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それは横恋慕と

横恋慕 means falling in love with someone who is already in a romantic relationship with someone else.

However, according to the dictionary the translation would be illicit love. Can someone explain it to me? Why would it be illicit?

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  • Because when 横恋慕 reaches him/her, it can be a cheating/adultery which is considered as a taboo. Mar 23 '17 at 4:01
  • You bet. You can 横恋慕 me XD I'll 横恋慕 you back knowing it never reaches. Mar 23 '17 at 4:23
  • @Wataru'Watson'Subridge Why does it never reach? Mar 23 '17 at 4:37
  • Hmm good question. If it reaches easily, it wouldn't be a 横恋慕. 横恋慕 connotes heart burning jealous. Unreachability is the essence of being 横恋慕 someone. Mar 23 '17 at 4:51
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According to 明鏡国語辞典:

よこれんぼ【横恋慕】〘名・自サ変〙すでに配偶者や恋人のある人に、横合いから恋をすること。

横恋慕 means "falling in love with someone who is already married or in a relationship". So 横恋慕 is not always illicit; if you fell in love with someone who is already married, it would be considered an illicit love.

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  • Context: There's no marriage. Just one girl that falls in love with a boy and the boy has a girlfriend. Mar 23 '17 at 5:08
  • @Est In that context, then it would not be considered an illicit love. The definition 「すでに恋人のある人に横合いから恋をすること」would apply to that case. 横恋慕 can mean 1. falling in love with someone who is married (=illicit love) 2. falling in love with someone who is in a relationship.
    – Chocolate
    Mar 23 '17 at 5:10
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To me, 横恋慕 (literally "traverse love") itself is a neutral word in terms of ethics. Wikipedia says:

横恋慕をした際には、具体的行動を起こさずに胸の内に秘めておく場合もあれば、具体的行動を起こして恋愛感情の要求を満たそうとする場合がある。

So 横恋慕 does not necessarily mean actually trying to steal someone from someone. No one can stop you from just liking someone silently.

If a person actually establishes a romantic relationship who already has a romantic partner, it's usually called 二股 (two-timing), which clearly sounds more negative and unethical. Having a relationship with a married person is called 浮気, which is of course considered really bad. If the person actually has stolen someone completely (i.e., resulting in parting with his/her original partner), that's called 略奪愛.

I'm sorry but I have no idea which category English "illicit love" falls into.

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