By Rhonda E. Frost Co-Author of, Why Do I Have to Think Like a Man? How to Think Like a Lady and Still Get the Man, and the upcoming book Is Married the New Single? writer, editor, relationship blogger.
Like it or not, infidelity and affairs are part of the fabric of our relationship lives. There are websites like Ashleymadison.com which touts over 42 million anonymous married subscribers, marriedcheaters.com and a host of other on-line sites that give married people the opportunity to get their needs met with people who are not their spouse, not to mention the traditional way of meeting someone’s spouse, like at work (think the hit series Scandal where the on screen POTUS named Fitz Grant is having a torrid affair with Olivia Pope his staffer) or that sexy guy you met at the night club, church or the grocery store. Married men are everywhere making themselves available to single women. I call it dating while married or (DWM). We all know at least one woman who has dated a married man, or been cheated on. I know more than one. In fact almost every married guy I know and almost every single woman I know has a story. I have several of my own. You can acknowledge it or bury you head in the sand, whichever works best, but what is undeniable is that this phenomenon is here to stay.
Because I have been both, a mistress and the one being cheated on, and because as an author of dating/relationship books I am privy to hundreds of confessions and been a part of some of the most intriguing infidelity stories you ever want to hear in real life, I am compelled to offer the pros and cons on dating the married man. You can hate me for them, or you can read them and take my offering as both precautionary advice and wise guidance. No matter which one you choose, understand that there will always be married men looking to augment their married lives, and a plethora of women willing to play, so it’s better to know what to expect…just in case you find yourself with one.
1) Married men are fun, attentive and most go the extra mile to keep a smile on your face-they plan strategic outings, they may take you shopping, you get to eat out at nice restaurants and they help you with bills from time to time. They call and text you all day, they give you the attention you need and want. You are someone’s “baby” and always feel desired and special. It’s truly like living a fairy-tale and he is Prince Charming.
2) The sex is usually especially good-mainly because it’s uninhibited, wild and fun, no worries about bills, kids, in-laws, work issues or anyone having “a headache” or being too tired. It’s new and fresh and the kissing and passion is out of this world! (Typically unlike real married life).
3) Once you are done with them, they go home and you get to go about your day and your life without his issues.
1) You are always waiting for that moment, that phone call, the email or text, that next opportunity to be together. His schedule with you is contingent upon blocks of time becoming available to him that he can explain to her and that she will buy into. For some, that comes easy, for others who have lived on a regimented and predictable time schedule, not so much. You will spend many weekends and nights alone.
2) After the amazing sex, sometimes you want him to spend the night or the week or never leave. The truth is, unless he travels and takes you with him or he has some other scheduling availability in his life that permits him to spend nights away from home (and I will grant many do, corporate executives, entertainers, professional athletes, men whose wives don’t mind them traveling with the “guys” on vacation, etc.), then you will be having your sexual fantasies and your intimacy shared in calculated number of hours and he will be kissing you goodbye at 3 or 4 in the morning to return home to their bed.
3) Even though it’s sometimes refreshing to send them home to their real woman to deal with his issues, attitudes, dirty laundry and drama, most women I know, once they have invested in the relationship and if they have actually fallen in love with him, do want him around. Most women want a man to be at the house to talk to, feel protected by, plan a future with, repair things, cut the grass, help raise children, go to a movie on a whim and otherwise be present to love. In these situations, you won’t get that, his wife will.
4) Holidays, Valentine’s Day, his birthday, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day and most weekends, forget about it! You will be by yourself. If you get lucky, he will call text, email, send cards or gifts or drop by for a little while but then he will most certainly be gone again to spend the special day with wife and family. Again this applies to most, not all situations; some have more flexibility than others.
5) Sometimes the married man isn’t what you thought he was or is (and yes this happens in non-married man situations too but I am going to stick to the focus here). Sometimes you see them in their nice cars, great clothes and listen to their sexy loving voice, their remarkable stories and sometimes you find out, he is a whole other person when you get to know him. Or if and when you ever talk to the wife, you may find he has a host of issues, monetary, anger management, more infidelity (cheating on you and her), not a good father, drugs or alcohol abuse, etc. They say there are two sides to every story, it behooves you to know that the knight in shining armor who has come into your life and saved you and shown you more love than you could have ever imagined, might have another “dark” side.
6) If she (wifey) ever finds out, he will go into panic mode and you will suddenly become a stranger to him. All that professed love, adoration(“you are the only one for me”, “I love you’s” etc.), all those romantic nights, all the hugs, kisses, promises and conversations will vanish from his memory like sudden onset dementia. He won’t know who you are and you will become irrelevant. I have seen it and heard it too many times. And ladies, this has nothing to do with you or what you shared, it has everything to do with him trying in that moment to save face and to save his marriage, even if the marriage is on bad terms. It’s an ego thing and a panic thing. His real concern is his marriage, not you.
To drive the point home: I have a girl friend who was dealing with a married man for almost a year, he called her every day, they talked for hours, they had amazing sex and filled up each other’s days, but one day out of the blue, a female called my friends phone from her “guy friends” phone and identified herself as his wife and told her that she wasn’t to speak to her husband again or call his phone. That was followed up by a text and a call from him, who without emotion confirmed the earlier conversation, he told her “I am focused on my marriage, please don’t call me anymore”. My friend was incensed! She wanted to remind him that according to his many text messages and emails and the call history log, he was the one pursuing her! He was the one calling, texting and wanting time together. The mean side of her said that she should forward all those messages to the wife, in her words, “cause Lord only knows what lies he had told her”. The compassionate side of her told the wife, “If I were you, I wouldn’t call my phone anymore, because you might end up getting pictures and email copies that you don’t want to see”.
This is a reoccurring scene. Men go into I gotta save my marriage mode and become suddenly regretful and sorry (not sorry they did it, but as in Rihanna’s song Take a Bow “sorry they got caught”) and their lives, money, kids(if they have them) and stability flashes before their eyes. In that instant, you become the enemy, the obstructer to their security. If you are lucky, he might ask to meet with you one last time and then break it down (and off) like the Manhattans did in their song “Kiss and Say Goodbye” or he may do exactly like the man did in my friend’s situation. Either way, you lose. You will be dismayed how abruptly this happens.
7) Finally, and I hate to be the fairy tale killer, but it’s likely he won’t ever leave the wife for the other woman(you) unless she finds out, has high self-esteem, strict standards about cheating, courage, financial means and she has decided it’s better to live without him than with him. The epitome of the leaving woman would be Elizabeth Edwards who even on her death bed with incurable cancer, decided it was better to live alone dying of cancer than to live out her months with the man who betrayed her. Other than that, the odds are stacked against you, in fact there’s a 25 percent chance (or less) of having that man leave his spouse to come running to you. Now I don’t want to completely destroy your dreams or leave you without hope, because I certainly know of several cases where it did happen. There’s one particular case wherein the mistress waited and worked it for 3 or 4 years and ended up with a superstar celebrity husband and from what we can all tell its working. And there are others in the celebrity and “non-celebrity” world who from all appearances seemed to have made the transition from mistress to wife.
I know of a local Georgia couple who met while they were both married to other people, they fell head over heels in love and started having an emotional affair (she was even pregnant with her then current spouse’s baby when they met) but love is love. Their affair escalated after the baby was born and lasted several years-they were committed to each other and both knew they would end up together. Eventually, they both got divorced (at different times) from their respective spouses, and immediately got married. They are now living incredibly happy together. (I hope that made sense). So yes, it does in fact happen, but that is not the norm. It’s the exception.
I am certain there are other pros and cons I could list here, but it has been my experience that these are the ones that are most prominent and most talked about when I conduct interviews with people who have gone through this type of relationship, and these are the ones that I have witnessed and felt first hand as I have stumbled through my own situations.
The point of it all is to know and understand what you are getting into and to be ready to deal with whatever comes from it. Love can happen anywhere with anyone, you can’t help what you feel when it hits you. And even though I am one of those “live in the moment” people, I also know that choices have consequences and we have to be man or woman enough to handle it. I have also learned not to judge any persons journey, because “there but for the grace of God, go I”, for I have too often “been there and done that”. It is what it is, and it will be what it will be.
Closing comments: Life with a married man can be fun and fairy tale like but the relationship isn’t sustainable. It isn’t real. Pain and heartbreak awaits you. The mountain level highs come with valley level lows and if you can handle it, then it can be perfection in the moment. If however, you find you want or need more (like a man of your own, monogamy or marriage) that’s when the fantasy and fun go out the window and reality sets in-stress and drama soon follow. I advise, if you are dating a married man, keep dating other people and keep your options open despite what you are feeling or you may be setting yourself up for the big let down. Always weigh the pros and cons and decide accordingly. The choice is always yours, as are the consequences.
You can follow me on Twitter @thinklikealady, and on Facebook under Rhonda Frost (Author).