It’s not an enviable position to be in.
Here you are, thinking, “How do I stop loving a married man?”
You know this thing between you can lead to nothing but pain.
But letting go of someone you’re in love with is not as easy as saying, “It’s over,” and immediately forgetting what you felt.
You’re not a robot. You can’t delete your feelings — even when they hurt.
You still want him so badly that the ache is making it hard to focus on anything else.
So, what can you do?
What Should I Do If I Love a Married Man?
Years down the road, do you want to have to admit to yourself, “I fell in love with a married man and it broke my heart?” Because that’s likely what will happen if you stay in this relationship.
The first step is to admit to yourself that this isn’t a healthy situation for you.
A simple friendship can easily become a special connection. When you become conscious of your attraction to him, you might tell yourself, “Well, nothing’s happened between us. Because it can’t.” At some point, though, you need to acknowledge what’s going on honestly.
Judging yourself over it won’t help. Consider your options instead:
- You could try to see if there’s anything there. How do you know if this married man loves you, too? The only way to know for sure is to ask. But that opens the door to a lot of complications.
- Do some soul-searching. While a relationship may not be possible, it is essential to explore the origin of your feelings. Why do you feel connected to him?
- Take steps to get over him. If you know a relationship isn’t possible, the best next step is to move on. Unrequited love is exhausting and leads to nowhere good.
How Long Does It Take to Get Over a Married Man?
Unfortunately, there is no standard timeline for moving on. It may happen as soon as you realize your feelings are one-sided. It may take months — or even years — to move on.
It depends on how long you’ve loved him and how deeply. A minor workplace flirtation is one thing. But if he’s been on your mind for months, it will take longer to break free.
The most important thing is to be patient with yourself. You may feel pressured to forget about him and move on, but it isn’t going to happen instantly.
Show yourself compassion as you navigate your next steps.
How to Get Over a Married Man: 9 Actions to Help You Move On
Start by taking the following important steps to get over a married man. Forgetting about him is another thing, and it’s not the goal here.
Focus on training yourself to be aware of your thoughts. Then lead them in a better direction.
1. Acknowledge your feelings.
You can’t move on until you accept what you’re feeling. Don’t lose yourself to guilt and shame. Admit what you’re feeling without judging yourself for it.
Feeling attracted to someone who’s in a relationship with someone else doesn’t make you a bad person.
Before you can even begin to move on, you need to get clear on where you are.
2. Look at the situation logically.
As far as you’ve been able to determine, he feels nothing for you — or he doesn’t feel the same way.
Maybe he flirts with you, but he doesn’t see you as someone he wants to be with. Perhaps he’s picked up on your attraction to him, and he’s making a meal of it.
If he’s not on the same page, your best recourse is to detach yourself and move on.
3. Cut contact with him.
Get clear on what this means:
- No calling or texting him
- No responding to his texts or taking his calls
- No engaging with him on social media
- No flirting or chatting with him in person
In other words, keep your distance. And in the meantime, do something that takes your mind off him.
4. Do your own thing.
We know you have interests that have nothing to do with this guy. So, make time to pursue one or more of these.
Give yourself a mental and emotional (and, yes, even physical) break from fixating on a man you can never have.
Take back your headspace and do something that makes you feel good — and that isn’t likely to remind you of him.
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5. Prioritize yourself during your healing process.
Make sure you’re taking care of yourself while you go through the detachment process. Give yourself enough time alone to work through what you’re feeling and make plans for your future.
Make self-care a priority to remind yourself your needs matter. Turn your attention to what you need right now, and go after it.
6. Try something new.
Enroll in a class to pursue an interest. Or make a bucket list and plan on working your way through it.
Go skydiving, go on a road trip, sign up with a dating app and meet someone for lunch. Try something that scares you (at least a little).
Take a risk that doesn’t involve a man you can’t have. And give yourself some time alone to process the experience before moving on to the next.
7. Spend time with friends.
If you have friends, spend time with them. Or meet up with one to talk about what you’re going through.
Allow them to help you put your attachment in perspective and help you move on. If you don’t have friends like this, look for someone in your life you trust.
Beyond their judgment, you should be able to trust that they care about you.
8. Talk to a counselor.
Just because you’re paying someone to listen doesn’t mean they can’t genuinely care about your well-being.
Everyone benefits by having a trusted counselor to talk to regularly. If you don’t have one yet, find one and set up an appointment.
Even if you can’t afford frequent appointments, once a month is better than nothing.
9. Meet someone new.
Get out there and do more of the things you enjoy — especially if they increase the likelihood of meeting people who share those interests.
Try a singles event that challenges you — socially or in other ways. And don’t be afraid to let your authentic self show.
Be aware you’ll probably compare every new guy to the one you want but can’t have. And choose instead to give someone new a real chance.
It’s time to move from loving a married man.
Getting over a married man you’re in love with isn’t easy, but it is possible. If there’s no future for you and this guy, holding onto him is just holding you back from living the life you want.
And you deserve the chance to go after that.
If nothing beyond it can ever happen, the flirting has to stop, too — for both your sakes.
Think about how you’ll feel and what you’ll do when you’re free of this attachment. What will you do today to get closer to that?