Dating A Married Man? How To Stop And Start Living Your Best Life
Being the other woman
When dating a married man, there’s the cold, hard truth: Getting involved with a married man is like eating a whole pint of ice cream. While it feels so sinfully good in the moment— you’re bound to regret it in the long run. But you already know that, don’t you? Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here, looking for answers on how to stop dating a married man. The bad news? This isn’t going to be easy. The good news? You can choose an alternate path of romantic happiness, and free yourself from this potentially toxic (and perhaps addictive) romance. You don’t want to be the other woman. You want to be the only woman!
If you’ve fallen in love with a married man, it can be very easy to get used to the unpredictable, sometimes thrilling circumstances. You may have even convinced yourself that he’s “The One,” which can make it feel impossible to walk away. So, first off, I want to applaud you for getting to a place where you’ve realized that you deserve more. Finding the courage to end the affair can be extremely difficult — but don’t worry. I’m going to guide you through the whole process, from start to finish.
Step 1: Figure out what you’re getting out of it.
Does sneaking around as the “other woman” give you a certain level of excitement that your love life was lacking? Is it that deep down, you don’t actually want to commit to anyone right now — making a married man “safe” territory? It’s crucial to identify exactly what need your married man has been satisfying for you. That way, you can clarify why you got into this situation, and more importantly, make better dating decisions going forward.
Step 2: Make a list of everything you’re not getting.
Seeing a married man comes with a lot of sacrifices. Writing out all the needs that aren’t being met by your married guy will help you to see the relationship for what it really is. For example, are you missing out on being able to plan a certain future? Do you only get to spend time with him whenever is convenient for him (i.e., when the wife is at work or away)? Identifying all of these things can be an important reality check.
If you’re having trouble coming up with things, consider this: His family will probably always come first, even if he’s currently unhappy in his marriage. So, are you content to be someone’s second (or third or fourth) priority? Another thing to take into account is the fact that having to hide your relationship is exhausting. Maybe you’re dying to meet his friends and family, or go out in public — and both of those are super reasonable desires. If not being able to date freely and out in the open bothers you, that’s definitely something worth putting on the list.
Step 3: Evaluate about the potential consequences of your actions.
While it’s not easy to think about how your actions could have a negative impact, doing so is key, because it will likely motivate you to actually go through with your impending breakup. This relationship can affect more than just you and him. So, take a moment to really take stock of any potentially harmful consequences that continuing your affair could have on yourself and others.
For one, if your married man does actually leave his wife, how will you cope with the inevitable guilt of breaking up that relationship? Will you ever be able to forgive yourself? It’s even more complicated if there are children in the picture because then you’ll have to wrestle with the fact that you contributed to the dissolution of a family. And how can you expect the kids to like you if they know (or suspect) that you’re the reason their parents divorced? Not to mention, you may have trouble getting loved ones’ approval of your relationship if they know that it started while he was still married.
Now, it’s also imperative to think about how this relationship could harm your own well-being, too. If he never ends up leaving his wife, you’ll undoubtedly feel frustrated by all of the time you wasted sticking around. And even if he does decide to pursue a relationship with you, there’s the aforementioned guilt to deal with. Plus, you may find that you have difficulty trusting your guy down the road — if he was unfaithful to his wife with you, then there’s a decent chance he could be unfaithful to you at some point. You know the expression “once a cheater, always a cheater”? Well, there’s definitely truth to that.
Here’s the other thing about married men who cheat. Lots of times, they end up having affairs because they’re actually trying to avoid dealing with flaws in their current relationship. Do you really want to be with someone who’s not willing to work on things with their wife? It shows a lack of maturity, and ability to take responsibility. Those are traits that could end up coming back to bite you if you continue to date him.
Step 4: End it.
Now that you’ve clarified why this relationship can’t fulfill you, it’s time to cut it off. Right now, he has no reason to leave his wife to start a life with you — he can have both. And why should he get his cake and eat it, too?
If it helps, you may want to jot down a few points you want to make so you can stick to your guns rather than getting sucked back in. Then, schedule a time to call him on the phone or FaceTime, and keep it short and simple. Seeing him in person may make it more difficult to go through with your decision, especially if your relationship has been primarily a physical one that revolves around sex.
It’s important to say something that feels authentic to you. But if you need a little inspiration, try something along the lines of: “I’m not getting what I need out of this relationship, and you clearly have some issues to work out in your marriage, so I’m going to let you do that while I focus on my own happiness.” You don’t need to over-explain yourself or justify your decision. Then — and this is so key — I’d suggest immediately unfollowing him on social media, and changing his contact info so you can’t text him when temptation strikes. If you’re seeing his photos on your feeds, or his name in your phone, it will probably be way more challenging to move on with your life.
Step 5: Enlist a friend to hold you accountable.
If you’re worried you may slip back into old habits and reach out to your married guy, I recommend sharing the circumstances with a trusted friend. Tell her about your decision to end things, and let her know you’re committed to refraining from any contact with him. Ever notice how when you tell your best friend you’re going to the gym, you feel more obligated to go? There’s something to that. Once you’ve filled her in on your situation, you can check in with her any time you feel tempted to text or call your married man, and she can act as your own little personal cheerleader, encouraging you to stick to your guns.
Step 6: Actively meet other people.
The tough part is over, so your only job at this point is to have fun. And now that you’ve figured out what you need from a relationship, you’ll probably have a way easier time finding it.
Dating other people isn’t just a great way to forget about the married man, it’ll also help to reinforce the idea that there are plenty of great guys out there who are actually available to commit to you and only you. You don’t need to wait around for someone who’s already said “I do” to someone else. So, go ahead and download a few apps, seek out a professional matchmaker, or challenge yourself to chat up that cute guy at your gym or the coffee shop. The world is truly your oyster.
If you need help to stop dating a married man, or just want to get back out there, our matchmaker, Susan Trombetti, can turn your dating life around today! You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t already know you need help. Congratulations on taking the first step to getting your needs met finally! You don’t need to be someone else’s dirty little secret. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for a coaching consult.