Day after day, I suffer in silence with the agony of a forbidden love. I don’t know what to do. My love is real, and I have never felt a love so intense as what I feel for him. But I know that there is a great woman who doesn’t deserve to be hurt.
I have tried to put an end to this love, but I can’t. I need help. I love him, but I cannot be happy at the expense of another person’s suffering.
Every day I ask God for strength to leave him, even though it causes me great pain. Should I do that?
We are so glad that you have shared your problem with us! Many people in your situation would follow their feelings and not stop to consider the consequences. But you have told us that you are thinking of the woman who would be hurt. We congratulate you for that! You are able to think of someone other than yourself, even though it hurts you to do so. You say that you know that you would not be able to be happy if it meant hurting her. We wish that more people in the world would care so much about others.
We don’t know much about you except that you are smart enough to think things through. You care about others and you have a good conscience. That’s a great place to start and it puts you far ahead of many other people.
Now let’s consider your feelings. Feelings come from emotions. Emotions are not good or bad. Some people are said to be more emotional, either because their feelings are more intense or because they more frequently base their decisions on their feelings rather than on logic. Some even claim that they can’t control their emotions, and then use their emotions as an excuse to get what they want, no matter who they hurt along the way. Many people make horrible decisions based on their emotions and then they complain because their lives are in a mess.
Emotions alone are not sufficient to make ANY decision. History is replete with examples of people who have suffered the consequences of decisions based on emotions alone. King David of Israel had a son named Amnon. Amnon was so in love with his half‑sister, Tamar, that he could not wait the length of time it would have taken to get permission to marry her. Instead, he raped her. But once he had done that, his love instantly turned into intense hatred. “In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her.” 1 This is a perfect example of how emotions are fickle and cannot be trusted. If love can turn into hate in an instant, then how could anyone ever base their decisions on it?
How many couples might there be who were once deeply in love, but now they can’t stand to be in the same room together? Their immense love has turned to hate. The one who they once would have given their life for is now repugnant to them.
You feel strong love for this man now, but that does not mean that you should act on that love. On the contrary, because you are a thinking and caring person, you must bury that love in some dark cemetery of your mind and never go back to visit it. Find a different object of your love and visit there instead. Is there a hospital for children near you? Go and visit sick children and share your love with them. Is there an organization in your local area that helps the poor? Donate your time to feeding and clothing the less fortunate. You have a great deal of love to give the world, but it won’t happen while you’re focusing on a love that can ruin your life and the lives of others.
Your emotions do not have to control you!
1 2Sa 13:15