Developing feelings for someone can be an amazing, exciting time — or the wort thing ever. Especially if the persona you're interested in or is in a relationship or if you're in a relationship yourself. Unless you're poly, realizing you have feelings for someone else can be terrifying and guilt-inducing. And even worse than know that you're having these feelings is knowing that you need to talk to your partner.
"A couple should never lie about growing attractions to someone else," relationship coach and therapist Anita Chlipala tells Bustle. "Secrecy fuels passion. A lie of omission is still a lie, so if a partner doesn't discuss a growing attraction, it can actually make their feelings and desire for this other person stronger."
It's difficult, but it's true. Whether it's just more than a crush or serious feelings, whether you've acted on it or not— you should consider talking to them. First, there are a few things you need to sort out and decide for yourself, then you need to open up about the issue. Remember, it doesn't necessarily mean the end of a relationship — but it's worth having that conversation to see if you're not getting what you need from your current relationship. Or maybe you're just realizing polyamory might be for you. In any case, it starts with an honest conversation.
Here are tips for talking to your partner about feelings for someone else, because you need to know your own mind first:
1. Decide How Serious You Feel About It
What do these feelings mean? Do you have a work crush that's gotten out of hand? Is it worth breaking your relationship over? There are some things you need to work out in your own head before you talk to your partner.
2. Think About What It Means For Your Relationship Now
Another thing you need to decide before you talk to your partner is what it means about the state of your relationship now. "If there is one area where honesty is of utmost importance, it's how you feel about each other and the relationship," she adds. "Nothing is worse than being madly in love with a partner who's lost that loving feeling." Does it affect how much you love your partner? Is it because of something that's lacking in your current relationship? Try to wrap your head around how you got to this place and if it's reflective of your partner or your relationship.
3. What Does It Mean About Your Relationship In The Future?
If these feelings are strong, it may mean that you want your current relationship to end— or maybe it means you're just not sure. But if you're questioning your future, you need to be upfront about that. "You should never lie about your outlook for the future," Samantha Daniels, Professional Matchmaker and Founder of The Dating Lounge dating app, tells Bustle. "A lot of times, one spouse will tell the other what they think they want to hear." Your partner deserves better than that. You need to decide what you want.
4. Be Honest
OK, so once you've worked everything out in your own head, it's time for the hard part: actually talking to your partner. First things first: be upfront about everything you've thought about. It's going to be hard and you won't want to hurt their feelings, but it's better in the long run. Explain the nature of the feelings, where you think they came from, and what it may mean for your relationship.
5. Listen To Them
Then it's your turn to let them react. They're probably going to be upset — really upset. You need to give them an opportunity to react. Obviously there is some behavior that is never acceptable, but short of that they deserve some breathing room.
6. Work Together
You have to take how you feel and how they feel on board. If you've decided that these feelings are because your relationship is too far gone — or they are feelings you want to act on— then it's probably best to split. But if it's because you have problems that you both want to work on, then it's going to take team work. Allow them to be upset, but try to be productive and move forward.
7. ...And Admit If It's Not Going To Work
Maybe you can get over them, but maybe you try and realize it's just not working. At some point, you both may need to admit that. Look at it as an opportunity to both pursue things that will make you happy — it's better for both of you.
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