How to Cope in a Love Triangle – Help for the “Other” Man or Woman

by Relationship Coach Rinatta Paries on October 30, 2005

in Affairs,Articles on Break-ups and Divorce,Articles on Marriage,Articles on Relationships

Disclaimer: The following article is for the “other” person in an affair or a love triangle. Before I get a slew of angry email asking me how I can condone affairs, let me just say that affairs and love triangles happen. Being a coach I do not judge people but try to help them. Given that love triangles and affairs happen, the people in these situations need help and support, just like people in any other complicated relationship situation. This article does just that – it offers help and support to the people who need it.

Support for the “Other Person in an Affair: are you the “other” man or woman in an affair and looking for support? Visit for support.

To be in love with someone who is in a primary relationship or marriage with someone else can be the most excruciating and at the same time the most seemingly beautiful experience of your life.

The experience is excruciating because it is hard to stop or change it. It ensnares you in a situation that you may not be able to get out for a long time, one you may in fact not want to get out of. Your inability to make the situation into exactly what you want makes you suffer.

The experience is beautiful because the person that you are having the relationship with seems like your perfect, ideal partner — your soulmate. There is a very special connection between the two of you. The attention from your loved one and the way he or she feels about you is deeply satisfying. The bond between the two of you seems magical.

In spite of the beauty and the connection in the relationship, you suffer tremendously. It’s as if you are on a roller coaster ride, up one moment and more in love then you have ever been, down the next and in more despair then you have ever felt.

Below you will discover the reasons you are suffering in your relationship and coping strategies to ease your suffering.

#1 Reason for your suffering – you think your loved one is “the one”

At times you want to leave the situation, but you don’t feel you can – you feel your loved one is “the one”, the intended one for you. Not being able to be together with your “the one” all of the time causes you pain. But when you try to leave, you feel agony. The pain of having a part-time relationship is great, the pain of leaving is even greater. The pain you feel when thinking of leaving or trying to leave reaffirms to you that your loved on is in fact “the one”.

Coping strategy to consider:
What if this person you are in love with is not “the one”, not your soulmate? What if this relationship is only a step — a big, significant step – but not “the one”? What if you are not trapped in the situation, waiting for your intended one to extricate him- or herself from someone who is not “the one”?

In fact you are not trapped. You feel trapped because you feel the person you are with is “the one”, and that you cannot let him or her go.

How do you know if he or she is “the one”? The pain of trying to leave is not a reliable way to tell. That pain can be attributed to other reasons, such as your deep fear of being alone – which most people have – or how much of your needs are getting met in the relationship and how much you don’t want to let that go.

You will only know looking back if your loved one was “the one” for you. Most people with love triangles in their past say their loved one turned out to not be their soulmate. When the suffering gets to be too much, start to wonder if in fact your loved one is your “intended one.”

#2 Reason for your suffering – you think there won’t be another love after this relationship

You are suffering because this love feels like your only chance at the kind of love that everyone dreams about. Even more, it’s hard to imagine being in a relationship and being satisfied with anyone else.

And so you are trapped.

All of your needs are not getting met in your relationship, yet all the while you are not free, nor do you want to be free, to get them met elsewhere. In fact, you don’t think there could be or will be anyone else to meet your needs in such a way again, to love you this well.

Coping strategy to consider:
What if there can be love even deeper than your feelings now, a love where you share ordinary moments with a special person, instead of only special moments stolen in secret?

Start to wonder if the whole package of your needs could be met in another relationship. People do find happy, fulfilling, loving primary relationships.

When the suffering about being alone yet again, at night or on holidays, gets going, focus on the fact that in the future you will have a loving relationship where your needs will be met.

If you need to, say to yourself a thousand times that you will be happy, your heart will be happy and all of your needs will be met. You just don’t know by whom yet.

#3 Reason for your suffering – you stifle your anger

Another reason you may be suffering [click to read more…]

Support for the “Other Person in an Affair: are you the “other” man or woman in an affair and looking for support? Visit for support.


Love Coach Rinatta March 24, 2009 at 8:46 am

If you would like to comment on this post please go to my new other person support site

sasha March 24, 2009 at 4:19 am

I am in a relationship with a guy who has a girlfriend of 8 years, but lately they have been having problems and he realized that he wants out of the relationship with her. She is not willing to accept that its over and is using emotional blackmail to make him stay with her e.g. she says she will kill herself!

He says he wants to be free to be with me but with her not accepting its becoming difficult, more so as he is in a different country now for work (my country). He feels ending a 8 year relationship over the phone is not fair but I don’t see any other way because he won’t be going back for at least 3 months and he can’t pretend he is with her all this time.

As for me I’m dealing with my own emotions, I want him to be free, I want a single man…and till it ends I dont know what I should do.

He says he needs my love and support right now to resolve this but I am hurting too. What would be the right thing to do?

Love Coach Rinatta March 19, 2009 at 1:11 pm

Support for the “Other Person in an Affair: are you the “other” man or woman in an affair and looking for support? Visit

fata morgana March 11, 2009 at 12:34 am

We met on skype. This was more than half a year ago. At some stage after we met he told me he is married with three kids. It was too late to find out, we were both in love. We only was each other 3 times, as he leaves in another country. We are in contact every few hours of the day, knowing everything about each other. If we stop contact there is panic.
His wife knows about me and is trying to be the perferct wife to keep him- that is what he says. He is convinced they are not compatable and he married the wrong person. However, as her behaviour is now corrected he cannot leave. I do not want to be a side for him, and only be able to hear from him when he can steal time. I have tried and tried to stop contact but he persuades me into it again and again. I am often crying and unhappy. he says lets just be positive. I can see this is a difficult journey for him and feel i cannot leave him with it. He needs me but i cannot cope. He says he cannot leave for someone not in the same city and with no perspective of ever being in the same city. I cannot adjust my future relative to a married man.
what need to happen to progress???

heartless January 30, 2009 at 3:51 pm

I’m stuck in this silly love triangle, i’ve tried sooo many times to get out of it,

It started last year, this boy, in my class, everyone was teasing me with him, at that time, i didn’t feel the same way, because i still had feelings for my ex-bf. Then, somehow i started to open my heart to him, then BAM! it all went wrong, he got back with his ex-gf, i couldn’t stop him, then their happiness, started to stab me, then somehow, he found out that i had feelings for him, and started treating me differently, we’d text until midnight or until we fall asleep, i knew it was wrong :/ then one day he asked if I liked him blablabla, and i had to tell the truth, because i know he knows the truth, at that time, his gf got her mobile confiscated, so i was the one he turned to everyday -.- he said things like “i know we would have been happier together rather than me with her, it’s your fault you let me go in the first place” and stuff, which i didn’t actually believed, but kinda wanted to. Then we’d hang out with our friends and my friends would force me to sit by him etc. till one day he said to my friend, that he loves his gf, but at the same time he likes me -.- i was really confused, he said to ME, his heart was 60% 40% me being the lower percentage. Every time they broke up, i thought it was the chance for me, i never did give up, until today, and I’m still trying, but I know I have no chance, he loves her too much :( i know the best way is to forget him, but i feel kinda empty without him around, and I didn’t want to blurt it out to my friends, i know what they are going to say, which is the opposite of what I don’t want to and can’t do.. I feel much better letting it all out here :)

RONY January 26, 2009 at 4:31 am



Abby January 17, 2009 at 5:47 am

I used to work with this guy about 9 years ago and there was always something there between us but we couldnt do anything about it as he had a girlfriend. We used to go out behind her back and see each other but nothing ever happened. Then we lost contact. Just before christmas we bumped into each other again and all those feelings for both of us came flooding back. We met up for a drink that night and he was honest with me and told me he was now married to this girl. However, something couldnt stop us and one thing lead to another and the next thing you know is he is telling me he loves me and i am telling him i love him. Over the last 4 weeks we have been stealing every minute together i have been going to work with him when im free and he has been lying to his wife to get out of the house to come and see me. However on wednesday night my phone rang and it was his wife wanting to no what was going on. The following day i got a text from him saying he was fine he just needs to be left alone adn i havent heard from him since. I dont know what to do caue i reall do love him.

Nicole January 16, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Ladies ,
I feel your pain. And I have to say- sometimes they do leave. It’s possible. But here is what is guaranteed- whatever character flaws, issues or deficiciencies you’ve found in your partner since you’ve been together will remain and will likely grow larger. Leaving his prmiary relationship won’t magically make everything better/perfect.

People only change when they want to (and when they get uncomfortable enough to), not becaue they should, or because they are hurting you, or because it’s the right thing to do or whatever. If a man is staying in an unfulfilling relationship because he’s too scared to leave, he will still be a coward even if he’s with you one day. If he’s a little loose with the truth, he will be that way with you too. Cause it’s not about you, or her. It’s all about him and how he handles his relationships.

I sympathize and empathize with all of you, very much. I’m simply saying- even if the ‘best’ case scenario occurs, he leaves for you, you will still likely not be happy with him.

Take care of yourselves, and find the strength to face your fears. It’s possible. Every relationship you ever have is really about you.

Mareka January 8, 2009 at 8:56 am

About 5 years ago, I met the man of my dreams (or so I thought). We went on dates, sent soppy text messages to one another and generally connected on a much more spiritual level than I have ever known. We kissed, many times. Two weeks later he tells me that he is engaged to someone else. Since then, I have been constantly ignoring this man and have recently deleted his number from my mobile.

Men like this disgust me. After all we had been through, he had no right to mess with me this way. He is currently living with this woman and his two children. Good luck to them. I hope that he feels shitty about how he has messed my head up. I feel very sorry for his kids and girlfriend. She still doesn`t know.

Love Coach Rinatta January 6, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Angela, there are always exceptions to the rule, but by and large affairs do not work out nor turn into full on primary relationships.

Angela January 6, 2009 at 1:28 pm

I have read some of the comments here, and very glad to know I’m not alone. I too am in love with a married man and have been together with him in some very hard times for almost a year now. The comments I have read say to get out of the relationship that it will never work and he will never leave, my question is has anyone gotten the one they love and are happy now???

fineliner November 25, 2008 at 5:45 pm

For the past few months, I have been involved with a MUCH older co-worker (25+ years older) who is married with two kids. We have a lot in common and I enjoy spending time with him. We have done almost everything BUT have sex (I have made it abundantly clear that I will not have sex with a married man). Although I don’t feel like he forces the issue, it definitely comes up during the heated moments.

I have mixed emotions that drive me crazy. At times, I find joy in spending time with him and being intimate; at other times, a horrible sense of guilt and regret come over me.

I know he will not leave his wife (nor would I want him to) and I don’t see any deeper relationship forming in the future. I don’t want to lose a friend, but I want to make it clear where my lines are drawn.

The Other Man November 9, 2008 at 10:27 pm

My situation
Hi all,

I am a married man, in love with another woman at work, who is also married. Strangely enough there is no pain, we are each others best friends and see each other every day, occassionally we sneek off to a hotel for some couple time. We still love our partners and because of this and the children from our marriages, we have agreed to keep our relationship discreet. There is occassionally a pang of jealousy but that is about the extent of any negative effects – so far. We both believe in the unconditional love that agape can provide, this philosophy makes us steadfast, in fact we are looking forward to going on a holiday with BOTH families around Christmas – we will of cause be in friend mode. From experience I can say, if you are planning or are at risk of having a long term affair, it works best if your potentional affair partner has as much to lose as you yourself do, also make sure you pick someone mentally together. Affairs occur because someones needs in a relationship are not being met.
Remember that moral standards only apply to the environments which we choose to live in, if your moral standards do not fit your current situation and leave you with feelings of guilt, you need to change one or the other.
The future
Don’t dwell on the past people, seriously – look and plan for the future. Those of you suffering, find a partner that fits your life needs, if you are in pain then something is not right, get out or fix it.

London lady November 1, 2008 at 9:28 pm

the more you brood over your unhappy current situation the worse it will get. Try to replace the negative feelings with ones of imagining your perfect life and the happiness that comes out of it!

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