Are You Dating A Married Man? The 26 Rules - And How To NOT Get Hurt
By: Carlos Cavallo
Most women never set out to date a married guy. But for some reason this guy was so appealing and so interesting, and now you find yourself dating a married man.
He could be a guy you work with, a guy you met at a party, or really anywhere. Maybe you started talking and realized that you have this deep twin flame connection. It just seems so easy to date a married guy, that you can't help yourself.
And before you know it, things got really complicated.
Let's also put aside judgment - especially self-judgment - about this situation. It is what it is, now let's figure it out and decide what to do.
We won't be talking about who is right, who is wrong, or who is good or evil here. The simple fact is that these relationships happen all the time. Trying to pretend that they don't is just denial.
Sometimes you might not even know this guy was married until later. He may not have intended to get involved outside his marriage.
But maybe you still don't want to give him up. You have a connection.
There's incredible guilt that goes along with dating a married man. In fact, I know at least FIVE of my immediate family that have had this situation - men and women. (Probably many more, dear reader.)
Back in my early teens, I remember my dad even getting into an argument with a guy in our neighborhood who would stop by occasionally to hit on my mom. (AWK-ward!)
So I know for a fact that it's common enough, but we just don't want to admit this.
I'm going to give you some rules and some tips for handling the situation. If you're dating a married man right now, you're going to walk away knowing what direction you should head in.
The truth is that this relationship probably started innocently enough. But, through a series of innocent steps, it became much more.
Maybe you started out with just a chat. Talking to him for a few minutes, and realizing how easy it was to connect with him
This might have happened a few times, and then you exchange contact information
You might start sending each other occasional texts
Maybe you go out on a lunch with him sometime - telling yourself it's just an innocent meal
But then feelings start to develop...
Before you know it, you're on a date with him. And things keep getting deeper from there.
First of all - let’s set the record straight:
“Does Carlos condone extramarital affairs? Cheating?”
No, I do not think that you should continue an affair with a married man. However, I fully understand that sometimes sh*t happens. You didn’t plan for it, but it happened.
Life isn’t always neat, tidy, or convenient.
However, at some point the relationship must turn the corner and either become YOUR relationship, or he has to go fix his marriage. That’s not what we’re here to discuss today, though.
I will give you some simple rules for dating a married guy that will give you the best chance of turning this into a happily ever after story. (Because it CAN work out - if you handle it right!)
Now, let's talk about the rules for dating a married man.
RULE #1: Drop the guilt!
Look, we know what the situation is. Of course it's not ideal. But it's also not a reason to beat yourself up every single day about.
The point is to resolve it as quickly and effectively as possible.
In a perfect world, people would simply end the relationships that aren't working so they can go find a good one.
But sometimes we have to encounter a relationship that works to figure out that the one we're in isn'tworking. There's no reason to feel a constant aura of guilt and shame.
Accept the reasons you are where you are, and just move forward. Don't gloat or wallow in it, simply figure out how to handle it and manage it.
RULE #2: Be discreet
If there's one thing you know you need to do it's keep things very secret. In order to avoid hurting anyone, you can't let your relationship become public.
Now, hopefully he is working to end the affair or transition him out of his marriage.
The important thing here is that it's not up to you to do ANYTHING to help end his other relationship. If he's decided this, it's all HIS responsibility! That's on him, and you shouldn't be involved.
Obviously, only if he’s not happy. If it were a happy marriage he wouldn't be looking outside of his relationship for more.
RULE #3: It can't be just physical
If you suspect your man is cheating on his wife just for the sex, you need to walk away.
If you happened to be attached to him because of the bond you share, but he's really only interested in the physical part, this is not healthy.
In fact it's the worst kind of situation. And you must have the willpower to let go of it.
RULE #4: Have a plan
Once you've established that your relationship is something you both want to continue - and build - then you must work together to end his other relationship as quickly as possible.
Up front, I have to tell you that the only direction your relationship with him can go is one of two ways:
He ends his marriage to be with you
You leave him to go work out his relationship problems
If you're wondering about the "third" option of you just being his girlfriend on the side, that's not realistic or ethical. You have to be moving forward in whatever relationship you choose for yourself.
RULE #5: Take it Slow
You have to take things slow with a relationship like this.
The one thing you don't want to be is just some horn dog’s mistress. You want to be sure he is actually emotionally connected to you on some level. This means that you must pace yourself when it comes to the physical side of your relationship.
For all you know, he could just be an immature guy who needs to sow some Wild Oats.
RULE #6: Lies end it.
The fact of the matter is, many men will lie and say things just to get sex. Sex is a necessary and automatic part of most men's physiology. Which is where they differ from women.
Unfortunately he is driven by a different set of physical requirements than you are, so you need to protect yourself from his misrepresentations.
Make sure he knows that lying is unacceptable in your relationship. Even if this seems a little bit hypocritical, it's necessary for you to have honesty with him to the best of your ability.
Tell him flat out:
"If I find out you're lying to me or twisting the truth, it's over. Finished."
Don't ever fall for the King of Affair Lies, where he tells you: “I’m going to leave her and marry you as soon as I can.”
Every single guy says this to keep a woman strung along.
You have to assume that your relationship is only temporary. He may use the lie about leaving his wife to keep you sleeping with him. And you'll be able to figure this out on your own fairly quickly.
If he lies to you or shows a habit of being deceptive, you should walk away as quickly as possible. It's very likely that the entire relationship will just be a constant up and down roller coaster ride.
Which brings me to -
RULE #7: Don’t Let This Make You Crazy
It's very likely that dating a married guy will bring out a lot of your feelings of insecurity and jealousy. In fact it's guaranteed.
Don't let this kind of relationship drive you crazy.
You have to have a stable grip on your own emotions in order to last. Especially if it takes him some time to finally resolve and end his marriage.
RULE #8: No, you won't be able to handle a casual affair indefinitely
A lot of women think that they can have a casual affair with a married man and not get emotionally attached. This simply is not true.
It is virtually impossible for you to avoid getting emotionally entangled with a man you are sleeping with. It's part of your psychology.
What will happen is his unavailability will make you want more and more of him. Until you are feeling the scarcity of the relationship, which makes you chase him even more. Because you can't have him all to yourself.
You can keep it "casual" for a couple months at the most, and then it needs to end.
I'm sure you've seen news articles and TV shows about relationships that have gone off the rails because of obsession. Don't let this happen to you.
RULE #9: Money Talks, BS Walks
If you have come to an arrangement where he plans to leave his wife, you need to see concrete tangible proof on a regular basis that he's working towards ending that relationship.
Words are absolutely meaningless. They have no value whatsoever.
The only thing that matters is that he is taking action to create your new relationship, AND working to dissolve the other one.
If you simply accept his word for it, you could find yourself strung along for years while he gets the best of both worlds.
RULE #10: Make sure you have non-physical chemistry
In order for you to create a real relationship, you have to have more than the sex.
You have to have all the elements of a great relationship.
Don't let the promise of something wonderful replace the evidence of something wonderful.
RULE #11: Don't get vengeful
Be careful about letting crazy emotions steer you. You may get frustrated to the point of telling his wife about what's going on. People have done some pretty crazy things under the influence of an affair.
Don't be THAT woman. Don't fall victim to your dark side.
If you feel your emotions boiling over like this, it's far better to simply walk away from the relationship and have the willpower to stay away.
RULE #12: Set A Hard Deadline
If he decides that he does want to end his marriage, you need to find out exactly when. You don't have to rush him, but you need a hard deadline.
At the very least he should be able to give you a simple schedule of the steps he's going to take towards this goal.
Hold him to that. If he misses deadlines, find out exactly why.
If he waffles or acts wishy-washy about it, he's probably not serious and you should walk away.
Also, be sure you get proof of anything he says. He might pull the old “What, don’t you trust me?”
To which you reply: “Yeah, I trust - but I also VERIFY.”
He should be able to prove to you which lawyer he's going to talk to. He should also be able to show you official documents if he's planning to file for divorce. You should be able to see some kind of proof that reassures you he's legit.
RULE #13: Keep Dating
Look, the truth of the matter is that this is not a relationship quite yet. And it's definitely not a PRIMARY relationship yet.
It may be building and developing, but it's not the real deal.
While you're waiting for him to sort out his marriage situation, you should also be dating other men.
(Hopefully I don't have to point out the hypocrisy of feeling like you would be cheating on him if you did this.)
Keep your options open!
Seeing other men is absolutely necessary. It gives you a frame of comparison by which you can figure out if this relationship is what you think it is.
Also, if this married guy is going to do what he says and leave his wife for you, your limited time while you're dating other guys is going to help motivate him.
The truth is that you may very well find your soulmate in another guy while you're having this affair on the side.
And, honestly, when you're dating a married man, this can give you a glow of validation that helps you be more attractive to single guys. You'd be surprised what kind of impact it has on your attitude.
RULE #14: If he goes back and forth with her, he's not serious
Sometimes a man will simply have an affair or cheat just because he's unhappy and has no real power in his marriage. But that can change as soon as the relationship improves.
Watch out for a man who goes back and forth. If he jumps back into her arms when it's convenient, and then back into yours when it's also convenient, he's not likely to ever leave his marriage. He’s simply not man enough to stand up for himself.
Recognize this sign as soon as you possibly can. Because if you ignore it or pretend it isn't there, you're in for a very rough ride.
RULE #15: If It's A Fling - Just FLING
Some of these relationships with a married guy don't have to go anywhere. Maybe it's just a fling.
Maybe it was a one-night fling. Something he needed and you needed.
Don't be guilty of making something bigger out of something that is really just a temporary experience.
RULE #16: If it gets tough, seek help
Your relationship with the married man can very quickly go from casual to crazy at the drop of a hat.
If you feel that the emotional burden is too much, the best thing to do right off the bat is to end the relationship.
However if you feel, for any reason, that you can't walk away from this relationship because of dependency issues or other emotional problems, you must seek professional help right away. This help would be in the form of a counselor or therapist.
You need a realistic and trained perspective to help guide you through this complicated maze of feelings.
RULE #17: Remember - you're not his therapist
Some women get very emotionally entangled with a married man that they are dating. She may even take on the role of his support system. She thinks that by doing this she is making him love her more and making it more likely that he will leave his wife for her.
But in reality, she's really over-investing in him.
No woman should ever be the sole emotional support for her man.
First, he should be able to do that for himself.
Second, if he is experiencing a lot of emotional issues, he needs to see a therapist.
In fact, it's a good idea to request that he starts seeing a therapist of his own right away. He's obviously got some issues to deal with, and it's not for you to figure them out.
Even in a perfectly healthy marriage, the spouse should not be trying to play the therapist for their life partner. It's an unhealthy boundary that will only end in more pain and suffering.
RULE #18: Verify
When it comes to knowing what's going on in his family, don't just take it from him. Verify with people who know him. Find out exactly what's going on and know the truth.
The truth is that he could be telling you any story he wants. You have to have your own version of the truth to be able to know for sure.
(Of course do this discreetly and without risking exposing your relationship with him. That should always be your first rule.)
He'll make all kinds of claims:
“I only love you…”
“We’re not sleeping together anymore…”
“She’s okay with me having other relationships…”
"It hasn't been a marriage for years..."
“We have an ‘agreement…’”
“She said she wants to end it…”
But you can't afford to be misled. You've got to know for yourself.
Don't get snowed over by his words - or your own desire to believe him.
RULE #19: Keep money out of it
It's not uncommon for women to be scammed by guys who use their mistress to help them financially.
Don't EVER loan him any money.
And be extra suspicious and wary if he ever asks to borrow money from you. Even if he only mentions that he's got financial hardships, he may be fishing to see if you will offer to loan him or give him money.
Don't fall for it.
If he can't manage his own money to extricate him and bring him closer to you, then he's going to make a lousy life partner later on. Especially if he's doing this in his current marriage!
Listen to him and sympathize/empathize with him… But leave the responsibility of his money with him.
RULE #20: Stay connected
The best thing you can have is balance in your life when you're dating a married man. Make sure you're still social and keeping a balanced schedule.
A lot of women make the fatal mistake of making the married man the center of their world. They wait for his call every minute of every day. They constantly check their phones to see if they've gotten a scrap of attention from him.
This can create serious health and emotional disorders.
Be social with your friends and make sure you're going out regularly. Keep your perspective wide open.
RULE #21: Be careful, discreet, and alert
You'll want to be very careful who you reveal your relationship to. Not everyone should know that you are dating a married man. As a matter of fact, almost no one should really know.
There are too many people that could get hurt if this became common knowledge. And if the married man you're dating has children or social status, it could also ruin his/their life as well.
RULE #22: Get rid of the audit Trail
Make sure you delete any and all text messages, or written messages or emails you get from him.
Oh I know - you will want to review and reflect on all those juicy messages when you're alone at times. I’ve known many people who cling to the words of a particularly good text conversation and read it over and over. Just to relive the thrill of it.
But you can’t take this risk!
Keeping mementos like this could leave you open to all kinds of liability. Especially if they're found by the wrong person.
Remember that congressman, Anthony Weiner? Showing his weiner in all those selfies? Don't underestimate the power of DUMB.
RULE #23: Don’t forget how toxic and addictive this kind of relationship can be
Extramarital Affairs are very often the most complicated relationships you can possibly have. I'm not exaggerating that one bit.
Dating a married man can be toxic - to him and you depending on the expectations you set up.
They can also be addictive for both of you. The Forbidden is often the hardest thing to give up. You can even become addicted to the process of getting together. You might think that you are involved in a kind of “spy fantasy” - dangerous liaisons.
Make sure you come back down to earth regularly and reality-check yourself. (One of the best ways I can think of is for you to re-read this article as many times as you can.)
RULE #24: Make sure you know what you're getting out of it
It seems like an obvious question to answer, but you got to know what you're getting out of this relationship.
If it's just sex, NOPE - you can get that anywhere.
If it's a rush of excitement because you're doing something bad, reconsider the impact of it
Make sure you know the true benefit before you go too far down this road.
RULE #25: Make sure you know what you're NOT getting out of it
Make sure you also keep a list of all the relationship needs you're not getting from this relationship. The truth is that while you may have a few things you're getting, including the high level of excitement and thrill, there's probably a lot you're missing out on.
Especially if this guy is only looking to have a good time.
RULE #26: Make sure you're not using this relationship to deceive yourself
The truth is that many women who get involved with a married man are simply covering up their own commitment phobia.
There I said it!
The truth is that many women avoid commitment. They don't realize how they avoid it, but it's there. And it's also very easy to blame on another situation.
Is it possible you're just using this relationship to avoid something in your own life?
Is it possible you're in this relationship to maybe get revenge of your own on someone?
Someone I knew - a woman - who was cheated on by her husband, left her marriage to him... and immediately started a relationship with another married man! This was someone I knew VERY closely. Eventually, she ended it, but not before she had to face her own truth.
Make sure you know what you're really doing in this relationship and why you're doing it.
As an adult we have to take accountability as well as responsibility.
There are probably lots more rules I haven't even been able to cover here with you. but this should be a good start - if not an overwhelming one.
It might sound like you have the world's most difficult uphill battle. And you may!
However, there are many many cases of people who were brought together in a difficult situation like dating a married man and they got it to work eventually.
If you handle your relationship using these rules, you will do better than 99% of all other women.
You can also get the edge by knowing what those other women don't know.
If you want to be successful with a relationship today, you've got to have an unfair advantage.
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