When you envisage a future for yourself, you likely never pictured dating a married man. Like most people, your life plan probably involved a healthy, wholesome relationship with someone who is single, available, and with whom you see a future. But life is rarely the fairytale we imagine it to be in our naivety. And relationships often come in all sorts of convoluted forms, one of them being romantically involved with a married man.
A phenomenon that is far more common than you’d think. According to a report, 90% of women found themselves attracted to a man they thought was taken. Although a majority of people don’t act on these feelings, the experience seems inherent to human nature. If the attraction is mutual, sparks are flying and you can see the man you’re interested in reciprocating your advances, you might just go from crushing to getting involved with a married man, despite your better judgment.
The question is, what next? How do you navigate being in a relationship with a married man? How exactly do you tread with caution, making sure that this affair doesn’t blow up in your face? We bring you some ways of dating a married man without getting hurt in consultation with emotional wellness and mindfulness coach Pooja Priyamvada (certified in Psychological and Mental Health First Aid from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Sydney), who specializes in counseling for extramarital affairs, breakups, separation, grief, and loss, to name a few.
Dating A Married Man – 9 Things To Know
So you are in love with a married guy and can’t really see yourself with anybody but him. The fact that he’s married and already has a family does not bother you or stop you from being with him. You’re enamored, charmed, and smitten — to say the very least. While falling in love is not something that happens according to plan and you certainly can’t choose who you fall for, you can try to be smart about it though. If you are wondering how to date a married man to make him yours forever, you have to try to be more mature about the whole thing.
No matter how much in love you’re, it’s best to keep your expectations realistic. For that, you need to take a more pragmatic view of your relationship rather than just view it through rose-tinted glasses. Being smart is key to dating a married man successfully. To be able to do that, here are 9 things you need to know when dating a married man:
1. You will never be his top priority
Whether you’re in a texting relationship with a married man where you’re constantly connected virtually and share every little detail with each other or have a full-blown affair going, know that you may never be the top priority for him. You will inevitably start feeling like an option to your “partner”.
Pooja says, “There can be several indicators that you’re not a priority for the man in your life. For instance, he may always be busy, he ignores your calls and messages, and doesn’t make time for you in his schedule.” Well, at least not, when you want or need him to. That’s because no matter what he says about the state of his marriage, his wife will always take precedence over you. Here’s what not being a priority in a relationship feels like:
- He will disconnect your call or stop texting the moment his wife walks into the room
- He will cancel on you if she needs him
- You will most likely be forbidden from calling/texting at certain hours of the day
- He may even consign you to the “blocked contacts” list “just to be safe”
- You can’t count on him to be by your side even when you most need him; his presence in your life is contingent on the circumstances in his home
2. The relationship can be fraught with insecurity
No matter how your relationship started, how deeply in love you’re, or how long you’ve been together, insecurity will likely be a recurring theme in this connection. The fact that he is not all yours and he is deceiving his life partner to be with you is bound to play at the back of your mind. Even in your happiest moments together, there is going to be an undercurrent of uneasiness and relationship insecurity that can trigger doubts and questions, like:
- What if there are other women in his life?
- What if he is still in love with his wife?
- What if he is using me for sex?
- What if he is happily married and with me just for the thrill of the experience?
- Will we ever have a future together?
3. Dating a married man can be a lonely experience
Being in a relationship with a married man can be an extremely isolating experience. For one, you cannot count on him to be with you when you want or need him to be. Chances are that your dating life will revolve around his availability and all your plans will hinge on whether or not he can get away from home or make time to be with you without arousing suspicion. Not to mention, you may not have the freedom to reach him as and when you like whereas he can. This can make the relationship feel extremely lop-sided.
Besides, since you’re with a man who’d want to keep the relationship under wraps for obvious reasons, you may not be able to talk to your friends and loved ones about it. Keeping all those fears and insecurities bottled up and pretending to go about life like its business as usual can be an extremely isolating and agonizing experience.
Related Reading: 11 Common Reasons People Cheat In Relationships
4. It’s not wise to pin your hopes on a future with him
Before you get too close to a married man or get so emotionally invested that you can’t imagine life without him, give yourself a reality check on what this equation amounts to. It is an extramarital affair and the thrill of tasting the forbidden fruit has likely played a part in bringing you both together. Odds are, he may never leave his wife for you, the authenticity of his feelings for you notwithstanding.
No matter how much you love each other, breaking up a marriage and tearing apart a family is never easy. When push comes to shove, the scales tilt in the favor of the spouse more often than not. So, don’t go into this relationship expecting a happily ever after. That’s the one thing you must never forget when getting involved with a married man.
5. Even if you do have a future, it may be challenging
Even if your love triumphs and the man you’re with leaves his wife for you, you can’t expect your life together to be a bed of roses. For one, the toll of a divorce may impact your relationship with your partner. Besides, you may never be able to fully trust each other because if he could cheat once, what’s to stop him from doing it again, and if you could get involved with a married man, what’s to stop you from doing it again – these apprehensions are bound to arise.
Add to that the societal judgment, having to step into the role of a step-mom if there are children involved (who may hate you for breaking up their parents’ marriage), the struggle for acceptance as his wife among his friends and family and the pressure can be enough to make the strongest of bonds falter. If you’re getting too close to a married man, you need to take a moment and ask, “Do affairs that break up a marriage last?” More importantly, do you have what it takes to make it last?
6. Do not trust him blindly
Many women make the mistake of accepting a married man’s sob story at face value, even if their intuition tells them otherwise. The empath in them may be instantly triggered to take care of this man who is stuck in a miserable marriage and projects them as the only source of solace in their lives. The best thing to do in situations like these is to remind yourself that this is the oldest tale in the cheaters’ playbook.
The state of his marriage is likely a whole lot better than he makes it out to be. Even if it’s not, his wife cannot be the only one to blame for it. Use your judgment to assess the veracity of his stories, and don’t trust him blindly. Likewise, if he is vague about his relationship with his wife or his views on the future of your relationship, take it as the red flag it is.
7. Be prepared for judgment
Dating a married man can feel exciting and exhilarating, almost like the best thing you have had going in a long time, as long as it stays under wraps. However, such transgressions have a way of coming to light, and when they do, you must be prepared to deal with a lot of judgment and criticism not just from people in his life but also from your own loved ones.
From being called a home-wrecker to being treated like an outcast, the backlash can translate into psychological effects of being the other woman that can dent your self-esteem and leave you emotionally wounded. When you start texting a married man every day and can’t help but feel a rush at the prospect of being with him, imagine this inevitability to see how you truly feel about being with him.
8. You may feel guilty about meddling with his family life
It’s not just your own life that stands to be impacted by your decision of getting involved with a married man. It will impact his family life too. And you may feel guilty about your part in it – any conscientious person would. Every time you’re together, you may not be able to shake off the image that there is another woman out there to whom this man has sworn his love and loyalty. And if there are children involved, the baggage of possibly tearing apart a family can get that much heavier.
“Family and marriage are often the most integral aspects of one’s life and they offer an unmatched sense of security. Being the person who gets in the way of that cannot be easy,” says Pooja.
Related Reading: In Love With A Married Man? 11 Signs He Will Leave His Wife For You
9. You have to be honest with yourself
There are no defined rules for sleeping with a married man or getting romantically involved with one. There is no guide or blueprint to help you navigate this situation. Your best bet at protecting yourself is to be honest with yourself at all times. Don’t be in denial about the reality of your situation or turn a blind eye to the obvious red flags in your relationship.
To be able to protect yourself and still continue dating a married man for as long as it works for you both (if that’s what feels right to you right now), you need to ask yourself some tough questions:
- What is the best possible outcome for this relationship? How likely is it that you can achieve it?
- Do you see yourself together in the long run?
- Are you still attracted to other men or does he feel like the one?
- Does he see you as the one?
- How long can you continue being his affair partner?
- What is the worst-case scenario in this situation? What are the odds of it coming to pass?
- How prepared are you to end thing if you need to?
The answers to these questions will give you a fair deal of clarity on how to navigate this relationship while protecting yourself and limiting the emotional damage it may cause as far as possible.
How To Date A Married Man?
Learning the important things about dating a married man may have made it clear to you that this relationship is no walk in the park. The trials and tribulations far outweigh the gratification. Alas, sometimes we cannot see reason and race headfirst into situations and connections that cause us pain and anguish.
Even if your close friends or loved ones have warned you about the consequences of an affair with a married man, you may find it hard to pull back or end things. “Dating a married man who is unhappy in his marriage is a total waste of time,” they may tell you, But you’re stuck in the “the heart wants what it wants” phase. However, this doesn’t change the fact that no matter how much you love him, this is a relationship where you stand to get hurt.
You must find ways to not let this connection, no matter how exciting or fulfilling it feels right now, take a toll on your mind and heart. That’s where dating a married man rules come in. Now that you are in a relationship with a married man, make sure you handle it the right way. Here are a few tips on how to date a married man and actually be happy:
Related Reading: 7 Ways To Handle A Married Man Flirting With You
1. Take it slow when you date a married man
When you start talking to a married man every day or spend your day texting back and forth, it may be difficult to ignore the sexual tension building up. Taking things slow at this point can be immensely beneficial. It will give you time to get to know him better. You will get time to judge whether his feelings for you are real or if he is just bored in his marriage and using an affair with you just to spice things up a bit.
For that, you need to set some clear boundaries, such as:
- Even if it is just hugging, or kissing, do not give him the leeway to expect physical intimacy in any form without connecting with you on an emotional level first
- Ensure the relationship is not just about sex
- If he tries to coerce your consent, put your foot down and let him know that it’s not acceptable
- State your expectations and boundaries clearly right at the onset so that there is no room for ambiguity
If he seems interested only in sex, it is one of the biggest signs a married man is using you and you need to get out of this relationship as soon as possible. Know that eventually, it will hurt less if he simply chooses to end the relationship because your goals don’t align or you opt out because you see the warning signs.
2. Observe if you have any non-sexual chemistry with him
A major factor in determining whether dating a married man is the right choice for you or if you should continue your relationship with him is to assess if you have any chemistry with him other than the sexual attraction that’s drawing you to one another. Ask yourself,
- Is he fun to be around even when you two are not touchy and feely?
- Do you feel comfortable around him?
- Can you confide in him?
- Do you share the same values and principles?
- What about his lifestyle?
- Can you spend time together outside the bedroom?
Answers to questions like these will help you understand if you have something other than sex to connect on. After all, how long can a relationship last if it’s based just on sexual chemistry or sexual compatibility? “People only think of romance as physical love. However, it does involve a lot of humor, camaraderie, and more. If you’re unsure about the future of your relationship with a married man, the ability to have a great time together, other than sex, can be a good scale to measure how well-suited you are as partners,” says Pooja.
Related Reading: Leaving Marriage For Affair Partner
3. If he tells you he will divorce his wife, ask him when
When it comes to the list of dating a married man rules, you absolutely cannot ignore this one. If he has been telling you that he is stuck in a miserable, loveless marriage and cannot wait to divorce his wife to be with you, don’t just fall for this sugar-coated promises.
Ask him for a timeline and precise details of his plans to exit his marriage. If he dilly-dallies, know that he’s probably in it to have a good time for the short term. If that’s not what you’re looking for, consider this a major red flag in your relationship. Besides, by asking him these questions, you will make him understand that you are not looking for a casual fling, but something serious. Plus, you will also have a checkpoint to see whether his responses are in line with your priorities.
4. When you date a married man, do not let him take advantage of you
In love with a married man? Well, don’t let him use your feelings and emotions to his advantage. Many women fall into the trap of the sob stories married men tell them to get what they want and walk away. Don’t be one of them. Being in love does not mean sacrificing yourself at the altar of your relationship, certainly not when you’re the one making most of the effort to keep that relationship afloat.
Setting and following healthy relationship boundaries is a must irrespective of the nature of your connection. In fact, it becomes even more important to protect yourself in a situation where the person you’re in love with is already committed to someone else. “To make sure the married man you’re dating does not take advantage of you emotionally, sexually, or financially, you must put in place and enforce your boundaries right from the beginning. Don’t let anyone tell you that boundaries are not healthy in a relationship, nothing could be further from the truth and anyone who maintains that line of thought is likely out to manipulate you,” Pooja advises.
Boundaries in the relationship simply mean stating your non-negotiables, for example:
- I expect you to not go incommunicado without any intimation, no matter the circumstances
- You cannot expect me to drop everything and be with you just because your schedule cleared up
- I expect you to make time to see me once/twice a week (or whatever frequency works for you)
- You will not block my number, I expect you to trust me to not intrude on your time at home
Related Reading: Confession Story: How I Dealt With Having An Affair With My Boss
5. Keep your options open and meet other people
You love this married man. You feel he is the one. You are in love. He finds you irresistible. When you fall in love, it can seem like nothing else matters. We get it. But he is already taken. No matter how many promises he makes, he has a life beyond you and a full one with work, a spouse perhaps children, and friends.
“Men often are in that stage of their careers where their work takes the most part of their time and attention. Finding couples-only time in such a situation is a challenge but can be definitely worked out with communication,” says Pooja. Besides trying to find ways to spend time together and nurture your relationship, it’s important that you have a full life too.
Keep meeting new people, do not cut off your friends, and at least be open to the possibility of dating other people. Love him, and cherish the time you spend with him, but don’t shut your mind to the fact that there are a lot of kind, generous men out there who can give you the kind of relationship you deserve. Unless you are okay with being the other woman for life, it would not be wise to just have him as the ‘only’ person in your life.
Also, remember, irrespective of how well your relationship with a married man is going, there will be times when he’d have to go back to his family. During these times, it helps to have a support system of friends and close ones you can spend your time with rather than waiting for him to be free and available.
Even if your relationship with a married man turns into a lasting bond, it will take a lot of effort from both sides to sustain it. “Relationships in the latter stages of life do come with a lot of emotional baggage from all ends, be it of previous relationships gone wrong or personal trauma. A more empathetic approach toward oneself and one’s partner is key to making it work. Share, speak up, don’t keep it bottled in,” advises Pooja.
- Dating a married man can be a challenging experience for most women
- No matter how much you love him and even if he loves you back, there are hurdles along the way that make such a partnership hard to sustain
- You need to learn to prioritize yourself and not let a married man take advantage of you to be able to protect yourself emotionally
- If you can’t pull back, treat it has a short term fling where you both have fun while it lasts but don’t pin your hopes on a future together
- Know that you have to learn to fight off insecurities, guilt pangs, and jealousy in such a relationship; ask yourself, is the man you’re with worth it?
Even if a married man and you are made for each other and he is truly the ‘one’ for you, he has to be legally single for your connection to transform into a real, meaningful relationship. You cannot be dating a married man forever. You have to put yourself first, always remember that.
You know a married man is falling in love with you when he cares for you genuinely and is attentive to you even when you do not show much interest in a physical relationship with him.
Human beings are historically polygamous people and it is possible for both men and women to love two people at the same time. That’s how open relationships and polyamorous relationships survive.
The dangers of dating a married man are that he could be lying to you about his cold relationship with his wife when everything is hunky-dory at home. He might give you false promises of a happily ever after with you and you might keep waiting forever. In the end, you will be only left with the lessons you learn from the affair.
There are no particular rules for dating a married man but always keep your avenues open and an escape route ready. So that you don’t have to deal with the hurt and wallow in self-pity when he decides to discontinue the relationship with you.
The answer to this question is subjective and depends on a person’s morality and situation. But we can tell you that it happens quite often that people find themselves in love in such a way.