What do we do when we fall for someone who belongs to another? In this instance, I am specifically referring to someone who is not married, but in a committed relationship. There seems to be a clear taboo against going for a married person but it seems to be that it could be that prior to saying the big “I do” the saying that “it’s all fair in love and war” might apply more so than after a or the person is married.

After all, there is a widely held belief that marriage is supposed to be permanent–though we know that this is not always the case, we’d like to think so. So going forward with this belief, it is said that it’s better to change one’s mind about one’s partner before rather than after someone is permanently yoked–however there’s something about this which can be distasteful–since acquiring someone who belongs to someone else seems in a sense like a violation.

It would be better to find and fall for someone who was available in the first place and not invite the unique complications which falling for an unavailable person and not feel guilty for taking something which does not rightfully belong to us. Of course, if this situation happens to someone else, a friend for instance, the answer is straightforward: Don’t go there.

However, when we find ourselves in this situation, it’s another matter entirely. It becomes an inner battle where we end up asking ourselves the tough questions which were so easy to answer when it did not apply to us. It’s a matter of wrestling with our inner demon and wondering whether we should give in and pursue what might construe as our heart’s desire.

I had asked myself this question when I found myself in the situation where I was developing feelings for someone who was on a “cool off” from a committed relationship. (And for that matter, what is a cool off really? Can someone define that? A break-up by any other name…) After some serious thinking about the nature of cool-offs and break-ups with the result that they are almost one and the same thing, albeit one is sugar-coated, I felt that it might not be “so wrong” to explore possibilities with this person.

Enjoying the getting to know stage was heady, however, questions still had to be asked since it could not be denied that a cool off might mean that there was still the other person in the picture. However, it was hard to not notice the speed bumps along the way and some resistance to the process of getting to know each other better, and with much resistance, I was compelled to ask the hard questions as to whether the said person was indeed truly available.

As the flirting was fun and made me feel special, I was reluctant for this experience to potentially end through ascertaining whether the coast was clear and whether the other person was out of the picture, but I thought that it might be better to find out earlier before more time is expended. I eventually found out that they were “back together” and “better than ever.” Alarm bells started ringing in my head, and as much as there was much encouragement on the other person’s part to keep up the playful banter, I had to put my foot down and beg off.

Now, I did not know whether I owe this to the sprouting of newfound morals or to a sense of self-preservation, but it did not seem right to be in an ambiguous situation when the person is unavailable. In a sense it felt like folding too early but at the same time it also felt right because I did not want to be the person who wonders what it would be like to gain someone fairly and squarely. Of course, life isn’t as clear cut as that and I could easily have gone the other way–which is why it boggles me that I’ve chosen this path.

Realistically speaking, my chances weren’t so bad but I really chafed at the idea of having to “win” someone’s love in this manner when there is a rival whose had a huge head start. I wondered whether it was really worth it to go about it in this manner? And I think when it got right to the heart of it, I doubted how much I really want this person in the first place.

Did I want this person enough to go for it? I could not answer the question. If he is happy with his current partner, who am I to mess with something good, especially since I cannot guarantee that I would be able to provide the same level of affection.  If he isn’t [happy with his current partner], the same question still stands as to whether I would be able to meet my own expectations in being a “good partner” (whatever that means).

All this logic is well and good until I see them together and the melee of emotions come rushing in, and once again, I find myself wondering: What do I do? Was it right to have taken myself out of “the game” early? And I wish that I had the “right” answer for this but I don’t. It’s really never that easy when we deal with “messy” emotions, and I suspect that we won’t ever really know what the right thing is and we’ll just have to wing it–as we do much of life.  Shall we just roll the dice?

(c) Niconica 2011*

*does not apply to image/s