The Harsh Truth Of What It’s Really Like To Be In Love With A Married Man

No woman sets out to fall in love with a married man, but sometimes it happens. Situations like this more than often end up with more than one heart being broken, but knowing this doesn’t make it any easier to walk away when feelings are involved. Here’s the harsh truth about loving someone who’s already in a seriously committed relationship.

  1. You can’t talk about it. Even with your trusted friends, it might be necessary to keep your feelings totally under wraps. Sure, your BFFs might not be super judgmental, but if there’s something illicit about you being in love with a married man (other than the fact that he’s married, of course), it could be dangerous for details to leak.
  2. You feel shame. When a man is married, it makes him an exciting prospect in love because he’s off-limits. However, you have to admit to wanting to be part of a cheating relationship in this case. You open yourself up to difficult questions of shame and immorality.
  3. There’s some self-doubt. There will be points where you ask yourself, “what if I was his wife? What if I was the person being hurt by this?” But the reality is it’s his decision to make and you don’t have a responsibility to everyone you meet in this world. That being said, you have to be comfortable knowing the ugly truth that you’re probably causing someone pain.
  4. You might even hate yourself. You might hate that you’re screwing over another woman by falling in love with and dating a married man, but you also have to accept that it’s their relationship, not yours. And it’s clearly not a happy relationship. Sadly, this doesn’t make it right, and deep down you know that.
  5. You will still stalk his wife’s Insta. No matter how realistic and self-actualized you are about the context of the situation, it’s human nature to be curious. You will still find yourself stalking his wife’s socials. You won’t like what you find, but it’s all part of the process of dating a married man.
  6. You will lose friends. This is a harsh truth and is always the case with some relationships. Friends might judge you without knowing the whole story – that’s their loss if they don’t trust your motives. Be prepared to know who your true friends are after dating or even falling in love with a married man.
  7. You will realize the value of maturity. After spending your whole life dating people your own age, it is so refreshing to have feelings for someone who is older than you. They’re in a different place and have the value of experience and retrospect that you can benefit from and learn from. It makes communication so much less frustrating.
  8. You’ve probably never felt that way before. The whole reason you’re dating a married man is that you haven’t felt that kind of attraction before. That’s why all the logistical complexity is worth it. You will learn how far you are willing to go to protect relationships that are important to you.
  9. You might have to hide from his kids. Maybe you can’t go public yet and have to be discrete. This might mean that if you see his kids on the street when you’re out together that you have to dive into a bush. You’ll laugh about it later, but it represents the stressful reality of dating a married man.
  10. You’ll never get to meet his kids. Because you’re the side piece and not the wife when you fall in love with a married man, you’ll always be an outsider. This means if he has children, you’ll have to accept the fact that you’ll never be part of his family. You’re the dirty secret, not something he’d be proud to show off. That can really sting.
  11. You will have to reassess your boundaries. This includes expectations you had and goals with your relationship timelines that might need to be put on hold. The specific context of dating a married man means that lots of time will be dedicated to him and on his timeline because of other commitments. You might have to be patient.
  12. Having your own kids will likely be off the table. This is the harsh reality that no one tells you about. You might find that you’re giving up a lot of your life, but you have to assess if you love him enough to give up big personal goals like having children. He’s likely to have been there and done that, and he’s not about to start two separate families.
  13. Marriage is definitely off the table. Ditto. He probably has built up relationship trauma with his wife and will be less likely to jump at the chance to do it all again if and when he ever leaves her (which, newsflash: he probably won’t). This means you’ll be left unfulfilled any way you slice it.
  14. He will be in a different place to you. You can’t catch up with the time that separates you, no matter how you might want to. But you can’t wish your life away and he can’t go back in time. Nor should you.
  15. He will make promises he can’t keep. He is fundamentally responsible for his family and his wife and much as he might want to see you twice a week or book a holiday away together, be prepared for lots of ambiguity, canceled plans, and rain checks. It can sometimes be hard enough clarifying if he’s even flirting with you at all: falling in love with a married means embracing the unpredictable.
  16. You won’t be able to go back to younger men after. If you break up (or rather when you do), you’ll find it hard to date younger men after all the exciting drama and intensity of dating a married man. Younger men are much less willing to drop everything and make a situation work, and that will be a big turn-off.
  17. There’s an inevitable master-servant dynamic. Hey, you find him sexy for a reason. He’s older cooler and has a higher standard of living than you. It’s also true that he will be more sexually experienced. He will teach you a few things about sex and yourself too.
  18. You are the other woman. This comes with it some social stigma that you will both always be aware of when you talk about the future. You can’t just get married and live happily ever after. It’s always complicated to plan for the future but never more so than with a married man.
  19. It’s really not worth it but you’ll struggle to walk away. You might feel like have more security and stability with an older guy because he knows how to treat a woman. However, that’s clearly not the case because he’s willing to cheat on his wife for a bit of extra on the side. He’s either a liar and coward or… well, that’s kind of all he is. If you can possible keep yourself from falling for a married man, it’s in your best interest to do so.
Hannah has a Masters degree in Romantic and Victorian literature in Scotland and spends her spare time writing anything from essays to short fiction about the life and times of the frogs in her local pond! She loves musical theatre, football, anything with potatoes, and remains a firm believer that most of the problems in this world can be solved by dancing around the kitchen to ABBA. You can find her on Instagram at @_hannahvic.