infidelityReader Q&A

Help! I’m Married And Obsessed With Another Man

Reader Obsessed writes:

I’ve developed an obsession with a man other than my husband. I have been married 10 years, and we have children. I have been fighting to keep this obsession at bay for over a year. It started as a result of a family tragedy in which a loved one was lost in a traumatic way. Law enforcement was involved in the incident and this man served as a liaison/support to my family during this time. Over time my gratitude and appreciation for him as a result of the way he responded to the tragedy has grown into intense emotional and physical desire.

We have had very minimal face to face contact- I think only 3 times over the past 1.5 years. But we have had much more contact via social media/text/etc. At one point I confessed to him that I wanted him (and he reinforced this by acknowledging his own desire for me) but I was clear that I could not/would not act on this because I do not wish to risk my blessed life with my husband/child.

I am just feeling less and less confident about this statement all the time and have recently even started considering a very specific plan to meet up with him. I know I have already crossed a line in terms of fidelity (and feel self-loathing) and I am scared that I might take it further and risk the destruction of my marriage/life as I know it.

I have never been in a position like this before. Sure, during the course of 10 years of marriage I have noticed other men or found them attractive, but nothing I was ever tempted to act on. Not even close! However, as you can imagine, actual desire is at a low after a decade of marriage and so this attention has me reeling.  I am consistently caught off guard by the depth of my feelings and attraction to this man, and the fact that I have gone so far as to communicate this to him is completely uncharacteristic of me.

I realize that a large component of our connection has to do with the circumstances under which we met, but I also believe we are two people who simply have a very strong attraction to each other. I never thought I’d be in this position. I hold my morality in high esteem I want to continue to do so, but I cannot shake this obsession. I feel powerless over this situation. Help!


Dear Obsessed,

I understand that your feelings are very intense, but you are correct in your estimation that this whole situation was exacerbated by the circumstances under which you met. You have only seen this man three times.  He seems like a savior, and you met him literally in that exact role, so you’re less able to see that he’s just a regular guy.  He seems especially exciting compared to your husband, since you are in the “monotogamous” phase of marriage and your husband likely has lost a lot of his appeal.

I discuss here how to stop flirting with a coworker and here how to reconnect after infidelity.  Take parts from both of these posts, particularly where I discuss trying to visualize your “obsession” as a regular guy with faults (one glaring one is flirting with a married mother) and try to see your husband through the lens that made you initially fall in love with him.   You also may want to find a therapist to discuss why you’re so attracted to this man, and how your own family of origin issues are contributing to your desire to be unfaithful/have more excitement/”obsess” over this man/self-sabotage/et cetera.

If you try all of this, and you still really want to be with this other man, you owe it to your husband and child to be open and honest, and own this.  Certainly, cheating on your husband is going to be a bad scene for all involved, especially if he discovers it.  And you don’t really know what life would be like with this new man.  Your contact with him is mostly online; you have no idea how he would be as a life partner or if he wants this.

There are numerous possibilities here:

1. You take the depth of your feelings for this man as a wakeup call to work on your marriage.  Go to couples counseling, admit you’ve been attracted to others, and work hard to rekindle your marriage.

2. If your marriage is entirely dead, which I doubt since you say it’s blessed, then you must tell your husband you want to be with this other man, apologize a great deal, and leave.

3. You can also discuss the idea of open marriage with your husband.  Many people don’t consider this option but different ways of conceptualizing marriage are becoming more and more common.  Read Marriage Confidential: Love in the Post-Romantic Age for more on this idea.  Note: if thinking about your husband having sex with another woman makes you angry or sick feeling, go with #1 instead.

Consider the consequences of losing your husband and child’s trust in you in order to have this fling.  It may be better, although more difficult initially, to take one of the more honest and ethical solutions presented above.  Good luck and certainly keep me updated.  Till we meet again, I remain, The Blogapist Who Says Ethical Non-Monogamy Is A Possibility For More Couples Than Think Of It Initially.

Order Dr. Rodman Whiten’s books, 52 Emails to Transform Your Marriage and How to Talk to Your Kids about Your Divorce: Healthy, Effective Communication Techniques for Your Changing Family, and listen to The Dr. Psych Mom Show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or anywhere else you listen to podcasts. If you need therapy, check out her online group practice Best Life Behavioral Health.

This blog is not intended as medical advice or diagnosis and should in no way replace consultation with a medical professional. If you try this advice and it does not work for you, you cannot sue me. This is only my opinion, based on my background, training, and experience as a therapist and person.

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  1. marilyn
    February 11, 2016 at 7:47 pm — Reply

    I have a similar situaccion…
    Im a married women with teens..
    But my problem is… that i have a lust over someone besides my husband…
    My husband is a good man but sexually he cant help me get there… is been a problem for a while now i spoke with my husband about his problem but is not working out sexually and all i do is sex my husband but thinking about the other… not for love but just to get me there..
    Example: Im like a she-wolf i could smell the male coming to mate…

      February 19, 2016 at 6:22 am — Reply

      get a toy…let him use it on you….something similar in size….make him feel apart of your satisfaction…

  2. marilyn
    February 11, 2016 at 7:51 pm — Reply

    Is any nice cute gentlemen that i lust over but not for love or to be on lock down.. is just to get satisfied and move on… because with my husband sexually is not working for me… hes getting satisfied i treat him like royalty in bed.. but when it comes down to me… he got an F+… thats y lust over another… is a huge problem for me… please help…

  3. Deborah
    April 5, 2016 at 2:20 pm — Reply

    Sometimes you get tired of toys and your mind wonders around with other men when you aren’t satisfied sexually.

  4. Nik
    May 28, 2016 at 8:21 pm — Reply

    Hi. I am scheduled to be married in a few months but my coworker is in love with me. We clicked every since the first day we met. We understand each other, finish each other sentences, think totally alike and get along perfectly. I am sexually attracted to him because my fiance does not satisfy me. I don’t have the heart to tell him. What can I do?

  5. lisa
    September 26, 2016 at 11:38 am — Reply

    this is an interesting thread. I am in a similar situation.
    I have been with my partner for 10 years, no kids (cant have them and didnt want to)
    I recently spent more time with a male aquaintance and got to know him better. I found I could talk to him about all the things I have been through in my life (I have anxiety, depression and PTSD as a result of a lifetime of abuse, from childhood and ex partners) My long term partner has NEVER wanted to listen to anything serious about me. He says he isnt interested. When I have tried to talk to him he just ignores me and gives me the brush off, To be honest we never had anything in comment or had much conversation.. I just think neither of us wanted to be single, and we met on a dating site and that was all we had in common. I dont find him ugly, but I was never drawn to him physically and we only have sex when he ‘needs relief’.. Our relationship is somewhat unconventional because we are not ‘normal ‘ people. However my history of being a victim of abuse made me ‘need somebody’ and he was there.. Now back to the present I have become too close to the male friend. We have a shared interest and I found out that I feel very comfortable in his presence and want to be with him when I am not with him. I feel physically drawn to him in a way I have never felt in my entire life, He isnt even the type I am attracted to.. For a start he is very ‘normal’ and is 17 years older then me. He also is divorced with adult kids, but I cannot deny the connection, and although I told him I didnt want to see him at first, then we could only be friends, It is spiralling out of control and I did let him kiss me. I found myself wanting to kiss him passionately. (something I never even felt like with my partner, nor he with me) I cant see anything long term with him as he is too old for me, and we have different lives, but I cannot seem to stay away as I have NO other friends or family to support me. He could be taking advantage of my vulernability for all I know, but it doesnt seem that way. I have known him casually for 6 years. He says he loves me and wants me to leave my partner. I think my partner, being the same age and familiar to me should be the one I stay with, inspite of my not loving him as I should..

  6. Maria
    November 6, 2017 at 5:39 pm — Reply

    I am glad I am not alone in the similar situation. I am married 14 years/3 kids and I fall for another man. So bad – I am thinking about him 24/7, imagine him when I am with my husband. In fact I don’t even have any desire to be with my husband. He is a great man and father but that’s all. I don’t feel any physical attraction to him anymore. I don’t know what to do, the guy that I am obsessed about is married too, but I feel that he is attracted to me too but being in the similar situation we both can’t initiate anything. I am living in a hell desperately want another man and can’t have him, can’t even tell him that. Its so painful to look at him, to tears, but not to see him I feel extremely sad.

  7. Camilla
    November 22, 2017 at 3:37 pm — Reply

    Wow! “I desire another man” brought me here and I am glad to find such great content and I am open for discussion. After reading everything above I question something deeper: how to deal with our sexuality if at the same time, when I was a single woman, I wanted to badly to be in a relationship with someone I care about and treat me right. Well..I found this relationship 4 years ago and even brought me to another country to live this love. Sex was great and still is but we are in our mid 30’s and are having sex once a month! I felt attracted by someone about a year ago and didn’t like that feeling at all, I felt I was wrong but the feeling was real and it passed after some weeks. Now, two months ago it happened again during a weekend at the beach..this person leaves in the other side of the world, have a partner but he flirted with me, touched my hair, Looking all the time, talking…we had a simultaneous attraction, that’s for sure, but nothing more happened. He even hesitated to say goodbye to us, it was quite strange. Everyone in the house connected through social network but he never accepted my invite. Some months after I txt to know if all was ok and he was very polite but distant. Well, he was rational. That doesn’t change the fact that I still have a problem in my relationship with my amazing boyfriend and we will try to sort things out…somehow! I still think about the other person quite often and I am getting really stressed about it! How can I commit to marry my boyfriend with all those mixed sexual feelings!!!
    I wish luck to everyone who wrote here and I guess the world is full of interesting people and somehow is normal to feel attraction to other people, but does it have to be this pain forever?!?!? All the best to all!

  8. M.
    December 22, 2017 at 7:30 pm — Reply

    Well, I guess I can say me too. Sixteen years of marriage and five children later, I never thought I would be attracted to anyone else. Oh but I am so attracted to him so much. Older women tell me it is just something that happens ignore it and it will pass. They also tell me all men are different but all husbands are the same and he is no different. Unfortunately I also hear you have five kids no one wants you you are stuck!! When this man is around the mutual attraction, the flirting, and someone just noticing I am a woman is so nice. I’m wanting a little more though. It is comforting to know I’m not alone or crazy. I hope the best for women out there. We are lonely and need to feel appreciated and alive not just the mom and or the servant maid.

  9. Julia
    January 24, 2018 at 5:31 pm — Reply

    From the posts above its easy to understand why so many women have affairs ! Many women have other men in secret to be able to survive and meet their needs. Its done in 1/2 the marriages. My close friend has had an ongoing affair for 8 years and because of her friend she is slowly becoming her old self and smiling again. She has not had sex with her husband for years because he is totally not interested. Her guy friend makes her feel like a woman again she is always careful to be discrete.

  10. Kmds
    January 25, 2018 at 2:12 am — Reply

    Wow, amazed that I am not alone. Been married for 31 years and I love my husband!(. But deep down I have a burning desire that is eating me up. I am married to a good man. I did cheat on my husband with the other man, and I did tell my husband about it. I am trying to work this out with my husband, but this guy has brought out things in me that have been hidden away for years. I loved talking to him about intelligent things, joking, laughing, and just having attention that I have always desired. He is 12 years older than me, and I can’t stop thinking about him. I can’t stop thinking about the passion and desire that I have for him. He is not a very attractive man, but that isn’t what drew me to him anyway. I feel horrible and I am not the kind of person who cheats, but I have been a major connection with this man. Scared to death about how much he means to me. My husband has threatened my life if I leave him, he has not hit me, but made some holes in the wall. I must preface with I caught my husband flirting with my cousin after I just had our first child. Found lipstick on his underwear before. Stuck with him anyway, but after spending five years begging for attention, then cheating, I am longing for this other man!!!!! Help, I don’t know which way to turn!!(

    • Lele
      September 21, 2019 at 7:51 am — Reply

      Leave him!! He’s seems abusive and if you found lip stick on his clothes he must of cheated too. You can do better!! Sex is an important part of marriage. when your no longer attracted to your spouse it’s pretty much over!

  11. Flor
    September 17, 2018 at 2:27 pm — Reply

    Well, I used to see this man out of the subway on my way to my job . Every morning he used to say good morning to me. I’m very shy to talk to men specially if they show any interés in me. Well, I never talk to him or look at his face while he was close to me. After a while I enjoyed his attention and I was looking forward to see him. Sometimes I saw him right out of the station or in the other side of the street. I think I saw a ring in his finger that tell me he is marriage. Believe or not this flirting has been going for almost 6 months. No words for me to him, just a few look at his face telling him that I kind of like him. Now that I don’t se him flirting with me , I missed and feel miserable when I don’t see him. I dont know very well how he looks like or if I will like him at all. But I’m obsessed with him and now I would like him to say “good morning again to me and I will say it back. But I think he gave up because he didn’t see much interés in my part. This is crazy!!! I wonder what part of my childhood this man woke up? Why I fell like this? I’m very distand from my husband of 27 years! I dream about looking at thin man face to see how he looks like.

  12. Jennifer
    November 13, 2018 at 4:39 pm — Reply

    I have been with my husband for 15 years with two kids and we have had a horrible past, we shouldnt even be together today. But we worked threw all of it and doing alittle better now. Until I started texting back and forth with one of his friends (not close) just as friends when he needed one. And we started talking alot and I think im falling for him, im also think its just lust maybe. He is single but has done nothing with his life so i know i can not be with him but i think he os maybe trying for more then just close friends. Im so lost its all i think about. Kind of like the excitement lately but the scared feeling of getting caught is not

  13. K.L.
    August 27, 2019 at 10:24 am — Reply

    I’ve been married a year and half now. We’ve been together for five years total. But I can’t get my mind off my ex. I’ve been lusting for him badly. We talk to each other on facebook and its mutual we still love each other. I haven’t been with my ex intimately in over 7 years. We dated when I was younger on and off. We’ve always stayed and touch and still had a great friendship. I wanted to marry my ex but he couldn’t get his life together. Now that we’re older, I still want to be with him. Not just sexually, but mentally and emotionally. My husband acts as if I don’t exist sometimes. He spends hours and hours on the phone talking to his male friends. I can’t even get a damn text at work. Lately he’s been in the room, not talking to me, not cooking, just really distant. I really feel lonely in this marriage.

  14. Fatts22
    December 7, 2019 at 12:41 pm — Reply

    My wife and I have been married three years and have 1 child ,and 1 on the way. I really desire to have sex with my wife often but I constantly get a no. Overheard my wife express to her friend one day downstairs how she constantly thinks about her ex partner sex and check on him by looking on his social media accounts. This really made me upset and bitter towards the relationship because of the lack of sex and the fact that she thinks about another man sexually all the time. Being a husband a full time father running a trucking business ,and also having a part time job weighs on me. I recently found myself to be withdrawn and depressed. I’m only 31 years of age and consider to be a attractive man. I have women flirting with me all the time but I will not entertain it. I have put up so much resentment that I have become weak in protecting our marriage. A woman at my job recently told me how much she likes me and how she wants a sexual relationship with me. I start to find myself flirting with her here and there. Im really attracted to her and thought about giving in but I’m scared on the risk of losing my family. I even contemplated on leaving the relationship.

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