Why do women fall for married men? It's almost always a hurtful affair

Women fall for married men for a variety of reasons, but such a relationship can never be productive, leaving the mistress feeling lost

Special to The TribuneFebruary 12, 2013 

The other woman is the butt of hurtful jokes. She’s shunned and treated with scorn. Still, women attach themselves to married men, forming relationships that are doomed to fail.

Women fall for married men for a variety of reasons. They may have low self-esteem and feel they’re not attractive to more suitable partners. Some fear commitment; if they select someone who’s out of reach, they won’t have to face rejection should the relationship end.

Married men are inherently less demanding. Because they already have wives and families to contend with, they exact less time from their mistresses.

Married men also may be viewed as more mature and experienced, able to offer more emotional and financial support.

Other women may defend their actions by saying they didn’t intend to fall in love with a married man.

“I didn’t know he was married when we first met,” one explained. Said a second: “He complained that he was so unhappy with his wife. I tried to listen and offer encouragement. The next thing I knew, I was in way too deep. It was impossible to back out.”

Whatever the cause, the outcome is the same. The other woman is mixed up in a relationship she’s not proud of. She’s forced to lead a double life as she sneaks around her lover’s family and schedules trysts when he’s supposedly away on business. She spends holidays by herself. She’s excluded from social events.

The other woman’s behavior can have a disastrous impact on his kids.

If he divorces his wife, the children will be living in two households, losing stability and friends. The mistress may console herself by saying the marriage had already soured. Yet she made the decision easier. Her presence helped lure him away.

The relationship itself is based on falsehood. No matter what he says about his spouse, he’s only portraying one side. Yes, she may be difficult, cold or demanding. He surely has his flaws, too. Besides, he’s the one doing the cheating. That speaks volumes about his moral compass.

Meanwhile, the outlook for the affair isn’t pretty. Married men seldom leave their wives, regardless of what they tell their mistresses. They have too much at stake, too many personal and financial irons in the fire. If they do leave, the ensuing relationships are tenuous at best. Some survive. Most implode under the guilt and deception they’ve created.

HOW NOT TO BECOME THE OTHER WOMAN

  • Never date a married man. His wedding ring clearly says, “I’m out of bounds.” Honor that limit and search elsewhere.
  • If you discover he’s married, leave ASAP. He’s already got two strikes against him: He’s a liar and a cheat. Run for the door and don’t look back.
  • If you’re involved with a married man, get out now. It’s not too late to amend your ways. Tell yourself that what you’re doing is wrong, wrong, wrong. Then tell him it’s over and leave. It may be rough in the beginning. You’ll be much happier in the long run.
  • Keep your distance from a man in an unhappy marriage. He wants to share his sad story. You want to rescue him from his miserable wife. That draws you too close together and lights the spark for the kindling to ignite. Wish him well. Advise he get into therapy. You’ve done what you needed to do.
  • If a man is in the process of divorcing, steer clear for at least a year. Even if he’s on his way to being single, he’s still not an appropriate date. He has loads of emotional baggage to sort through. He may have a family to settle in new digs. He has a year of anniversaries to survive. Give him space to grow and heal. If you’re still interested in 12 months, make your move.
  • Take control of your relationships. You are not a helpless victim. You determine whom you’re with. Don’t delude yourself into thinking it’s fate. If you’re in a bad relationship, change it. You’ll reclaim a sense of personal power. Your relationships will improve.

Linda Lewis Griffith is a local marriage and family therapist. For information or to contact her visit http://lindalewisgriffith.com.

The Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service