I THINK MY PARTNER HAS FALLEN IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE ELSE! WHAT CAN I DO?

Q:
If you or your partner is in love with someone else, while still together in a relationship, youre not alone. Research shows that 1 in 5 adults are in love with someone other than their partner. Most people who are infatuated with someone else are unhappy in their relationship (not surprisingly), with one in four people declaring they are unhappy in their current relationship. Of those who are happy though, half have admitted that in the past, they experienced feelings for someone else. So the idea that we fall in love, and stay in love, happily ever after, is not actually accurate. Its fairly easy to fall in love love swoops us off our feet and makes us focus on our new partner often to the exclusion of almost everything else. It feels good to fall in love and its an exciting ride. Staying in love however, takes more work and devotion. And, according to the research, it seems to be more difficult than many realise.
A:
Certainly many relationship counsellors will attest to the fact that most couples, over the long term, will have varying degrees of intense loving feelings for their partner. At some stages, being in love will feel overwhelming and wonderful and strong. And at other times, loving feelings may be more distant, and harder to muster, such as in times of stress or conflict especially. The potential temptation to become attracted to someone else or even develop deeper feelings is always there, but if youre the one in four who is currently unhappy, its even more of a chance. The research indicates that when someone falls for someone its likely to be someone they know, such as a work colleague or someone in their circle of friends, or even exes. And it may be surprising to learn that the temptation is of the heart more than anything else: the more common experience, for falling for someone new (or old), isnt looking online to cheat sexually, for example, but is actually developing heartfelt feelings for someone you interact with daily or very often. And once the feelings are established, then yes, the sexual urge can kick in, with one in six of those who have fallen for another then acknowledging they would or did follow it through and become involved in an affair. Thats the bad news. The good news, if it is to be characterised as such, is that the experience of falling for someone when already in a relationship usually only happens once and only six percent would actually leave their partner for their new affair. The majority of couples can work through this difficult patch.

How you deal with this situation, as a couple, depends entirely on whether one of you is still in love with another or whether you are over it. And dont assume that the experience will naturally be a short lived one. In fact, when someone in a relationship develops feelings for someone else, whether they act on it and have an affair or not, the feelings can last a long time, which can wreck the safety and foundation of the main relationship, especially once discovered. Study in this area has uncovered that feelings for someone else usually lasts over three years, with one in twenty-five people saying they had felt love for another for more than five years and one in 50 people saying they had loved another for as long as they could remember. The phenomenon of feeling torn between two loves is often a long term one.

As with any infidelity, re-developing trust, honesty and communication are keys to surviving as a couple. You both have to re-commit to one another and the relationship. And dont underestimate the hurt and damage an emotional betrayal can have, even if there was never anything physical. To have someone you love tell you they love someone else is deeply painful and will take time to recover from. It can be done, and take heart that its likely to only happen once. Certainly if it does happen a second time, red flags should be telling you that your partners love for you isnt strong enough to resist temptations. And you deserve better. Everyone does when you give your heart it should be reciprocated, not shared with another. And certainly not more than once!

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