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Help! I'm attracted to a married man

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

Rein in your desire

There's nothing wrong with acknowledging that you're attracted to a married man. What matters is how you manage your attraction.

Woman attracted to married man

Attraction is a funny thing. Because we are all sexual beings, we find ourselves feeling attracted to other people based upon our tastes, feelings and current state of mind. Here's what you need to know to manage your attraction to a married man, so you don't end up doing something you regret.

Acknowledge your feelings

wedding ring

First of all, there's absolutely nothing wrong with feeling attracted to a married man. If he's handsome and charming, then your body and mind will react with feelings of desire. It's not wrong — it's just part of being a woman. Go ahead and acknowledge to yourself (not him!) that you have a crush on him. If you stop denying your attraction and remove your internal shame from the picture, then you're less likely to have negative feelings about yourself. You're also less likely to obsess about him if you simply acknowledge that you have desire, which will allow the feelings to come and go.

It may also be useful to acknowledge your feelings to a trusted friend. Your friend can check in on you and ask questions that hold you accountable.

Control your fantasies

Fantasies may seem harmless, but they can prove powerful and intoxicating if you return to them over and over again. If you're starting to fantasize about your married crush, remember:

  • Fantasies aren't reality. If you fantasize about your crush whisking you off your feet and onto a bed of roses, this fantasy is a break from reality. Your wildest dreams about what you and your crush could experience together will never match up with the real world. Remember that he has a wife and children, and that acting on your fantasy would deeply harm many people, including yourself.
  • Fantasies remove internal stigma. If you ask most women about whether or not they'd sleep with a married man, they'd likely say, "Never!" And yet, affairs happen all the time. How do women end up falling into bed with a married man, when they likely thought they would never do so? Fantasies are powerful and they can help people begin to justify their actions.

Try to control your fantasy life and make a personal rule that you will not fantasize about your married crush. This alone will help you control your attraction and reduce the likelihood that you'll act on your feelings.

Manage your flirting

Likewise, "harmless" flirting can quickly escalate into emotional intimacy if it goes unchecked. Emotional intimacy, in turn, can become a starting point for a physical affair. Even if you enjoy a little bit of banter with your married crush, here are some ground rules so you can manage your flirting:

  • Avoid texting and calling. If he has your number for work, respond as succinctly and coldly as possible.
  • Mention his wife as you talk with one another. Don't just pretend that she doesn't exist. Bringing her up in conversation will help remind him, too, that he has a commitment.
  • Don't touch as you speak. Flirting becomes more powerful when you lightly touch his arm or grace his foot with yours. Just don't do it.
  • Avoid alone time. It's never just one drink at happy hour and never just a quick errand to drop off something at his house.

Play mind games with yourself

If all else fails, employ mind games to deescalate your feelings for your married crush. A few simple tricks can prove surprisingly effective for controlling your passions:

  • Imagine him with a stomach bug. He is a real person and he's probably gross sometimes. Don't forget that he's not a fantasy — he's nasty, too.
  • Remember the long game. If your fantasy came true and you actually started a relationship with him, you likely wouldn't be able to trust him.
  • Don't suddenly avoid. Cutting the friendship off abruptly is more likely to lead to obsession with him. Don't cut things off entirely, especially if you see him on a daily basis at work. Just work hard to manage your fantasies and flirting in order to remove the warmth of the relationship.
  • Go ahead, be judgmental. Focus on every last one of his flaws. He's not perfect, and recognizing his imperfections may help you see him as a flawed person rather than a wonderful crush.

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