I am in love with a married man, what should I do?

My answer at first was just going to be “Write to Dear Abby. This is not my territory.” Then I realized I did have a few thoughts to put forward in response to this. First, let me rephrase the question so it is less sexist: I am in love with someone who is in a committed relationship, what should I do?

Second, is it love or lust? Lust objectifies the other person and your own pleasure becomes the primary factor in your thought process. Love will do what is good for the other person, even if it means foregoing personal pleasures.

Third, what does marriage/committed relationship mean to you? Dear Abby’s famous advice that relates here was basically if you marry someone who cheated on a previous relationship in order to date you, then you have married someone who cheats on relationships, period. There are some success stories when it comes to second or third marriages, but most often Abby’s advice is valid. Someone who cannot keep a commitment with one person will probably not keep it with anyone.

Marriage is not like dating at a singles bar, talking to the person in front of you but keeping an eye on the front door in case someone hotter comes in. The marriage commitment, or any other form of commitment, should not be taken lightly. The marriage ceremony includes public vows for a reason. It is a declaration that a relationship has been pledged and everyone else should respect that.

Marriages do fall apart. That has always been true. If a marriage fails, it should be because the individuals in the marriage have changed in such a way that the relationship cannot/should not continue. It shouldn’t be because another person has enticed one away from the marriage.

If we truly love someone who is married then we should leave him or her alone to celebrate their love, not act selfishly to satisfy ourselves. If the marriage breaks apart on its own, then proceed with caution.