I have a friend — let’s call her Anna — who came to me recently with a litany of complaints. Anna asked me, “Why do I attract married men? Whenever I am attracted to someone, he turns out to be married or taken. Why do I attract unavailable guys? Is it something I am doing?” Well, it got me thinking, for sure. Do we attract certain types of people into our lives? Does the problem lie with us, or is it the men who just want to have their cake(s) and eat them, too? I decided to investigate further before I offered any sage dating advice.
If, like Anna, you keep asking yourself, “Why am I a married man magnet? Or why do I attract unavailable guys?”, believe it or not, there are a few reasons why this keeps happening. You can also take some definite steps to prevent this recurring conundrum. But first, let’s explore why married men cheat in the first place.
Why Do Married Guys Flirt With Me?
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Before we dive into why you always attract married men, let’s take a brief detour and look at why unavailable men still cheat. Research indicates that 20% of men are unfaithful to their wives (versus 13% of women). These statistics come from a study conducted by the University of Colorado Boulder’s Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. Dissatisfaction with their relationship tops the list of reasons why men cheat, while an unsatisfactory sex life comes in second, according to a recent YouGov poll.
Some of the other reasons include,
- He’s a narcissist
- He’s looking for an ego boost
- He’s a die-hard flirt
- He’s having a mid-life crisis
- He doesn’t want to ‘miss out’
Now, none of these reasons absolves a man from his cheating ways. However, it can help to answer your persistent questions — such as why do I attract married men or why do I attract taken guys — and prevent you from falling for the usual “my wife doesn’t understand me” stories.
Signs a married man is sexually attracted to you
Flirting can be subtle. The signs may be hard to read. Are you sure you are reading the room correctly? If you want to stay away from unavailable men, it’s worthwhile knowing what are the signs a married man is sexually attracted to you. Once your doubts are confirmed, you can take the necessary actions, one way or the other. The most common signs a married man is pursuing you could include,
- He keeps spending time with you
- He compliments your appearance constantly
- He makes constant eye contact with you
- His body language signs of attraction are all about leaning in and ‘casual’ touches
- He asks about your personal life and wants to deepen the emotional connection
- He encourages you to confide in him
- He rarely talks about his personal life or, more importantly, rarely mentions his wife
- He hides his wedding ring from you
- He looks happy to see you
- He portrays himself in a positive light
- He buys you gifts
- He plans time alone with you
- He wants to know if you are seeing anyone
- He texts and calls you often
- His conversation is loaded with sexual innuendo
Now, this attention may be wanted or unwanted. As Quora contributor Suzanne McGee proclaimed on a thread asking, Why do I attract married men?, “Wow, many answers are here, pushing the blame onto the woman. Is she promiscuous? Is she flirting? Is she drawn to men she can’t have?
“Why are married men attracted to me? Well, at a certain point in our ages/lives, most of the men we meet at work or socially will be married. So, if you’re a woman in your 30s and single, you find yourself moving into a world composed largely of married men. But here’s a reality check for other posters: women can’t always control who is interested in them. The truth is that a subset of married men get restless and seem not to care too much about fidelity.”
Once you read the signs a married man is pursuing you correctly, the ball is firmly in your court regarding the next step.
Related Reading: What I Learned From My Affair With A Married Man
13 Reasons Why You Keep Attracting Married Men
If you are attracted to emotionally unavailable people all the time, it’s time to ask yourself where the real problem lies. Stop simply questioning, “Why do I attract taken guys?” and accept the fact that being in a one-sided relationship can be painful, lonely, and very hard to deal with. There will come a time when you ask yourself if you want to continue being in a side-chick relationship or are ready to step into the main role you deserve. We have already looked at the signs a married man is sexually attracted to you. Now it’s time to dig deeper and discover the reason why you keep attracting married men:
1. Fear of rejection
Now, this may sound contradictory, but hear us out. You may unconsciously be attracted to taken guys when you fear abandonment and rejection. You see if you are in a relationship with a man who, from the get-go, cannot be committed to you completely, then there is no fear of rejection on any other grounds.
Your relationship won’t end because you are not worthy of love, it will end because he simply can’t be with you (because of his wife/family/prior commitments). This puts YOU in a safe space. You don’t have to take responsibility for your own actions and feelings. And this becomes your go-to safe space in terms of relationships.
Accepting this fact might take a fair deal of internal reflection and honesty. And the answers may not be what you are looking for. But if you truly want to stop dating married men, stop asking yourself, “Why do I attract taken guys?”, and consciously decide to work on yourself first. Address those very real fears of rejection and abandonment and start holding yourself to higher standards.
Related Reading: 7 Ways To Handle A Married Man Flirting With You
2. Fear of intimacy
A thesis study by Marianne Elizabeth Lloyd from Victoria University explores the influence of past parenting and the fear of intimacy in romantic relationships. It states, “Past experience in the parent-child relationship has been found to influence both the capacity to form romantic relationships and separation-individuation.”
Past traumas result in many people’s deep-seated fear of intimacy and closeness. Whatever the cause, you now find yourself attracted to taken guys and in a position where you prefer distant connection over true emotional honesty. It suits you to look for a partner who is not a hundred percent committed because you favor such relationships — consciously or unconsciously.
Your answer to “Why do I attract married men?” may lie in a painful experience or relationship from the past that may have left you avoiding potential pain in the future. And you protect yourself by keeping aloof or choosing a partner who is aloof and disconnected as well.
3. Negative self-image
If you suffer from low self-worth and crippling self-esteem, chances are you have issues with the concept of lasting or unconditional love. This can be traced back to childhood traumas such as distant or controlling parents/caregivers who insisted on “earning love and respect”. As a result, you believe that love isn’t real (or worth it) unless you struggle for it and “earn” it.
This may be one reason why you rarely find yourself attracted to the emotionally available man and keep complaining, “Married guys always hit on me”. If he shows his true self, is honest and trustworthy, or is open with his love, you automatically push him away. Life can’t possibly be that easy, can it?
4. Childhood wounds revisited
This theory, also known as Repetition Compulsion, answers your question, “Why do I attract taken guys?” It states that you constantly choose married or unavailable men because you want to rewrite your past. For example, if, as a child, your parents were neglectful or distant, you may have spent much of your childhood trying to meet your needs unsuccessfully.
As an adult, you relive this cycle again and again by striving to heal your childhood wounds by choosing distant partners who cannot commit. As you try to rewrite your past (and fail), you dig deeper into the same dynamic in all your relationships.
Related Reading: 12 Signs Of Low Self-Esteem In A Woman
5. You are addicted to the chase
If you allow yourself to be honest, you may accept the truth — that for you, forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest. What an emotionally unavailable man brings to the table is that heady feeling of risk. The thrill gets you going, and you are addicted to these feelings of excitement and danger.
6. You have a history of painful relationships
If most of (or all) your romantic relationships have ended badly or have left you devastated and lost, there is a high chance that you won’t know how to deal with a healthy partnership. A dysfunctional commitment may be the only one you are comfortable with; hence, the pattern keeps repeating itself. Until, of course, you consciously decide to work on yourself and change the story.
7. You are a people pleaser who doesn’t set boundaries
If you have difficulty setting boundaries or saying no to people, you may find yourself in romantic relationships that don’t meet your needs. There’s never an issue of too many questions or demands from you, and married men prefer such partners.
As a result, since you are afraid to be honest with your partners, this can lead to a cycle of unmet emotional needs and disappointments. If you find yourself constantly attracting unavailable men, the answers may sometimes be more straightforward than you think.
Related Reading: 9 Psychological Effects Of Being The Other Woman
8. You may work in a male-dominated space
The only men you meet are those who work with you (and happen to be married). According to a recent poll by the Society for Human Resource Management, nearly 33% of American workers are or have been in a romantic relationship in their workplace.
The ecosystem created by certain work structures creates an environment ripe for interpersonal relationships to deepen. Further statistics reveal that 85% of affairs outside of marriage begin at work. And since most of one’s days are spent at the workplace with added factors such as late nights at the office, work trips, and mutual circles of friends, it’s no wonder that workplaces breed romance and married man single woman syndrome becomes a repeated phenomenon.
9. You are a successful, independent woman
“Why are married men attracted to me?” Perhaps because you are a great catch! Success, independence, and power are often huge aphrodisiacs to a certain type of man. A married man may also be less intimidated by your success because, let’s face it, he doesn’t have to go home to you at the end of the day. So, it’s all heady power games while the relationship lasts.
In fact, in a New York Times article titled, Glass Ceiling at Altar as well as Bedroom, author John Schwartz claimed that men “would rather marry their secretaries than their bosses.” This claim was supported by a study in the Journal of Evolution and Human Behavior, which discovered that men prefer non-threatening women as life partners. This, however, says nothing about the women they prefer as mistresses or girlfriends.
10. You give off damsel-in-distress vibes
On the flip side, women who are viewed as ‘helpless’ or vulnerable attract a particular type of man. Some might call this type a man with a savior complex. His tendency to want to fix things and save women in need is what attracts you to him. If this is the vibe you give off, then it may be time to ask yourself, “Do married guys always hit on me, or does my behavior purposely attract them to me?”
11. You are a challenge
Why do married guys flirt with me, you ask? Well, powerful, successful women attract men who thrive on a challenge. The machismo goes into overdrive, and the ego needs to be abetted. Men love a challenge, and this type of man keeps looking for a partner to keep him on his toes. However, when you think you might be falling in love with a married man and change your rules to show glimpses of vulnerability or neediness, you can be sure he won’t be around much longer.
Related Reading: Why Do Married Men Cheat? Expert Shares 9 Possible Reasons
12. You are on the dating apps
“Why am I a married man magnet?” The answer may lie in your phone. Dating culture has completely changed with the introduction of online dating apps. Not only is it easier to find mates and ‘hookups’ at the swipe of a finger, but it has also made it easier for married people to have affairs.
By being on a dating app, you are officially ‘available’ to all sorts of people (whom you would normally never meet). According to a recent study, 30% of Tinder users were married, while another 12% were in committed relationships. Of these, 62% of users were male, indicating that Tinder (and other dating apps) are indeed the new playground of the married man. This only highlights that it is now easier for married men to find you (even if you are not actively looking out for them).
13. You like married men
The truth of the matter? You like married men. You find them more attractive. You are turned on by the challenge involved. You like the aloof nature inherent in such relationships. So, you flirt back. You encourage the attention. You play an equal role in making this illicit relationship come to fruition. So, maybe it’s time to stop playing the victim and delve into what your motives are in the first place.
How To Stop Attracting Taken Guys
We understand that constantly attracting emotionally unavailable men can be frustrating and painful. But now that the reasons that this is happening are a bit clearer to you, you can move on to the next stage — where you break this painful cycle and create higher standards for yourself. The good news is that all is not lost. You can break the recurring patterns and find yourself someone who will commit. Let’s look at the different ways you can do this,
1. Identify your patterns
The first step toward breaking the cycle is to be honest with yourself and accept your role in the problem. Take the time to reflect on your past and present relationships and look for common patterns and problems. Working with a therapist or counselor can help identify your patterns and work through your relationship history.
2. Be mindful
Life is fast-paced, and losing track of what’s really important is easy. A regular mindfulness practice will force you to stop and take inventory of your life and personal goals. If you repeat the same pattern repeatedly, a practice of self-reflection can help you question your motives and make a conscious decision to prevent unhealthy dating patterns.
Related Reading: Do Married Men Miss Their Mistresses – 6 Reasons They Do And 7 Signs
3. Work on your self-esteem
Ok, this may sound easier than actually doing it, but if you persist and work on yourself, we promise the differences will be astounding. When you don’t value your contribution to a relationship, you settle for less and do not demand more. Some ways of improving self-worth include,
- Learning how to love yourself and a following self-care routine
- Setting and maintaining boundaries
- Focusing on your strengths and positive attributes
- Positive reinforcements
4. Learn to communicate
Once you learn to communicate effectively and have clarity about what you want and expect in a relationship, odds are the men interested in casual flings, or a side chick will bow out of the equation. It’s time to start standing up for your needs unapologetically.
5. Don’t rush in
In your rush to be in a relationship — any relationship — you may end up ignoring all the red flags flying around. Take your time to know someone. To weigh the pros and cons. To make a considered and mature decision about what you need and what is being offered to you. Before committing to any relationship and giving yourself the green light to go forward, take all the time necessary to ensure it ticks all your boxes.
Related Reading: How To Get Over A Married Man Who Dumped You?
6. Seek help
There is no shame in seeking help from external sources. Sometimes, your friends and family may not be the right people to help you when you feel bad. If the pattern of attracting married men and falling for them stems from unresolved emotional wounds/psychological issues, talking to a professional about your feelings can help.
Breaking through cycles and unhealthy patterns takes time, effort, and persistence. Take all the help that you need to get out of the wrong place you have found yourself in, and be kind to yourself during the process. Just so you know, skilled and licensed counselors on Bonobology’s panel are always here for you.
- Do you tend to attract certain types of people in your life? Do you wonder why do I attract married men? If yes, then maybe the reason lies with you
- Women who attract married or unavailable men tend to struggle with various fears, such as fear of intimacy or fear of rejection
- A traumatic past can also cause you to stop looking for a partner who wants a real connection, a real relationship with you
- The way to stop this married man single woman syndrome is to be honest and work on yourself first before blaming anyone else
When it comes to answering the question, “Why do I always attract married men?” the answer is often, it’s not them; it’s me! There comes a point when it’s important to introspect and ask yourself some tough questions to break the repetitive cycle of attracting dead-end relationships. While it is true that the dating world is changing and people are leaning toward more discussion and debate over what is and is not ‘acceptable’, it ultimately comes down to what you want from a relationship and what you need to do to find what you are looking for.