Figuring out whether you should leave your partner for someone you’re in love with is tough, but we can help you make the choice you won’t regret!
Should you go after the one who makes your heart sing or should you just dismiss those feelings and stay in your safe relationship?
This is probably the biggest dilemma when it comes to matters of the heart. You didn’t ask for it–you’re genuinely content with your relationship–but all of a sudden, you meet someone you can’t get your eyes *and ears and hands and minds* off of! This would have been a wonderful thing, a thing worth shouting hallelujah over, if only you weren’t attached to someone.
Now you wish you hadn’t met this funny, intelligent, marvelous person, right? Your world is turned upside down, and you just don’t know how to get back on your feet.
Let’s solve this dilemma before it takes over your whole life. First step: let’s quickly define “safe” love and “passionate” love. “Safe” could mean different things to different people. In general, it means that our partners are safe because we’ve been with them for so long that we know them inside and out *a tried-and-tested choice*.
They’re safe because they’ve seen all of our flaws, but they are still with us. It could also mean that they’re giving us financial stability, help raising our kids, a shoulder to cry on, and a million other things that make our lives more comfortable.
“Passionate” love needs no long definition. These loves are simply the people who make us feel that life is wonderful again–that we are wonderful again. It’s the kind of love that makes your emotions soar and, sometimes, it can make you throw logic right out the window.
Playing it safe vs. playing with fire
So, now that we’ve defined both terms, let’s get to the hard part. The only way for you to deal with this is by examining your feelings, your relationship, and yourself. You have to be as honest and rational as possible, or you’ll just be going around in circles. Here are some questions you should ask yourself to know if you’re better off with the “safe” choice or the “passionate” choice.
#1 Were you in love with your current partner? Go back to the time when you were still a new couple. Were you in love with your partner? No, really. Go back to those times, and linger in those moments. If you were in love before, those memories may pale in comparison to the experiences you have with your new love interest, but you must acknowledge that they happened.
Every relationship *the ones that are worth pursuing, anyway* goes through the giddy, can’t-live-without-you phase and then becomes comfortable… and even boring. What you’re feeling right now toward your new love interest is normal. And it’s likely that your “in love” feelings with your new love will also turn into “safe” or “comfortable” feelings in a few years.
If you’re headed in the same direction with this new love interest, is your current relationship worth giving up?
#2 Why did things go stale with your relationship? If you’ve been in love with your current partner before, what went wrong? Like a scientist, try to assess the reasons why you view your current partner as a safe choice and not a choice made by and for your heart.
When did your dissatisfaction start? What have you done to make things better? Identify all the possible reasons, and ask yourself if they can be fixed. Also ask yourself if these problems could possibly arise with the new person. [Read: 15 reasons you’re getting bored with your relationship]
#3 Why do you like the new person? Try to remove all the lovey-dovey feelings and put the new person under a microscope. What is it that you like about them as a human being? Do you just “click” and finish each other’s sentences? List all the reasons you can think of.
Afterward, assess if these characteristics are really what you’re looking for in a long-term relationship and whether or not your current partner has them, too. Does your new love interest have something that your current partner can never offer? Does it matter that much to you? [Read: What to do if you like two people at the same time]
#4 How do you view your relationship now? When we are in a relationship and we meet someone we’re really attracted to, they serve as mirrors. Being attracted to other people is normal, and it can happen even when we’re still in love with our partners. But if you’ve come to the point where you start asking yourself whether you should leave your partner for that other person, it just shows that you are not satisfied with your relationship, anymore.
Worse, you may realize you’ve never been happy with it at all. Try to look at your relationship objectively. Do you still feel warmth or love toward your partner when you think about your relationship, or does it make you cringe?
#5 Is the life you plan to have with the new person rooted in fantasy or reality? Do you have kids? Does the new person have kids? If so, are you sure you’re going to be okay with the whole setup? Is the new person going to be a good parent? A part of you probably doesn’t want to think about it, because you just want to focus on how good you are together, but we’re not in fantasy land.
In the real world, there are factors other than intense attraction you have to consider. Imagine what five years will look like with the new person. Paint a realist picture of that. Are you happy with what you see?
#6 Will they help you become a better person? When we fall in love with someone new, we also fall in love with a new version of ourselves. What kind of person are you when you are with the new person? Or, a better question: what kind of person do you want to be when you’re with them? Are you witty? Are you artistic? Are you adventurous? Are you full of life? Are you patient and loving?
Sometimes, it’s not about the current partner vs. the new love interest. Sometimes, it’s about us wanting to evolve. When you’re with your current partner, do they push you to become better, or have they gotten so used to you that you’ve pretty much settled for the person you are now?
Maybe the new person is instrumental to you as you transform into the kind of person you want to be. Maybe who you’ll end up choosing is secondary, and what you should be focusing on is your transformation.
I know having this dilemma is exhausting, but one thing that makes it a blessing is that it forces us to go back to our core and ask the big questions–questions that could lead to our transformation, regardless of whether we stay with our current partner, explore new horizons with a new lover, or become single.
Choosing whether to stay in your current relationship or to go after the one you’re in love with is a huge decision. Asking yourself these questions is just the first step. You have to let the whole thing marinate for a while before acting on it; remember, it’s great to follow your heart, but only as long as your feet are planted on the ground.