Home > Communication, Dating and Relationships, Discover People, Personal and Thoughts, Self-Improvement > What if your boyfriend/girlfriend is attracted to someone else?

What if your boyfriend/girlfriend is attracted to someone else?

Dear Danye,

I have read your blog about being attracted to someone else while in a relationship and it was really helpful. The thing is, I am in a multi-year relationship with someone 9 years older than me (I am in my early 20s). I can say we get along well because we share the same intellectual and maturity level despite the age gap. My boyfriend recently admitted that he is attracted to this girl who is one of his employees (he is a manager).

Well, this was not the first time it happened but this time seems to be more serious than before. Unlike the previous situation we had, he admitted to this girl that he likes her though the girl, being in a relationship herself, said that she only sees my boyfriend as a big brother. Despite this, I can still sense that there is something else going on. They would usually go out drinking with the rest of their team and the two of them would always sit beside each other even after I told my guy to at least try to fight the feeling if he still wants work things out between the two of them. Even if he told me that it wasn’t anything serious, I can’t help but get jealous and hurt with the thought of him spending more time with this girl than me. He works overtime everyday (which he always did even before we met) and after work, they would spend the rest of the day drinking. He would usually come home an hour before I am supposed to leave for work so we don’t get to spend much time with each other anymore.

I don’t know how to deal with it anymore. We have tried to talk about it but he kept on saying that he doesn’t understand himself either. He said that he still loves me but his answers to my questions show that he is not sure of his feelings anymore. I have been trying to think things over and decide whether to continue trying to work things out with him or just give up the relationship. He met this girl a little over a month ago. Please help.

Thank you – Lhen

Yes so I wrote about how to deal with a situation where you’re in a relationship but attracted to someone else, and also the situation where you are attracted to someone else who already has a boyfriend and girlfriend. I thought I was done with this, thanks God. Now I realized you are facing the challenge of exactly the third possibility: What if your boyfriend/girlfriend is attracted to someone else?


So I would like to invite you Lhen to look at this issue from different angles and I hope this approach will help you, as well as anyone else facing similar problems. I am not trying to provide you answers because I am not in a position to; but I would like to suggest ways to clarify your feelings and to organize your thoughts, so as to empower you to make a smarter decision about what you are about to do next. Again I want to point out that I have limited information and may have to make certain assumptions along the way but you get the idea.

First, let’s put you in other people’s shoes.

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From your boyfriend’s perspective

  • This happened before – you mentioned that this is not the first time he got attracted to someone else. So is this a consistent behavior? That sounds like an immediate alarm to me. Being attracted to someone else occasionally or on rare cases while you are in a relationship is normal and almost inevitable, but if this is a consistent behavior it suggests at least lack of self-control. And as you said, the previous incidences didn’t end your relationship but there is no promise that this time it will not, and there is no guarantee that this will not happen again.

  • One month into it – you noted that it was only about a month that your boyfriend met the other girl. If things are happening fast in this month and if feelings are intense, chances are things could go away pretty fast too. If you feel it’s hard to judge and your boyfriend himself is confused in the mean time, you may as well give him another month just to see if things will clearly go one way or another. Just know that it may be the case that he will lose interest in the other girl in the following month; it may be the case that he will never say “I love you” to you anymore.

  • Manager vs. employee – I am not sure if you are still at your home country but in certain parts of the world there are strict rules and social/professional standards on how a boss should not date/get into a relationship with his/her employees. It is not rare to see couples at the same firm, but people from the same department with direct reporting relationships could hardly ever work out, because the work place demands equality of opportunity and this is one single case that will cost people the sight of fairness. Even though your boyfriend is attracted to her, depends on which part of the world you are at, he could be very hesitant to actually act upon it.

  • He doesn’t know – When he says he doesn’t know, trust him. When he says he loves you, trust him too, and know that it doesn’t mean he still loves you in the next second. I am not suggesting that you should blindly trust him, but I want to point to the fact that he doesn’t know reflects (at least to me) that he is probably not as mature as how you thought he was. He may not be entirely certain about how he feels, but is this the best way to figure things out? Keep hanging out with the other girl at late night hours, while ignoring your feelings and keep hurting you?

From the other girl’s perspective

  • In a relationship herself – your situation is just not complicated enough isn’t it? (kidding). Well how strong is that relationship? Is she also debating on what to do knowing she’s attracted to someone else while she’s already in a relationship? Is she also hesitant to move things forward, at all, knowing there could be so many things at stake?
  • The so-called big brother – is this really the other girl’s words or is this something your boyfriend made up just to comfort you? Even if it’s the other girl’s own words does she actually mean it? Why is she putting herself in such troubles anyway, is she really comfortable having her own boyfriend while dating someone else’s boyfriend who happens to be her boss too? If these thoughts ever worry her, why is she still spending so much time with your boyfriend?

  • And let’s talk about why – Again does this have anything to do with the fact that she’s working for him? Does she have to almost hide her true feelings because she doesn’t want to upset her boss? Is she taking advantage of your boyfriend by seeking career advancement through something beyond a work relationship? Or is she simply trying to prevent jeopardizing her own career? These things will determine whether anything would happen at all, and whether things are meant to be short term or long term.

.

From your own perspective

  • Where are your boundaries? – Regardless of what is REALLY going on, if this is a consistent behavior of your boyfriend, it is unfair to you and this is unhealthy to your relationship. You can be accommodating and understanding in a relationship and obviously you don’t need to freak out every time your boyfriend spends time with another female. But what are your boundaries? Were you ever clear about your boundaries? And if not, tell me what can stop your boyfriend from keep challenging you or hurting you?
  • Another one month right? – So I talked about giving him (and her) another month to see where things would go. But I would like to invite you to take advantage of this month for your own sake. While he is wasting time with the other girl getting drinks, debating on his own feelings and almost feel guilty and sorry, why don’t you simply start moving on with your life already? I am not suggesting you to give up, I am suggesting you to be patient (and not freak out and not feeling constantly depressed) by engaging yourself in some other wonderful activities: maybe you can pick up another interest or some sport or start catching up more with old friends and go out to social and make some new friends. The most attractive women are those who have a life of their own. And when you start working on your own life, amazing new things may happen to you too, and maybe he’s not the one who actually wants to move on after the one month!
  • You have to deal with sunk cost – Everyone knows sunk cost is a dreadful economic term but this is one situation where you HAVE TO deal with it. You’ve been in a relationship for a few years, so what? If that’s the only reason why you should still be in a relationship then it is the most stupid reason of all. If I have a choice, I would rather be hurt now than to be sorry later, and I would never want to sign up for anything uncomfortable that I will have to deal with for the rest of my life!

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One last thought


.

One of my mentors once put this in an amazing way herself, which deeply shaped my thinking and I would like to share with you girls (especially girls) today: When you are young, beautiful, charming and lively, if you are all these things and if his eyes are still not placed on you, and if he doesn’t think the world of you and if he doesn’t want to adore you with all he has; he never will.

There are going to be difficult times in life. Life is simple but it’s not easy. You may get sick, you may become poor, and you will grow old, and it will only get harder, and love may even die one day. Yes if he doesn’t see you now; he never will.

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What do you think? Hope you’ll work things out one way or another, and feel better!

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  1. Lhen
    March 3, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Hi Danye,

    These are great thoughts to ponder on. I am currently doing all my best to understand men more. I realize that men are just so complicated and there are a lot of things that I didn’t know about them which usually cause conflict in a relationship. I decided to give space between the two of us so we can both step back and look at the bigger picture. It’s not that easy for me but I hope this would help in working things out. I’d rather do everything I can than giving up without at least doing anything at all. Your pieces of advice are very much helpful. I’ll let you know of the outcome.

    Thank you so much for your help! :)

    • March 4, 2011 at 8:56 pm

      I am very happy that this has helped you. Yes stepping back a little bit is definitely a good idea at this point. I know this is hard but you will learn so much if you try to work with your feelings. Yes men may be complicated, but so are woman, I guess it’s really just human natures. It takes time to really get to know someone, and it takes time to really see through yourself and understand what you really want in life and what’s more important for you. I respect that you are willing to take this step to look at things from a more objective perspective, and best of luck figuring things out!

  2. cici
    March 4, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    how about he and I both have no relationships, I like him, but he doesn’t. and I do really feel sad about that~~

  3. March 6, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Have you ever wondered who posts some of this stuff that you come across? The internet never used to be like that, recently though it has turned around. What do you think?

  4. March 12, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Hi Danye,

    I decided to get back to blogging myself. I realized that this is one thing I took for granted eversince I got into the relationship. I don’t have much yet. But I hope you can drop by if you have time. :) Thanks for inspiring!

    • March 13, 2011 at 5:50 pm

      I’m happy for you Lhen. Starting a blog is a great idea I’ll check out yours too definitely! Good luck!

  5. March 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Hi Danye,

    He admitted to me that he’s in love with this girl and that she feels the same way for him. I couldn’t believe that he could fall for someone that fast even if they just met! He said that he still couldn’t decide on who to choose and where to go. I decided to break up with him because I don’t think I can bear the thought of him being in love with someone else. I thought it would make me feel right, but right now, I have this feeling that I made the wrong decision. How do I know if I did the right thing?

    Thanks,
    Lhen

    • Dan
      August 12, 2011 at 5:21 am

      Lhen,

      I feel your pain. My girlfriend of 3 years told me she wanted ‘space’ out of the blue and ‘didn’t feel she should be in a relationship at the minute’ but that it didn’t mean she didn’t want to be WITH me anymore but it could take a very long time to fix. Eventually I realized someone else was in the picture but I wasn’t sure in what kind of way based on his orientation. Because he appeared to look and seem ‘gay’ but my gf started sending comments eerily intense to him. Since then nothing added up very well, yet on our facebook profiles we are still ‘in a relationship’ with each other and it’s been that way for months on end! It’s a bizarre situation but I have not posted anything to her for a long time and haven’t reacted to her suspicious posts. I’ve also tried to act as though i’m still enjoying myself (which I think is important for your own sanity anyway lol).

      More about your story though, what happened is likely to be one of his typical relationship patterns, he’ll find someone in a short space of time and move on to them. But what you have to realize is you can’t do anything about it, there’s no point in focusing on what you cannot control. You did the perfect thing to end it because by breaking up you demand his respect and show him his actions have crossed the line. It also seems that becoming more difficult and pulling away usually works to your advantage, it makes them curious about you.

      Doing a u-turn in the way you feel is so difficult but even if it doesn’t really get your partner back, it will give you your self respect and dignity. It also helps with moving on and healing. All you’ve got to realize is that you control yourself and nobody else. You don’t want to invest in something that cannot happen – you deserve the care and attention you gave out!!

      • August 17, 2011 at 6:42 pm

        Thank you Dan for sharing your stories and perspective too.

  6. jealousgf
    August 14, 2011 at 4:56 am

    oh my god…. i am in the exact same position with my boyfriend who is 10 years older than me, but only at the early stages.
    He works with this girl who is friends with my friends, and i swear she loves him as she is so dependent on him and bakes him treats and brings him little presents and always wants to work whenever he is managing.
    As a girl i have that instinctive feeling that she wants him as her boyfriend otherwise she would not always be messaging him and wanting to work with him and acting the way around them,
    My boyfriend is honest and tells me everything so i know i can trust him, a while ago he told me there are rumours going around there workplace that they have a thing for eachother and i know he finds her attractive but he says they are only friends.
    I told him how much their relationship hurts me and asked him to stop being friends with her but he won;t and says im being ridiculous and if i keep cracking it at him and being so insecure it will drive him towards her even more
    I have no idea what to do but she is driving me insane, without her in our lives we were perfect together and so happy in love
    I’m already so miserable as i cant stand being so insecure and jealous please help, i couldnt stand it if he would fall in love with her it would kill me ;(

    • August 17, 2011 at 6:53 pm

      I am sorry that you are in a “jealous” and “insecure” position right now, and from what you are describing I agree with you that you ARE indeed jealous and insecure. The thing is, will that help? Will being jealous and insecure help him to stay with you? Will a jealous and insecure girl more attractive than a girl who constantly supports him and treats him and acting productive and sweet and all that around him? I think you know the answer better than I do. I know it’s hard to stop, I know. But this is really not the best or the smartest thing you can do. I would recommend instead of focusing on what’s happening between him and the other girl, focus on what’s really going on between him and you! Are you still attracted to each other? Is it still comfortable talking to each other? Is it still fun to be around each other? If he had a long day at work, are you doing anything to cheer him up? If it’s really as you said “without her our i your lives you were perfect together” then I don’t see any reason why you cannot just act as if she does not exist, at all. If your boyfriend is really attracted to the other girl to the degree that he is willing to let you go, at some point he will have to confess that. But before that, I think what you should do is to make him happy and relaxed around you so he wants to be with you more, not the other way around. Does that make sense?

  7. Sophie
    September 5, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    hey :) im only a young girl, but this has helped! only been with my boyfriend for a few months but he told me he was attracted to someone else, who is also a very close friend of mine! it really hurt me and ive been so emotional lately not knowing what to think or feel! he says he has never been in love with anyone like he loves me, and i believe him, i just would like to know what attracts him to her, but he doesnt like to talk about it because he doesnt want to hurt me he says! im trying to ignore it because he is still amazing towards me but everytime i see her or them talking i get so jealous! i want him to be happy so said he can see her because i didnt want to be horrible! im just hoping i can move on from this
    because it hurts me badly!

  8. ashley
    November 15, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Well my life started like when my bf jose.wat jst happened i found out that he likes his bros gf n i am really mad so should i slap the bitch

  9. Forgotten
    December 9, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    I’m engaged 5 years. Everything was ok between us. Then he was really nasty to me for anything, so I moved out for 2 mi tys. Later we were back again, he was blaming me that I left him for someone else- which wasn’t true. But out life was normall for nearly a year. Later I’ve got a cat as a gift from family member. And I wasn’t aware I’ll get a cat. But everything was as usual. But from over 1.5 year he behave strange. He does not sleep with me but on sofa in dining room, he avoids conversations with me, and even if I would like to speak with him he ignores me or find straight away an excuses or just goes for a walk…. I was coping with it enough long time. And I cannot any more. Because day after day it gets worse. And I feel I am on his way. Because he will find even little things to wind me up, he cannot leave me even to eat or rest peacefuly and every day he points his finger what task should I do filmowing day. I was so depressed because of him, because I trusted him and I am still with him when everyone was telling me long time ago to move out of him. I decided to let him know that if everything will be as till now then I will move out…. Now, 2 dayse later he is like new person, and nice. Took me to restaurant….? And when I came home he told “I’m non Existing person” for him. I don’t know what do with him? What to do with my life? If there is point in anything? Because 2 days ago he told me ” to not think anything will change if I cooked”…. Honestly I just don’t have a power to speak with him, and I don’t know if my fiance have any feelings to me when saying something like that… I really don’t know what to do…. And sometimes I think he has to have someone and because of that his heart is like a stone.

  10. mantina
    December 18, 2011 at 3:01 am

    Well guess what Danye i read your blog and i quite liked it but …m in d same situation lhen is in my boyfriend likes someone else nd dat person is no other dan by best friend i cant crsly bear the thought that we have been going through a relationship for 1 yr and he has the guts to look at other girls..somethimes i feel very sad and deprssed but wat to do i love him like anything

  11. Lhen
    December 27, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    It has been 9 months since I posted this question. And I thought of giving you some updates. A month after we broke up, he realized that I am still the one he loves truly and deeply so he came back pleading to have me back again. At first, I didn’t think it was something serious so I just let him do what he wanted and never did anything about it. Until eventually, he was able to prove to me how sincere he was in trying to get back with me so a month after he starting courting me again, I decided to give him another chance. And up to now, we are still together, happier that we ever were. Sometimes, people would only realize the worth of someone after we lose them. I am glad I made the right decision of being strong, independent and respecting myself. :)

    • Mkat
      January 4, 2012 at 8:15 am

      I love the happy ending, but should you trust a man who needs you to break up with him to realize your worth, even though he had years to figure that out? To say the least, this whole situation showed that he has no respect for people (this situation was potentially hurtful for you, the girl, and the girl’s bf), he’s not mature enough to figure things out on his own rather than go through drama to realize what’s worth it and what he wants, etc. It’s an honest question as I’m struggling with it myself.

  12. Byron
    April 12, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    Hey I’m currently in a relationship and well recently my girlfriend started talking to me less then I found out there was this other girl she liked. Thing is that I hate this girl and my girlfriend started spending more and more time with her then me. So today I told her how I really felt and that I can’t be in a relationship where she likes someone else because it may end up becoming something bigger then that which I don’t want because frankly she’s the only one in the picture and I can’t have her loving someone else because you know I started feeling like the second choice. I told her that she should either choose me or her and hoping that if she really loved me like she said that she would pick me. (I know I’m a terrible person) Anyway now she’s angry at me and I know this is technically for girls, but I was hoping for some support. She tells me it’s nothing serious between the two of them, but the other girl seems convinced that my girlfriend loves her.

  13. mantina
    June 26, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    well ..we have completed 17 months together still he continues to flirt with other girls. PLZ help me and give a better solution . i jst dont want to breakup with him…is there any way ..??

  1. January 10, 2013 at 7:52 am

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