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

So you’re in love with a married man.

I know. It isn’t easy.

I’m not proud to admit it, but 5 years ago I was in love with a married woman.

She was beautiful, unique, we got along great, yet she wasn’t available. And it broke my heart.

But enough about me, and more about you, because I know the kind of conflicting emotions you’re experiencing right now, and it isn’t fun.

One moment you’re blissfully happy because you’ve fallen in love with a great man.

The next moment you’re down in the dumps when you remember that he is married to another woman.

The real kicker?

You never intended to fall in love with a married man in the first place.

Like most things to do with love, it just happened spontaneously.

And now you have no idea what to do.

I’ve been there before and I want to help you out.

Most advice people give you will be generic. “Don’t date a married man!” “Leave them alone!”

But they don’t understand the unique relationship that exists between you and the married man, and the married man and his wife.

And before I start, I just want to say this: I’m not here to judge. Your decisions are your own. Your life is your own. And everybody’s circumstances are different. Love is rarely black and white.

So in order to figure out what you can do, here are some things you need to consider if you’re in love with a married man.

Keep in mind that some of this may be brutal, but I believe it’s important for you to hear.

1. If you’re having an affair with him, can you really trust him?

This is an important question to consider.

How much does the wife know about your affair?

There’s clearly deceit going on if she doesn’t know anything. And the fact he is lying to his wife should signal a red flag.

Put yourself in her shoes and the picture is painted in a different light. Is it really fair for her?

Also, can you really trust everything he is saying to you?

When someone can so easily lie about something so big to his wife, then can you trust anything he says?

If he were to leave his wife for you, then it’s no certainty that he wouldn’t do the same thing to you in a few years.

Maybe it’s different. He might truly have a terrible relationship with his wife. Maybe you’re his saving grace.

But if that’s the case, he’d be taking action to be with you officially right now. But he isn’t.

Don’t believe what he says. Believe what he does.

Also, if he isn’t directly lying to his wife about you, then that scenario is obviously different.

I’ve seen marriages kept afloat because of appearances (or for their children). What’s more, they’re very open with each other about seeing other people.

This is more common than most people think.

Obviously this is a different scenario than him lying directly to this wife.

If it’s agreed with the wife that it’s an open relationship and they’re both comfortable seeing other people, then maybe he can be more trusting.

But if you want a long-term future with him then you need to know how long this is going to last.

After all, you might want to get married and have children yourself.

So it’s important to be honest and open about what you want in the future. And you need to make sure you can trust him.

2. Are you his first affair? Or is this common practice for him?

Does he keep saying that he will leave his wife, but he never actually does?

If this is becoming a pattern, it might be time to consider that you might not be the first affair he has had.

Even if he tells you that you’re his first affair, you need to be ultra skeptical.

He might even be having multiple affairs right now.

I know that might seem unthinkable but it’s important to consider all the possibilities.

After all, you are dealing with someone who is cheating on his wife.

Remember, trust is extremely important in any relationship, and you need to make sure he can be trusted.

And considering he is having an affair with you, he needs to do a lot more than a man usually would to show he is trustworthy.

3. You don’t want to sit around waiting forever

How has your relationship gone with him so far?

I’m willing to bet that you’ve been waiting around for him A LOT.

You can only see him when he suits him. You can’t be seen in public together.

Unless this affair is just about sex, I know that most women want more than that.

You’re no exception.

You can’t sit around forever. You need to move on with your life. Someone better could be just around the corner and every second that goes by you’re denying yourself the opportunity to meet him.

So make sure he knows you’re not willing to wait around forever and that he needs to make a permanent decision sooner rather than later.

If he doesn’t, you need to respect yourself and leave.

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4. Are you his second priority?

You might believe that you’re his first priority but the fact remains: he still has a wife and perhaps even children.

Now unless it’s a purely open marriage where they’re honest about seeing others, you have to consider that you’re playing second fiddle in his life.

Remember, he is already having an affair, so even if he says you’re number one in his life, you can’t really trust what he says.

Sometimes you need to look at the facts. If he has a wife, then you’re obviously a second priority.

5. Does he talk positively or negatively about his wife?

This is an important consideration. How does he talk about his wife?

While you might think that it’s positive if he routinely put his wife down with snide remarks, but consider that he might treat you the same way in a few years.

It’s actually a better sign if he is still respectful of his wife but talks about how they’ve grown apart.

But if he is disrespectful and complaining about his wife, then that is something to watch out for because it shows that he might be a little toxic.

It also shows he is gutless. He won’t make a change, yet he keeps complaining about his wife.

Wouldn’t you rather be with a doer than a complainer?

On the other hand, If he refuses to talk about his wife then that could be a sign that he feels guilty, and there might not be much of a future for the two of you.

6. Is he going to leave his wife?

How long have you been “seeing” each other now? Has he told you he will leave his wife but never does?

On average, most men don’t end up leaving their wives for their lover.

It’s important to consider that the chances are that you won’t be an exception to the rule.

Marriage is a big deal. There are a lot of settlements and legal issues to work out if he chooses to settle for a divorce.

Most people just don’t go through with it because of the hassle.

Even if he tells you he is absolutely miserable in his marriage and that all he wants to do is leave her for you, the chances are he won’t.

It doesn’t matter how convincingly he says it or how many times he says it, actions speak louder than words.

7. If he wants to be with you, he would be

When it’s all said and done, people will go to the ends of the Earth to be with the person they truly love.

We can all agree that love is an extremely powerful emotion.

If he genuinely loved you, he wouldn’t care how costly the divorce will be or how hard emotionally it will be for him to go through with it, he would just do it.

If you’re not so important to him that he’s not willing to change his life for you, then I’m sorry to say, but it’s probably not true love.

And when you leave, he’ll simply replace you with someone else.

I mean, think about it.

Just say you were married to someone that’s making you miserable. And then you met the man of your dreams, someone you totally and completely clicked with, would you leave someone you’re miserable with for someone that would make your life infinitely better?

Of course, you would. It’s a no-brainer. Hold him to the same standard.

8. Cheats are going to cheat

Did your married man tell you he was married when he started seeing you?

If he didn’t, that’s a pretty big warning flag that if you were exclusively dating him, he would do the same thing to you eventually.

How can you truly trust him?

I don’t necessarily believe the line, “once a cheater always a cheater”, but you’d be stupid to ignore the fact that he cheated on his wife while simultaneously blind-siding you with a fabricated truth that he’s single.

So even if he does leave his wife for you, will you ever be able to trust him?

Trust has come up a lot in this article, but that’s because it’s so important to a relationship.

And if you’re going to have a relationship with him in the future, you need to be able to trust each other.

9. Is he just using you for sex?

Let’s be honest: When men cheat, one of the main reasons is sex.

For women, it’s a little different. It’s more emotional.

So if you feel like there is a strong connection between the two of you, he might not be thinking the same thing.

He might just be using you for his own sexual pleasure.

And you might think it’s okay if he tells you he is not having sex with his wife, but do you really believe him?

Considering he is already having an affair, you can’t trust everything he says.

10. Check-in with yourself.

Are you happy?

If you’re smack bang in the middle of an affair now, it’s important to ask yourself if this is the way you want your life to turn out.

As harsh as it sounds, you’re the third wheel right now and you’re settling for it.

Sit down and figure out what life you really want. Does it involve a married man? Does he measure up to what you always wanted?

If he doesn’t, then you need to make some changes.

If he does, then you need to ask yourself if it’s ever going to change and if you’re comfortable with being the second-choice.

I’m not saying you won’t end up with him. That’s totally possible. But he needs to show you that he is capable of taking action to make it happen.

I’ve said it before in this article and I’ll say it again: actions speak louder than words and you should only judge his intentions by his actions.

11. Admit it, you’re enjoying the excitement of an affair

It’s not rare for the woman to be seduced by the thrill of having an affair.

It’s wrong, it’s naughty and it’s sexually intense.

While you might admit that it has now moved onto something deeper, you have to acknowledge that it’s still somewhat part of it.

The excitement is probably part of it for him, too.

Why do you need to acknowledge this?

Because if you were to have a relationship with him, it might not be the same.

If he suddenly ditches his wife for you, would you two really live happily after?

If you realize that you might not, then you can more easily let him go because there are other ways you can find your sexual thrills.

12. It’s more complex if he has kids

If you’re in love with a married man who has kids, then you’re playing with fire.

As we mentioned above, if they are just staying together for the kids and they are open about seeing other people, then it’s a little different and more workable.

You know that once the kids reach a certain age that you two can start a life together. And his wife is thinking the same outcome for herself.

But if his wife doesn’t know anything about his affair and wouldn’t suspect it at all, then you’re threatening to do real damage to a family.

Also, it’s important to realize that the kids wouldn’t exactly warm to you if they know that you’re the reason for their parent’s divorce.

13. Why is he having marriage problems in the first place?

It’s plausible that he has married someone who just isn’t right for him, but it could also be possible that he is the cause for a lot of the problems in the relationship.

He could have issues that will hinder any relationship he is involved in. He is having an affair after all.

If you take a good look at your relationship with him, you might see a pattern in the way he is behaving and the problems he talks about with his wife.

This is important to consider because those issues could happen to you, too.

14. You’re short-term

As long as you’re considered an “affair” then I’m sorry to say but you won’t last long.

Can a married man love his mistress? Possibly, but it is rare.

The longer it takes for him to bite the bullet and divorce his wife to be with you, the less likely it will happen.

Affairs are hard to keep going. They’re a logistical nightmare and there’s a limit to what you can do and where you can go.

Once the initial stages of sexual and emotional excitement are over, he’ll move onto something else.

15. Have a life outside of him

It’s incredibly important to keep your friends outside of the affair. Don’t drop everything in your life for him.

Keep dating other men. Keep going out with your friends.

Affairs can end messy. You’d be naive to think otherwise. And you’re going to need support if there’s a messy conclusion.

Having a healthy life outside of this affair is important for you during the highs and lows of this relationship.

What to do now?

Now I’m sure that some of that was a little brutal, but as I’ve said several times, you need to consider everything.

And as you’re probably googling something to do with being in love with a married man (which is why you’re reading this article) then you probably want to change the situation.

Here are some things you can do to help you get yourself out of the situation.

1. 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.

Recommended readingHow to stop dating a married man: 15 crucial tips

2. Get out there and meet other men

The bottom line is this:

He has a wife and he is dating you. So why don’t you date other men as well?

Don’t get stuck waiting for him. Meet other men, try online dating, speak to the cute guy at the cafe.

The benefit of dating other men is that you’ll realize that there are plenty of men out there for you to begin a relationship with. You don’t need to wait for a guy that’s already married.

And if your married man can’t deal with the fact that you’re seeing other people, then he sounds like a bit of a hypocrite to me.

3. Stop things until he takes action

If he tells you he is going to leave his wife, and that’s what you want, then stop the relationship until it actually happens. I’d be surprised it happens but if it does, then great.

Don’t keep seeing him and sleeping with him until he takes action and actually initiates a separation or divorce.

It will become very clear to you whether he is actually serious or not.

4. If after all these points, you still think you can get your man (and it’s better off for all involved) then try this

If you still think it’s the right thing to get this married man to commit to you after reading the brutal truths above and you can categorically say that this will benefit everyone involved (his overall happiness, his wife, and kid’s wellbeing, etc) then you need a gameplan for how you’re going to end up happily ever.

To do this, you need to trigger something deep inside him. Something he desperately needs.

What is it?

For him to take action and be with you officially, then he has to feel like your provider and protector for you. Someone that you genuinely admire.

In other words, he needs to feel like your hero.

I know it sounds kind of silly. You’re an independent woman. You don’t need a ‘hero’ in your life.

And I couldn’t agree more.

But here’s the ironic truth. Men do still “feel” like a hero. Because it’s built into their DNA to seek out relationships that allow them to feel like a protector.

Men have a thirst for admiration. They want to step up to the plate for the woman in their lives and provide for and protect her.

This is deeply rooted in male biology.

When a guy feels like a hero to their woman, it unleashes his protective instincts and the noblest aspect of his masculinity.

Most importantly, it will unleash his deepest feelings of love and attraction.

And the kicker?

A man won’t fully commit to a woman when this thirst isn’t satisfied.

When it comes to a relationship, he needs to see himself as your protector and provider.

As someone, you genuinely want and need to have around. Not as some sort of “fling” or “friends with benefits”.

Now I’d imagine that if you’re currently having an affair with him, then you might already be triggering some of this instinct in him (after all, that is probably one of the reasons he is already attracted to you).

There’s actually a psychological term for what I’m talking about here. It’s called the ‘hero instinct’. This term was coined by relationship psychologist James Bauer.

Now, you can’t trigger his hero instinct just giving him admiration the next time you see him. Men don’t like receiving participation awards for showing up. Trust me.

A man wants to feel like he has earned your admiration and respect.


You don’t need to engineer a scenario where he has to save kids from a burning house or a little old lady from getting hit by a car.

He wants to be your hero, not an action hero.

But there are phrases you can say, texts you can send, and little requests you can use to trigger his hero instinct.

And because no man can resist a woman who makes him feel like a hero, it’s worth learning a few of these emotional trigger points.

If you want to learn more about this powerful technique (from the man who invented it), then check out his short video here.

Top tip:

If you can trigger this instinct successfully, it will drastically increase the odds that this married man will fall in love with you and fully commit. In fact, it could be the missing ingredient to go from a “fling” to a “committed relationship”.

When a man genuinely feels like your hero, he’ll become more loving, attentive, and interested in being in a committed relationship with you.

The hero instinct is the subconscious drive men have to gravitate toward people who make him feel like a hero. But it’s amplified in his romantic relationships.

Hack Spirit writer Pearl Nash discovered this for herself and in the process completely turned around a lifetime of romantic failure. You can read her story here.

Talking with Pearl about her experience is how I was introduced to the concept myself. Since then, I’ve written about it extensively on Hack Spirit.

Some ideas really are life-changing. And for romantic relationships, I think this is one of them.

That’s why I recommend watching this free online video where you can learn more about the hero instinct and how to trigger it in your guy.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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