What to Do If You’re in Love with a Married Man

The hazy silhouette of a woman in love with a married man clinging to his side walking down the street.

Before I say anything more, let me start by saying I’m not here to judge you—your decisions are your own to make. Love isn’t black and white, and often we end up falling for people who aren’t available. If you do find yourself in the situation where you’re in love with a married man, it’s important to know what you’re signing up for, and the truth about what lies ahead of you if this relationship continues.

All relationships are challenging at the best of times, but being the other woman can bring a whole new set of problems with it. Here’s what you need to know:

He will not leave his wife.
Did you know that less than five percent of men actually leave their wives for the woman they’re having an affair with? Even if he tells you he’s desperately unhappy, he doesn’t love her, or he’s going to leave—chances are he won’t.

This might be because of the financial implications related to divorce, his religious beliefs, his desire to maintain his family man image, or because he still actually cares for his wife—even though he might protest against this.

So it doesn’t matter how many times he says he’s going to leave—you need to know that it’s just words. Actions speak far louder.

If he wanted to be with you, he would be.
At the end of the day, people will go to the end of the earth for the things they truly want. If a man wanted to be with you, and share the rest of his life with you, he would do it. If he truly loved you, it wouldn’t matter what the costs or implications were.

However, if he’s content just sleeping with you on the side, while staying married to his wife, it’s because you’re not so important to him, that he’s willing to change his life for you. If you decided to leave him, he would simply go on or replace you with someone else.

You might not want to hear this, but put yourself in his shoes for a moment. Imagine you were married to a man you didn’t really love anymore, and you weren’t having sex with. Then you meet an amazing new man who you share a beautiful connection with. Would you stay with the man you’re married to, or would you leave so you could be with the man you really wanted?

It’s as simple as that. A man who really wants you will want you all to himself. If he values you, he’ll know that other men are also interested in you, and he’ll make sure he makes you his as soon as he can, before someone else swoops in.

Cheaters are going to cheat.
Did you know this man was married when you started seeing him? Was he honest with you, or did he lie, and you found out the truth later on?

If he lied to you, how can you ever trust him? And more importantly, if he’s currently cheating on his wife with you—what makes you think he won’t do that again to you? If he cheats with you, he will likely cheat on you. So does it even matter if he leaves his wife for you? Can you ever trust him?

If he’s not being faithful, you don’t need to be.
Many women who are having affairs with married men make the mistake of being faithful to them, while he men are enjoying having their cake and eating it.

If he’s keeping you on the side for months or years, then take that as your cue to enjoy dating other men at the same time. This isn’t cheating, because he’s married, so you can do as you please. This will also help you stop becoming too attached to this one man, who might never be fully available to you.

Set a definitive time limit for your affair.
How long are you prepared to be the other woman for? Get clear on a time frame for when you expect him to leave his current wife and be with you—and bring this up with him early on in your relationship.

If he’s not giving you a clear time frame, or he does but then doesn’t deliver on it—it’s because he has no intention of truly leaving his wife, and is just stringing you along for as long as he can.

Pay attention to how he talks about his wife.
Is he respectful when speaking about her, and honest about why he no longer wants to be with her? If so, then it’s a sign he respects women, and is probably being honest with you.

But if he places all the blame on her, and speaks disrespectfully about her, it might be a sign that he doesn’t value women, and he’s also unable to be honest with himself.

Imagine if you were in his wife’s shoes someday—would you like to be spoken about in that way?

Men cheat for sex.
When women cheat, it can be because we’re craving an emotional connection; but when men cheat, it’s often purely for sex. So even though you feel a strong connection to this man, it doesn’t mean that feeling is reciprocated on his part. He might just be using you for his own sexual pleasure.

And no matter how many times he tells you he’s no longer having sex with his wife—do not believe him for a moment. He is still sleeping with his wife, and he is lying to you about it.  

Have a life outside of him.
It’s vital you maintain a solid group of friends outside of this relationship. Don’t drop plans to be with him when he calls, and keep on dating to keep your self-esteem and confidence up.

The future of this relationship is rocky and uncertain, so having a great life outside of this is going to be really healthy and soothing for you during the highs and the lows.

Are you happy?
If you’re in the middle of an affair right now, it’s important to check in with yourself. Are you happy? Is this what you want from your life?

Once you figure out the kind of life you do want, you’ll be able to figure out the kind of man you want. You can then see if the man you’re currently with measures up when it comes to his morals and character. If he does, great. If he doesn’t—you know what to do.

Shani Jay

Bestselling Author and Empowerment Coach

Shani is a bestselling author, empowerment coach for women, and self-love advocate. She is the author of Bloom, The Babe Bible, Glow Getter, and Light Up Your Life; and her writing has been featured on many internationally recognized platforms including The Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, and Teen Vogue.

​In 2016 Shani founded The Glow Getter Tribe – a self-love & kindness movement which helps young girls & women worldwide feel happy, confident and beautiful starting from the inside, out.

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