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Can you feel deeply attracted to someone else if you are happily married?

(44 Posts)
Sagacity Sat 13-Apr-13 21:24:51

Just that really.
Met someone recently that I'm really attracted to. I thought I was happily married but not sure now as DH and I are having a bit of tough time and it makes me think well surely if I was so happily married I wouldn't even look at another man.

AuntieStella Sat 13-Apr-13 21:33:10

Yes, you can feel attraction at any time.

What counts is how you respond to it. If it makes you realise your marriage is lacking, then you need to make a conscious decision (and this is the time for making decisions, not acting like a love lorn teen) to acknowledge that you have learned something important, to turn away from the OM, and to invest your efforts truly into mending that lack.

Or to decide that you have indeed outgrown your marriage. In which case, you still need to turn away from OM, and use what you have learned to end your marriage as kindly as possible (and certainly without the complications of a third party). Then live as a single for a while, getting back in touch with yourself as an individual so you know any new relationship is based on what you really want in your future (and it might not be this OM) and can be pursued openly.

badinage Sat 13-Apr-13 21:36:13

Yes of course.

You're married, not dead.

I'm sure the same has happened for your husband too.

If you start making excuses for something that's actually very normal, you'll let yourself drift into an affair if the attraction's reciprocated.

At which point you'll say you must have been in a lousy marriage, have always had low self esteem and the ehole thing 'just happened'.

Not the truth - which is that you fancied the arse off another bloke and wanted to shag the pants off him.

navada Sat 13-Apr-13 21:37:46

Hmm....not sure you can feel 'deeply' attracted to another man if you're happily married - a passing 'phwoar' is ok though.

badinage Sat 13-Apr-13 21:44:36

The OP just says they are having a 'tough time' atm. It's a rare marriage when that hasn't happened at some point, but it doesn't mean the whole marriage has been unhappy, or that it won't be happy again. No-one as an individual is happy all of the time, let alone in their relationships. And if a few things are going belly-up in life generally, it can test a personal relationship.

Are you happy with everything else in your life atm OP? Because this might be a symptom of life being a bit shit at the moment and not just your relationship being a bit difficult. Are you looking for an escape from some of that and not necessarily an escape from your relationship?

Sagacity Sat 13-Apr-13 23:23:37

Oh I really don't know what to make of it all. Really confused. DH is stressed at work (who isn't these days) and unhappy and that reflects on our relationship. There just isn't much fun or intimacy. I guess I'm imagining that this other man would fill all these gaps although in reality I know he'll have his own set of issues.

AuntieStella Sat 13-Apr-13 23:39:29

Choice time: if a third party is necessary to your idea of fun, then the fun won't return to your marriage. Which do you really want - a restored marriage, or a shattered one? Or the third way, a decently ended marriage, and freedom to pursue what you will find fulfilling? Think it through now, before the utter unreality of affair bubble gets a hold on you.

Sagacity Sat 13-Apr-13 23:57:53

You're very wise Auntiestella
The thing is how do you ever know the right choice to make. Could have relationship with OM and it could be best thing ever or end in disaster.
On other hand could stay with DH (who does have lots of great qualities) and make a real effort of marriage and it all turn out wonderfully or spend the rest of life thinking "what if ".
Aggh. Why does it have to be so complicated.

Mumsyblouse Sun 14-Apr-13 00:20:14

I don't think it is very complicated really- unless there is a compelling reason why not, work on your marriage! God, if every time I saw an attractive man, or noticed someone else is funny, has great qualities or has a sparkle in their eye, I'd have been married and divorced twenty times. Of course it is possible to find other people attractive, but without stating the obvious, that's what marriage is about- knowing there are other attractive people out there, but you chose this person.

Nothing wrong with a crush, the odd daydream though, and if you work on your marriage and it still doesn't work, you know that that is the right decision.

badinage Sun 14-Apr-13 01:43:05

It's vanishingly rare for relationships that started as affairs to be 'the best thing ever' but even if those relationships turn out to be successful, the people in them still tend to regret their cowardice in not exiting their former relationships in a more dignified way.

How would you feel OP if right now your husband was going through a similar dilemma? You say he's stressed and unhappy, so he's just as much at risk of thinking that an affair would provide him with an escape from the misery and the mundanity that is life at the moment. What would you want him to do?

jynier Sun 14-Apr-13 01:53:39

Happily married people do not have affairs or lust after another person. End of!

deleted203 Sun 14-Apr-13 01:57:53

I suspect it's because you are having a tough time at the moment that this man looks really fanciable. It's a bit of escapism.

When I'm absolutely happy with life and DH I have never been in the slightest bit attracted to other men.

When he's pissed me off and I'm feeling that life is dull and boring I have occasionally noticed other men on the bus, etc and thought, 'Ooh... he looks lovely!'

badinage Sun 14-Apr-13 02:20:49

Sorry I think that's bollocks Jynier. I've been happily married for years and I've definitely fancied other blokes and found them attractive. I've also got several friends of both sexes who've had very regrettable flings at times when they were personally vulnerable to an escape from something else going hellishly wrong in life (redundancy, loss of parent, illness of child), but whose marriages were strong and stable. Affairs aren't just about star-crossed lovers and leaving miserable marriages. Often they are about escapism when life is hard to handle. Those sorts of affairs are always a terrible idea because what looked like an escape soon makes the original life they were escaping from seem positively wonderful by comparison, when having to deal with betrayal and shattered trust. Not one of my mates would ever recommend it......

jynier Sun 14-Apr-13 02:48:51

We have not yet established whether OP is happily married; was simply trying to make a point!

badinage Sun 14-Apr-13 02:57:35

Well the thread title is about being happily married and the OP says in her first post that she's always thought she was happily married, so I was just going on that really.

MadAboutHotChoc Sun 14-Apr-13 08:30:12

Yes, being happily married does not stop you from being attracted to others. The key is to recognise this and have good boundaries in place.

good link

JuliesSistersCousinsAuntsCat Sun 14-Apr-13 08:40:22

Yes, I think it is possible to be attracted to someone else when married.

It is when you start wanting to act on these feelings, it becomes inappropriate.

BoffinMum Sun 14-Apr-13 08:57:38

I think it's completely natural,but one shouldn't act on it as it has a nasty ripple effect on our particular society, which works best when people are largely monogamous.

BoffinMum Sun 14-Apr-13 08:59:09

It can be helpful to think about all the bad points of the desired person, as a mechanism for keeping yourself in check!!wink

Mondrian Sun 14-Apr-13 09:08:07

Tough times are just that, tough and its during these times that you can either become closer or more distanced from each other. Danger is what happens when you hit a rough patch with the OM, will you be walking away again or stay and give the relationship a fighting chance?

TheYoniKeeper Sun 14-Apr-13 09:14:52

Bear in mind that if this crush has coincided with a rocky patch in your marriage it's almost certainly a case of 'the grass is greener' & a manifestation of the trouble you and DH are having at the moment.

I'd try and see it for what it is & just keep it to myself if I were you or you may make a wrong move.

Is there anything you & DH could do to improve things a little? Have a heart to heart? Some proper quality time without any distractions? Some space?

AuntieStella Sun 14-Apr-13 09:18:16

OP is also free to choose something other than monogamy, though. But if her DH believes he is in a monogamous relationship, the first step needs to be discussing the (major) shift in the "ground rules" with him, and agreeing the new T&C with him. This may in itself end the marriage, as many who have freely committed to a monogamous relationship are truly devasted at the end of it, even when there is an offer of continuing contact with the formerly exclusive partner.

ALittleStranger Sun 14-Apr-13 09:18:36

"The thing is how do you ever know the right choice to make. Could have relationship with OM and it could be best thing ever or end in disaster.
On other hand could stay with DH (who does have lots of great qualities) and make a real effort of marriage and it all turn out wonderfully or spend the rest of life thinking "what if ".
Aggh. Why does it have to be so complicated."

It's not complicated. You are not pulled between the two loves of your life at the moment. You have written nothing that suggests the OM is anything other than a crush. If you make a go of things with your husband I pretty much guarantee that in 10 years you will not be wondering "what if" about this guy.

Look, you married your DH, you made a choice and that choice was to stop the "what ifs". This is why marriage is hard. The What ifs are inevitable, but at some point you have to stop acting on every new passing man that excites you.

Attraction is inevitable, tough times are inevitable, anyone who thinks this can't happen in an otherwise healthy marriage is part of the problem.

ALittleStranger Sun 14-Apr-13 09:20:53

"even when there is an offer of continuing contact with the formerly exclusive partner."

Yes, put in those terms I can't understand why people feel upset. hmm

OnTheNingNangNong Sun 14-Apr-13 09:31:40

When life is rosy, I don't see the beauty in others, I'm wrapped up in my family and my world.

When times are tough and the marriage has hit hard times I'll see attraction in others, not because I'm hunting other people for a relationship but because I'm not in my own little world, the thought of escapism seems attractive. Making fun when you feel you lack it in real life.

The choice is whether you act upon it or recognise it for what it is and reinvest those feelings in your marriage.

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