Depression affair married man

18 Real Painful Complications Of Having An Affair With A Married Man

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“I am having an affair with a married man and I am messed up! It was casual, to begin with, he was suave, understanding, and pampered me a lot more than my immature ex. We have been together for 11 months and I have gotten very attached to him. I go through cycles of feeling content with him to wanting more than just being the other woman. It is ruining my life. Though he says he loves me, he cannot leave his family. I am going crazy. Please help.” We get a lot of emails like this from people who are having an affair with a married man.

Married men are attractive because they are more experienced, generally more mature, financially stable, and know how to handle the fairer sex. In most ways, they are better than the floaters’ single men around. But you need to pause and think before you head into an affair with a married man.

You may be happy with the freedom this relationship gives you now, but you will most certainly want more later, and the man will most probably not be able to give it to you. Married men have their wives, family, and commitments—should you complicate your life by becoming involved with one? Let’s take a look at all the consequences of sleeping with a married man and the intricacies you need to be aware of.

Why Do Married Men Have Affairs?

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Married men can have affairs for myriad reasons. They are bored, the romance has faded, and sex is not as exciting. Or perhaps, the everyday stress of running a home and managing children and aging parents gets too overwhelming. Both spouses are strapped for time. They do not have the energy or the time to make each other feel special.

Then comes another woman, fresh and charming and giving him the attention he has not experienced in a long time. He feels some stirrings within. In most cases, an affair for a man has nothing to do with loving or not loving their spouse. It is just about trying to recapture that feeling of romance and passionate sex. In short, it can be said that married men use affairs as a means to fulfill their unfulfilled desires and wishes.

According to the Institute for Family Studies, about 20% of married men reported that they cheated on their spouses. The study also claims that men who cheat are likely seeking sex and attention. According to a different study, the “affair with married men’s psychology” tells us that men who rank higher in narcissistic traits are more likely to cheat. So, an affair with a married man might be because of his selfish interest, which could mean a lot of unnecessary complications for you.

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Why Does A Woman Get Into An Affair With A Married Man?

When a woman has an affair with a married man, it is mostly because he seems like a complete package. Besides, the sneaking around adds thrill to the romance. Sometimes the fact that they have a gorgeous wife makes them seem incredibly attractive. A married man knows that a woman spends time grooming and he is appreciative of that. He will notice and compliment her well-done nails, her new hairstyle and will probably flood her with gifts to make up for his married status.

Experts feel that sometimes women who lack emotional support in their lives and crave attention can fall into this trap without thinking of the complications of an affair with a married man. Some women might also get involved with married men because they do not want commitment or accountability.

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For some, such an affair boosts their sense of self and confidence. The fact that they can attract a man who is already in a committed relationship gives a high of a different kind. For all the thrills of tasting the forbidden fruit, the reality of dating a married man is that it rarely ends well.

When push comes to shove and it’s time to choose, most married men will pick the stability of their married life over a heady romance with another woman. The odds are stacked against you that much more in the case of a married woman affair with a married man. Since both partners have so much at stake, such relationships rarely take off beyond that initial rush of exciting romance and mind-blowing sex that makes them feel young, desired, and vibrant all over again.

Related Reading: Dear Wife Of Cheating Husband, This Is Why I Don’t Feel Guilty

18 Complications Of An Affair With A Married Man

An affair with a married man may seem adventurous and harmless. However, in the long run, it only leads to heartache, repentance, and ultimately, either a failed marriage or a failed relationship. The betrayal of the marital vow is never taken lightly by the wife, the family, or even your friends.

There is a lot of stigma around such relationships, and no matter who you ask, the general consensus is that it is wrong to date a married man. Even though both partners are equally responsible for the affair, the onus for “trying to break a family” and ruining relationships falls on the other woman.

All of this is just the tip of the iceberg of the disadvantages of sleeping with a married man or even falling in love with one. Let us go through the 18 complications of having an affair with a married man. This may make you take a long and hard look at what this could end up as:

1. He will never be available for you

As a man who has a wife and a family, he will spend most of his free time with them. You will be an hour squeezed here or a text message there. You will never be his priority. On holidays and vacations, he will completely disappear from your life, not even available on text, for “What if she reads them?”

“If you’re going to have relationships with married men, make sure you don’t have any expectations,” says Marie, who didn’t have the best time dating someone with an engagement ring on their finger. She adds, “He was like a ghost. He appeared when he wanted to, and went off the grid when he had to be with his wife. I didn’t even know when I could talk to this person I was pining for. We used to meet for a week, and I thought he was dead for the next 6 days. It got a lot harder to deal with when I got way more attached, and I had to call it quits. Married affairs rarely ever turn out well.”

So, when your entire circle is with their loved ones, you will be alone, cursing the time you got involved with him. Remember, he will only make time when he wants to meet you and not the other way round. This is one of the many unpleasant consequences of dating a married man. Ask yourself, do you really want to be an afterthought in someone’s mind space?

A married man is not available when you need him

2. You cannot make him meet your family and friends

An affair with a married man amounts to a secret relationship that you have to guard with your life. This element of secrecy is augmented manifold in the case of a married woman affair with a married man. Even if he is the love of your life, you can not celebrate the relationship with either your family or your friends. How will you introduce him to your mother or father, to your younger sister or brother?

Even if you succeed in convincing your parents for him, do you think he will be comfortable meeting them? Probably not. This relationship will be doomed to be between the four walls of a hotel room or your apartment. Consider this when you’re tempted to have an affair with a married man. If you’re already dating one, you may need some suggestions on how to get over a married man.

3. He will not introduce you to his friends or relatives

Forget about him making you meet his friends or relatives, he probably won’t even want you to be his friend on social media. He will refrain from commenting on or liking your posts or tweets and will want you to do the same. You are the “other woman” in his life, and he will keep your relationship under wraps.

You will not be able to enjoy a movie in a popular theatre or enjoy fancy dinner dates in restaurants where his friends and family go to. His image will be more important than your feelings, it will feel like he is ashamed to be seen with you in public. The truth is that he is perhaps scared and ashamed of being with you.

Always sneaking around and being hidden like a dirty secret is one of the most heartbreaking consequences of dating a married man. Once the heady rush of being in love begins to fade away, the reality of dating a married man will begin to set in, and it’s not pretty.

4. You will never be introduced as his girlfriend or lover

Marsha, a successful young lawyer, ended up having an affair with a married man, a senior partner at her law firm, who was married with two kids. “I had an affair with a married man and it did not end well. My friends tried to warn me of the consequences, but I failed to notice the signs of infatuation and was naive enough to believe it was going to be different for me, for us. We were in love until we weren’t.

“The secrecy and the hide-and-seek began to take their toll on the relationship, slowly but surely. When he refused to go out to dinner on our first anniversary and suggested we order in instead, I knew the relationship was doomed to fail. I dumped him and haven’t looked back since,” she says.

One of the dangers of dating a married man is being spotted together by someone either of you knows. If that happens, he won’t hesitate in passing you off as an acquaintance. Then, he will be nervous and lose all interest in the date. His mind will be on how to control the damage the “accident” has caused. Love yourself enough to say no to this.

You will be introduced as his friend, colleague, cousin, or someone else. This can be really disheartening since it can sap away your self-confidence, and leave you feeling unwanted. Some would argue that the damage you do to yourself is the spiritual consequences of dating a married man, made worse by the fact that he will hardly notice when you feel miserable. For him, covering up would be a priority.

Related Reading: The 9 Truths About Lifelong Extramarital Affairs


You will have to share him with another woman

He may tell you that he loves you and would much rather spend his life with you but he has kids and responsibilities. That he is with his wife just for the kids is the oldest excuse in the cheaters’ playbook. He may even swear that they hardly have any physical relationship. But these are white lies.

She is his wife, and in all probability, they are intimate physically and emotionally. His wife will always be his priority and he will always choose her over you. You will be sharing him but as a second choice. No matter how painful this sounds, those are the consequences of dating a married man.

The reality of dating a married man is that no aspect of him is solely yours to claim. Even if he gives you a dress or perfume pampers you, don’t be surprised if he tells you he got the same for his wife.

He will never be yours in the true earnest

6. He will never seriously commit to the relationship

Rarely does an affair with a married man lead to him giving up his wife and family for the other woman. Even if he makes promises that he will tell his wife and move out, he will keep pushing the date. If you view his behavior dispassionately, you will be able to see through the lies.

“My wife is grieving the death of a loved one. This is not a good time.” “I have too much stress at work, I cannot deal with this now.” “My mother is not keeping well, I cannot do this to her now.” There will always be excuses. Even if he wants to be with you genuinely, remember there are important things at stake and alimony laws are tough.

Besides, if he has broken the trust of the mother of his children, what is the guarantee he will not do the same to you? Think about these risks of dating a married man before you get sucked too deep into this messy situation.

7. Hiding your relationship will become exhausting

The idea of keeping the relationship a secret for a few days or months is still manageable, meeting at your apartment or a hotel room may be thrilling at first, but after a point, you will get frustrated. The constant lies and secrecy, his last-minute cancellations because he has had a family emergency, you having to duck down at a crossing because someone in the next car knows him, will all be tougher to deal with day in and day out.

You are single, he is the one with the ring on his finger, but you will be the one doing the hiding act more and it will get on your nerves. You will start questioning your place in his life. This emotional affair will drain you. He will never be comfortable with you at a restaurant or a coffee shop lest he gets spotted. But a weekend away in a resort where no one will know him will be okay.

All the hiding, secrecy, and lying will double up if yours is a case of a married woman’s affair with a married man. Needless to say, it can result in fewer opportunities for you both to be together and double the frustration. Before you give in to the temptation, make sure you realize that one of the consequences of sleeping with a married man is the fact that you’ll have to hide like a fugitive every time you’re with him.

Related Reading: Impact Of Astrology On Extramarital Affairs

8. You will be blamed for destroying his home

One of the biggest disadvantages of sleeping with a married man or being in a relationship with one is the stigma and scandal that follow once the affair comes to light. Society will see you as the one “breaking a home” even if he was the one who persuaded you to be with him. You will see it in others’ eyes and their demeaning attitude toward you.

This will hurt tremendously. It will almost feel like an attack on your self-esteem. Over time, this will get to you too. Whether you accept it or not, you are, in some sense, an accomplice in breaking up a home. You have played your part in this man’s lying to his wife.

For this, you will question your sense of morality sooner or later. You will be equally responsible because he is betraying his wife and disappointing his children just to stay with you. As one of the spiritual consequences of dating a married man, this one might end up affecting you long after the affair is over.

9. You will have to be ready to face the world

As and when people get to know about your affair with a married man, you will have to be ready to face an ugly world. We had a case where even after the man divorced his wife and married her, she was not accepted in his friend circle or relatives. He could visit them, but without her. “That hurt like hell,” she wrote to us.

Another woman wrote about how she got hate messages from her lover’s children and twice they appeared in public places and ran her down. Another woman wrote about how even the domestic staff at this house refused to give her respect after she had moved in.

The complications of an affair with a married man can become unbearably nasty once the relationship is out in the open. Taking steps to legalize it doesn’t make the couple immune to societal ridicule. And the woman gets the bigger chunk of it. Many women in such relationships are forced to move cities and start afresh after an affair with a married man.

10. You will feel lonely and depressed most of the time

One of the risks of dating a married man is an all-consuming sense of loneliness. He will never be by your side, whether in your good times or bad. You will begin to see the unfairness of the situation sooner or later. This can take a toll on your mental well-being.

Think about it, you will be the one making sacrifices while he will be the one enjoying it all. He has an exciting romance and sex with you, and the comfort of his wife’s arms at home. He respects her because she is the one taking care of their kids and his parents.

While you spend your weekends lonely and trying to pass time with Netflix, he may be at a movie hall enjoying a rom-com with his family. Eventually, this realization will make you feel depressed because it is brought on by your own doing. A woman wrote to us wondering if her married lover was with her just for money and sex. Since we mentioned that married affairs usually start off with exactly those intentions, be ready to have these doubts as well.

11. When having an affair with a married man, be ready for guilt trips

Though you both mutually build a relationship with each other, you will be the one who will keep having guilt trips. Why? Simply because you are with a man who is already in a committed relationship. On some level, you will think about how you are hurting his wife.

You feel bad for her, and sometimes for yourself. Besides, be sure that if the affair ever gets exposed, you will be the one taking the fall for it. He will make it seem as if you came on to him. His wife and the world will believe him over you. Between constantly longing for him and dealing with the guilt of playing a part in destroying his marriage, an affair with a married man can leave you emotionally drained.

We get it, it may seem like this isn’t a possibility in your case because he loves you so much. Relationships with married men can often blind you like that especially in the beginning, only with time do you begin to see how fickle they are. Whether you choose to accept it now or not, this association will only bring you hurt and shame in the long run.

12. You will have major trust issues

As a partner of a married man, you will never be truly happy in your relationship. You will remain suspicious of his intentions. If he dared to break the trust of his wife, then he can break your trust quite easily. This thought will haunt you. We received a story from a woman who spoke about how the constant lying from her affair partner gave her deep trust issues.

Even after promising her he would leave his wife, he never did and she carried that into the next relationship with a single man and then the next one. She found it difficult to take what the other men said at face value. As a result, she could not maintain a healthy relationship that could lead to a more permanent partnership or marriage.

When you have affairs with married men, psychology tells us that it can lead to major negative self-views as well as long-lasting trust issues and communication problems. Before you even realize you are, you might set yourself up for failure in any future relationships.

13. You will miss your opportunity to meet the right man

Time is precious, and one of the dangers of dating a married man is that you let time slip through your fingers. You will end up wasting the beautiful phase of youth wishing for something that was never going to happen. And with it, the chance of being a priority for the man as he is to you.

An affair with a married man will cost you that ring on your finger, someone to wake up with every morning or share a home with. Just because you are stuck with a married man, you will miss the opportunity to meet the right man. You will spend some crucial years of your life waiting for the man to make you his priority and this might never happen.

Having an affair with a married man sounds thrilling and exciting in the beginning, but the long-term negatives of it quickly weigh heavy on your shoulders, making you regret ever getting involved.

14. Your relationships with married men will be criticized by all

No one will approve of your affair with a married man, not even your family. You may have a thousand good qualities. You are kind and helpful, you are smart and a great money manager or a fabulous cook. But all your good deeds and qualities will pale in comparison to this one act of your life.

Forget introducing your partner to your parents or taking him as your plus one to office parties, you won’t even feel comfortable telling your best friends about him. Even if you do, they’ll tell you it is wrong to date a married man and advise you to end the relationship before you crash and burn. All you will hear is criticism and maybe even see pity. That will hurt you and make you miserable.

Yes, while it may be hard to hear at the moment and you may begrudge your friends for not understanding you, trust us that they have your best interests at heart, and heed their advice. Having your back doesn’t mean agreeing with you all the time, it also means holding a mirror up to you when need be, especially when you’re having an affair with a married man.

Related Reading: Effects Of An Extramarital Affair On The Partner

15. He will not support you when there is any problem

One of the core characteristics of a man who cheats on his wife is that he is unable to tackle difficult situations. Something that he thought was missing in his marriage, he sought in a relationship with you. In a sense, he took the shortcut rather than work through the problems in his marriage.

A married man will have his family, work, his parents and a host of other responsibilities, do you think he will take your problems too on his head? Plus he sees you as a person that helps him escape from the grim reality. If you start sharing your dark side, he will run away before you realize it. This is the reason why extramarital affairs break the moment the other woman starts acting like his wife!

You may just be an escape from the realities of life for a married man

16. Imagine a time when he is no longer interested in what you offer him

What if the relationship runs its course? It is one of the risks of dating a married man you cannot ignore. The excitement and the romance will become routine after a while. You have no legal claim and the two of you do not share committed goals –children, home, etc.

What if you lose his respect over some matter? How difficult do you think it will be for him to cut you off from his life? He would stop getting you those expensive gifts because he does not need to impress you anymore. He wouldn’t gift you an LBD and tell you to wear it for him. You will be left grappling with your own emotions.

17. You will never be able to put forth your opinions

When you have an affair with a married man, the power in the relationship will always rest with him. If you mistreat him or disrespect his wishes, he will threaten to leave you. He knows that you have no one except him in your life. He will continue to use that against you.

Since he is less invested in the relationship, he has no reason to take your opinions, demands, or expectations seriously. Essentially you are an extra in his life, this may sound rude, but it is the truth. If you do decide to break away from your affair with the married man here are some tips to help you get through the affair withdrawals.

18. There will be two set rules, one for him and another for you

The reality of dating a married man is that it will never be a partnership of equals. Any issues he faces in his married life will be shared with you. In the beginning, you may feel happy that he is sharing things, but you will soon see this is a one-way street.

Remember the times you complained to him about your ex and he would get irritated. Or if it’s the case of a married woman affair with a married man, you may notice that while he gets to complain about his marriage or uses his family commitments as an excuse to bail on you, you don’t have the same luxuries.

He may have no interest in listening to your struggles in juggling two relationships, along with a host of other responsibilities. So there will be two sets of rules in this relationship, one for him and one for you. This may leave you feeling like your entire purpose is to please him,

Consequences Of Dating A Married Man

When you are involved with a married man, the consequences can be heartbreaking. You will be a temporary person in his life and will eventually end up feeling alone, neglected in the relationship, and used. Emotional dramas, the married man blaming you for the affair, his wife threatening to teach you a lesson, your family and friends feeling ashamed of you – all these are damaging consequences of dating a married man. In short, an affair with a married man is a recipe for disaster.

Let’s not forget about all the potential long-term damage that married affairs can cause. You might develop cripplingly low self-confidence because of all the sneaking around you’ll have to do, and you may develop major trust issues because you can never trust anything this married man ever told you.

In most cases, having an affair with a married man is a bad idea since it doesn’t really lead anywhere and more often than not leaves you with a lot of emotional baggage. You may be incapable of trusting any future partners as you should, and the turmoil you face during the relationship with married men isn’t easy to deal with either.

You have to be emotionally strong to say no or end the affair to end it once and for all. It will not be easy but if you hang in there, things will start looking up eventually. Once you have created the space, someone else will show up to occupy it. You will find the one who wants you as much as you want him! You have the right to a happy and healthy relationship, go ahead and seek it.

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Dear Therapist: I Had an Affair With a Married Man


I know I sound naive, but this wasn’t like a “normal” affair.

By Lori Gottlieb

Bianca Bagnarelli

Editor’s Note: On the last Monday of each month, Lori Gottlieb answers a reader's question about a problem, big or small. Have a question? Email her at [email protected].

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Dear Therapist,

This is the age-old story of a younger woman meeting an older, married man at work.

I was aware that he was married with kids. He was always very active on social media, and often I thought, What a cute family! I never had any intention of getting involved with him, especially because I had been cheated on before. At the same time, I can remember the exact moment I met him, before anything had happened. It was like I had met him before, but I knew I hadn’t.

One night, at a work event, he and I really connected. A few days and a few hundred text messages later, I was hooked. He expressed to me his grievances about his wife. He praised her for being a good person and mother, but not a good partner. He was unhappy, but he couldn’t stand the thought of leaving his children and not tucking them into bed every night. He claimed to have never been fully happy in his marriage, saying that on his wedding day, he almost didn’t follow through.

I know I sound naive, but this wasn’t like a “normal” affair. It wasn’t secret text messages once in a while, or only seeing him once a week. This was texting all day and night. Phone calls on the way to and from work. Seeing each other four or more times a week. Endless Snapchats, private messages, inside jokes, and so on. He told me he loved me, and I loved him back. He looked at me in a way no one else ever had before. There were serious talks of him wanting to leave but not being able to because of issues with his kids. The guilt consumed me—I felt anxious, lost weight, couldn’t look in the mirror some days—but still, this continued for almost a year. Then his wife found out.

That weekend he expressed how much he loved me and said that although he was confused about what to do, he still wanted me. But a couple days later, he called and said that his wife was willing to keep him and work on things for their children’s sake. And that was that.

A few months have passed, and I’m still devastated. I’m not sure how to get beyond this heartbreak and feeling of being “less than.” I caught a glimpse of his social media from a fellow co-worker, and all I saw were happy photos of him, his wife, and the kids, as if nothing had ever happened. I replay the things he said to me and the endless conversations we had, and think, How can he move on from me so easily?

I’ve started therapy, but I need to know how to stop my sadness and feelings of anger and resentment toward him. I’ve lost myself completely, and I don’t know how to pick myself back up. Any advice?

Orlando, Florida

Dear Anonymous,

Heartbreak is such an intense form of emotional injury—the painful longing, the crushing sadness—but recovery can be especially hard when the relationship was secretive, ended abruptly, and left you feeling as if you lost a contest for someone’s love. That’s what happens with infidelity: Because so much is left unsaid, a person can make all kinds of faulty assumptions. Let’s start by examining some of yours.

Your ex’s decision to stay with his wife doesn’t mean that you’re “less than” or that he has easily moved on. He was clear that he wanted to be with you—as long as he could also stay with his family. After all, he had you for sex and connection, and his wife for stability, security, the comfort of a shared history, and a mutual commitment to their children. When the affair came to light and he could no longer have both, what he faced wasn’t a choice between two people, but between two lives.

You seem to believe that if he loved you more, or if you were more X or Y, he would have chosen you after his wife found out. But commonly in affairs, no matter what the married person says about his marital dissatisfaction, he has many compelling reasons to stay. Divorce is expensive, painful, and time-consuming—not just hiring lawyers and going through that difficult process, but coordinating two households financially and logistically for the long haul. Friends, as well as family on his wife’s side who are meaningful to him, would probably cut their ties. His kids’ lives would be upended and his reputation damaged. Another man could even take on a paternal role in his kids’ lives if his wife remarries, which might just break his heart. His wife, whom he cares about (he says she’s a good person and a good mother), would endure great pain. The material quality for all members of his current household would decline. To put it plainly, he would be giving up his entire life as he knows it, all for a younger, single woman he’s known only in the context of an exciting affair, one in which he had no real commitment or responsibility.

I mention that nature of affairs because, having been married, he’s likely considered that if you two married, you’d become less shiny versions of yourselves. The intensity would eventually dissipate—all the talking and texting, all the sexual heat and witty banter and flirtation, all the looking your best for each other and being extra considerate, all the gazing into each other’s eyes. This is the stuff of courtship, and with an affair, it’s courtship on steroids. Even if you seem more compatible with him now, until he figures out why he cheated on his wife instead of communicating with her about his dissatisfaction, he won’t really know if that’s true. Nor could he really know unless the two of you get deep in the trenches of children and bad moods and health issues and dirty dishes and shared money and annoying habits and existential loneliness and fear of aging and utter exhaustion and years of the same fundamental disagreements and recycled jokes—all of which are revealed only in the experience of a long-term relationship.

Given this degree of uncertainty, would he really blow up his life for you? He may have fantasized about it with you—which only added to the already-delicious fantasy of the affair. But back in reality, not only did he tell you that he wouldn’t go through with it, but you say that when his wife found out, she took a couple of days before she decided she “was willing to keep him. ” It was he who lobbied to stay.

This perspective might help you understand why he’s made the decision he has, and help you focus instead on understanding why you co-authored this fairy tale with him. That might have something to do with your description of meeting him for the first time: “It was like I had met him before, but I knew I hadn’t.”

I have a feeling that he felt familiar because although you hadn’t met him before, you had met a version of him, and you were drawn to him so strongly because of a phenomenon called “repetition compulsion.” Repetition compulsion explains why many people who had angry parents end up choosing angry partners, or those who had unavailable or critical parents find themselves married to spouses who are unavailable or critical. Without being aware of it, they have an uncanny attraction to people who share the characteristics of a person who hurt them growing up. In the beginning of a relationship, these characteristics will be barely perceptible, but the unconscious has a finely tuned radar system. It’s not that people want to get hurt again. It’s that they want to master a situation in which they felt helpless as children. Maybe this time, the unconscious imagines, I can go back and heal that wound from long ago by engaging with somebody familiar—but new. The only problem is, by choosing familiar partners, people guarantee a familiar result: They reopen the wounds and feel even more inadequate and unlovable. This might be what has happened for you.

Think about it this way: Just as you were a projection of something he is trying to work out, he was a projection of something you are trying to work out. You say you were “hooked,” and that’s an apt description; he feels like an addiction because addictions are distractions from something we don’t want to feel. But now the drug is gone and the feelings are front and center—leaving you in withdrawal, which is harrowing, but which also creates an opportunity to understand these feelings through the clarity of sobriety.

So how do you pick yourself up again? You’re already doing it, by going to therapy. You let yourself feel sad. You grieve the loss not so much of him but of the fantasy you co-created. You sit with the dissonance of wanting to spend your life with him and acknowledging that you didn’t really know him because he compartmentalized half of his life when he was with you. You ask yourself if the appeal of him was that you would never really feel safe with him. (This might also apply to the person you dated who cheated on you.) You look inside and reckon with whether you dated a married man because you were afraid of meeting someone available to you; because you felt like nobody would truly love you; because abandonment is your native language; or because the drama of an affair was a great distraction from a sense of boredom or loneliness or a great big hole in your life—and you didn’t want to take responsibility for filling it. All of this work will help you figure out what you were avoiding by hiding away with a married man, and once you do, you will be so much closer to finding the love you deserve.

Dear Therapist is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, mental-health professional, or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. By submitting a letter, you are agreeing to let The Atlantic use it—in part or in full—and we may edit it for length and/or clarity.

Relations with a married man: what is the danger?


Man and woman

Perhaps you see yourself as a savior who frees a man from an unhappy marriage. But no, you are an accomplice of deceit. A man deceives his wife, whom he does not want to part with, and you, first of all, deceive yourself. Elena K. did this until she found the strength to break this connection. She decided to share the conclusions that she made on the basis of sad experience.


You have every chance that he will not be true to you either. Even if you convince a man to leave his family or he himself convinces himself that “the grass is greener on the other side,” you will remain with a person who is potentially ready for betrayal. Why would he, disappointed in your relationship, again not find a replacement?


You will never be the main thing in his life. Obligations to his wife and children will always come first for him. If this is not the case, you should think about what kind of man you want to connect your life with. Can you rely on him?

Why are you agreeing to this relationship?

  1. You are afraid of rapprochement. Even if you are convinced that you do not want to get married, choose someone who is free. Then it will really be your own, not an imposed choice. Sometimes it seems that as long as we are connected only by physical relationships without obligations, this will not hurt. A big misconception, because over time, a person becomes dear to you, and relationships turn into torment.
  2. You don't think you deserve better. In this case, it is important to stop clinging to the man who paid attention to you, and work on self-confidence. Now I understand - it's better to be alone than to play in a relationship with a person who cannot be with you.

If you think you're not hurting anyone, you're wrong. The man, most likely, convinced you that his wife doesn’t care how he spends his time, and she stopped loving him a long time ago. In most cases, this is not the case. When a woman finds out about the betrayal, it will hurt her. If there are children in the family, they will inevitably suffer as well.

It took me through suffering and wasted years before I realized that I deserve better than a man who is unable to be honest with others or with himself. If he and his wife are so unhappy in marriage, what prevents him from getting a divorce? Does he tell you that he loves you? He also said this to his wife. Chances are good that he repeated it last night when they went to bed. If you are dating a married man, you are depriving yourself of a fulfilling and healthy relationship with a person who will cherish only you.

Natalia Artsybasheva, Gestalt therapist

The reasons why a woman chooses a married man can be very different. Simple naivete and inexperience. We all learn from our own experience, and it often seems that the chosen one loves us and only the wife interferes with happiness. Meeting with reality, as a rule, eliminates illusions.

Subconscious unpreparedness for long-term close relationships also makes you choose inaccessible men. It may also be a hidden response to social pressure to "get married." The unwillingness of a man to divorce turns out to be a kind of apology and causes sympathy.

Cheating in a couple occurs when partners cannot cope with the tension that arises

There are more complex reasons. For example, in adulthood, we unconsciously repeat the plot of our relationship with our parents in the hope of completing it. Beloved father left for another family, and the girl dreams of returning him all her life. When she grows up, she begins to like exclusively family men much older than her. She can sincerely believe that this is love and a man should leave the family. If this happens, most likely she will be disappointed, because she dreamed of returning her father, and not getting a husband.

What is the destructiveness of such relationships?

You are not going through the process of gradually getting to know your partner. He is turned to you by the best side, and the part hidden from you is turned to the family. With you, he rests his soul, quarrels with his wife, and you do not know everything about him that you usually learn about a free partner. As a consequence of such one-sidedness, an illusion may arise: he is so incredibly good that you are ready to wait for him all his life. In reality, this is an ordinary man with a standard set of flaws, but you do not have the opportunity to get to know them. You cease to belong to yourself, rearrange your life plans and invest all your strength in someone else's situation (perhaps even in strengthening someone else's family).

Infidelity in a couple occurs when partners cannot cope with the tension that arises, and they are not mature enough to talk about it. Then there is a sudden outbreak of forbidden love as a way to get rid of the accumulated negativity, raise self-esteem, receive warmth and sympathy, without making efforts to change something in your family. Sincere and honest relationships are possible only after the end of the relationship with the previous partner.

About the expert

Natalia Artsybasheva - Gestalt therapist. Her website.

Text: Sabina Safarova Photo Source: Getty Images

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Payment for a relationship with a married man

It is precisely such relationships that are often measured in years, despite all attempts to part, remain only friends, etc. , despite the fact that feelings come and go, despite the fact that they are accompanied by despair, depression, loneliness and pain. What I'm interested in in this thread is: WHY? Why so long? Why is it not easy to end this relationship?

Such relationships are often measured in years, despite all attempts to leave, to remain only friends, etc., despite the fact that feelings come and go, despite the fact that they are accompanied by despair, depression, loneliness and pain. What I'm interested in in this thread is: WHY? Why so long? Why is it not easy to end this relationship?

Still from the film "Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona"

We hold transformational games in Moscow

First answer, I'm thinking of - this relationship is COMFORTABLE. First of all, they are convenient for a man: there is always a place where they love you, they are waiting, where you can get a lot without investing almost anything, there is, as it were, a “fallback option” in case a person (man) decides to change his life. (I’ll say right away that it’s unlikely that a man will decide on this, since it is these relationships that are convenient, and not some others.) This is the main reason why a man stays in these relationships and, of course, when a woman tries to break them, he begins to invest there is more in them, once again giving a “baited hook” to a woman, after passing through a difficult period, everything remains in its place.

So, "it's just very convenient" is the main reason why a man stays in this relationship. Yes, of course, there are small difficulties - for example, how to tell your wife, or how to find time, but in general such relationships are much more convenient for a man than for a woman.

Second, this relationship SUPPORTS HIS MARRIAGE. Yes, yes, they support, not destroy, as women often think when they meet a married man. The family system is like a scale, if an imbalance is created on any bowl, for example, someone has sacrificed a lot for the sake of the family, or experienced a lot, this imbalance creates tension and other family members try to compensate for it. And compensation is not always possible.

For example, a wife has an abortion. And, as a result, he accuses her husband - that he did not create material conditions for her to be able to safely give birth to a child, or that he did not “dissuade” her, or that he did not take enough care of her in the process, and in general because he life is good, but she is now bad. The scales swung. A husband needs strength in order to stay in a relationship, in order to withstand tension, in order to continue to be accepting, loving, caring at a time when so much is demanded of him and there are so many claims against him, often unreasonable for him. and incomprehensible.

Where can you get the strength for this? Where to find support? This is where another woman appears - who "accepts as she is", loves, approves, understands, and, most importantly, does not blame.

Further, having fed on these resources, the man returns to his wife. He is already more resistant to her demands, he feels stronger, and most importantly, he has a little real guilt that prompts him to make concessions and fulfill part of his wife's demands without discussing their adequacy. Now you don’t need to resent the violation of your boundaries and you don’t need to return your wife to reality. The husband becomes "good," the wife is content to receive an answer to her claims, the family boat stops rocking, and the marriage continues.

So, betrayal has become a resource for continuing a quiet family life. The next time the "family boat rocks" - the man already knows what needs to be done to "restore the balance."

There are some families where there is a "tacit agreement" for betrayal, and sometimes this agreement is open, with discussion. For example, a wife is much older than her husband, they have a good family, a child, but all the sexual energy of the husband does not fit into this relationship. Then the husband gets mistresses. Most often, the wife suspects this, but it is not at all profitable for her to break off relations. The husband is satisfied, she is satisfied with the behavior of the returned husband, everyone wins. The marriage continues.

This is the second reason why a man is absolutely not interested in breaking off relationships on the side. Like the first, this reason is not always conscious, but it exists, and his family is better and easier from the fact that there is a mistress.

Even these two reasons are enough for a man not to try to break off this relationship.

But there is another third reason - usually a mistress is a woman "pleasant in all respects" , she is kind, she is cheerful, she is economic, she is sincere, loving, understanding, she is beautiful, because she is an "image", not a real person. This is LOVE. Yes, yes, the same love that schoolchildren in the 11th grade have when there is a Beautiful Girl who is ideal and ... unattainable.

This is not love, as is often confused, because there is no responsibility, no reality, because there is almost no other person (with his real needs) at all - there is only his image.

To destroy the image, to refuse a beautiful picture - it requires too much effort, and will only bring pain and discomfort. Why is it for a man for whom these relationships are also convenient? In addition, the good old “HAVE” mechanism also works here: a man is pleased that he has such a beautiful woman, perhaps he is even proud of her, sometimes they show their lovers to their friends and colleagues: “look what kind of woman is in a relationship with me” .

So, a married man is absolutely not profitable to break off relations with his mistress. And of course, he will not take responsibility for breaking off relations, he will not try to break them off - he will leave it to the “other side”, and he himself will continue to leave hooks of hope: “I’m about to leave the family, everything is already there bad”…

In some cases, there may be another scenario, when a married man, with his attempts to “break off relations”, provokes his mistress to stay in them as long as possible, because such attempts are actually false and their purpose is rather to “refresh feelings”, to confirm their value for women, see her desire to stay in a relationship, not a breakup.

Relationships with married men are like drinking binges with alcoholics. During the period when an alcoholic drinks, the world is beautiful. Problems begin in a sober life. Such a relationship is akin to a drug that gives relief at the moment of use, and after which "withdrawal" begins, and then a new breakdown follows. It is very difficult to stop this “romantic intoxication with others”, because a woman also has a lot of reasons that keep her in this relationship.

And the first reason is the "romantic rapture" itself. All "other men" will be worse than this, ideal, but with "one small flaw" - he is married. That is, the first reason is the same LOVE that prevents you from seeing a real person. A married man is also "beautiful in every way" for his mistress. What is most interesting, even when the period of falling in love passes, when the woman already sees that he is not so “beautiful”, then the reason “ALREADY WITH HIM” turns on: so much has already been lived with him, he already knows so much, he is already so close . .. - "the other can not be in his place."

The next reason is also CONVENIENCE, oddly enough. When a man lives separately, it's very convenient: you don't have to deal with a lot of unpleasant things (which usually destroy the illusory image). You don’t need to agree on family problems every day, you don’t need to build a life together. It's EASY to be Perfect for him (and that's another reason) - just as he stays Perfect for her.

So, what exists between a married man and his mistress, what holds in a relationship, is more than just sex. Often there are 9 more0081 "intimacy" - long conversations in which both perform a PSYCHOTHERAPEUTIC FUNCTION for each other. He shares his problems, which he does not do at home or with friends, she talks about her experiences. Both are something of an "outlet" for each other. Often this side is one of the most restraining. For a woman first. But the price for such "psychotherapy" is high.

Payment is your years.

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