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Attracted to someone who already has a girlfriend (boyfriend)

Previously I wrote a post on what to do if you are already in a relationship but are attracted to someone else, which surprisingly came consistently on top of my “most searched post” list. Then I realized recently that a more intriguing situation is: what if you are attracted to someone who already has a boyfriend or girlfriend? 

The fact is, and I feel you, this can be devastating. Yet again, there is almost nothing you can do.

 

But you might want to run through the following exercise to make yourself feel better and to understand what you should do your next step. For the interest of time, I am going to write from a girl’s perspective, but the rules should apply to both. 

  • Is he attracted to you at all?

This is the first question you should ask yourself, because if the answer is a NO you will save yourself a lot of trouble. It is your freedom and right to like someone secretly and be happy about it, until one day you wake up and suddenly realized you’re over him. But that’s it. There is no hope and no future. He will NOT like you back JUST BECAUSE you’re good to him. So why don’t you save yourself some time? 

And how to tell if he’s attracted to you? I don’t believe it is something too hard to figure out. It should be something decently obvious, genuine and consistent. If not, or if you have to think VERY HARD to finally find some slight clues of his feelings toward you, then chances are there is no such feelings to start with. 

  • What if he likes you back?

Here is a tricky one, and here is how you invite yourself into a house of trouble. You can sure tell yourself: “But he is not available” or “I can do better than this”. But it drives you crazy that both of you may have feelings toward each other but cannot be together. Then you come up with all kinds of excuses including: “they’re not married so it’s all fair game for me to be after him, or vice versa”. 

But it’s not. And you really don’t want to go down that slippery slope. So what can you do, if anything at all? 

  • Be a friend.

I know, I know. It’s easier said than done. But this is your best bet. Be a friend, bring your ears, try to learn more about him and give him opportunities to learn about you, as a person. Avoid too emotional topics. Support his ambitions and dreams, share his interests, and if you can help, offer the help, but don’t let him abuse it. 

So what can you get from all of these?

1)  Sooner or later, you might find out he’s not really that attractive after all. And trust me, a lot of people are not that attractive anymore once you get to know them. Then congratulations problem solved!

2)   And there is a slight chance, you shouldn’t count on this though, that he really values you as a person and a friend, and at some point if he decides to end his relationship with the other girl, I don’t see any reason why you are not his first choice at that point.

3)   Worst case, you win another friend. Because every other approach will let you lose one, and maybe two! (badmouth his girlfriend, behave inappropriately, etc) 

  • Don’t try to tell him that you are into him.

Chances are he knows about this already, if he’s not stupid. He might be enjoying it or he might feel guilty about it or he is taking the time to figure things out too. But no matter what it is once you say it out (something both of you probably already know), there is little chance he can even stay as a friend. Why? Because, what do you expect him to do? To admit he likes you too while he still has a girlfriend? Why do you want to put him in such an awkward and embarrassing position? 

I know your heart is in pain. But trust me, saying it out will not make either of you feel better. UNLESS, you have decided to walk away. If you want to walk away, you can tell him that you’re into him and will now leave knowing that he’s not available. Then please keep your promise, if he has a sensitive and soft heart, he will understand and he will even want you to stay. But if you stay, again you are inviting more pain.  

  • How to deal with physical attraction

What if there is this strong and deadly physical attraction? First it is amazing that you are having this feeling and congratulations you’re one of the lucky ones, and while you can, enjoy the fantasies because they need to stay as fantasies. 

Then ask yourself, what will happen if you really cross the line. There are basically 3 possibilities:

1)      You fall for him more, but he’s still in love with his girlfriend, he ditches you.

2)      You fall for him more, he falls for you more too but won’t let go of his girlfriend, tragedy and both of you are miserable.

3)      You fall for him more, and he ends up breaking up with his girlfriend to be with you. Is that really want you want? You might not care about what the other girl thinks and I agree not everyone is kind enough to try “not hurt the other girl”. But honestly what does this mean to you? He will constantly miss his ex and you’ll constantly be afraid he’ll go back to his ex, or even worse, someone else!

None of the 3 situations above looks sustainable to me at all. 

  • What if you can’t resist it?

Okay, then just walk away. I know this is sad, as you were so close. But dear you know too that this is for your own good. It’s probably fate that you met each other, but it doesn’t mean anything. It only means something when you want to see it, but again you can’t grab it. It is your right if you choose to go for it anyways, but just understand it will only be an experience, which will fade with time (then I don’t know why you have to hold on to it, while you may as well embrace many other beautiful and exciting things in life, and the people around you). 

And I don’t want to imagine you getting hurt again. There are many attractive human beings in this world (yourself being one of them), you don’t need to get hurt by someone who’s already committed to someone else. 

You may want to cry. So cry. But you remain intact and you grow stronger. You respected the guy, his girlfriend, and most importantly, yourself. 

There is nothing special about this guy, or this situation. But it’s about how special you are. This is a big challenge for you and you did well.  

You are a good person, and I want to hug you and cheer for you.

 

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  1. Jessica
    November 12, 2010 at 7:17 pm | #1

    It is my habit to read your blog now. It teaches me something and gives me the power. Do you have any other old blogs besides of this? (I mean different articels are not shown here to be read and study)

    like your blog! hug and bless

    • November 15, 2010 at 7:15 pm | #2

      THank you Jessica. My writing kept developing as well. Yes I used to keep more personal blogs but you can view my “About This Blog” page on top to have access to a few of my other ones.

  2. Jessica
    November 12, 2010 at 10:11 pm | #3

    your words touch me thanks

  3. fruitjojo
    January 28, 2011 at 11:12 pm | #4

    exactly! I crossed that line by telling him the crush but surprisingly I was the one being awkward and on the verge of pushing away a great friend (I still am avoiding contacting him…). so yeah, definitely do not tell him unless you want to mess with yourself.
    You are right, someone will come up, and it’s probably not that one you had the longest crush on.

    • January 28, 2011 at 11:28 pm | #5

      You are right jojo, and if it were a few years back, I would have done the same thing probably. I mean when people are young and bold, we’re curious, and it is very hard to let go before convincing yourself “I gotta give it a try and I might have a shot”. There is no right or wrong, but chances are and it’s proved again and again, that it will get awkward and you might end up losing more.

      At the end of the day it’s a personal choice, do what works the best for you, as long as you can live with it.

  4. Dee
    July 28, 2011 at 11:50 pm | #6

    I am in this position now where I am attracted to someone in a relationship and the attraction is mutual.But I chose to let him go just for the exact reasons you have listed.
    Its painful-but such is life!

    • August 3, 2011 at 6:16 pm | #7

      I think you made the right decision, and I am happy that you are strong enough to let him go and give yourself peace. I am a firm believer that if the attraction is really mutual then he should be done with his former relationship before he starts one with you, otherwise it’s unfair for either of the girls and I can only define this behavior as “selfish”. Gook luck with your next relationship and I know you deserve someone better~~~!

      • R.
        November 3, 2011 at 10:04 pm | #8

        Hello,
        Well I don’t know where to start from, but I’ve met this guy on a Nike Marathon online, but I’ve never seen him live.. Altho we both went to the marathon, but we didn`t see one another. Anyway, we started talking later on.. As I didn’t know that he’s in a relationship at first, until one day he told me by himself. He told me about his relation when he thought that we’re kind of being too much alike in interests.. Still he said even tho you know now about my relation, please don’t change with me

  5. Dee
    August 5, 2011 at 9:45 pm | #9

    Thanks :-) I think so too.Finding my own happiness in someone else’s misery will never last long.

    -Dee

  6. R.
    November 3, 2011 at 10:12 pm | #10

    He meant don’t change as don’t set limits.. Then he told me that he’s facing some trouble in his relation, so I started to talk with him about it as I wanted to help him fix things up.. Then every once in a while he would tell me that he likes me.. As we both were getting confused.. I like him too, but I really respect his relationship and I don’t wish him any harm for I care about him so much.. Then we were getting closer, even tho we never met in person..so its nothing about physical attraction..

  7. R.
    November 3, 2011 at 10:20 pm | #11

    So until one day, he told me that he told his gf about me and that he likes me even tho we just chat online and via texts.. She told him that he has to control this.. and then we burst out in a mini fight.. He doesn’t want me to change and be more serious with setting limits, he wants me to be myself.. and I didn’t want him to ruin his relationship.. still he made me promise not to change my attitude with him or fake it.. I really care about him, l hold him dearly in my heart..

  8. R.
    November 3, 2011 at 10:29 pm | #12

    I told him that I love him but of course not the romantic love, but I explained that I feel comfortable talking to him, joking together, discussing serious stuff, as we both admitted that we like one another… I still told him we’re just close friends, and I want you to solve things up with your girl.. I don’t know what to do.. We almost fought that we were about to farewel but it felt like crap I don`t want to lose him.. Ps. He wanted us to meet but we’re delaying it.. for I thought its better for now.

  9. R.
    November 3, 2011 at 10:30 pm | #13

    :( Help please

  10. Nathan
    November 10, 2011 at 3:21 am | #14

    Me: Guy
    Into: Girl with boyfriend
    Comment:
    I have to say…I really hate your words. Having said that, I know you’re right! For me, being into someone else who has someone weighs on me. It takes up a lot of my mental time. I wonder “what if”. I fantasize about being with her and being able to share myself with her. I’ve asked myself the question, does she like me back and I can say with a heavy heart, she does. One night is all it took to realize. It was the way we looked at each other, the way we spoke to each other and the things we said.
    There were many times throughout that night that I thought to myself, this should not be happening — I should not be looking at her that way — wondering why she is looking back at me that way, when…
    I don’t think I have to tell you how hard it is to like someone and feel a connection with them, only to not be able to do anything about it! I see her everyday. We have to communicate professionally and I am fighting myself all day. I try and be respectful of her and her boyfriend…be completely professional and then there are other times were I glance her way and she’s doing something that made me fall for her in the first place. I find myself staring, only after I’ve been in my head, dreaming up a situation where I could tell her how MUCH I like her, or go up to her and be funny and affectate…fishing for a kiss the way a boyfriend would…

    Suffice it say, your words were not what I wanted to hear, but in the end, they are the best. I like this girl enough to respect what she has with someone else and just be her friend, when and where I can. I’d rather have her in my life as a friend then not at all.

    Part of what sucks is that when you get to know someone and you find that you are liking them more and more, moving on, finding someone else doesn’t feel worth it. I think, “I don’t want to find someone else, I want this one, I want her. She has those things, the little things, that, when you put them all together, you get a wonderful, funny, kind, ambitious and driven person. One, I know without a doubt, I would spoil and learn from and teach, share with, surprise and take care of. To have to look past all that…seems impossible and a little unfair. However, like you say, I have a choice. That choice will determine whether she’s in my life as a friend or not at all.

    I appreciate what you wrote. I’m thankful for it.

  11. The Broken Hearted
    May 20, 2012 at 4:15 pm | #15

    Ive been looking for advice on this topic for the last couple weeks and my friends haven’t been much help. Im a freshman in Highschool and the guy in a senior with a junior gf. We began flirting after semester break and didnt realize he had a gf and he didnt say anything about her when we talked. I know that i need to walk away bc i dont want to hurt anyone including her and plus hes going to be gone for collage in august so i know its not worth anything just to have him for a few months. He was my first REAL crush and idk whats wrong with me but at some points i would cry over him having a gf and it not being me. But you helped me move on bc its the right thing to do and if hes gunna flirt with other girls while he has a gf, whats stopping him from doing it when im with him. ANyways, sorry to rant but your last Paragraph is what changed my mind and made me take your advice…

    “You may want to cry. So cry. But you remain intact and you grow stronger. You respected the guy, his girlfriend, and most importantly, yourself.

    There is nothing special about this guy, or this situation. But it’s about how special you are. This is a big challenge for you and you did well. ”

    Thanks sooo much!!!!! This broke my heart but it also set it free i think!

  12. Lauren
    August 3, 2012 at 5:15 am | #16

    I like a guy with a girlfriend and I’m hurting so much. I know we cant be together and have no hope of anything – but I think about him constantly.

    We were out with a group of friends last night, and the atmosphere between us was really awkward. We’ve become friend online, we do the same subjects at uni and he’s always really nice and I can ask him questions about things. But when were together, we can barley look at each other. We still kinda keep avoiding each other. I know I’m avoiding him because I like him, and I don’t want that to show – but it will. I’m not quite sure if he is picking up on my awkwardness and then being a bit awkward himself. I figure he must know I like him.

    This morning – I was thinking maybe I should tell him, just to try and clear the air. Maybe I should let him know why it’s awkward, and that I understand he’s involved with someone, and I’m just waiting for these feelings to blow over so we can get on with being friends normally. I think I want him to understand that I didn’t mean for this at all.

    I’m glad I came across your blog. I can see now that I don’t really want to tell him this. It might confuse things even more. He doesn’t need to know. I dont want to lose him as a friend, so I should work at keeping what I have with him in tact, and just not say a word. I should just let the attraction blow over.

    It hurts though. I feel like I am in a lot of pain. I thought it would be gone by now, but the more I get to know him, the stronger the feelings get.

  13. Tammy
    August 25, 2012 at 2:18 pm | #17

    I’m 33 he is 41 (but looks 30) there is this man whom I’ve been very attracted to for 16 years. I have dated one of his friends when I was only 18 years old, this particular man whom I like has worked at one of my local pubs for all those years until recently. I always knew there was an attraction between us but I was always too shy to talk to him much ad I was intimidated by his looks. He would occasionally do things like touch my shoulder as he walked past when he was working. I have been single for around 6 months now (after a five year relationship) I was out with my sister for my birthday in June and woke up at this mans house with him bringing me coffee. I had been quite drunk the night before and know we slept together but not remembering in detail. He dropped me home and was really nice, I texted him the next week and he told me him and his ex were trying to work things out, I said “I hope everything goes well” he replied thanks, but I doubt it” he continued to text me for about an hour and used my name in every message. I then went out on a date with a man a month later, it didn’t work out as this man was a real sleaze, we were out at 4 in the afternoon and I never saw the guy I like at all in the bar, I saw him this Sunday and as I turned round he was smiling at me, as he had already spotted me, I waved and he came over, gave me a kiss and asked if that man was my boyfriend, I (confused) asked who? He said “the very good looking one in the pad” (bar), I still confused as this date happened over a month ago, he said “tanned and good looking” I finally realised what he was talking about (though confused as i hadn’t seen him that day, but he’d obviously seen me) I told him yes he was good looking but it was not a particular good date, I also told him it was my first ever Internet date and he said “well that’s what you get from the Internet” I asked him how it was going with his ex he said “good” he then continued to talk to me for 20 minutes, joking around and seemingly wanting to keep on talking, he was looking me straight in the eyes making me feel a little uncomfortable as I am so attracted to him, he was more jovial then I’ve ever seen him with anyone else. I’m confused as he currently is trying to work it out with his ex (who was apparently there at the venue with him the whole time he was with me)

  14. Jayne
    November 14, 2012 at 3:17 pm | #18

    Hi, this has been really helpful. I’m in a situation like this that has spanned over 15 years! Yikes! We are both in relationships. When we met he was already in a 7 year relationship and I was single. He broke his relationship briefly to be with me, but of course went back, it was very intense and he gave himself no time or space to get over the split. 15 years later I’m now in a 7 year old relationship and he is still with the same person. We met again by chance earlier this year at a party and discovered all the chemistry was still there. Quite a shock! We’ve emailed and have even met for a cuppa and a chat. It was lovely to be with him again, but I have to say it was also nerve wracking. He has since gone quiet and I totally understand why. We both respected our mutual situations and I think we would both rather leave things as they are then risk hurting everyone. I have to say that there are times when I think ‘Why can’t we just enjoy things and keep it just for ourselves’ but I guess thats just idealistic. I’m now trying to let go and enjoy the lovely things I have in my life. It isn’t easy, I still think about him a great deal, luckily I’m not in the situation where I see him on a daily basis like poor Nathan. Nathan I think you’re a lovely guy and I honestly hope that one day you find the lady who feels the same way about you and does something about it. You deserve it. Thanks for this blog, its reinforced things for me and helped to strengthen my resolve. xxx

  15. Suly
    December 13, 2012 at 11:14 pm | #19

    As the commenters before me, Thank you, sincerely, there aren’t many helpful or really well done articles on this topic. It’s painful and at times a big bringer of trouble.
    At the moment I’m trying to deal with the fact that I slept with a close friend, who wasn’t just a good friend, but in a long term relationship, who is also happens to be my best friend’s best friend, in one night of many wine bottles.
    I had harbored a strong attraction for him for years, but it would go off and on, we both had someone in our lives, and I knew I wasn’t his type. But it happened, I don’t know how, we’ve spoken about since then, both agreed it was a mistake, he apologized for his behavior, and was honest about not being attracted to me.. even though I still wonder, but maybe it WAS just the alcohol, though we’ve drank together many times.
    After that everything went back to normal, except if we got into arguing often, sometimes about the dumbest of things, I mean we are totally different people, but it seems like going at each other even with just bantering became more of a habit, it was an outlet for me to get all that anger, and resentment out because obviously what happened meant way more to me that it did to him, as a matter of fact I feel like my attraction/feelings intensified to a point where it physically hurt not to touch him, but I tried to be reasonable, and contain it.
    though getting him angry or roused up, just to feel what I was feeling was becoming the norm.
    But I decided I was going to stop that, it’s true that I can’t deny myself my own feelings, I can’t pretend I don’t feel this way but I do have a choice to keep it to myself for all those fears you’ve pointed out on your article and mostly because I don’t want to loose him, or the friendship we had, and plus is not fair to “the other girl either”. Maybe in the future when I can think clearer, I will look back and say, “hey, I’m over it.” In the mean time I don’t plant to ever let him know how I feel though it’s pretty obvious, I plan to live my life to the fullest and focus on myself, and the other important people in my life.

    Thank you again, I appreciate the advice.

  16. miszshikin
    December 15, 2012 at 10:02 pm | #20

    Dear writer…what a great article.U really help me with this and I read it every moment i feel terrible from missing him..thank u…

  17. junesinger
    February 8, 2013 at 9:46 pm | #21

    As a rule, a guy with a wife or girlfriend is immediately unattractive and off limits to me….so when I began a new job working with a guy who has a girlfriend who I am extremely attracted to, and crazy about I was thrown completely off.
    I began day dreaming and fantasizing about how we would end up together and how our first kiss would be. I want him and my morals began to slip away as I started calculating a game plan to win him over. Shame on me. I have been cheated on and would never wish that upon another girl.
    It is an impossible situation. I want him to like me but if he does what does that say about him? And if I let him know i like him what does that say about me?
    So I walk around the workplace awkward and uncomfortable hoping my face doesn’t show the truth. My heart aches but I know I cannot allow my feelings to show. He smiles at me and I melt. He calls my name to ask me a question and his voice makes me like him even more. I don’t think he has any idea I like him and how painful every day is.
    Thank you so much. What terrific advice…I knew the right answer all along but just needed to hear it to keep me strong.

  18. lovedrunk
    February 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm | #22

    this article is everything i needed to hear during a time like this. everything i am feeling, you were able to write it down. thank you for helping me understand the situation. you made things very clear, and as hard as it is, i constantly tell myself that if anything, all there is for me to be, is a friend. thank you!

  1. January 5, 2011 at 3:24 pm | #1
  2. March 3, 2011 at 1:04 am | #2
  3. May 3, 2012 at 3:42 pm | #3
  4. January 9, 2013 at 6:37 am | #4

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