“It is necessary, and even vital, to set standards for your life and the people you allow in it.”
~ Mandy Hale
Matters of the heart are complicated. This can be a complex topic depending on who the person is.
First, let us acknowledge that feelings are not right or wrong. They just are. Your actions will determine how much you will allow yourself to suffer.
- Is he someone who you were once in a relationship with who has moved on?
- A friend who became more to you or just a guy that you work with that you have developed an attraction to?
- Are your feelings mutual or is this unrequited love?
If your relationship has ended and your former partner has moved on, you must accept his choice.
Of course, it will be painful not to be the one chosen. The grief process can be tricky, and denial and bargaining are often part of this process. How long and how meaningful your relationship was, will determine the amount of time you grieve. Seek the help of a qualified therapist to talk through your feelings or if you feel you are grieving for an extended period.
If you have developed feelings for a friend who is now in a relationship, this can be very difficult to navigate.
When he shares about his new love it may feel like your heart is breaking. It will be hard to separate your friendship from your feelings, however this can be done. If it is a long- term friendship you will not want to lose your friend over hurt feelings.
If your feelings are mutual, but he remains in his relationship, there is no room for you.
You may wish, hope and dream for a different outcome, but without the action on his part to change his situation, you put yourself at risk for hurt, pain, loneliness and struggle.
In the case of unrequited love, you both don’t feel the same about each other.
You may have strong feelings for him, but he does not return the sentiment. Spend time visualizing the worthy partner you desire who will also love you back. It may seem that he is the only one for you, however you will love again and with someone who will be available to be in relationship with you.
In the case of the guy at work… Back off immediately. The lure of sexual attraction can often be confused for true feelings. This is the easy part. If he is not available, look the other way.
Lisa Angelini, MAPC, LPC, ACCHT – www.lisaangelini.com
Reader, I have been here. I was once interested in a guy for 2 years who was in a relationship with someone else. Those were painful, long years as I found myself wishing and hoping that he and I would eventually be together.
I want to share with you mistakes I made during that time in my life and offer professional insights about what I suggest you do instead.
Mistake #1: Daydreaming about the two of you together
Our brains love to think about and plan for the future. While there can be a lot of good in thinking and planning ahead, daydreaming about being with this guy is actually doing nothing but creating disappointment for you when your dreams do not become reality.
When you catch yourself thinking about a potential future with him, instead practice some mindfulness.
Bring your attention back to where you are and what you’re doing right then while telling yourself phrases that might be helpful such as “I cannot control the future” or “Whatever will be, will be.”
Mistake #2: Social media stalking
I spent so much time constantly checking his girlfriend’s profile and his to see if they were still together or had broken up. Plus, every time a picture of the two of them was posted, it felt crushing to be reminded that she had the relationship with him I wanted.
If looking at social media is doing nothing good for you, considering “snoozing” his posts so you don’t see them on Facebook and checking less often. If the two of you have mutual friends, make sure you’re also not asking them questions about him or his relationship. Sometimes the less information you know, the better it actually is for your mental health.
Mistake #3: Pushing boundaries
Yes, being in the “friend zone” is hard. And you also don’t want to become “the other woman” or to be responsible for their relationship breaking up (you want him to come to this conclusion all on his own without you needing to push for this outcome). Even if you’re respecting physical boundaries, it’s possible to violate boundaries in other ways, such as trying to make plans with him all the time or texting him when you know he’s with his girlfriend.
Focus spending more of your time with other people so you have less time to devote to him.
Recognize when you’re feeling jealous and talk to someone you trust about what you’re feeling instead of allowing that feeling to turn into boundary-pushing.
Michelle Henderson, MA, LMHC – www.nextchapter-counseling.com
It’s sad and unfortunate to like a guy who is already in another relationship but as they say, it is what it is.
This guy is off limits and the sooner you come to terms with that the more likely you are to avoid a catastrophic mistake that will have a very negative impact on many lives including yours.
It’s interesting that how, as soon as we feel a strong attraction, we can easily forget the moral and ethical codes that would usually guide our decision making.
You know that interfering in someone else’s relationship is wrong, but your emotional and physical attraction somehow overrides your rational thinking, possibly allowing you to engage in behavior that you would otherwise never consider.
So how do you get beyond this?
I think it’s a one day at a time process. It will probably take a little discipline. Every day you need to remind yourself that this is going nowhere and that you don’t even want it to go anywhere. Then think about what you really want in a relationship.
Besides the qualities that you’re looking for, you want someone who is actually available.
You want the effort you put into this person to have a reasonable chance of getting you somewhere good.
If you allow yourself to engage in fantasies about this guy, you will blow him into the man of your dreams, making it that much harder to forget him.
A small crush can become an obsession.
There is not endless time. Using any of it in a fruitless quest robs you of time you could be using to make your life better. That includes finding a good and available partner.
Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
Healthy love is wonderful especially when it is mutual.
But what if you are wasting your time and energy on a lost cause? After all, the guy you like is in another relationship and may never be with you. Here’s how to work through those feelings:
You are important– meaning that you need to acknowledge your wants and needs and not discount them.
For you to grow emotionally, you need to love yourself first. As an empowered, bright woman, who has a lot to offer others, your well-being is significant for your progress.
Don’t sell yourself short by compromising who you are for the sake of the relationship that may not even happen.
Improve your self-esteem so that you don’t pine over someone who doesn’t know your feelings. How you do that is by reminding yourself of who you really are, what you have to offer in a relationship and all the positive qualities you possess that make you a great catch for someone available.
Keep focusing on your outside interests, friends, commitments and social activities.
This is especially important to keep you distracted. You are an individual with talents, gifts, values and convictions, the foundation that makes you special to some other special person.
In other words, wasting your time liking a guy who is in a relationship only makes you feel frustrated, depressed and even unmotivated.
Instead, go out to places you enjoy to meet new people and be all you can be. How much more time do you want to spend in a situation that is futile, unrealistic and not mutually received?
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
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