I’ve developed feelings for someone else, even though I still love my partner. Does this make me a bad person?

Hi Evie. I (36F) and my long-term partner (39M) have been together for 7 years. We have a generally good relationship, some ups and downs that we’re working through. Always been faithful to each other (as far as I’m aware). But a few weeks ago, we went to a bar near us and met a local band who were performing. We got drinks with them (the band) afterward, and there was one guy in particular who I just couldn’t take my eyes off. It was really strange for me as I usually tend to avoid checking out other men especially when I’m in a relationship. Anyway, he seemed to have taken a bit of a liking to me too, we definitely had eye contact and a few smiles, even though we didn’t chat a lot. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about him since, and I feel so bad about it. I do love my partner and I wouldn’t ever follow through on these feelings, but does this make me a horrible person just for thinking it? – Anonymous 

Dear Anonymous, 

The question you’re grappling with is a common one, and it’s steeped not just in the dynamics of relationships but also in how we view ourselves and our commitments. But let me start by saying:

You’re not a horrible person!

Feeling attracted to someone else while in a committed relationship doesn’t inherently make you a bad person, it makes you human.  It’s important to remember that attraction is a natural human experience, and it doesn’t necessarily undermine the love or commitment you have for your partner.

What matters more is how you handle this attraction.

Firstly, acknowledge these feelings without judgment. Attempting to suppress them can sometimes intensify them, or lead to guilt and anxiety, neither of which are conducive to personal growth or relationship health. As I mentioned above, it’s important to understand that attraction is part of the human condition, and not a reflection of your moral character or love for your partner.

Secondly, consider what this attraction might be telling you. Often, a crush or an attraction can serve as a mirror, reflecting aspects of ourselves or our needs that aren’t currently being fulfilled. A key question I’d encourage you to ask yourself is:

Does this person embody qualities or represent a lifestyle that perhaps you feel is missing in your life?

This isn’t about the other person as much as it is about what you value and desire, which can evolve over time.

Finally, use this experience as a catalyst for a deeper connection with your partner. Open communication is vital. While you don’t necessarily need to disclose the attraction, you should engage in discussions about your needs, desires, and the current state of your relationship.

Are there elements of your partnership that need more attention?

How can you and your partner grow together?

Take this as an opportunity for reflection and strengthening your bond.

Once again, you’re not horrible for experiencing this; you’re simply human. What will define you, however, is how you move forward with this knowledge. Embrace it as a chance to engage more deeply with yourself and your relationship, not as a marker of failure or a sign of disloyalty.

All the best, 

Evie 

Do you have a question for Evie? If you would like advice from Evie, fill out the form here or send your problem to askevie@ideapod.com.

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Ask Evie

Evie is on a mission to revolutionize relationships and help you sort through your emotional woes. Her popular column helps readers break free from societal restraints and create empowering relationships - both with their inner selves and with those around them. With a wealth of experience in relationship counseling, backed by several professional certifications, she’s open-minded, big-hearted, and extremely compassionate… But she’ll also be completely honest in telling you the (sometimes) brutal truth, so you can get straight to the heart of the matter. Maybe you’re trying to save a marriage that currently feels like a sinking ship? Or worrying that your new friend isn’t quite as nice as they seem? Perhaps you’ve accidentally killed your partner’s goldfish and are weighing up the pros and cons of going to the pet store and finding a doppelganger, or fessing up? Whatever the dilemma, Evie’s at the ready to help sort through the emotional turmoil and guide you towards the next best step. To get in touch with Evie, click here.

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