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Wendy MFT
Wendy MFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 16
Experience:  15 years experience counseling couples, families, and individuals.
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I have a personal trainer Ive been with for about 3 months

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I have a personal trainer I've been with for about 3 months now. She is married and I'm in a long term 5 year relationship with my partner. I told my trainer that I had a partner when I first started with her. I am gay which she is aware of. However, I became attracted to my trainer and flirted a bit with her. At first she seemed to not take it to well but I then stopped. She then started to flirt with me. I feel we laugh and smile a lot around each other and I feel there is an attraction. As time has passed we have started talking after our training and I have felt a deep connection with her. I also asked her to coffee which she wants to go however she hasn't told me when. The problem is I feel I have fallen in love with her and it hurts to know this has happened. I feel ashamed because I have a partner whom I am committed to. I also do respect that she is married and realize that I should have never flirted with her to begin with. My training sessions are almost over and I feel a deep connection with her that I don't want to lose. She hugs me and tells me she loves me after our work outs. I am assuming this is as a friend. She is a very affectionate person or at least with me she is. I feel a lot of pain because of my feelings for her and I'm not sure they are reciprocated. I am also ashamed of feeling this way for someone other than my partner. I'm not sure if I should tell my trainer my feelings or distance myself from her completely. Maybe in time the feelings will diminish. However I'm afraid every time I see her it will cause me pain. Any advice on this situation would be appreciated. Thank you
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Wendy MFT replied 1 year ago.

Wendy MFT :

Hi there!

Wendy MFT :

Give me a minute to read over your question and I'll be with you in a minute.

Customer:

Hi

Customer:

Okay thank you

Wendy MFT :

Wow! That's a really tough situation.

Wendy MFT :

And I hate that you are ashamed for feeling the way you do.

Customer:

Yes

Customer:

I think because I'm in a relationship and she is married so I shouldn't feel that way.

Wendy MFT :

There is no reason for you to be ashamed of your feelings - any of them. This may sound cliche or like "pop psychology" but the truth is, we can't control what feelings we have.

Wendy MFT :

There's no such thing as GOOD or BAD or RIGHT or WRONG ways to feel. It is what it is.

Wendy MFT :

But...

Customer:

I am confused at what she wants but at the same time I don't know what to say to her.

Wendy MFT :

What we can control is whether or not and how we act on them.

Customer:

Yes that's true

Wendy MFT :

So here's my question to you: are you considering starting a relationship with her?

Customer:

Part of me would like to see how she is as a person outside the gym. However, I assume she is straight and she is married. I don't know what her intentions are or if she even feels anything for me.

Wendy MFT :

Okay then, so how would knowing this information that you are seeking change your life?

Customer:

I would like to know her better but I feel she is reluctant to go any further. I asked her to coffee and she told me we would definitely go after our training session sometime. She hasn't mentioned it since but she is very busy

Wendy MFT :

So bear with me here. I'm not trying to be evasive or confusing...I want to take you through this line of questioning to really help you see where this is going and wha tyou really want.

Customer:

It might end my relationship but maybe I don't know what I want from my trainer.

Customer:

yes I see

Customer:

She has two kids and has a husband. It's probably not a good idea. Wouldn't you say?

Wendy MFT :

Okay great. So, are you okay with the possibility that it might end your relationship? How are you and your partner doing these days?

Customer:

We are okay. Since my feelings for this trainer have started I feel I don't connect with my partner much.

Wendy MFT :

On its face, I would say that it's probably not a good idea, but I want help you think about some other things as well, if that's okay. (You don't have to). :-)

Customer:

Yes

Customer:

So how can I get rid of these feelings for her? I shouldn't pursue a friendship?

Wendy MFT :

Let me give my take on what is generally going on in these situations...although I can't say for sure if this is what's going on for you. You can be the judge of that.

Customer:

okay thank you

Wendy MFT :

Often times when we are in a committed relationship and we find ourselves being attracted to someone else, it can mean that there is something "missing" in our relationship with our partner. Unfortunately, we're often in denial about the fact that something is bothering us, or feels missing. So, in essence, you can almost use the fact that you are feeling attracted to someone else as a "signal" that there may be something wrong in your relationship, in which case, you might need to ponder on that for a while and see if you've been "stuffing" some feelings about your partner or the relationship.

Wendy MFT :

I'm not saying that you don't truly have feelings for your trainer, but first, I would want to double-check myself and my committed relationship to see what's really going on there.

Wendy MFT :

As far as getting rid of the feelings....that's a real tough one. But I can assure you that pursuing a friendship will only make the feelings stronger.

Wendy MFT :

It won't help them go away.

Wendy MFT :

There's some things you can do to help yourself with the feelings, though.

Customer:

Yes that's true. I am really into health a lot. My partner is not. I guess this woman I felt a connection with because of her commitment to health and fitness. I realized that I really desire that in a partner. However my partner has so many other beautiful qualities. I have been really trying to focus on my partner and her qualities.

Wendy MFT :

Ahhh.. That makes perfect sense, then.

Customer:

I think also my question is wondering if she has feelings for me. I feel a deep connection with her and she has confided in me regarding some of her personal life with her family.

Wendy MFT :

So, one thing you really connect with her on is health and fitness. And that's clearly something you want for yourself as well (and your partner).

Customer:

yes

Wendy MFT :

Let me give you another little tidbit and then I'll talk more about your wondering if she has feelings for you, okay?

Customer:

yes

Customer:

I should probably just leave my trainer alone. I do know it would cause more heartache down the line. Its hard because I am really attracted to her and feel I want to be with her.

Wendy MFT :

Most of the time, when we are attracted to someone else, we are subconsciously attracted to character traits in them that we want for ourselves. (I know, this is not something anyone teaches us, but it's so true!). So an exercise you could do is write down the qualities about your trainer that you really like (you've already mentioned her commitment to health, but maybe there's more), and see where in yourself you are hoping to achieve or obtain those qualities as well. I guess what I'm trying to say is that so often, people are more of symbolic representations to us than they are as concrete as we think they are. So the question would be, what does your trainer represent to you on a symbolic level? If you can find what that is, you can then take that "gift" with you and always be thankful to that person for the gift they gave you.

Wendy MFT :

This exercise will take some time and deep thought, but I think it may help settle your mind as far as your struggle with the feelings you have for her.

Wendy MFT :

So, let's get to your question about whether or not she has feelings for you. Hypothetically, let's say she says yes. Then what do you do?

Wendy MFT :

What if she says no? What will that do with the friendship you've built?

Customer:

Yes, I realize there are a lot of qualities in her that I don't necessarily have. Her personality is what I am attracted to. If she says no then it would be embarrassing and I would feel like I never wanted to go to that gym again.

Customer:

If she says yes then a part of me would think that it's not such a good idea. I sometimes think what if she and I could end up together. But, I then think that is just the infatuation that I feel for her.

Wendy MFT :

Okay. Great that you recognize that. I really want you to do that exercise I mentioned. As for what if she says no: that would be pretty devastating towards you being able to reach your goals - one of which is health and fitness.

Customer:

Maybe she sees me as just a friend. A part of me thinks that maybe she has no idea what feelings I have for her. However, she has to know by the way I look at her.

Wendy MFT :

And you may be right about the infatuation part of it. Sometimes those feelings are very powerful, but they can somewhat "cloud" reality.

Wendy MFT :

And you're right, maybe she does just see you as a friend. But I think it's important that you decide what you really want first, before you act on anything. The good news is, there's no absolutely NO RUSH to act on your feelings. Isn't that comforting? :-)

Wendy MFT :

Sometimes we get caught up in feeling like we just have to do something about the way we feel, but if you can sit with your feelings for a while, maybe even a month after the training sessions stop, you might come to a very peaceful place of knowing what you need to do.

Customer:

I guess the pain I am feeling by not being closer to her has triggered me to contemplate possibly telling her.. I am disappointed that I feel she has showed interest in me and she hasn't mentioned going out yet. Then again, maybe its better that we never do.

Customer:

Yes, that is good to know. I feel that if my training sessions stop I may not talk to her or have that connection. If I try to connect to her outside the gym I'm not sure what she will think. Im not sure if she will reject me.

Customer:

I suppose it's not a good idea to sign up for more sessions. I sometimes can't even concentrate on what we are doing because I'm thinking about her.

Wendy MFT :

I can tell this is very painful for you. We all want the object of our affection to reciprocate! Here is a link to an article that I'd like you to read, because it may help you understand that what is going on for you is also based on the chemistry of your brain and body. It's quite fascinating stuff, but knowing it can perhaps ease your mind. http://www.positscience.com/brain-resources/brain-facts-myths/brain-in-love

Wendy MFT :

I think you're on the right track. I get the sense that you REALLY know what is the most "grounded" thing for you to do, but you're struggling with it because your feelings for her as so powerful.

Customer:

Thanks a lot, I will check it out.

Customer:

Yes, do you think its better we don't go for coffee?

Customer:

What hurts is not knowing what she feels

Wendy MFT :

At this point, probably not. How about you give it a month after sessions stop and you just go to the gym and work on YOU, and YOU only. During that month time, also try re-connecting with your partner, and seeing if there isn't something else missing. Maybe your attraction to your trainer is an indicator that you're really not okay with being someone who is not into being healthy. That's a big part of lifestyle, and you can't discount it.

Customer:

I feel that she led me on

Customer:

yes that's a good point

Wendy MFT :

So, if you can begin to think of your trainer as someone who held up a "mirror" to you and your life, the way you feel about her could be leading you to some personal growth or changes that need to made in your life. If you can try to direct your thoughts there (and to what you want to work on for YOU) every time you find yourself thinking of her, it may help you.

Wendy MFT :

It's a matter of ret-training your thought patterns, and it takes conscious effort. Easier said than done, but it can really end up being a very beneficial thing for you.

Customer:

With doing that my feelings may change for her?

Customer:

So it's hard to say what she is feeling, correct?

Wendy MFT :

I think they will, to a point where you may actually be able to be very good friends!

Wendy MFT :

And yes, it's really hard to say what she's feeling. We can misinterpret others' cues, body language, tone of voice, etc. very easily.

Customer:

Yes that's true.

Wendy MFT :

And you have to consider, personal training involves the body and being in close proximity, so there's a certain level of intimacy involved there. You cross into each others' "personal space" in a way that's normally not sanctioned. But it's appropriate in this context. I'm sure that adds to the attractions.

Customer:

I would assume she would know what I was feeling by asking her out to coffee but maybe she sees it as friends?

Wendy MFT :

I think she may very well see it as friends. I know a lot of people who really feel attached to their trainers because of what they do for them in their lives. especially if there's been profound changes for you, the client.

Customer:

You think I may have misinterpreted her behavior towards me? Possibly?

Wendy MFT :

It could be that she's just a very gregarious person, which is probably what makes her good at what she does and I would imagine a lot of people are attracted to her for that. You could have misinterpreted it.

Wendy MFT :

But you can't know for sure unless you ask, and think we've determined that's probably not a good idea right now. :-)

Customer:

Yes, but you don't think she notices my behavior towards her?

Wendy MFT :

She may. But she is also trying to set boundaries with you in not agreeing to coffee until after you're done training.

Wendy MFT :

It sounds like there is definitely a connection between the two of you, but it might not be in the same way you're feeling it. Does that make sense?

Customer:

Yes

Wendy MFT :

Well, I hope this has all been helpful for you. I have enjoyed chatting with you, and I truly hope that you can take into consideration some of the things I've said and the suggestions I've made, and that they will be helpful. The biggest things to remember are: don't feel ashamed of how you feel; and, just give it time. There's no need to rush anything!

Customer:

It is painful to realize that maybe she doesn't.

Wendy MFT :

Is there anything else I can help you with?

Wendy MFT :

I know, but that is not necessarily reflective of YOU.

Customer:

No, that's it. Thank you

Wendy MFT :

If you feel I've been helpful and you are 100% satisfied, please provide me with a positive rating so that I can receive credit for my expertise and time. Please feel free to ask for me again in the future if you want to follow up on this same issue. :-) Take care and hang in there!

Customer:

okay thanks a lot. I appreciate it.

Wendy MFT :

You're welcome!!

Wendy MFT, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 16
Experience: 15 years experience counseling couples, families, and individuals.
Wendy MFT and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Wendy MFT replied 1 year ago.
Hi Haley!

So, how are you hanging in there? Have you been able to use any of the "mind tricks" I talked about to help yourself refocus your energies on YOU when you are feeling sad and and have "longing" feelings towards your trainer?

I hope so. If you have a chance and you're interested, give me a little update on how you're doing. I'd love to hear from you...

~Wendy
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Hi Wendy, well to be honest I have tried to really think about your advice but it's been hard. Today was my last day of training with her. I still feel there is something there but not sure. I asked her to coffee again which she told me to text her now to set up a time. At times I feel she is unsure. She sent me a text the other night asking how I was and then I responded to her. She then never text me back. I really don't like feeling this way. I'm going to try and take your advice and wait. Its really difficult because I really have strong feelings for her. I want to text her but I'm afraid of being rejected. I'm not sure what she would say. I can assure you I feel there is something there but I try to also tell myself what you told me. I appreciate your follow up. I wouldn't mind your advice. I sometimes feel this has taken over a large portion of my life which I don't like. I don't want to waste my time and energy on her but I keep thinking about our connection.

Expert:  Wendy MFT replied 1 year ago.
Hi again, Haley. Sorry to hear that this is still so difficult for you, but that doesn't surprise me! It is a really tough situation. It's hard to just sit and be patient.

I hear what you are saying about how much time and energy has been spent on her and how you feel about her. I don't think that it will necessarily be wasted if you are able to use the feelings to get to the more "unconscious" thoughts and feelings that are driving the attraction. (I hope that makes sense). So I'm wondering if you've done that little exercise I mentioned. That was intended to help you get to those unconscious thoughts, etc. Also, have you given any more thought, focus, or energy to your relationship with your partner and what may be going on there, maybe find what's missing for you? Let me know, and we can go from there.

Thanks so much for checking back in with me. It's good to hear how you're doing. I'll look forward to hearing from you again.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I think Wendy there is some thing missing from my relationship. I'm not sure how to go about all this. I agree that maybe there are qualities in my trainer that I find attractive. I guess this is why opposites attract? I mean it happens all the time one person finds another with qualities that maybe they don't have and vice versa. So what does that mean for me? I happen to be attracted to her and would like a relationship with her but I'm struggling with that. My partner also has many qualities that I found attractive and still do. I'm not sure what is missing with my current partner. I find I have a lot of chemistry with my trainer and I feel there is an attraction. I guess in respecting my relationship with my partner I need to let this go. I love my partner but sometimes I feel sucked into this feeling with my trainer. I feel bad at times because I think how hurt I would be if my partner had developed feelings for someone other than me. I want to ask though, what do you mean by seeing my trainers qualities that maybe I want for myself? In what way does that help me?

Expert:  Wendy MFT replied 1 year ago.
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Customer: replied 11 months ago.


Hi Wendy. I just wanted to get some feedback from you. Some things have happened since we last talked. I feel a great sadness and guilt for my feelings. I love my partner and feel torn. I did try to do what you suggested. I still try to do it. It makes sense but it doesn't seem to diminish my feelings for my trainer. A week after our training sessions ended I saw her at the gym. She had a look that she really wanted to connect with me. She told me she was wanting to text me. She started asking me questions about my classes that I take. I text her that night and she told me she felt she missed me a lot. I asked her to go to coffee the following week. We met but briefly. While having coffee she seemed slightly anxious . We talked mostly about her mom who has been ill for some time. Anyways, I text her three days later to see if she wanted to meet again. She replied with a great amount of excitement and told me she would be available this week, and maybe wanted to do lunch. I told her in the text we can do whatever you want and that I liked talking to her. I text her last night and she seemed tired. She told me she was exhausted because she had just got back from three day exam to get pilates certified. I asked her if she was available this week. She told me she had to check her schedule and get back to me. The thing is I feel she is sort of pulling away from me. Its a gut feeling. The feel a sense of anxiety because I have these feelings for her and I'm not sure if she just is now aware of it? I'm not sure if she suddenly feels its not a good idea for us to meet? I also feel anxiety over my partner. I love her and feel pain every time I look at her. I feel like I have cheated on her even though I have not literally. I don't know what to do. I guess I feel anxiety because I have feelings for my trainer and I'm afraid she has decided she doesn't want to see me? Or maybe I'm looking into it too much. I don't know. I also want to know one thing. Is it possible to love two people? Thanks for your advice. I appreciate it.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
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