I’m a single woman dating a married man who strung me along for months, told me he was getting a divorce and but backed out when I forced him to choose — he said he wanted to stay in the marriage. Then after a month or so, he tried to woo me back with more promises but I refused to give in. I closed all doors once and for all. I haven’t talked to him for three months despite his repeated attempts to get in touch, I’ve blocked him everywhere.
I know I should be pleased with myself for having had the courage to stand up for myself despite however long it took, but I can’t stop being angry at him for the promises he made….promises he CLEARLY had no intention of delivering on. How do I stop being angry?
I feel a wide range emotions — anger, sadness, betrayal, confusion, jealousy even…. at the wife because he chose her. I have NO DOUBT I made the right decision for myself but how do I process this and eventually let go? Feels like it’s taking forever, the emotions are consuming me.
Here’s how I feel. This woman might be heartbroken right now, but she is in such a better place than if she continued dating a married man. Being with him is toxic to her self-esteem and wellbeing.
Doesn’t she deserve to be with someone who isn’t hiding her?? Doesn’t she deserve to be taken out on weekends and to spend holidays with him? (instead of alone while he spends them with his wife and kids.)
Dating a married man makes a person feel really bad about themselves in so many ways.
Breaking up with this guy will do wonders for this woman if she can stay broken up. (and not succumb to his wishes to get back with her because believe me, he will try in the future.)
Of course she will continue to mourn the loss of a relationship, but I think as time goes by, if she has the courage to stand on her own and be completely alone, have pride and grace, and realize that not having a boyfriend is better than dating a married man, she will feel empowered and wonderful about herself. And, the second she meets someone she is even remotely interested in, she will begin to realize the toxicity of this relationship. It will eventually be remembered as being really wrong, and a low point in her life.
How can she stay broken up? Focus on being around people (girlfriends or family or platonic male friends or groups of people) who make her feel good about herself, who care for her, and who are fun and positive. Also, she should do everything she can to make herself feel good about herself. That might mean getting really into her job or volunteering, or giving back in some way, or doing a hobby she is passionate about. Let’s take dating off the table for a little while and just learn to enjoy yourself and life around you. Nature, yoga, maybe a pet, chocolate, cooking, a sunrise, your best friend, your mom… Appreciate all the beauty life has to offer, even if you’re not in a relationship!
Also, if I were her, I wouldn’t be jealous of the wife. I would feel sorry for the wife. Why? Because her husband will undoubtedly cheat again. This girl gets a fresh start and hopefully has learned that dating a married man isn’t the path to happiness, but rather the road to isolation, loneliness and low self-worth.
I’m not going to judge this woman or anyone for dating a married man. I did something that I consider similar. When I was in my 20’s, I dated a man who was cheating on his girlfriend with me. The girlfriend had no idea. How did it feel? It was awful. I felt like the scum of the earth; sleazy and mean and disgusted with myself. Even thinking about it 25 some years later, I’m not proud of it.
Dating a married man is like punishing yourself.
It’s like telling yourself you don’t deserve to be with someone who is available. It is like saying you are OK with accepting being a secret and being hidden. It’s like saying you’re OK hurting another woman. And, it’s like saying you enjoy being treated like a second class citizen. And, you enjoy playing mind games with yourself–having false hope that he is going to leave her for you, only to be frustrated and disappointed when nothing changes. –over and over and over and over and over again.
Let’s say you meet a married guy and he says “I’m really unhappy in my marriage…” and the sparks are flying, and you think, ‘Well, there’s no harm in kissing him…’ and one thing leads to another. Now, a few weeks later, you are having an affair. You’re now having sex. Now, your emotions start to take over and you feel like you are falling in love with this man (because let’s be honest, women have a hard time separating emotions from sex, regardless of what we tell ourselves).
Three months later, you ask him if he is considering leaving his wife. To appease you, he says, “Yes, I’ve thought about it.” Now you live with this hope for months and months, even years. He tells you what you want to hear. When it doesn’t happen, you start getting frustrated and start resenting him and getting angry with him because nothing is changing. More time goes by. Now you break up. But a few days later, he calls begging to see you. You miss him so you agree to see him. The makeup sex is the best you can ever remember. Then, you’re back together. The same vicious cycle of resentment and betrayal and guilt and low self-esteem keeps repeating itself. You hate yourself. You hate him. You hate the wife.
There. I have just described what I think happens when someone is dating a married man.
I do want to address something else that pertains to dating after divorce: the definition of dating a married man. What is that? In my opinion, there are several.
1. There is the technically married man who is going through a divorce—it just isn’t final.
Ask anyone who ever got divorced, it takes a long time.
2. Then there’s the married man who is separated, but still deciding if he is in or out of the marriage.
3. There’s also the married man who is having trouble at home, and is cheating on his wife.
4. And lastly, there’s the married man who is the devil: the one whose wife thinks their life is bliss, and he is cheating with no intention of leaving her. (By the way, married women do all of these things, as well.)
Whether or not dating a married man who isn’t divorced yet (but is in the process of divorce and his wife is on board with the divorce) is a controversial discussion. Some people think you should wait until someone is officially divorced, others think dating someone who is separated is OK. I think it’s a personal choice.
But dating a married man who is cheating on an unsuspecting wife is a different story. In my opinion, no good can come from that, and I think it’s the worst thing a person can do for themselves.
Like this post? Check out, “Having an Affair When Both People Are Married”