Having an affair with a married man: 5 things you need to know

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If you’re having an affair with a married man I know what you’re going through. I’ve been there myself.

It’s exhilarating, it’s scary, it’s rejuvenating, it’s confusing.

Sometimes I felt like I was exploring the coastline of a strange new frontier with nobody to guide me: after all, sleeping with a married man is wrong, right?

Well, yes.

What sort of roadmap could I really expect for doing something that’s generally considered fairly shameful and low-down?

But it does happen. Having an affair with a married man is more common than you might think, in fact, 25 percent of married American men have had extramarital affairs. 

I don’t need a Ph. D. in advanced mathematics to know that’s a lot of married men.

Of course, it takes another person who wants to go down the cheating path as well for it to happen.

And when an affair does happen the overwhelming nature of the experience can lead to some unforeseen and emotionally devastating issues that come after the rush of the sex and personal connection.

I know about the high highs and low lows.

I also know how it feels to be ashamed

Because I was raised to be quite traditional and based on my own moral compass I often felt ashamed during my affair.

Did I feel guilty at the time?

Honestly, yes. I felt disgusted with myself. I felt like I was only good enough to get the leftovers of love left by another woman, and I justified our affair by saying she probably didn’t appreciate him enough and I was just providing the love he deserved.

But what about the love I deserved?

I’ve come to realize that I’d discarded that thought and developed a mentality of “take what I can get.”

This attitude caused me untold amounts of pain and distanced me from my power and authenticity in so many harmful ways.

Because I wasn’t owning myself and I wasn’t loving myself, but I was asking someone else to take ownership of me and love me.

It just didn’t work.

When you don’t love yourself you don’t believe you deserve love. I felt like a fraud and a low-life, despite the various times I really enjoyed the affair.

But in retrospect I see it differently: as a process of living and learning.

It wasn’t always pleasant, but I can’t say it wasn’t real.

1) Having an affair with a married man can be exciting but also frustrating and confusing

There’s a lot of heartache and suffering that all of us go through in love, but I hope by writing this I can help some of you understand the most important things about having an affair with a married man.

I’m not here to moralize you or to tell you how you’re a bad person, but I’m also not here to say it’s great and you should do whatever you want.

Instead, I’m just here to honestly give you my perspective as someone who had a two-year on-again-off-again fling with a married man.

I want you to know what I honestly believe you should do if you’re in a situation where you’re having an affair with a married man that you hope will become more.

If you’re stuck in that awkward in-between area where you don’t want to push, but the odd afternoons tangled up in bed also aren’t quite doing it for you anymore and you want more.

First, I want you to know there is nothing wrong with what you want.

Finding inner peace and laughing in the face of the chaos was one of the first ways that I started to dig myself out of the hole that my lust and my own feelings of incompleteness had led me down into.

You must accept that you want more from the relationship and love yourself and acknowledge your need instead of pushing it down or trying to force yourself to be happy about a situation that’s no longer satisfying you.

I know that’s how it was in my affair for a long time.

I lived in denial, pretending that our times together were enough for me and that really becoming a couple was just a funny pipe dream not something I really wanted.

But I did really want it.

I hoped it would become more than a fling, particularly as our connection deepened, but unfortunately, that is not how things worked out.

Can a married man truly love his side chick? I don’t think so.

When I was having an affair with a married man I only thought of the upsides, but there were many aspects of his behavior and our time together that also frustrated and confused me.

Here’s what I learned.

2) Why have an affair with a married man?

Obviously, the reasons why people have affairs depend on those involved. It can be everything from unhappiness with your current relationship to sexual boredom to the strain of long-distance making temptation hard to resist.

I know that in my case it was a lot of the first and second. I just wasn’t excited anymore, and when I met … let’s call him Richard … sparks flew.

I can say I tried to stop them, but I know I would fail even a basic firefighting course if that were the case.

The truth is I jumped right in and felt the warm glow and loved it.

When he took one weekend off to ski with me – and not a lot of skiing got done, let me tell you – I felt like the luckiest lady in the world.

Curled up in front of the resort’s fire I was sure that I’d finally made it.

I could have the best of both worlds: the company of the man I loved without needing to push it to be more and driving him away.

I just wanted it to continue in the same way forever. Or at least that’s what I thought.

At first.

That’s what I thought until we parted ways and he started calling less, and then messaging only for booty calls or to vent his distress over family problems with his wife and how annoying she was and an issue he was having with his older son misbehaving at school and pissing off teachers.

Hey, I am not averse to giving out advice, but I slowly started to realize I was on a one-way street and I was a third-wheel to his relationship with his wife and kids.

He reached out for me when he wanted my body or a shoulder to cry on, but he was rarely there for me apart from a few laughs or a quick chat on his way to work and intimate moments, so what was I really holding out for?

Despite the rock star sex and his incredible sense of humor and zany, tempting smile, Richard was never really giving himself to me. He was just using me as a physical and emotional outlet.

Realizing that hurt.

It hurt a hell of a lot. But what would have hurt even more would have been to keep leading myself on, so I’m going to be real with you …

3) If you’re having an affair with a married man …

Chances are it’s just that: an affair. He’s not going to pull up his life and come run away with you: at least it’s very rare.

Can a married man love his mistress? Maybe, but most of the time, probably not.

He’s spending time with you for as long as his libido and life needs are being met and when it becomes inconvenient or boring to him – or you seek reciprocity – he’s generally going to fade out like a nimble ghost.

If you’re having an affair with a married man but you’re starting to have issues or feel him pull away I’m warning you right now to do whatever you can not to get anymore invested.

I know that in my case I felt Richard was the best I would ever find.

I felt like I had to stake my future on the chance that he would leave his annoying wife and come to me.

But there was never really a chance, to begin with: one day I had to admit it had just been pillow talk for a frustrated man and a woman (me) who was relying too much on someone she could fall madly in love with.

It hurts being a side chick.

It was too late for me to pull back, and I wouldn’t wish the tear-filled nights on anyone after he told me he couldn’t see me anymore.

I felt like I’d had my heart broken for the first time. I was sure I wasn’t going to be OK without him. I was sure I’d never meet someone who loved watching sci-fi movies as much as me or talking about our weird trendy music likes.

It hurt bad. I was stuck in the mentality that I needed someone to come save me and fill the hole in me.

It took many months of work on myself and reclaiming my personal power to understand the truth about finding true love and intimacy.

4) Winner at a losing game

I came to think of myself as a winner at a losing game. If getting your heartbroken was winning, I was the queen – for years.

And Richard knew just that special way of ignoring me and fading out on me to rip it like a maximum power blender.

When I tried to get closer and recapture those special times we had had, he shied away.

When I joked about us running off his smiles got less frequent and he started to have an expressionless, preoccupied face.

I felt literally invisible at times as this married man I’d fallen for wrote me out of his existence right in front of my own eyes.

5) Hard lessons learned

The hard lessons I learned were that even though our sensual connection was incredible and we did have a personal bond, Richard wasn’t ever willing to commit to me in any way.

The more I thought about it, he always fit me in his schedule and never the other way around.

He set the mood and the tone when we met, too.

I tend to be a bit more submissive, but I also like to have my input as well.

I learned the hard lesson that if he was cheating on his wife with me even if he had left to be with me who’s to say he wouldn’t have done it to me?

Even more, I had to eventually admit that my easy belief in what he told me about his “nagging” and “tiresome” wife might not be one hundred percent accurate.

After all, I never got to hear her side of the story and if I had I am guessing it might have been just a little bit different than Richard’s.

After all, he was a great guy, but he was far from perfect. Even as someone who fell in love with him I experienced many of his aggravating personality traits and for all I know he’s cheating with a new woman now and telling her about me and how frustrating I was.

Well. The circle of cheating goes round and round, and it’s not a pretty sight to see.

If you’re having an affair with a married man my simple advice is to stop.

No matter how good the sex is and how many piles of crumpled sheets attest to the sweat-soaked nights or afternoons of bliss you’ve spent together it’s not worth the awful heartache that’s around the bend when he doesn’t put his money where his mouth is.

No matter how much you feel like you’re reliving your high school first crush glory days.

Get out. Get out now.

You are going to get burned and waste years of your life.

Unless this man is genuinely about to leave his wife and you’re absolutely certain with every last fiber of your being that you’ve met your soulmate then you need to do whatever it takes to extricate yourself.

Even if he still wants to continue you need to put your foot down.

You are worth a man who will fully commit to you. Know that deep in your bones and never compromise.

Recommended reading: How to stop dating a married man: 15 crucial tips


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Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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