Pros & Cons of
Dating Married Men
by Carolyn Bushong
the Good Men Seem to Be Married,” column from Rocky Mountain
Recently, in a Cherry Creek bar, I met a wonderful man. Conversation
flowed. I knew the attraction was mutual. There was only one problem. I
forgot to ask if he was married. And, of course, he was.
Female friends and clients complain over and over again. “All the good
ones are taken.” I swear to them it’s not true. But I, myself, am
beginning to wonder.
Most single men today are not only afraid of commitment, but they’re
even afraid to date the same woman more than once. Often, the only men
we meet who aren’t afraid of us are married ones to whom commitment
isn’t an issue. They’re usually warm, emotional, and open – because they
have nothing to lose. They know that we know they aren’t going to meet
Most men are afraid of getting too close to a woman for fear she’ll push
for commitment. A male client I’ll call Jerry has been separated from
his wife for several years, but has never filed for divorce. Recently, I
pressured him again about his procrastination. He finally admitted why
he hadn’t done it. “It’s easier for me to date and enjoy women when they
know there’s no chance I’ll marry them,” he said. Jerry uses his state
of limbo – separated, yet not divorced – as protection. This is the only
way he feels comfortable getting close to a woman.
Another client tells me his wife always accuses him of being cold and
unemotional. He says it’s not true; in his affairs, he’s a very
sensitive, warm man.
It’s not fair. Women end up with only two bad options: cheating husbands
or single men who run from intimacy.
It isn’t hard to understand why many women today choose to date married
men. They’re making the decision to be mistresses – rather than a
cheated-on wife or a woman sitting at home alone.
In the long run, women usually lose with married men. We all know the
horror stories: If he’s dishonest with her, he’ll be dishonest with you.
He’ll probably never leave her; and if he does leave her, he’ll cheat on
you, too. Either way, you can probably count on spending holidays alone.
An affair usually provides enough of an outlet for a married man that he
can stay in his marriage indefinitely, without ever having to confront
his wife on his unhappiness. Dating a married man is “enabling” a
cheater to stay married, much like “enabling” an alcoholic to keep
So what do we do? One of the few places a single woman can find romance
and love today is with a married man.
So, if you’re not looking for marriage and you just want to get your
love needs met temporarily, then dating a married man might be for you.
But don’t allow yourself to be engulfed. Accept the relationship for
what it is – an exciting, short-term way to meet your needs for sex and
affection, that will not, and cannot, go anywhere else. Then, and only
then, is it safe to date a married man.
But, if you do it, be sure you take care of your needs first. Don’t wait
for him. Don’t always be there for him. Let him know you won’t be
monogamous with him as long as he’s still married. Use him the way he’s
using you. He’s getting his needs met so he can maintain his marriage.
Use him to get your needs met, so you can take your time with single men
who have something long-term to offer. Dating a married man can keep you
from rushing into bed too soon or coming across too desperate with a man
you may really be interested in.
It sounds cold and calculated. But the risks involved in dating married
men are too high not to protect yourself.
But WATCH OUT! If you see yourself falling in love with a marred man and
wanting more, get out. It’s a no-win situation.
[Note: This column was written by Carolyn Bushong about meeting Alan
(who was married when they met), her now significant other of 19 years.
She did not take her own advice, however. She did not date him while he
was still married. They both believe that deciding not to cheat with him
is a major reason why they are still together and happy after all this