Married to a man; having romantic feelings for a woman - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 11-08-2014, 09:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Married to a man; having romantic feelings for a woman

For the past several years I have lived on a road where I have a lot of community, especially from one neighbour in particular. She offers me support in terms of clothes for kids, listens to my concerns about the kids, understands and encourages. She encourages me on things I am interested in, and listens to my ideas. I am fascinated with some of the things she does and like learning from her. She also calls me on my stuff: "hey, that isn't true, that's just your fear" kind of thing. I admire her for the things she does in her home and family. We have been hanging out socially for about 4 years and for 3.5 of that, or so, I have been having some fairly intense emotions for her.

I have been telling myself it is just because I haven't had a friend just like her before. I am married to a man, and have been with him for 15 years, most of which have been happy. We are a good team and a better team lately.

However, a year ago, I was walking home with my friend and we had a moment where I almost kissed her! I felt deeply attracted but stopped myself: I thought about how we both have families and I don't want to hurt any of us with my actions.

I told my spouse who has been listening with amazing support to me. He says he trusts me, and I have acted only in keeping with his trust (I have not acted on my attraction to my friend)

I was in shock after that almost kissing moment: I had thought I was hetero, and I had thought I was just having friendship attraction issues. I think now that I have a crush on her and am attracted to her romantically.

We weave in and out of each other's lives. Now my friends are changing as I am changing, but I still want to be with her: friends. But I am also attracted to her and sometimes feel intensely about this.

I am starting to feel that in order to be completely genuine with her and myself, I need to tell her that I have this attraction. I told my counsellor and she agrees that it sounds like I am ready. I kind of feel like I need to be real with her and myself, and also tell her I have no intention of acting on the attraction even though I feel it. My counsellor has never seen a couple who talked about the attraction one spouse felt for someone else before acting on it, until she met me and my spouse!
I have a lot of integrity on this, but need to feel congruent: that my insides are matching what I share.

However I am worried about hurting her family, or her, or what she may do with the information. But she might already know (I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, so she might know from body language). But I am also worried that if I leave it unspoken I may be eaten up inside having to constantly pretend that she is just my friend. She is just my friend: just my friend with an edge. when we go out together people sometimes think we're a couple from our body language. My heart beats wildly when I think about her. She sometimes seems to be giving me romantic messages too: gazing at me and then shifting her gaze when I look at her; smiling a certain way.

Does anyone else out there have this experience? I would love some to hear similar stories....please?
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#2 of 8 Old 11-09-2014, 02:20 AM
 
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My advice is the same as it would be if this was a male friend: you need to remove yourself from this relationship. I think it's great that you have told your DH and that he is being supportive. Now you need to uphold your side of the bargain. You are absolutely right that pursuing this would cause nothing but pain for your family and your friend's family.

It will be difficult, especially as she is a neighbour. Can you start spending more time with other friend? DH? Start a new class or activity?

I would only tell her in the context of providing a reason for not seeing her anymore. It sounds like you see each other often enough and are close enough that a reason will be required. If that's not the case then I would just "weave out" of her life.


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#3 of 8 Old 11-09-2014, 02:56 AM
 
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I disagree with katelove, unless it is making you uncomfortable or unhappy I see no reason to stop being friends with this woman. I also see no reason to tell her of your romantic feelings. What will that accomplish? You may feel good having unburdened yourself, but at the expense of burdening her with the information about your attraction.

I applaud your honesty with yourself and your husband. Unless you want to act on your attraction to your friend I do not think you should tell her of your feelings. It will only make your relationship more difficult, and possibly end it, depending on her response.

The other step I would take is to encourage your husband to meet some of the emotional needs this friend has been supplying for you. Feeling heard, understood, and encouraged are so important - maybe getting more of that from your husband will make the attention you get from your friend less exciting.

Also, if it is true that you are bisexual (and you may not be) and just discovering that about yourself it is totally normal to have crushes, even powerful ones, on people you find admirable/attractive. I am bi myself and have had crushes/flirtations with quite a few unavailable women. When I was able to manage my feelings myself, without sharing them, most often the feelings faded over time and I was able to continue healthy friendships with those women. The times I have "confessed" the attraction I had for a friend it only created drama, and sometimes caused the end of the friendship.

I am also married to a man, and attracted to women, with no intention of straying. Feel free to pm me if you want someone to listen.

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#4 of 8 Old 11-09-2014, 06:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LTurtle View Post
I also see no reason to tell her of your romantic feelings. What will that accomplish? You may feel good having unburdened yourself, but at the expense of burdening her with the information about your attraction.

...Unless you want to act on your attraction to your friend I do not think you should tell her of your feelings. It will only make your relationship more difficult, and possibly end it, depending on her response.

....
I am also married to a man, and attracted to women, with no intention of straying.
Telling this woman will, at best, just screw up your friendship with her and create a lot of drama. At worst, it could cause tremendous marital problems. It also could ruin your reputation in your neighborhood.

I'm bi and married to a man whom I'm faithful to.

Being honest with yourself doesn't require saying anything to her, and we need to be wise in what we share with others. Telling ALL isn't the definition of honesty -- its actually quite dysfunctional and immature. The highest moral is non-harming, the second is honesty. Rather than focusing on being honest, focus on how to handle this situation without hurting anyone.

Unless you are and your husband are ready for an open relationship, you are both kidding yourselves that two women being involved with each other is anything less than two adults in a sexual relationship. It isn't less of a relationship because no penis is involved. I suspect that the reason your husband is OK with it is because, like a lot of men, he doesn't understand the difference between his lesbian fantasy and the reality of his wife having a lover who isn't him. Would he also be OK if you had a man in your life who met many of your emotional needs who you felt a strong attraction too? Or would he take it as a wake up call that he needed to be a better partner, friend, and lover to you? Relationships are just relationships, and if you guys don't realize that until after you have a lover on the side, it could be too late to save your marriage.

I'm sure some one will come along and say I'm old fashioned and that it's great to be poly. But neither of you are being honest with yourselves that this is a pandora's box that you are opening.

Realistically, you are totally hot for this woman, and if you tell her and she WANTS to be involved with you, you will go for it. You really are in denial that if you tell you, she will have a response, and then you will have a response to her response, and the whole thing will end in a very different place. You will not have control over the ending.

And that could take you, your spouse, and your kids on a roller coaster ride with god only knows what ending. If your current home life is something you are fine with gambling with, then sure, tell her. Otherwise, get focused on what matters to you in life.

You and your husband could choose to work on your marriage, which clearly doesn't work for you in fairly fundamental ways. In the short run, that option is more work and less fun. In the long run, the pay offs are much greater.

The real thing you could choose to be honest about is that fact that your husband doesn't meet many of your emotional needs, which is why you feel attracted to another person in the first place. It's not about the gender. It's about being heard, understood, and encouraged.

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#5 of 8 Old 11-09-2014, 05:44 PM
 
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I agree with what Linda said. I didn't mean to suggest that telling her was a good idea. Just that it doesn't sound like you can suddenly stop seeing her without some sort of explanation.


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#6 of 8 Old 11-09-2014, 09:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I believe in emotional honesty and integrity. I think there may be a way to tell her and also have our friendship and also have my marriage and hers. I believe I can trust myself in this. I just want to hear stories of others who have made the choice to share feelings and it worked.

Thanks for your insights, it has made me consider caution, but I think I also need to be truthful. Not harming should also include me: it is heavy and hard to keep protecting her from this secret.

For what it's worth: anyone out there with a story where you shared and it was okay?
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#7 of 8 Old 11-10-2014, 09:58 AM
 
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Not harming should also include me: it is heavy and hard to keep protecting her from this secret.
Non-harming doesn't mean doing what is easy or feels good in the moment. It means thinking through the consequences of the actions, and taking the path that won't cause harm.

If you do this, it will most likely hurt YOU a great deal. It could quickly destroy the friendship, which will cause you emotional pain. It could cause long term problems in marriage, which will cause you emotional pain and guilt.

This is the personal growth forum. I'm sure there are other forums where you would get different answers that you liked better.

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#8 of 8 Old 11-10-2014, 10:17 AM
 
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I agree- what do you really want to get out of telling her? Is she doing things to make these feelings worse, so telling her would be a "hey, I don't want to freak you out, but I'm attracted to you, we're both married so I do not want to do anything, but when you do XYZ it makes it hard for me..."?

There's a difference between honesty and telling everyone everything. Does she truly need to know? What benefit would telling her bring? There are a lot of downsides- you could alienate her and destroy the friendship, you could risk her marriage, you could even risk your marriage. It seems easier to just end the relationship if you think you can't stand being friends with her as things are.

Here's one you haven't addressed- How would you respond if you found out she felt the same way about you?

Serious question, ask yourself this. Will you be completely content spending time with this woman, knowing she wants you as much as you want her, and being completely platonic with her? It could be that, right now, believing that she doesn't feel the same way about you is a safety net that keeps it in the "friend zone" and prevents you from cheating. If you find out that the attraction is mutual, it could very quickly slip into the realm of an emotional affair, if not outright physical. It could even do so without you fully realizing it is, it's very easy to justify things to yourself.

I haven't seen people confess attraction without desiring a change. Either letting the person know so that they'll stop inadvertently sending mixed messages, or hoping to end up with the person. Generally when someone is okay with a crush being hopeless, they don't tell the person and just enjoy their crush.

Honestly, I wonder if you're hoping that there's a way to be with this woman without destroying your respective marriages.

If that's a rabbit hole you want to go down, let me know, but approach with utmost caution.

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