Dating Someone Who’s Already Taken?
By Rosie Munger, BounceBack Editorial Staff
Very few people would opt for this situation, but sometimes it just happens. Whether it’s someone you’ve just met and instantly clicked with or someone you’ve known a long time and have always had feelings for, deciding to become involved in any romantic capacity with someone who is already taken is difficult. You will both be judged by others and, most likely, yourselves, which is even harder to bear.
Let’s set aside all judgments for a bit and focus on some difficult truths of dating someone who is not completely “yours.” Instead of torturing yourself by wondering what’s going to happen or being tough on yourself for entering into the relationship in the first place, look at things a bit more generally to figure out whether you’re really cut out for it.
Truth #1: You’re not going to be the center of the universe.
If you expect the person to always be available to you, night and day, that is not going to happen. There will be times when you want to talk and it just won’t be possible. If you’re usually somewhat needy or crave attention, this is going to be particularly difficult for you. You are going to truly have to cultivate your patience.
Truth #2: It’s harder than a long distance relationship.
Long distance relationships are tough – going without seeing each other for weeks or months puts a strain on many relationships. This could be your reality even if the person you’re dating lives a few miles away. Couple this with Truth #1, and you’ve got what feels like a long distance relationship without the benefits of open contact and the ability to plan long weekends together. Not easy. If your relationship happens to be long distance in addition to secret, you are going to have to be very strong.
Truth #3: Sometimes you have to pretend like you’re completely single in order to maintain sanity.
You haven’t been able to have a good conversation for days and you haven’t seen each other for weeks. You are going to have to choose whether to let this get you down or you can go about your life as if there was no one else in it (romantically.) Committing to getting out of the house with friends and perhaps flirting with others will help keep loneliness at bay. Plus, you never know who you’ll meet!
Truth #4: No one’s feelings are black and white, not even yours.
In this kind of situation, complicated emotions are de rigeur. If you think you can be in the relationship without ever having doubts about a whole host of issues, you’re not being truthful with yourself. Your feelings are also probably nowhere near as confusing as the other person’s, who has two relationships to manage and figure out!
Truth #5: Someone is going to get hurt.
There is no way around this. 1+1+1 may typically equal three, but not in this situation. You are going to have to accept that you might be the one who gets hurt, but frankly, it can be harder knowing that you might cause someone else’s hurt. Fact: all relationships could be ruined.
If you’ve read this list and know that even just one of these truths is going to be hard for you to handle, reassess whether you’re cut out for the relationship. Sure, it hurts to break things off with someone you like, maybe even love, but you must show love to yourself above anyone else. If you decide that, despite everything, you want to continue with the relationship, that’s your decision. Move forward with awareness of the pitfalls and don’t get lost in a sea of denial.