Can My Love For A Married Woman Grow?
Recently a man asked me, do you think it is possible for a relationship with a married woman to have a ‘happy ending?’ And if so, how can that be achieved?
I want to spell out the steps that need to be taken for those of you who are struggling in love with a married woman. This is what I told him.
In my experience you might get to a ‘happy ending’ if each of the following five (5) things happen: #1 First the ‘chemistry’ of love (not just sex) has to be strong between the two of you. This means you and your married lover have a very special intimacy that goes beyond the bedroom and into a loving and intimate friendship.
You care deeply about your lover and know in your heart of hearts that if she were not married at this very moment you would run away with her. You get the idea. What the two of you have is no ordinary relationship. The only problem is, she is attached (married) to a man she is not ‘in love’ with.
The point is, you and she are not just in it for the sex and a distraction from marital problems. You are in love with her, she is in love with you, and you both love each other as people.
#2 For the potential future relationship with your married lover, both of you end the relationship you now have. Now this might seem contradictory to you because of your need for her, but I want you to think about her need for a moment. She has to do something about her marriage. If not, her marriage will always be in your way.
The real reason she set up this ‘triangle’ between you, she, and her husband is because she running away from her marital problem. She has to go back to her marriage and make a decision to leave, or stay and work on the relationship with her husband. You have to appreciate the fact that there will never be a ‘happy ending’ if you stay in a triangle with her and her husband.
So ending the relationship, hopefully with a mutual understanding that you and she are doing it for the future relationship you both want to have. Triangles are inherently limited and unhealthy. You have to fix this before you can possibly move on.
#3 Your lover has to divorce her husband. This is mandatory. Why? Because nothing short of divorce is really leaving him. Otherwise, you’ll remain in an emotional triangle (still a triangle) and be unable to really move beyond it with your lover. Emotional triangles which include you, she, and an absent (ghost) separated husband are just as limiting and (haunting) as any other type of triangle.
The trick is to get the word ‘married’ out of the phrase, ‘married lover.’ Remember, if your love for each other is real it will last. If step 3 takes a little time, think of it as time spent healing the loss of her marriage, good or bad, healthy or not. When a person lets go of something he or she has clung to, whether or not it was healthy, it will be experienced as a loss. This is something she needs to do.
#4 She sets up an independent existence as a divorced woman apart from her divorced spouse. She can’t be living with him or depending upon him in any way after the divorce, and that includes financially. She has to avoid ‘rebound.’ Rebound is the psychological problem that occurs when you don’t adequately grieve and let go of a previous relationship before you jump into the next one.
Rebound involves old unresolved feelings toward the first guy (good or bad) invading your relationship with your lover. In other words, feelings she still has about him get transferred to you or the relationship in some way. In fact, the absence of rebound is an indicator of emotional availability. The past is resolved and now you are ready for the next relationship.
You don’t want two love relationships overlapping. By the way, nowadays independence usually involves having your own apartment and living a healthy life for a while as a single person in that apartment. How long it will take to establish a feeling of real independence depends upon the person. Some people do it relatively quickly. You get to be her ‘friend’ during this time without interfering in what she is trying to do for herself. Again you are thinking about her needs and not just your own.
#5 if you are still ‘available’ after all of these changes on her part, the two of you will have an opportunity to set up a ‘non-triangulated’ love relationship (the usual kind) and see where it takes you. Now you might think this is a lot to wait for and try to figure out some kind of ‘shortcut.’ But I assure you, the steps are necessary because you are trying to help your lover become emotionally available so that you and she can test out your love for each other like unmarried people do. The hard part of course is waiting.
One observation that may be of use to you, true love has a wonderful ability to last over time. Especially when you know the person you are in love with is in the world and trying to get free of something for you. In some cases, two people going through these changes might even see other people while secretly waiting for these changes to happen. I say secretly because sometimes we can even hide this kind of thing from ourselves.
I should know, I waited six (6) years for my wife, before she was my wife. She wasn’t married but she was in relationships with other men during this time. The truth is, I was not ready emotionally at earlier points in that six year period to start a serious love commitment.
Looking back, I know that I loved her from the moment I met her and had every intention of finding her when the time was right. I am thankful she was available when I got around to doing so. Yet something tells me, she like me, had every intention of being available and coming for me as well.
Comments? Welcome. Dr. Tom Jordan