I'm In Love With Another; What Should I Do?
- Monday, December 12, 2011
We call it rewriting history. That means our minds change our memories so that we are justified in what we currently feel or do. That is why he could so vividly remember his wedding day case of fear and doubt but could not remember the intense positive emotions he held for his bride.
Can I say for certainty that you have rewritten history? No. However, I am very likely correct. It would be interesting to find the love letters you wrote back then, or scan the things you scribbled in notebooks or elsewhere. If we could catch a time machine, it would be fascinating to see how you acted.
No matter what you felt back then, you do not say that you do not love your husband. Instead, you state that you “do not and have never loved like I feel I should.” That statement speaks more to a desire for the intensity of new romance than the deep love that develops over time. You wanted more emotionally, prayed for it, and now have it with another man. But what you are describing is the intensity of newness.
Even if you married the new man, with time that intensity would diminish and you would have a love - if you still loved him at all - that is not always exciting and fulfilling on every given day. Intense romantic love feels great, but it was never intended to be the norm over a lifetime. Security, safety, understanding, acceptance, caring, and a host of other emotions better describe what makes a long-term relationship work. Those emotions are deeper but not ecstatic like new love is.
Unfortunately, we live in a society which touts romantic love as the “be all end all” on TV, in movies, in magazine articles, in novels and so forth. Yet the people who produce those things will not have that level of intense romance for a lifetime, either. As the work of Helen Fisher, PhD, has proven, that kind of intensity is meant to bring us together, not keep us together. It has to fade with time so that our lives can be balanced and not obsessively focused on one person. That is why limerence rarely lasts as long as three years.
You feel heartbroken now because you long for the intensity you currently feel, but know that to pursue it is to sin. If you were to leave your husband for this man, you would violate your marriage covenant. Would the “feeling” be worth it? You might think it is in the short-term, but when the limerence began to fade – as it must – you would have to face the fact that you sought temporary ecstasy over long-term good. You would be looking to God to make things right knowing that He had always looked to you to do things right.
Do the following things so that you may stay faithful.
1. Do NOT think about a possible future with this man. You write, “This other person has asked me would I consider marrying him if the circumstances were different.” Not only must you NOT answer that question, do NOT allow yourself to think about that question. As Michael Johnson, PhD, has shown in his study about commitment, even thinking about an alternative to your spouse will weaken your commitment to him. Whenever you find yourself daydreaming about what life would be like with the new man, immediately ask God to take that thought away from you and to lead you into the thoughts and actions of a Godly woman.
2. End all contact with the new man. You said that your contact with him is through a work relationship. End that relationship now. As long as you are in contact with him either face-to-face, by writing, by phone, or in any other way, the intense emotions you feel may remain strong long enough for them to destroy your marriage. Even if it costs your losing a great income, great insurance, or a great workplace, do NOT allow yourself to stay in a situation of temptation. When Jesus taught us to pray, “Lead me not into temptation” He did not expect us to stay in the face of the temptation. As we ask God to do His part to deliver us, we, too, must do our part to avoid the temptation.
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