He’s been giving off some serious vibes, but he hasn’t made any concrete moves.
The reality is that married men stand a lot more to lose. So even if deep down inside he wants you, it’s risky to put himself out there.
You might get the impression that he’d rather you did the chasing.
These are the big signs that you could be right…
Signs a married man wants you to chase him
1) He drops big hints but is never explicit
Let’s face it, he is spoken for and not a free agent. Which means he needs to tread carefully.
In his mind, there could be a line. And even if that line is blurry, he can avoid getting caught out just as long as he manages to stay on the right side of it.
That means he could have been giving some pretty big hints, but as long as he can excuse them away or play them down, he still feels safe.
Those hints could include general flirting or being overly attentive, which he can play off as being friendly.
He might make little comments like “if I wear only single” or “why aren’t I married to you?!”
He is constantly showing strong signs that he likes you, but he still doesn’t make any move.
Perhaps he has been really close to making a move before but pulls back at the last moment.
Maybe you feel the chemistry between you too and have an intuitive sense that he wants you.
Attraction can be difficult to hide. And you will likely get a strong sense of his towards you.
2) He downplays his marriage
I once had a landlord who I strongly suspected was romantically interested in me (although, it was definitely not mutual).
All the classic signs were there.
It wasn’t until over a year later that he even mentioned his wife and two kids. In all the many discussions we had had, for some (not so strange) reason, they never came up.
It felt like he was purposely trying to hide it. And when I did learn about it, he very much played it down.
He always talked using “I” and never “we”.
If a married man is interested in you and wants to try to encourage you, he may well try to minimize his other life.
He doesn’t talk about his wife, he tries to leave her out of any arrangements, and he never brings her to any events (even when other people’s partners are there).
She may as well be a ghost. Because he prefers to act as though he is free and single.
In a weird way, he doesn’t want to “put you off” by highlighting his marriage. So he tries to sweep it under the carpet and avoids talking about it completely.
3) He contacts you at weird times or in weird ways
The way we communicate with different people comes with different boundaries. Depending on the relationship we have with them, some things are less appropriate.
It’s why we often politely say to someone, “sorry for calling so late”. Or hesitate to disturb a colleague on a weekend. We don’t want to overstep.
Similarly, there is an unspoken code of conduct when it comes to who a married man who is chatting with other people behind his wife’s back. And how he communicates with other women generally.
The more attentive his communication, the more there’s likely to be something less innocent behind it all.
If the boundaries in which he is reaching out to you are becoming more blurred, it is because he wants them to.
- Message you late at night
- Contact you at times when he is with his family, like on weekends
- Send you things that “reminded him of you”
- Find any excuse to reach out by sending funny memes
This signals he has an ulterior motive.
4) He makes excuses to get you alone
A married man who is interested in you will do everything possible to spend time with you.
The more chances, the more opportunity for him to “innocently” create the right environment for something to happen.
Maybe he’ll ask you to go somewhere together or invite you to join him and his friends for drinks.
He’ll suggest going out for dinner, to discuss that new work project.
He’ll offer to come over to yours to help you move those boxes from the garage.
He’ll casually say that he also wants to see that new movie you’ve been talking about and recommend you check it out together.
Importantly, all of his excuses to get you alone will stand up so that he can always justify them if he needs to.
He is secretly hoping that time alone could be the best environment for things to go further.
But whilst he is prepared to set the right conditions, he won’t take it further than that. He wants you to make the move.
5) He is hot and cold
Some days he comes on really strong. Then other days he seems to seriously step back.
Like I said in the intro, a married guy is acutely aware of the risks at stake. And that can mean he gets driven by bouts of desire, quickly followed by bouts of cold feet.
It’s a dangerous game to play. And it can go wrong in many ways.
If he makes a move, you could reject him. As well as the humiliation of him getting it wrong, he is likely to be thinking about his wife finding out.
A married man may feel guilty about the signals he knows he has been sending, and then avoid you altogether.
So he might become distant for a while, before being drawn back towards you again.
If he has been acting strangely lately, it could be because he is trying to figure out whether he should make a move or not.
His conscience could be getting the better of him, but he also can’t seem to stay away.
It might feel like a better strategy for him to play the long game and hope that you make the first move.
6) He clearly tries to impress you
Do you feel like you have this married man wrapped around your finger a little bit?
Maybe he is always coming to your rescue whenever he can and doing you favors.
Far from being just friendly, he seems overly available to you, and would gladly drop everything for you.
He is most likely trying to get your attention.
He may also be trying to put on the macho act around you, by showing off or making jokes.
Rather than something related to his general personality, he only does this around you, not other women.
Think of it as peacocking to make himself stand out. If he manages to impress you then you might end up chasing him (and this is what he secretly wants).
7) He talks to you about his marriage issues or bad-mouths his wife
There is another tactic that married men can try.
Rather than play down his marriage, he might point out its many flaws.
By turning you into an ally he not only strengthens your bond together, but he also creates justification for straying.
He might complain often about his wife and their many difficulties in the marriage. He might try to suggest that it won’t last long or that his marriage is under intense strain.
This is a way of creating distance between him and his marriage. It’s a way of saying “I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be with her”.
Regardless of what he tells you, he will no doubt paint himself as the victim and his wife as the villain.
This implication is that she doesn’t deserve him, but maybe you do.
Particularly if confiding in you rather than his guy friends seems strange to you, it could be a tactical move on his part.
8) He steps up the flirty banter
His flirtatious ways keep escalating.
It might have started out as the odd playful or teasing comment, and started to get a bit more risque.
Even if it tends to stay towards the joky side of things, his delivery and the intensity of his comments leave you with good reason to think that he isn’t just playing around.
His “jokes” have more substance behind them. His compliments are directed only at you and not everyone in general. He might even start to make some fairly suggestive remarks.
But he stops at being all talk, and it doesn’t cross over into taking action.
It could be his way of testing you to see if you reciprocate and will take his hints and start to chase him.
9) His body language lets you know
If he starts to lean in closer to you, puts his hand on your arm, or touches you, it’s a clear sign that he wants you to notice him.
And if he keeps touching you, it is likely because he wants you to touch him back.
Getting closer and encroaching on your physical space is a subtle sign of intimacy. As is holding someone’s gaze for just that little bit longer.
It could be as simple as giving you a lingering hug when you say goodbye, or putting his arm around you because he says you look cold.
Watch out for his body giving off signals that he wishes you would chase him, even if he isn’t saying it through words.
10) He tries to highlight all the things you have in common
Your favorite things are coincidentally his favorite things.
Or are they?
Could he just be trying to make it seem like you have so much in common?
The truth is that opposites don’t attract, we tend to like people more who feel similar to us in our way of thinking, our interests, and our ideas about things.
This is why when you’re attracted to someone you often can’t help but point out all the areas in which you match up.
If a married man is constantly highlighting how similar you are, then this is probably a tactic he is using to try and convince you that you and he are really well suited.
Why would a married man want you to chase him?
Let’s get real:
Marriage isn’t easy.
For the vast majority of couples, it isn’t the happily ever after we read about in the fairytales.
That’s because real life and real relationships are always going to take work.
Affairs are pretty common for that very reason. When there are problems at home, it can feel far more tempting to look elsewhere.
And even when things are pretty good in a marriage, the brutal truth is that infidelity (or even just the idea of it) can create quite the thrill.
That thrill is a stark contrast to the settled and secure life of a committed long-term relationship.
That’s why there are several reasons why a married man might encourage you to chase him:
1) A distraction
Right now, married life could feel a bit tough for him.
Perhaps he’s feeling a bit bored by the monotony that can creep into long-term relationships. And so he is essentially looking for something more appealing to get caught up in.
Particularly if he has issues in his marriage or is simply an avoidant type, it’s a way to hide from more serious matters that he knows he needs to be addressing.
Flirting with another woman and putting his attention elsewhere could be a very convenient and pleasant distraction for him.
2) An ego boost
You know what they say, you can’t have it all. But the problem is that the grass has a tendency to always look a bit greener on the other side.
When you get married and are no longer on the dating market, you can start to miss the thrill of the chase.
As a single man, a guy might be used to a more steady stream of external validation that comes from casual dating.
He still wants to feel desired. He likes to think of himself as a bit of a catch. And he needs attention from women in order for this to happen
If he can get you to chase him, it helps him to feel wanted and relevant still.
Psychologist and author Esther Perel has an insightful take on some of the challenges that many marriages face.
And that is balancing the act between security, which feels safe, but can become boring. And desire, which relies to a certain extent on creating an amount of psychological distance to keep a sense of novelty within the relationship.
“There is a complex relationship between love and desire, and it is not a cause-and-effect, linear arrangement. A couple’s emotional life together and their physical life together each have their ebbs and flows, their ups and downs, but these don’t always correspond. They intersect, they influence each other, but they’re also distinct.”
One of the reasons for a wandering eye can be “shiny new object” syndrome. A new woman is exciting for a while, simply because of the novelty she offers.
4) So he doesn’t have to put himself out there
He might be giving off signs, but he isn’t taking any real risk.
He isn’t prepared to fully step out of his comfort zone and pursue you, he would much rather play it safe and get you to chase him.
That could be because he is nervous about the repercussions. They are obviously higher for him if he is married.
But it could also be that he is happy enough to flirt, tease and get some attention, but not take things any further.
By implying interest and getting you to chase him, he still gets an ego boost, but without the same danger. He gets to stay in control.
To conclude: what to do if a married man wants you to to chase him
I am not the morality police, so I’m certainly not going to offer any judgments, even if you are finding yourself attracted to a married man.
What I will say is this:
From the list of reasons above for why a married man might try to get you to chase him, you’ve probably already spotted that his intentions are probably less than genuine.
If this man had sincere and lasting feelings for you, he is far more likely to be explicit about it rather than play games.
You might be tempted to chase a married man. There’s no doubt that the promise of forbidden fruit can be a heady aphrodisiac.
You might also feel special and enjoy the attention you are getting. That’s normal.
But realistically affairs can cause a lot of damage for everyone involved. And that includes you.
You run the risk of becoming the side chick and getting seriously caught in the crossfire.
A married man ultimately is not available to offer all of himself to you, and you deserve no less than to be someone’s priority.