You’ve started dating a married man, and things look innocent. He may be your work pal or just part of your friend group. But now, as you spend time with him, you can’t deny that there is a strong attraction. But you also can’t deny a wedding ring that he wears (or takes off) whenever you see each other.
What should you do? Friends and family may be telling you to put on the brakes, but you’ve never quite felt this way before. That’s why you ended up searching for more information on the Internet. Maybe there is a chance that makes dating a married man OK? Or any valid justifications for your hope to build a strong relationship based on true love with your new date?
We get it, and we’re not here to judge. Instead, we’re going to dive deep into what is involved in dating a married man, why women fall for guys who are married, and what you should expect if you pursue this forbidden fruit.
Again, we are not here to justify dating a married man or be the policy of truth for your relationship. Ultimately, does his marriage even matter if it is true love? That’s something you have to decide for yourself.
One thing is sure, though: you are putting a lot at risk here if your affair touches his wife and she doesn’t know it (yet!). There’s a good chance that as the woman in the situation, you will receive more ire than the married person you are dating – both from the betrayed wife and the general public. And the backlash you receive will be even stronger if children are involved. I do hope you’ve paid attention to this before your relationship started…
It’s unfair but true – and for self-obvious reasons. A married man is seen as having made a mistake. That’s why a woman desperate to keep her family together will see you as the one who led him astray, no matter how willingly he participated.
A betrayed woman loves him enough to marry him in the first place to forgive and invite him back. He’ll keep fighting and waiting for him. So don’t imagine that being in love with a married man will ever become easy for you.
Are there any exceptions to this? There may be. For example, a couple may live entirely separate lives, but stay married for practical reasons. If everyone involved in this triangle is honest with one another and it doesn’t go against your moral code, you can go for it. You may also feel okay having a relationship with a married man if he is in an open marriage.
Still, these are going to be rare exceptions. In any case, it is your responsibility to behave ethically or accept the social consequences of your choices.
Related reading: Throuple Dating? Make It Work!
There are several reasons behind dating a married man for a woman who makes that choice:
If you’re thinking about dating a married man, examine your motivations. Going for a married guy is a big decision so make sure it’s really worth it – and you won’t eventually find someone better than him.
Related reading: Are You in Love? Here Are 10 Signs You’re Wrong
Anyone who is dating a married man is in need of a reality check. This may not change your final decision, but you can move forward with your eyes wide open. Let me show them so you can think about it.
Dating a married man means sharing him with his wife and likely his children. So be ready that you never going to be number one in his life.
When his time is short, he is always going to choose them. If nothing else, he will need to be highly available to his family to keep your affair a secret. That will always be so – as long as he is married.
To make things worse, you should also accept that married men must be available on demand. If you want to spend time with your lover, he’ll need you be available at a moment’s notice when he is able to get away. So, while he’ll be there for you rarely, but you shouldn’t make plans whenever he is ready to see you.
Related reading: He’s Married – So Is He Just Using You?
Does one instance of cheating have a rippling effect that damages important emotional bonds and solidarity among women? Not necessarily, but it does contribute to something negative.
Too many people lean into the inaccurate stereotype that women can’t trust one another. That isn’t just damaging to women in general, but a married man loves that kind of conflict because it creates a power dynamic where he will always end up on top. If you care about sisterhood, don’t do that.
Related reading: Psychology Behind Cheating and Lying
The best relationships feel safe and comfortable. You always know where you stand. You can reach out to your lover anytime. But this is something you’re not going to experience when you date a married man.
There will always be that combination of shame, uncertainty, and unease in your affair. Sure, you may enjoy some really good times with a married man. It’s just that your choices will cast a shadow over the relationship, and you’ll never be able to relax completely.
Married men frequently misrepresent their home situation to their affair partners. He may claim that she is cruel, unsupportive, or refuses to have sex with him. You can bet that this is entirely one-sided.
Remember that he has something to gain by creating an entirely negative narrative around his wife.
You will be tempted to believe this narrative. After all, if his wife is a bad person, it’s much easier for you to continue the affair. Instead, try to envision her as a human with feelings who is probably going to be devastated by this. Also, remember that a married man who will denigrate his own wife will also throw you under the bus if your affair comes to light.
While considering an affair with a married man, you might justify yourself that you aren’t responsible for his marriage. You are not the one who made a vow, and there should be no expectation of loyalty from you. Ultimately, that falls flat.
This is always a choice, but you’ve chosen to cause pain to another woman.
As soon as you realized that you were dating a married man, you took on full responsibility of the choices you made. As long as you continue, you participate in a relationship that involves dishonesty and betrayal. That’s sad but true.
You are making a choice here. You are doing something that stands to impact people beyond yourself. He may be the one deciding to cheat on his wife, but you will also have to accept that you are a home wrecker.
Related reading: Characteristics of a Cheating Woman: Pay Attention
If you’ve fallen in love with a married man and fantasized about him getting a divorce so you can be together, it’s time for a reality check. The “normal” and meaningful relationship between you is not that easy for him. He has already told you who he is through his actions. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll become the only one.
He’s already capable of dating another woman being married, how can you trust it won’t happen to you?
Be realistic: you are not his top priority now, and he’s not going to uproot his familial relationships for you. Why not? Because you have shown that you will keep him satisfied without the benefits of marriage or even a committed relationship. It’s the basic lack of motivation to work harder.
He is also well aware that getting a divorce is going to be costly. If your relationship can be proven, his wife is likely to make that an issue. So the cost of leaving everything for you is too high for him, whichever promises he gives you now.
Related reading: Is She the One? How Will You Know?
When you date a married man, you can expect to feel a range of emotions. Many of them may seem to conflict with one another, but they are all valid. And they make your life brighter.
You may feel guilty about endangering another person’s family life. At the same time, you also experience a thrill. You are keeping a secret, and that risk of being caught can certainly ramp up your endorphins. That is a high-order emotional cocktail for sure.
Just know that these good feelings are likely only going to last for the short term. The long-term impacts are probably not going to be as positive.
Many women who date married men learn quickly that they have signed up for a lonely existence. Here are just a few examples of this:
Married men almost always give their wives and families their hearts and time. A married man isn’t going to spend holidays with you. He probably won’t take you on vacation. When you are hurting, there is no guarantee that he will invest time to comfort you. Think twice if you really need – and most importantly, deserve that.
Related reading: 9 Things You Can Do When You Are Feeling Lonely in a Relationship
When women break up with married men, guilt is usually a major factor. This feeling is inevitable once you fully realize how hurt a person is on another side of this situation. That’s a good reason to end the affair too.
But if you choose to avoid this truth, you won’t feel guilty. This avoidance may be your mind’s way of forgetting that this isn’t right. You just close your eyes on his family life as long as your married date makes you happy.
There are so many things to worry about while daring a married man:
Even if your life is not in danger now, your situation still means interfering in another person’s primary relationship. Think that you are putting their future at risk too. That could have some serious long-run consequences for you. Maybe it’s not really worth that?
Related reading: What Do Women Look For in a Man, Clarified
You are entitled to better than a married man. So does his wife. But you choose to turn things ugly. Do you really want to play a villain in such a situation? Aren’t there any other options in your life than to date a married man?
When you consider that you probably don’t have a future with him, and will only end up hurt. Don’t you think it’s time to make a better decision? You are spending time with someone who has shown they will cheat and otherwise be dishonest. You deserve to have higher standards than this.
Now that you start thinking about whether it is lust or love, you may realize a married man isn’t what you want. Great then! There is hope for you to turn things around.
For some people, it may be as simple as deciding to stop dating him. But, it won’t be as easy for everybody. You may need help to disentangle yourself from this relationship. And I’m here to offer you a hand.
If you are in love with a married man, you have had to engage in self-deception. Not only did you convince yourself it was okay to invest your emotions in someone unattainable, but you’ve had to justify causing harm to his partner. It’s great that you want to stop all of this now, but it isn’t going to be easy.
You may find yourself justifying seeing him or trying to convince yourself that having a relationship with a married man isn’t such a bad thing. No matter how tempted you are to fall into a pattern of denial, stay focused. It hurts now, but you will be better off soon.
Try not to focus on what you are losing. Instead, look to the future. By ending this relationship you open up opportunities to relationships with other men who can truly be available to you. But, that’s not the most important part. You can now focus on yourself.
Just think of all you can do now that you no longer have to wait for a man to get a brief time away from his wife.
Related reading: What Are the 5 Signs the No Contact Is Working?
You should clearly identify the reason behind dating a married man not to make the same mistake unconsciously:
If this is part of a pattern where you date men who aren’t good for you, please consider therapy. You deserve a healthy and hopeful future and may need more help than advice from well-meaning friends.
It was wrong to have a relationship with a married man. You can and should hold yourself accountable for your choices. However, women often take on accountability for their own actions as well as those of everyone around them. This can lead to spiraling where you simply focus on how wrong you are.
That’s not helpful. Human beings make mistakes. You can turn this around. Keep your head held high and move forward.
Related reading: Moving Forward: Your Guide on How to Stop Loving Someone
He is getting something out of this relationship, and may not want to give up his “side woman”. Don’t be hesitant to set and enforce boundaries. Block his number if you need to.
Remember, if you start talking to him again, you could get roped back in. Many women will tell you this from personal experience. Fortunately, if you can stand strong for a few weeks, he will probably accept that your relationship has ended.
Sidenote: Be wary of how generous men can get during this phase. The gifts and promises will start to roll in as he tries to keep his side woman around for physical intimacy at his convenience.
Women in these situations often feel as if they are undeserving of help or support. That’s just a shame talking.
You are taking an important step that includes righting a wrong, and recognizing that you deserve something better. Ideally, there are women in your life that you can lean on. If not, please seek out a counselor or therapist to help you navigate this and deal with the conflicting feelings that are going to come.
Loneliness, lust, or lack of self-esteem can make it tempting to fall for the attention of a married guy. Don’t do it. You have too much to lose. You deserve so much better. So do other women. The only scenario when it is OK is when all three people involved are aware and fine with what’s going on.