Love is unpredictable. It can hit you when you’re least expecting it and change all your plans.
I should know. The last time it happened to me was the most inconvenient time ever, and what made it even more complicated and hard was that I was in love with a married man.
It was easy to get swept up in it – I was soaring for quite a while, on the wings of what I … thought was love. But the harsh reality that he was already spoken for and had a full and committed life with someone else kept rearing its head.
It was a rush while it lasted. But when the truth came back around it was not a great feeling at all.
A whopping 25% of married men cheat, but you can bet that the number who actually leave their wives to be with the person they’re cheating with is much, much smaller.
I know every situation is different: if you’re dating a married man I can’t speak on your behalf about what you’re feeling or how deep your relationship is right now.
What I can do is speak from my experience and tell you the honest truth about being dating a married man.
The truth is that being in love with a married man is a volatile situation.
No matter how strong both of your feelings are you know deep down this can’t go on forever. And even if he said he’s going to leave his wife for you there are some hard assessments you need to make and some hard choices that are going to present themselves no matter what.
Here’s the bottom line:
14 key things you need to know if you’re in love with a married man.
1) Is this guy for real?
I know it’s not what you want to hear, but you need to consider whether this guy is for real.
No matter what his motivations may be for having some lovin’ on the side with you the fact is that – at bare minimum – he is lying to his partner and is able to do it successfully.
Like it or not that’s a potential red flag for his relationship to you.
Even if things keep getting more serious between you two and you’re sure that your story is written in the stars you have to ask yourself the hard question of whether he’d cheat on you as well down the road even if he ended up with you …
When you’re swept up in the moment you can lose sight of the downsides. I’m not saying your guy is a slimeball, all I’m saying is protect yourself and do some worst-case-scenario thinking.
2) Who else’s bed have his boots been under?
Listen … I know it sounds sleazy. But seriously … are you sure you’re the first extramarital fling he’s been on?
You could be one in a long line. I found out after a few months that I was not nearly as special to my married man as I believed.
I was in love with a married man and kind of turned on by the secrecy, plus I just found him to be sexy as hell and captivating. It was raw fire. What could go wrong? He had that X factor that I needed and wasn’t finding emotionally and physically.
He gave me that special something I found lacking from other guys.
But he was also giving that “special something” to at least three other women as I found out after a few text messages dinged up on the screen at the wrong times of the night when he was dozing off beside me.
Before you go diving in headfirst make sure this guy isn’t stringing you along like a cheap fling. As awful as it is, that can happen a lot.
3) You have to value your time and energy
As much as you may be having the time and thrill of your life it’s important to value your time and energy.
When you’re in love with a married man it can seem easy at first.
The secret meetups, the late-night texting, you name it …
But often I know in my case it was actually fairly one-sided. I was hanging on his every word and he was treating me like an afterthought.
Of course, he was a charming guy in person … and I craved that affection … But to be honest with myself and eventually find true love and intimacy with someone else, it took me admitting that this guy was not putting me first and did not really value me.
I had to put my foot down and love myself first: to be honest about how empty and weak it made me feel to chase him around and lap up his attention.
I loved the attention, yes, but it also hurt me on a deep level to be so desperate for it and the fallout from being strung along by him led me instead to seek inner peace inside instead of through external validation and pleasure.
4) Does he really put you first?
Maybe the answer is yes, in which case a divorce is probably coming up for him in the near future and maybe you really have hit the jackpot …
But the truth is that in my experience being in love with a married man involves a lot of waiting and a lot of lowering expectations.
As much as I really enjoyed my connection and time with the guy I was seeing … let’s call him Kevin … I knew I wasn’t his first priority.
He was often preoccupied.
He didn’t want to go out because we’d be seen together by someone he knew …
And he even did the whole texting while I was talking to him thing … quite a bit actually.
At the time I laughed it off – busy guy, lot on his mind, you know the drill.
But to be honest it kind of hurt and it was kind of a d*ck move. Sorry Kevin, not cool.
5) What’s the deal with his wife?
Kevin married his wife at a young age, and he didn’t talk about her much around me.
I guess it was awkward for him, and I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to hear about her either.
But still, the more I think about it writing this the more I realize how negative his comments were about her.
And they were usually really small things, like how annoying her texts were, or how she was a total b*tch about finances.
He admitted he’d once loved her. He talked about some great times and their daughter who he loved.
But he more or less wrote her off as some kind of monster for stuff that seemed – at least to me – to be kind of average couple struggles and the pressure of raising a young daughter.
I never met Kevin’s wife, maybe she really is Frankenstein’s grotesque creation. But my guess is that Kevin was a bit of a toxic person and justifying our affair to himself.
He had a really sweet side, don’t get me wrong, but the way he talked about his wife also made me cautious about how he’d talk about me behind my back, too.
6) Don’t let him sell you pipe dreams
Kevin sold me a lot of pipe dreams, and once they went up in smoke I was left high and dry.
I felt like sh*t for months afterward by the ride he’d taken me on.
He was going to leave his wife (and now could I give him that blowjob maybe, wink?)
He was really thinking about introducing me to his daughter (and what did I think about us renting a cabin for the weekend on my credit card near the lake).
OK, I started to sense a pattern. This guy was taking advantage of my desire for him and leeching off me.
No matter how great your married man is, very few guys with a ring on their finger end up actually leaving their wives.
Will you be the lucky one? Honestly, it’s possible. But it’s not likely, and you need to steel yourself for that reality in order to reduce the expectations and pain if things don’t work out …
7) Even if he did leave his wife for you … what next?
Many women in our situation don’t think through the end game.
They imagine romantic sunsets on the beach and sharing those special moments with him as he finalizes his divorce papers and fully commits to you …
OK – and even if that happens, then what?
For me, a lot of the process of getting out of my relationship with a married man was looking myself in the eye and just being 100% honest.
One: I was loving the secret side of it, the thrill that we were being bad.
Yeah, maybe I am a bad girl, but here I am admitting it to you too. It turned me on a lot.
Two: when I thought about a post-divorce life with him – even if he had been serious about it, which he was not – I had to eventually admit that I was … underwhelmed.
I imagined discussing a bill with him or shopping for bread in the grocery store and I got this sinking feeling that I can only describe as really f*cking depressing.
For me, that was one of the biggest ways I realized this wasn’t the guy for me. When I thought of a regular life by his side I felt deflated and bored, not excited and inspired.
Think about how you’d feel if your guy called it quits with his wife and really committed to you. Be honest.
8) Homewrecking isn’t cool
I’m not trying to go all Moral Mable on you here, but if there are kids in the picture you are caught up in a very dangerous situation.
You have the potential of not only ruining his marriage but also scarring his kids for life.
Do you want that on your conscience?
You also have to consider that if he leaves his wife for you his kids may genuinely resent you and be uncomfortable around you and those relationships can often be just as hard – or harder – as the one with your married guy.
If you’re in love with a married man you also have to consider his situation as a whole and the most important aspect of that is any children he has that will be affected by him breaking up with his wife.
Sometimes it is inevitable and it does happen and even occasionally work out – but for me thinking of Kevin’s cute daughter crying as he told her mom goodbye made me sick to the stomach.
And as I eventually figured out I wasn’t truly in love with him anyway, only with the idea of him … It’s a dangerous mirage and I’m just thankful I got out in time …
9) Chances are he’s not Mr. Perfect
Kevin definitely was not Mr. Perfect or even Mr. Really Great. OK, I’m a bit bitter, but seriously.
The more I thought about it…
I thought the way he rags on his wife is pretty rough you know?
What’s going on on his side of the marriage equation?
To list just a few of the things I realized: he’s a workaholic, he’s over-critical, he doesn’t appreciate others, he’s self-centered, he is pushy about sex and he is kind of a lazy bast*rd when he’s not at work.
So … no matter how awful that wife of his really was, I had to admit to myself that a life with Kevin probably wouldn’t have been the pinnacle of perfection I’d hoped.
10) Move it on down the line
Like I was saying, you can’t wait around forever. Unless you don’t want any more from being in love with a married man than a fantasy and some bedroom bliss then you’ve got to get some results.
Is it going to be you or his wife?
Does this married man love you or are you just another fling?
Are you going to be a real couple or a flash in the pan?
With me and Kevin, I had to come to terms that we weren’t meant to be. He was the one who started being less responsive first anyway, but it was me who took the final step to end things.
Because I saw that I was just temporary for him.
And I saw he had plenty of other options he was likely already pursuing.
I didn’t bring it up with him because I didn’t need that whole sh*tshow too, I just let my intuition and self-respect guide me into moving our time together to its natural end.
So what should you do?
I have four main tips for what you should do if you’re in an affair with a married man. You can probably guess what they’re going to be or at least the tone I’m going to take here.
I know that some of you are going to say that I’m just going off here because things went bad between Kevin and I, but honestly, this advice is from the heart.
1) Hit the pause button
The first step if you’re in love with a married man is to hit the pause button.
Stop the physical intimacy and the chats. Put an end to your fling until he’s willing to definitively tell you where he stands.
If he’s not willing to commit to you fine.
But if you’re in love there’s no way you’re going to be satisfied as his side piece for years on end, nor should you be.
If he’s not going to be with you then it’s time for step two …
2) Leave him
It might feel like the last thing you want to do, or overly black-and-white.
But however long it takes to get to this stage it’s most likely going to be the correct course of action.
You need to call it quits unless you’re sure you are deeply in love and he is going to commit to being with you.
Anything less is not worth your time or your heart and you’re better off breaking things off sooner rather than later.
3) Branch out and date
Dating often sucks. I get that, I really do.
In my case, I’ve had my share of bad, boring, and downright nasty dates (and I don’t mean nasty in a good way).
I ended up meeting the guy I’m now with at a bookstore – yeah … really … so it wasn’t really dating that did the trick for me to move on from Kevin.
But at the same time, the dates I did go on opened my attitude back up and got me back in the mindset that: I’m single and ready to mingle.
4) Know your own worth
I don’t know you personally, but I do know that knowing my own worth was a key part of moving on from Kevin.
If you don’t know your worth and recognize it then you won’t stand up for yourself when it matters.
Your heart will get walked on and you’ll waste potentially years of your life-giving your heart to a man who’s using you.
Know your own worth and go from there: love and connection await you.