Love, Heartbreak

What To Do And How To Deal If You're In Love With Someone Who's In A Relationship

In Love With Someone Who's Taken? Let's Unpack That.

It can happen so many different ways, and even sometimes by complete accident. Having a connection with another human is special because it doesn’t happen so easily. When it does, we naturally want to explore that connection.

But what happens when that other person is already in a committed relationship? What happens when you find yourself loving someone who doesn't love you back? With the help of relationship guru and author Londin Angel Winters, we’re here to help you navigate this heart-wrenching experience.

There are dangers of chasing unavailable and unrequited love. Let us first reassure you that you’re not alone in having these feelings. Many people find themselves entangled from either a distance — or in the full, passionate throws of an affair — with someone who’s clearly in a committed relationship with someone else.

RELATED: 22 Of The Greatest, Most Powerful Quotes On Unrequited Love

The fact that this happens doesn’t make it healthy, though. In fact, becoming involved with someone who’s taken is indicative of some deep-seated personal issues that do require some unpacking.

“[First], the best approach is to recognize that you attract your reciprocal. Ninety percent of the time, choosing someone who is taken is the mark of a veiled fear of full commitment. In other words, you are purposely choosing the situation even though it may not feel like that,” says Winters. “Look at where you yourself are unavailable. For example, you say you want love but maybe you are secretly terrified to put your heart on the line, so you unconsciously pick [unavailable] partners.”

It’s very important for you to experience that lightbulb moment of, “I intentionally chose someone unavailable and I need to figure out why.” It’s also important to recognize that if the other person has fully engaged in an illicit relationship with you, they realistically aren’t doing it with the end-goal to end up with you. And even if they did enter the relationship with that thought, the situation sets your new relationship up on a very shaky foundation.

“We fantasize that when that person becomes available, all will work out, but it’s rarely the case,” Winters advises. “I see time and time again that things fall apart as soon as the person becomes available. This is because most people who seek unrequited love don’t actually know how to show up to the moment when love becomes available. Recognize this is a serious hook and can tie up your heart for a painfully long and lonely time.”

Usually, this is a case of both parties not wanting to deal with the reality of a real relationship that involves heartbreak, unwavering devotion, future-planning, and lovingly dealing with the normal struggles of long-term love (like unmet needs and bad days).

People who live in fantasy usually don’t want to deal with reality. Once you learn how to face the discomfort of real love, you can stop facing the pain of unrequited love,” she says. In other words, stop chasing what’s unavailable and open your heart to real love.

RELATED: Why You Will Never Be Enough For The Wrong Heart

Again, you’re not alone, you’re not a failure, and you do have hope for being in a loving, rewarding romantic partnership. This takes self-awareness and a deliberate effort to redirect your love toward someone who’s available.

“It always comes down to facing your fear of intimacy,” says Winters. “Are you holding on to a wound that is stopping you from embracing real love? Do the personal work of overcoming your resistance to being in relationship. Make a list of your deepest fears. Look at your past experiences.”

You can approach this in numerous ways. There’s a gamut of self-help books and online literature that can guide you. You can also speak with a therapist who knows the right questions to ask to help you figure out what’s holding you back from finding real, true love. If you thrive in group settings, there are also intimacy workshops that equip you with tools to stand in front of an available partner and open your heart without fear.

Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this case isn't special. We know what you’re thinking, but you love this person. This could be the one for you — your soulmate, your one-and-only.

You feel amazing when you’re with this person, and they may have even promised a future with you. It’s hard to rip that bandage off, but it’s important to recognize that this is not a relationship that’s set up for success.

“It’s easy to get caught up in wanting ‘that person,’ but when you are fixed on a certain person it’s very hard to see your own pathology in the situation. When you get stuck in an unrequited love dynamic, especially over and over again with different people, it’s much easier to face the fact that you are creating your own block,” Winters warns. “While it can be depressing to face this, it’s incredibly liberating because it gives you a chance to change things and finally call in a real relationship.”

Winters adds that she’s seen people overcome their blocks and call in true love all the time. But remember: you deserve to have the kind of relationship where you get to share a world, a home, and a life with someone who loves you deeply in return.

RELATED: The Real (Sad) Reason We Cling So Hard To Unrequited Love

Wendy Rose Gould is a freelance lifestyle reporter based in Phoenix, Arizona. She contributes to NBC, Refinery29, Brides, Allure, Spotlyte, Total Beauty, Soko Glam, and others.