What If I’m In Love with Someone I Can’t Have?

Here is a Spiritual Conundrum submitted to Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life by a reader named xXxMajaxXx:

Is it possible to fall in love in heaven with a person you never met? I know this sounds crazy, but I am a very spiritual and normal person, so please answer me. I am in love with a man who is dead. He was a famous man and he was happily married. His wife is still alive. I have been in love with him for 4 years and: no, it is not just admiring, I am in love with him and that makes me so happy and inspired, it even got me threw some hard times. He visits me in my dreams very often and gives me some life-changing messages that have helped me in real life. I have previously read here that two people who have never met can be happily in love in heaven. Do you think that one day the two of us can be happily in love in heaven, is it possible that he would choose me over his wife? I strongly believe that true love is more powerful than death, but do you think I can deserve his love in return one day? Will he be able to see how perfect the two of us would be up there and will I be able to earn his love, so that he will pick me over his wife in heaven? I know this may sound crazy, but I am a very intelligent person, yet very spiritual, idealistic and deep. The article of yours that I have mentioned has given me hope. Please answer me this, thank you. God bless you!

Thanks for your conundrum, xXxMajaxXx. I’m sure you’re not the only person in the predicament of being in love with someone unattainable in this life—someone you have not even met. And I’m sure you’re not alone in hoping against hope that maybe in the future life you can be together with that person.

For background, here is the article xXxMajaxXx is referring to: “Can you Fall in Love in Heaven if you Haven’t Found Someone on Earth?” And while we’re at it, here’s another related article: “If You’ve been Married More than Once, Which One will you be With in the Afterlife?

And now I have good news, and I have bad news:

  • Based on what I wrote in those two articles, yes, it is possible that this could happen.
  • However, based on human reality, it is very unlikely that it actually will happen.

And yet, you can still look forward to a happy marriage in heaven with someone whom you love more than anyone else in the universe, and who feels the same way about you.

And maybe you can even find that person here on earth.

Is it possible?

Of course, I’m not God. I’m also not standing in your shoes, nor in the shoes of the man you are in love with. I don’t know anything more about your situation than what you have told me. So I can’t stand here and tell you that it’s not possible that you could be with this man in the afterlife.

Perhaps you truly are in love with him. Perhaps he truly is the man for you, and you truly are the woman for him. And perhaps that will become clear in the spiritual world. In that world, before long our true inner self is revealed, and we can see clearly exactly who we are, and exactly who we are at one with in spirit. (See: “What Happens To Us When We Die?”) It’s possible that you and he actually will be a spiritual match.

If so, then you have a lot of work to do.

Marriages don’t just happen. At least, not good ones. They require hard work and personal development. If you want to be the woman for him, you’re going to have to become the woman for him. And that means you’re going to have to work hard to develop yourself as a person. You are going to have to grow and develop and achieve your own best potential. You are going to have to become a woman who is a real match and an equal partner for this man whom you clearly love and respect as a person.

And really, developing yourself as a person is what you should be doing anyway. Our life here on earth is all about facing down and overcoming our personal flaws, shortcomings, and wrongs, and developing into a good, kind, thoughtful, intelligent, loving, and capable person who makes a solid contribution to society.

I can’t tell you that it’s impossible that you could ever be with this man in the afterlife.

But I can tell you that if that is your aspiration and belief, you had better go full steam ahead in developing and growing as a person while you are still here on earth. Only by fully achieving your own potential as a person can you be a real partner for someone whom you admire and love as a person.

Is it likely?

And now, with apologies, comes the big bucket of cold water.

In terms of human reality, the likelihood that a famous, happily married man is going to choose you over his wife, either here on earth or in the afterlife, is very close to zero.

If he was famous, he was probably also wealthy, or at least comfortably well off. He likely had many choices as to whom he could marry. And if he married a woman that he was happy with, it didn’t happen by accident. He was with her, and happy with her, because they were in love with each other and fit well with each other.

Is it possible that he might choose you over her in the afterlife?

Phil and Penny Knight

Phil and Penny Knight

Sure. About as possible as it is that Tom Hanks might choose you over Rita Wilson. Or that Bill Gates might choose you over Melinda Gates. Or that Phil Knight might choose you over Penny Knight. Or that Barack Obama might choose you over Michelle Obama.

Famous people who are happily married are happily married for a reason. Heck, any couple who is happily married is happily married for a reason!

And happily married people continually grow closer to one another over the years. There comes a time when they are simply a part of each other’s lives. There is no longer the slightest interest in being with anyone else. A relationship like that continues on into the afterlife because as the Bible says, the two have become one.

A good marriage is not just a relationship in which two people who are right for each other get together. It is a relationship in which two people become right for each other more and more as the years go by. This is the kind of relationship that lasts forever.

Once again, I don’t know any more than what you’ve told me. But from what you say, I’m sorry to say that it seems highly unlikely that this man you are in love with would leave his wife, to whom he has been happily married, in order to start a new relationship and marriage with someone he’s never even met.

Unattainable love

Perhaps I’m wrong about this particular case. I don’t know. Only God knows.

But my concern is that when people become focused on loving someone who is unattainable, continually hoping and dreaming of a future relationship with that person either here on earth or in the hereafter, it shuts out the possibility of having actual love and an actual marriage in the present.

The one loved may be someone who is happily married. It may be someone who moves in completely different social, cultural, and religious circles. Or it may be someone who has already died.

It doesn’t really matter why the object of a person’s affections is beyond reach. If those affections continue, the person with these feelings for the unattainable man or woman will never get married here on earth. Or if there is a marriage, it will be more a marriage of convenience than a marriage based on love. And that’s not a real marriage.

In short, remaining focused on an unattainable love most likely just means that actual love will be unattainable for you for the rest of your life. And that probably means there is someone out there who would love to love you, but who cannot because you have made yourself unavailable.

Then, if you discover in the afterlife that the object of your affections is still happily married, and will never get together with you, you will have thrown away any possibility of marriage here on earth for a dream that was never going to happen in reality.

Real marriage is better than theoretical marriage

Most young people have dreams, fantasies, and ideals of a perfect marriage in which they will live happily ever after.

And then there’s reality.

We are all human beings. We are amazing, flawed beings. We are not perfect. And there is no such thing as that perfect person we’re going to marry.

If we get married, it will be to an actual human being. A human being who is imperfect, just as we are imperfect. And if it’s a good marriage, it will be a beautiful, challenging struggle with many triumphs and almost as many defeats.

But one thing it will be is real.

It will be a real relationship with a real human being. And both people in the relationship will grow tremendously from this interaction of two flesh-and-blood, very human people.

There is simply no substitute for real marriage.

We can dream of a future spectacular marriage. And maybe it will happen.

But if we put the possibility of a real, in-the-present relationship on hold for our entire material-world lifetime while we hope and dream of something incredible in the life to come, we will have skipped over our crucial decades of life on earth when we could have been growing and developing as a person within an actual marriage.

Real marriage is different from imagined marriage

Millions of people dream of a future blissful marriage with Mr. or Ms. Right.

And they may have a particular Mr. or Ms. Right in mind.

The problem is, what we think that person is like and what they are actually like inside are probably two very different things. Especially if we’re madly in love with them without having actually met them.

That’s so for at least two reasons:

  1. We humans commonly put on our best face for the world. We get into the habit of projecting an image of ourselves that is much better and more virtuous than the actual person inside.
  2. We humans commonly project our own fantasies and ideals onto the objects of our affection. We create an ideal partner for ourselves in our own mind out of someone who is probably just as ordinary as we are—and probably a lot different person than we imagine them to be.

Put the two of these together, and you have a recipe for a rude awakening if you actually marry that person.

Once two people get married and are living at close quarters with each other, it doesn’t take long for the projected images to be pierced, and the fantasies to be exploded. It’s hard to keep up a show in your own house. Within a few weeks or months, the real inner person comes out. And you may be shocked to discover that you’re married to a person you don’t even know. You may even be shocked at the person you have become.

It’s easy to look at someone from a distance and imagine an ideal, blissful marriage with that person.

But if you were to actually marry that person, you would soon find that your imagination of love was just that: imagination. The reality of marriage will be very different.

This, also, is why it is better to form an actual marriage with an actual person than to imagine a marriage with someone you don’t really know. And you don’t know that person because you are seeing their public persona, not their true inner self—and because you are projecting your own ideals and imaginings of blissful marriage onto them.

Seeking real marriage

Real marriage is formed with an actual, flesh and blood human being whom we know well, and come to know even better.

Real marriage cannot happen at a distance. Real marriage happens with the person who is sitting across the breakfast table from you. It happens with the person who comes home all sweaty, smelly, and dirty from work or exercise. It happens with the person who uses the same bathroom you do. It happens with the person whom you’ve told over and over again not to do that, but who keeps right on doing it anyway.

In real marriage, two people are not only spiritually and emotionally as close as two people can get, but also physically as close as two people can get. Yes, some married people do experience times in which they must be separated from one another for a shorter or longer time. But in the long term, marriage cannot happen at a distance. Marriage involves not just two people loving each other, but two people living with each other day in and day out, year after year, decade after decade.

It’s not easy to find and achieve a real marriage.

But for those who do achieve it, the experience is worth infinitely more than any dreams, imaginations, or fantasies of a future perfect and blissful marriage.

Is it possible that you could be married in heaven to someone who would be unattainable for you here on earth?

Yes, it is possible.

But it’s highly unlikely.

And meanwhile, you could be seeking a real relationship and marriage with someone who is attainable.

I can’t tell you what to do with your life, still less what to do with your love life. That is a very personal decision. It is your decision to make.

I only hope that you will not pass up possibilities for real love here on earth in the hope that somehow, against all odds, that unattainable lover just may be yours in the afterlife.

It’s a huge gamble.

If and when you find yourself in the afterlife and things haven’t worked out the way you had hoped and dreamed of, you don’t want to have to look back on your life here on earth wishing you had searched for and seized the opportunity for real love and marriage with a real, flesh and blood human being who could share your life and your love.

This article is a response to a spiritual conundrum submitted by a reader.

For further reading:


Lee Woofenden is an ordained minister, writer, editor, translator, and teacher. He enjoys taking spiritual insights from the Bible and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg and putting them into plain English as guides for everyday life.

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Posted in Sex Marriage Relationships
2 comments on “What If I’m In Love with Someone I Can’t Have?
  1. Magnolia says:

    So well said, and so very true… And so sad… A very close friend of mine has been in love for many years with someone who lives in another country and also loves her deply. They however are both not free. They are faithful to their current partners, but simply can’t stop adoring each other. Their only hope is to meet and stay together in afterlife. This keeps them alive. Nothing can break their bond, not even distance and time. Their love is so pure and perfect. They are both very good and honest people and respectable citizens and love our Lord Jesus Christ with all their heart. Knowing my friend so well I can’t think of her and that man as sinners and adulterers. Would you call such people sinners?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Magnolia,

      No, I wouldn’t think of them as sinners and adulterers, since they are being faithful to their current spouse even though they feel they belong with someone else. I have a friend who is in a similar situation, though in this friend’s case the loved one is no longer in this world.

      I would only say that being married to one person while in love with another is a hard row to hoe. Even when there is a commitment to being faithful to the current marriage, the mind and heart are elsewhere. Though there may be external reasons to remain married, especially if there are children in the marriage, it is ultimately an empty marriage, even if there is some affection and appreciation for the current partner.

      That is why, in this day and age when we are moving from the merely external marriages of Bible times to internal, spiritual marriage, I believe that people should be allowed to divorce without social and legal sanctions beyond the inevitable difficulty and pain of separation. But expanding upon that will have to wait for a future requested article on divorce.

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