How to stop dating a married man: 15 crucial tips

Let’s face it, we can’t always help who we fall in love with.

Tall, dark, handsome… the allure is there, with just one tiny hiccup…

He’s already married.

At first, it doesn’t bother you too much. The romance is new, fun and exciting.

His wife has nothing to do with you. It’s his decision to make – not yours.

But as the relationship continues, that feeling of guilt creeps its way in.

You’re being dishonest.

You’re ruining a marriage.

Plus, there’s also you to think about. You want more.

You want a man who is 100% available, just for you.

You don’t want a man you have to share.

You deserve more.

So, how exactly do you stop dating a married man and move on?

Here are 15 tips to help you out:

1) Pinch yourself

You’ve had some fun and now it’s time to bring yourself back to reality.

If you take a step back from the relationship for long enough to be honest with yourself, you know

. It goes without saying.

Sure, you got swept up in the romance of it all at the beginning, but when you take your heart out of the equation, what is your head telling to you?

It’s time to talk some sense into yourself.

You need to be able to acknowledge and accept that what you’re doing is wrong in order to edn it once and for all.

Otherwise, you’ll find yourself going back to him time and time again, which isn’t healthy for anyone.

So? Do you agree with dating a married man?

Didn’t think so. Give yourself a good, hard pinch and jump ack to reality.

You simply got swept up into a fantasy that doesn’t exist. You’re the other woman.

Now that you know there’s not future in this relationship, you can put an end to it.

2) Start telling the truth

Getting involved with a married guy isn’t something you shout from the rooftops.

You’ve probably gone to lengths to hide this relationship from your family and friends up until now. Perhaps you’ve only told them the part-truth – you’re seeing someone and that’s it.

You’re hiding this relationship out of guilt and shame. You know it’s wrong, but you can’t help it.

You’re in love with him.

The first step to ending it is telling your close family and friends what’s going on.

They only have your best interests at heart. If you tell them the truth, they will jump through hoops to be by your side and help you through this.

Let’s face it, it’s so easy to get caught up in love. Even if he is married.

You’re blinded to it and as a result, you keep convincing yourself you’re doing the right thing. You can’t break up with him.

Your friends and family will be your voice of reason and will give you the strength you need to leave.

  • You know he won’t leave his wife for you.
  • You know you want more.
  • You know it’s not right being the ‘other’ woman.

You know all of this, yet you’re blinded by love and can’t see a way out.

Stop lying to those around you and tell them the truth. This is the first step to getting out of this relationship. If you can be honest with friends and family, they will help you recognise the truth so you can be honest with yourself and the relationship.

It’s time to start the conversation.

Recommended reading: In love with a married man? Here’s everything you need to know

3) Think about your future

If you’re still trying to convince yourself to leave a married man, then it helps to think about your future.

What are you looking for in the coming years?

Are you hoping for a wedding of your own? Kids? A two-storey house with a white picket fence?

Now, can you picture having all of this with a married man?

Of course not. Firstly, marriage if off the cards, and if you do have kids with him, they will be sharing daddy with a whole other family. And that’s if he chooses to have anything to do with your kid in the first place.

Is this the life you imagined for yourself?

For your children?

Of course not.

Now’s the time to put yourself first and consider what you want. Because it surely isn’t this.

You’re in a relationship that you know is doomed. It’s a matter of when and not if.

It makes sense to end it sooner, rather than later, so you can move on and find true love with an available man.

That future you dreamed of can happen, you just have to leave your current relationship and find the right man for you.

4) Consider all the downsides to being with a married man

If you’re needing a little extra convincing, it’s time to make a list.

Write down all the cons that come with dating a married guy. Here, we’ll help you get started:

  • You can never introduce him to your friends and family.
  • You will never meet his friends or family.
  • You have to share him with another woman.
  • He’ll never truly be yours.
  • You’ll never marry or have kids together.
  • He’ll never seriously commit to the relationship.
  • You’ll have to hide your entire relationship.
  • People will judge you for what you’re doing.
  • You’ll feel lonely.
  • You’ll feel guilty.
  • You’ll miss out on meeting the right man to settle down with and have kids.
  • You’ll never receive the support you need from him in a relationship.
  • He can’t come over to help you when you’re sick.

The list really does go on. While you know all of this in your head, it can help to see it all written down on paper.

Read over it a few times until it sinks in. You can even try writing a pro list as well if it helps. We can guarantee it won’t be as long as the cons one.

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

5) Prepare yourself for the conversation

As far as ‘he’ is concerned, there’s nothing wrong with your relationship.

And up until this point, he is assuming you feel the same way.

Quite often, when it comes to breaking up with a married man, it comes out of the blue for him. If you haven’t shown any signs of wanting to end it, or shared any concerns, he isn’t going to expect it.

You need to prepare yourself for the break up conversation, as he will most likely try and convince you to stay. I mean, why wouldn’t he?!

He is ‘happily’ married to his wife with a fabulous relationship on the side – why would he want that to end?

Think it through.

  • When will you break up with him?
  • Where will you break up with him?
  • What will you say?

It helps to plan it all out in your head beforehand. Perhaps even run through the conversation with a close girlfriend so you feel confident in what you’re saying.

Prepare yourself that he’ll ask you to stay. He’ll try to convince you the relationship is right and worth it.

He’ll tell you he loves you.

You’ll need to be able to tune out to this, break up with him, and leave without a second glance.

It takes a lot of strength, so don’t rush into it. You want to do it once and do it right. Then you won’t have to deal with him again.

6) Have the conversation

This is often the hardest part. You’ve prepared for the conversation, now it’s time to actually sit down and have it.

Here’s how:

  • Lock in a time to talk: you want to meet somewhere private, that isn’t his home or yours. Make it somewhere that’s public, just in case the break up doesn’t go well.
  • Be calm: if you’re calm, you’re in control of the situation. You need to take control of the conversation from start to finish and not let your emotions get in the way.
  • Use ‘I’ statements. Make it about you and not about him. Explain why you want to break and why you need to do this for yourself. Here are some sentences you can try, “I don’t feel that you’re committed to the relationship”, “I don’t feel happy being the other woman”, “I think we should end this affair”. Using these ‘I” statements holds you accountable for the decision, without blaming or accusing him. It’s a good way to keep things amicable in the process.
  • Be firm: as we mentioned above, he’s naturally going to want to try and win you back. Don’t give him the opportunity. Be firm in what you’re saying and leave no room for argument. You can say “I’m not arguing about this anymore. I won’t change my mind and I hope you can respect my decision”. This shows just how serious you are about ending the relationship.

The conversation is never easy. It can help to have a friend waiting nearby, so you have an excuse to leave and escape when you need to. Simply telling him, “I’m sorry, it’s over. Now I have somewhere I need to be”, can make the perfect exit to the break-up conversation.

Plus, then you can go have a drink with your girlfriend and debrief about it all.

7) Cut off all contact

Did I mention he’s going to try win you back?

Think about it, he’s got everything to lose if you walk away. Things are pretty perfect for him, being married with a lover on the side. He knows he’s got a good thing going on and wants to keep it that way.

Don’t give him a chance.

Cut off contact altogether.

That means no emails, no calls, no text messages, no voicemails, no social media contact, no nothing. If you work with him, consider finding yourself a new job.

Otherwise, you’ll find yourself going back to him. He’ll catch you in a moment of weakness and you’ll cave.

After all, you’re attracted to the guy.

Friends definitely isn’t an option for the two of you, so don’t even entertain the idea.

It’s time for you to focus on rebuilding your life and finding true love, and you can’t do this while he’s lingering.

If you find yourself lacking the strength to completely ignore him, keep reminding yourself why you broke up with him in the first place.

You’re not in love with a real man. You’re only seeing the bits and pieces that he shows you. You simply love the idea of him, but in reality he’s not yours.

You’re missing everything else in his life that he’s sharing with his wife. The credit card bills, the mortgage, the toilet seat left up.

You’re dating Mr Perfect, without seeing who he really is.

Shut off contact and say goodbye to that period of your life. Don’t give into temptation and let him weasel his way back in, or you’ll find yourself back at square one.

Recommended reading: 10 ways to get over a married man (from personal experience)

8) Expect it to hurt

The fact is, when you break up with a married man, most family and friends are shouting good riddance, rather than comforting you.

But married or not, you’re going through a loss, and you’re allowed to mourn.

Juts because it’s the right thing to do, doesn’t make it any easier. You’ve been hurt and used and stuck in a relationship going nowhere.

And in all likelihood, despite all of this, you were in love.

They do say, things get worse before they get better.

So allow yourself some time to grieve.

Sit on the couch with a tub of ice-cream and polish it off. Call the girlfriends and organise a fun night out. Bawl your eyes out to a romantic comedy on TV. Do whatever you need to in order to mourn the relationship.

Just because the relationship was doomed from the beginning and you knew it was never going to last, doesn’t make it any easier.

The pain will ease in time and you’ll find yourself ready to move one and find an available guy ready for you.

9) Contact an ex

Not to date, but simply to remind you of what it means to date.

You broke up with your ex for a reason, so don’t go hunting to get back with him.

Instead, contact him to remind you of what it felt like to be in a real relationship.

For the past weeks, months or years, you’ve been swept off your feet in a fake relationship. Nothing about it was real from start to finish. Yet, it meant something to you. And it can be hard to get back out there again.

The first step is to remind yourself of the difference between what you had (or rather didn’t have) with the married man, and what you could have with a future partner.

Separate the two to help yourself see if clearly.

Head over and visit some married friends to see what it means to be in a real, committed relationship.

It’s about changing the way you think about love and what it means to be in a relationship.

You’ve been blinded to it for a while now and it’s time to refocus.

Once you know what you’re leaving behind and what you’re now on the lookout for, things will become much clearer.

10) Put the focus back on you

The break up is done. He’s gone. For good.

You’ve been through the mourning period.

You’ve accepted what was wrong with your relationship.

Now it’s time to turn the focus onto you and get yourself back on track.

Work out what your priorities are now:

  • Are you looking to focus on your job and work towards a promotion?
  • Are you looking to find true love and settle down and marry?
  • Are you hoping to play the field for a little while first?
  • Are you looking to escape from the world and travel for a while?
  • Do you want to find a new hobby to take up your time?

While you’re on this path of self-discovery it’s important to eat well, exercise and get plenty of sleep. This will help you be the best version of yourself possible, and allow you to move on and get ahead in life.

Recommended reading: How to love yourself: 16 steps to believing in yourself again

11) Get a makeover

Sometimes in order to truly get over a relationship, it helps to go through a mini makeover.

Become a new, fabulous version of yourself who’s no longer attached to a married man.

Give your hair a good cut.

Add some highlights.

Buy some new makeup.

Head out for a girls’ pamper session.

Go shopping for a new outfit or two.

There’s so many different ways you can go through a mini makeover and come out the other end feeling even more fabulous.

Plus, it’ll give you that confidence boost you need to put yourself back on the market and get back on the dating scene again.

Which brings us to the next step…

12) Join the dating scene

If there’s one way to get over a bad relationship, it’s to go on the rebound.

Put yourself out there and join the dating scene again.

There’s so many ways to do this: go out with some girlfriends, jump on some dating apps, or sign up for a blind date.

Whatever you do, just make sure you avoid going out with another married man.

13) Dump him and find someone better

Too simple to be true, right? You’ve probably heard this countless times from your friends.

But it is good advice when you’re dealing with a married man. After all, most men end up NOT leaving their wife for the woman they’re having an affair with.

And if he was going to do that, he would have already done it by now.

The fact of the matter is, you’re probably not happy with the current situation.

Fair enough, but you need to do something about it. You need to be kind to yourself and do what’s best for you.

There are plenty of men out there (that aren’t married!), and once you’re over this particular guy, trust me when I say, it’ll be as clear as daylight that there are more fish in the sea.

14) Keep in mind it won’t be a quick, or easy process

According to research published in The Journal of Positive Psychology, it takes 11 weeks to feel better after a relationship ends.

However, another study found it takes about 18 months to heal after the end of a marriage.

The brutal truth is this:

Heartbreak is a grieving process – and it’s a unique experience for everyone. Love is a messy emotion, after all.

But you need to remember that there’s no set timing of when you “have” to get over this married man.

2 weeks after stopping things with this married man you might feel terrible.

But if you’re going to follow through and stop dating this married man, then you need to stick at it.


Millions of people have been through the pain of a break-up before, and they’ve successfully moved on to be a better, stronger human being.

I can vouch for that.

It’s a natural process that most people will go through at least once in their life.

But just like any other wound: Heartbreak heals with time – and you will eventually move on.

15) What was the relationship like?

If you’re feeling depressed, you’re probably telling yourself things like, “he was perfect”, or “I’ll never find someone as good.”

And when you tell yourself those things, what usually happens is that you go running back to this married man.

This is why you need to stop telling yourself things like that. It’s just your bias brain creating falsehoods in your head.

The truth is this:

No matter how much you’ve built them up in your mind, nobody’s perfect.

If I can guarantee you that if this guy is married and he is dating you, he is clearly not perfect. In fact, he is probably quite flawed in many ways.  

It’s time that you looked at the relationship you had with this guy objectively, rather than being biased about how “great” it was.

Ask yourself these six questions:

1) Were you really happy 100% of the time?

2) Did the relationship hinder your life in any way?

3) Were you happy before the relationship?

4) What annoyed you most about your partner?  

5) Would have ever really been able to trust him?

6) Was there really any chance of a future?

Answer these questions truthfully and you’ll begin to realize that the relationship ending isn’t as bad as you thought it was. 

You might even start to see that your life has opened up in many ways that weren’t previously possible.

Marilyn Monroe said it best:

“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” – Marilyn Monroe

And keep in mind:

There’s a world out there for you to meet, and there are plenty of men (who aren’t married)who will make you happy in a relationship if you give them a chance.

It’s only your emotions that’s telling you different right now.

I thought I would never meet someone as good, but now I know that there are plenty of women that are just as good, and better.

I dated a married man. Should I tell the wife?

This is a question that every single woman asks herself when she chooses to end it with a married man. Should I tell the wife?

There’s simply no right or wrong answer to this one. But you do need to weigh up your decision. After all, what you choose to do – or not to do – could end a marriage. Do you want to be responsible for that?

If you’re hoping to end their relationship so he will be with you, don’t bother. Once a cheater, always a cheater – why would you want to be with a man like that.

Plus, if you ruin his marriage he’ll likely never want to see you again.

Many women think the wife deserves to know. They also tell themselves that if they were the wife, they’d want to be told.

But would you?

Would you want the woman your husband has been sleeping with to turn up on your doorstep and announce it?

You may think you’re doing the right thing, but chances are she won’t feel the same.

It’s also worth considering that she already knows.

Sure, the husband says she doesn’t, but we know women.

They’re far more intuitive than men give us credit for.

She may already be dealing with it in her own way, and hearing from you might simply be another slap in the face.

At the end of the day, it’s your decision. You need to think it through from start to finish and consider all scenarios.

Moving on from a married man

Getting out of a relationship is never easy.

It comes with pain and grief and it can take time. This is no different when dating a married man.

But it does get better, you just have to give it a chance.

You’re doing the right thing, for you and for him.

You’ve just opened up a whole new world of possibility for yourself and the future is looking brighter already. Get out there and enjoy it!

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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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