. He was willing to share the good stuff, but once I realized that what we were doing was wrong, I said something. Instead of admitting to anything, though, he had his head up his butt and just changed the subject. It was wildly invalidating, though I shouldn’t have expected anything different considering the circumstances. Ultimately I guess it doesn’t really matter.
I started to feel like an awful person. I have to say that there were a few weeks where I didn’t realize I had feelings for him. Then there were a few weeks where I realized it and was trying to get the courage to GTFO. What ultimately started to happen is that I began to feel like a complete and total piece of crap I started to really think, “Who the hell falls for married men? Can’t I fall for someone who’s emotionally/physically/spiritually available?!” I beat myself up about what was happening.
What ended it was me (finally) thinking about his wife. At the very end of it and after I terminated the relationship, I was picturing his wife’s face. I was thinking about her name, her life, and how she would feel if she knew. I couldn’t pretend that it wasn’t a big deal anymore because I finally put myself in her shoes.
It absolutely devastated me when I fully realized my situation.I beat the crap out of myself and I started to think about what kind of horrible person I am. This isn’t true, I’m not innately horrible, I just did some horrible things. Though my brain couldn’t deal with reason. It just went totally haywire—obsessing about how my life is a total disaster and how I don’t deserve love. The situation really broke me.
I ended up having to go to Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. I felt so completely out of control over what had just happened. It got to a point where I would have slept with him if the chance would have arisen. It really felt like a maniac had taken over my body and mind. I thought I wasn’t someone who fell for married men, yet here I was with a broken heart over something that never even quite happened. The 12-step program taught me so much about myself and how to have a more manageable sex, dating, and relationship life.
Ultimately, I learned that I deserve better than half-assed emotional attention. One of the biggest takeaways from all of this was that I didn’t love myself enough (aside from the issue of not respecting others). That’s why I found myself pining for someone I could never truly have. I realized that what I got from him may have been a lot of texting and some face-to-face contact, but what I longed for was everything. And I deserve to have everything—I’m just going to get it from someone who’s available in every way.
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