Recently I found a great friend with whom I connected with immediately. Things took off to the extent that both our wives picked on us for liking each other. After being married and having children — now I am questioning everything.
Then before I knew it, I was in love. Being with him means everything to me and being apart is torture. I cannot give him enough and would do anything to be with him. I think it is abundantly clear he has no interest. But my feelings persist. We both have beautiful families and would have to become completely different people to be together. We would have to destroy our lives and the ones we love in the process.
I know it should not, cannot, will not happen, but he invades my thoughts every moment of the day. I try to continue focusing on work and improving my health. I have already confessed my infatuation to my wife and we are working together to bring my heart back into our marriage. But the more we fight against these feelings the stronger they become.
I do not feel like my mind can take much more of this emotional abuse. At times I feel like running away from what I am doing. At other times it seems like it would be easier to die than to go on struggling with my emotions. All the while just standing next to him gives me peace; the emotions calm, the anxiety evaporates, and my heart races with ecstasy.
He is both the poison and the cure. I realize this sounds like an addiction and is likely a simple case of obsession. But being with him makes the world right. How can this be a bad thing? What if we are supposed to be together and all the decisions we have made leading up to our meeting are standing in the way?
If I could just feel the same way in my marriage with my wife and children then everything would be alright. But I have never felt this way with anyone. I don’t know that I will ever find this anywhere else. I cannot walk away from the one person that simply completes me.
Clearly I need some guidance. The fact that I can view this objectively and ye have no power over it is the true torture. Please, give me a solution that lets me keep him as a friend.
A: Thank you for your heartfelt letter. There are several factors to highlight. First, the unavailability of this person — I believe — is part of the attraction. This is almost always the case. The impossibility of it sets up a dynamic where you can want — and not have. The fact this is an unrequited love means that you have chosen not only somebody who is unavailable by circumstance — but someone unavailable by his decision. This is important. Did not overlook this. Craving him, the quest, the desire itself, along with the infatuation and unavailability, may be all part of this package. The real issue is whether or not you want to remain married.
The weakness in the marriage is the important issue. Find out what’s not working there, and explore. All of your efforts need to be on deciding whether or not your marriage has enough to be sustained. The other person is typically a symptom of the weakness. Attending to your relationship with your wife — and deciding if that is worth keeping—is the first and foremost work to be done. A good couples’ counselor can help. The find help tab at the top of this page may be able to help you locate someone in your area.