Love is risky, and the only guarantee you’ll be happy is if you accept the fact that your new relationship may not work out. Here’s how.
These tips are inspired by a comment from a woman who is cheating on her husband, and scared her new relationship won’t work out…
“I have been so happy with [the younger man I’ve been cheating with] and feel like I am living life with all the intensity I could wish for. I also realized that I do like to have sex, but not with my husband. I don’t know what to do. I feel like I do not really love my husband like a wife should, but he is such a wonderful person. I don’t want to leave and hurt him. He does not know about the affair. I also feel like I don’t want to work on my marriage, go to marriage counseling, or even worse, sex therapy with my husband. This makes me feel guilty, too. I am scared of leaving. But I am not happy at home either. I also am scared about where my relationship with this new person goes. What if it does not work out?”
She left her comment on my article about regaining self-confidence in a relationship.
Her experience reminds me of John Updike’s quote, “We are most alive when we’re in love.”
What if your new relationship doesn’t work out?
Write down all the things you’ll face if your relationship fails. Take 30 minutes, and write down everything you fear, from “I won’t have the security of a sexless marriage AND a sexy new relationship” to “I’ll hurt my husband for no reason” to “I’m scared my new boyfriend will leave me.”
What are you scared of? Start naming and accepting your fears. This is the first step of figuring out what you’ll do if your new relationship doesn’t work out.
Start answering your fears
Look at all the things you wrote down. How will you cope with each individual fear? Write down two ways to cope with every problem you’ll face if your new relationship fails.
And, remember that you will find ways to cope that you didn’t think possible! You are stronger than you think, and you will survive this Big Risk. Love is a gamble, and there is no guarantee – whether you’re 40 and having an affair, or 16 and falling in love for the first time.
Learn how to live in uncertainty
I wrote quite a bit about co-existing with the fear of the unknown, in my article about How to Overcome Your Fear of Living Alone.
Would you rather live with the certainty that your current sexless marriage is dead and boring, or the uncertainty that your new relationship may not work out? You mentioned how alive you feel, how “intensely you’re living life.” Well, my friend, you can’t have intensity without risk!
The intensity you’re feeling is because of the risk, the scandal, the hidden love, the secret sex. What if you divorce your husband, move in with your boyfriend, and get tired of him? What if he gets tired of you? After all, you’re both riding the “high” of illicit sex and secret love.
So, you’re right to be worried that your relationship might not work out. Maybe it won’t. But maybe your marriage won’t work out either! Maybe your husband is having his own affair, or would be happier single.
The only answer I have to your question is: learn to live in uncertainty. This will be a big change for you, because you’re accustomed to living in security and familiarity.
Now you tell me: what will you do if your new relationship doesn’t work out?
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.