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Hello Dr. Matt,
I have read some of your letters and researched your website. I have a problem and I really need someone’s advice. I am 20 years old and married to a man who is in the military (right now he is stationed in Germany while I live in Jacksonville). We got married very young, I was 17 and he was 18. I've met someone else now, but I haven't cheated on my husband yet. I mean, yes I like this person a lot, and I think about him constantly and want to be with him all the time . . . so I guess that is cheating in a way.
Does this mean that I don’t love my husband as much as I thought I did? He is in the military and he will always be away (I don’t know if I can deal with that, I am very lonely). I know this is my fault because I should of thought about this before getting married, so I can’t really use this as an excuse. Please give me some advice!
Related Article: Married but Falling In Love with Another Man
You are right, you are cheating at the level of "thought" and "intent." The best thing to do is: remain true to your husband, while you are still married to him.
QUESTION: What kind of man will be an accomplice to adultery.
Face the fact that this man that you are tempted by, and constantly think about, is not a man of high character. Does this man know you are married? Is this man encouraging you to be physically intimate with him? By tempting you to betray your marriage vows, he is revealing his lack of character.
If you choose to cheat, and then eventually divorce your present husband, and marry the man you cheated with, . . . what is to keep both of you from cheating again? Face this Fact: If you can't stay true to your present husband, you will most likely NOT stay true to your next husband either.
That is why I advise you to . . . NOT CHEAT and stay true to your present husband, as long as he is your husband. You can gain perspective into your situation by learning about the Highest Kind of LOVE: The Kind of Love that Will Last!
In answer to your question about "Does this mean that I don’t love my husband as much as I thought I did?" People who fall in and out of love . . . will also fall in and out of relationships; this is why Falling In Love is NOT the highest kind of love. The highest kind of love includes commitment. And it is your "commitment" to your husband that is lacking, . . . so much so, that you are allowing yourself to "constantly" think about another man -- who is NOT your husband.
The question of "who do I love more?" is a wrong question to entertain, for there will ALWAYS BE relationship alternatives that appear MORE exciting than the relationship you are presently IN. Yes, this means you can ever-allow yourself to "fall in love" with hundreds of men through the years, even though you are married.
Remember, people who Cheat NOW . . . will most likely Cheat LATER. Just as fish swim, Cheaters will Cheat, and the cheating cycle will never end until living with integrity becomes more important than selfishly indulging in momentary pleasure.
The allure of new relationships will b ever-tempting in the future. This means, if you dump your present husband and marry the man that seems exciting RIGHT NOW . . . eventually, down the line, if you don't make "commitment" a foundational part of your LOVE, then you will fall in and out of love and fall in and out of relationships, endlessly.
Now, if you are having absolutely NO RELATIONSHIP with your husband, because he's always gone, choosing to stay TRUE does NOT necessarily mean you must remain in your "lonely" life. Getting married typically means having a satisfying, loving relationship with a person who is PRESENT most of the time; marriage must mean MORE than simply being tied to another via legal documents.
Having little or NO RELATIONSHIP with your husband, because he's always GONE, may be grounds for annulment — especially if the future looks like things will not get any better. You need to be honest here, and NOT rationalize away reality -- one way or the other. You need to do some soul-searching, and determine whether being married to a Military man is something that will ever work for you.
In the mean time, stay true to your husband, until he no longer is your husband. This is the best course of action! If you choose the divorce/annulment option, the reasons need to be focused in the LACK of relationship and the prospects of NOT having realistic TIME for a relationship in the future. Your reason for divorce/annulment should NOT be about the "other man" at all.
Put this other man out of the picture completely while you are married; push aside thoughts of all other men completely, until such time that you are legally SINGLE. Remember, any man who would entice you OUT of your current marriage, is a man who will likely CHEAT on you, when his relationship with YOU becomes routine.
Matt Moody, Ph.D.
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