Dating the Married Man – The Allure and the Challenges


The ‘Married Man’ is a different type of species altogether and you may find he has an allure if feeling a little jaded after being on the singles-dating scene for a while. As a rule, the married man will go out of his way to complement you, always ensure your glass is filled, and an offer of dinner is never fraught with concerns about who will pay or whether you should offer to go Dutch or not. If unsure about the marital status of a new man watch out for signs that will easily identify him as married. He tends to be secure in himself, confident, with seemingly little to prove to women. If after meeting him and assuming there was an attraction, he’ll somehow find a way to have a card or flowers sitting on your desk the following day. Alternatively, if he emails or calls you he’s openly enthusiastic about meeting up with you again. What can seem best of all is the lack of guesswork needed about whether he likes you or not. It can feel flattering and all too easy to relax and bask in the attentiveness shown by the Married Man. For some women it can feel like salve to a battered self-esteem after dating too many commitment-phobic single guys who apparently like nothing more than cruising bars and picking up different ‘chicks’ every weekend.


Tips, Advice and Damnation

If contemplating dating a married man you might find it useful to throw ‘dating a married man’ into Google and read the responses you get. First up are the tips on how to successfully date and keep the married man. You’ll also get contrasting advice on why you should re-evaluate your reasons for accepting a status of second best. And of course, the response you expect is also included, the one that judges you as the home-wrecker. Interestingly, the tips suggest you never push your married man for answers and that you “make the most of the time you have together.” By contrast, the advice informs you that you’re putting your life on hold for a man who already has commitments, so “just don’t do it.” And the view reflecting societal, cultural or religious values will let you know in no uncertain terms that what you’re doing is wrong, that you will be punished at some point or at least that you deserve to be.

Just a Bit of Fun?

Whatever your views are on the subject of flirting with or dating a married man, they may well be dependent on your circumstances or indeed your current status. For example, many women talk openly about how, when single and out socialising, they saw the married man as a pawn who bought them wine, or champagne they couldn’t or wouldn’t buy for themselves. And married men, very well acquainted with this game, accepted this as the price to pay to have attractive company around for an evening. Jump to another type of socialising – the conference. After the event itself, the usual is for everyone to head to the bar and shake off a day of presentations and PowerPoint. As the evening progresses and alcohol continues to flow, friendships are strengthened while new ones are created. In some cases, boundaries become blurred and an opportunity presenting itself for a one-night stand with an attentive married colleague might seem too irresistible to pass up on. All a bit of fun and of little meaning you might rationalise at the time, but is it really?

Why Do Men Cheat?

According to anthropologist Helen Fisher, men cheat, as it’s a part of their genetic code, a throwback to a time when survival of the species saw man spread his seed with abandon and with little thought of monogamy or indeed fidelity. Well perhaps there is some truth in that but what about now? For some married men, powerful ones, or even those with a healthy expense account, a girlfriend is often regarded as a perk that represents a perceived elevated status in life. We also have the men we know as ‘players,’ he is the type of man who is always open to whatever opportunity comes his way. However, for the most part, many men find themselves cheating on a spouse for much more mundane reasons and with little pre-thought or planning having gone into it. As an example, take that alcohol infused one-night stand at the conference or a night out in a club with friends and some attractive women joining the group.

For now, I’m going to stay away from the men who play the field, plus those who believe a girlfriend comes courtesy of American Express; likewise, I’m doing the same about the women who actively choose to date them. Instead, I’m concentrating on the woman who simply finds herself attracted to the ‘regular’ married man. First, I think it should be said that most single women would never consciously choose a relationship with a married man. However, as I’ve said before sometimes events, timing and of course attraction conspires for things to happen differently. Intense feelings of attraction particularly if reciprocated are often difficult to ignore. And when we’re caught up in attraction, we quite easily become seduced by the thrill of anticipation, and life can seem to take on a glow it didn’t have previously. It’s both an addictive and enthralling time and very difficult to walk or indeed run away from.

Secrecy, Lies, and Limits

However, for the woman who does embark on a relationship with a married man, she has to prepare herself for a relationship with a difference. Getting together with her new man involves constant secrecy and lies. Often it means being selective about who to share her relationship news with. Plans for weekends or holidays away with her lover may need to be accepted as not an option. However, during the initial period of hyped up romantic love none of this might matter. It’s only when those wonderful heady early days of romance ebb away that things change. This is the completely natural evolution of relationships as it shifts from the adrenalin pumping infatuation stage and moves into the calmer ‘attachment’ phase. The relationship is now at a place where a deeper kind of love, connectedness, and intimacy is possible with a couple. For the woman having the kind of limiting relationship one has with a married man she may begin to seek more commitment – one that includes a fuller life and future with her lover. For the married man still committed to his marriage (this may be his children rather than his wife) it’s often a time of panic, when he feels pushed to make a choice. Most will choose their marriage. And while he might find solace immersing himself back in his marriage, the woman may find herself dealing with the fallout alone particularly if friends and family were unsupportive of the relationship in the first place.

Finding a Relationship with Potential

Finding someone to have a good functioning relationship with takes time and yes it can be lonely during that period. However, getting involved with someone already committed to another is not the answer to fending off your loneliness. If anything, a relationship with a married man can by itself be an even more isolating and intensely lonely experience. So before you launch into any relationship know in advance what it is you want. If it’s a relationship with a potential to grow, one with a real chance of a future with another, then faced with an attractive and openly interested married man, remind yourself of that and make the decision that is the right one for you. Walk away.

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Carole Smith


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