You met him at a friend’s party. Immediately, you felt a rapport with him; witty, charming, eyes only for you — love at first sight. It was meant to be.
You meet up, soak up the mutual adoration, go out together, make love, share secrets, and then two weeks later he makes his confession: he’s married. You feel like you’ve been kicked by a horse. There are no words to describe the shock. But somewhere deep in your heart, you already knew. There was that small, niggling doubt that a new relationship could be this perfect.
If you didn’t end it on the spot, you are now in a quandary — should you allow it to continue? He could leave his wife, couldn’t he? Love will get us through, won’t it? Here are five possible scenarios for you to consider when you’re in love with a married man:
He Leaves His Wife
Image source: Jo Christian Oterhals on Flickr
Perhaps they married young, and maybe the relationship has run its course. There is always the possibility that they have already agreed to end it. After all, statistics tells us that 50% of first marriages in the US end in divorce. All you have to do is be patient and supportive. Now you both know what true love is, you’ll be together forever. No-one mentioned to you that 67% of second marriages also end in divorce.
Be aware that if a man considers his marriage to be over, he will often have an affair to push his wife into divorce rather than be up front and open about his feelings. These ‘exit affairs’ rarely last.
He Leaves his Wife and his Children
Image source: Tony Guyton on Flickr
Now it gets messy. There are other people to consider; small, vulnerable people. Do you want to be known as the woman who ripped a family apart? Of course, in reality, it’s he who is breaking up his happy home; you are the unfortunate one who caught his eye. He was probably going to do it anyway, sooner or later. However, you are the one who will be held to blame by his friends, her friends and even your friends and family.
Think carefully if you want to be part of this. A man who is willing to give up his family is very likely to do it again. And again.
It’s Just a Fling
Image source: Lotus Carroll on Flickr
You have a wild, passionate affair. You both know it will come to nothing, and you are going to enjoy it while you can. There is subterfuge, ducking, and diving; always trying to avoid people he knows. One time when he was driving you to a faraway restaurant, he reached out his hand and pulled your head down because he’d just spotted his neighbor pulling out of a side street.
After that, he’ll insist that you both stay at your place so as not to be seen in public. He goes to the bathroom to take calls from his wife. You can hear him saying goodnight to his children, promising them that Daddy will see them in the morning. He’s using you, and you are using him.
A Long Affair
Image source: Chiara Vitellozzi Fotografia on Flickr
You give up everything to have the occasional evening and weekend with him. You love him so your dreams of a home, a husband and children can be put aside. He may leave his wife one day, even though he has been honest with you and says that’s not going to happen. Anyway, he’s promised to take you away for a whole week. You can be his wife for those few days. Perhaps he will be convinced that you are the one he needs to be with. Unlikely.
Accepting that you are his long-term mistress, you focus on your career. You do very well because you have only your cat to worry about. You live on the crumbs of his marriage for years and years.
In any case, his wife probably knows about you and turns a blind eye. You are doing her a favor. She will never give up the benefits of being married and she is happy to let you amuse her husband while she lives her life to the full.
You Are the Married Man
Image source: Tumisu on Pixabay
Your marriage is stale. You feel unloved, bored and taken for granted. You have no intention of leaving your wife for another woman. It’s just that you need some attention, and she’s too wrapped up in the children and her work. You are way down her list of priorities. An extra-marital affair is just the ticket to perk you up.
Your new paramour falls for you. Big time. She asks you to give up your family for her. You tell her it’s not going to happen, and you will have to end it as it's all getting a bit intense. She is obsessed, convinced that you don’t mean it. She stalks you. Sends you gifts. Hangs around outside your office. Phones you at home. Threatens to contact your wife. You have to make a decision whether to tell your wife and risk everything, including your children.
Should You Stay or Go?
Only you can answer that question. It will help if you take a cold, hard look at your situation. Is the new relationship based on love or lust? Has he had affairs in the past? Are you willing to put up with ongoing uncertainty? Can you take the emotional fall-out as his marriage disintegrates? Are you simply the excuse he needs to end his relationship? The earlier you make a decision, the better; it is easier to get over a quick affair than deal with the pain of a long-term involvement.
A study carried out by Edward Laumann in 1994 concluded that 31% of men are likely to have extramarital affairs. Another study by Rutgers discovered that 56% of men who stray don’t intend to end their marriage or long-term relationship. More research by M. Gary Neuman reported that 48% of the men he interviewed cited emotional dissatisfaction as the main reason for seeking love outside of their marriage, and that the largest element of that was feeling unappreciated.