Been There, Done That, Got the T-Shirt AND the Scars

by Samantha Grant
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Married men, even if they are in unhappy marriages and profess their undying love for you, rarely leave their wives, and especially so if there are children involved.

I started seeing a married man when I was about 31 years old and until then, I had been wise enough to never date a married man. But this one was tall, had big brown eyes and a great sense of humor. I got to know him and see him a lot through work and knew he wasn't a "player". When I met him, he was in a miserable marriage to an alcoholic wife and had a baby daughter. As with a lot of affairs, we started out being friends. Needless to say, I fell in love with him and that was my downfall. He promised me he would leave his wife within 3 months, then 6 months, and before I knew it, 1.5 years had passed and I was no further ahead. It nearly drove me crazy (seriously) and I certainly drove my friends crazy talking about him, constantly analyzing the situation and making excuses for him. I simply couldn't fathom why, if he was so unhappy in his marriage and so in love with me, he just didn't pick up and leave.

My life eventually became a living hell and was filled with incredible highs and lows. In other words, drama-filled - something I'm careful to avoid these days. If you are now or have ever dated a married man, I'm sure you're familiar with the drill. And if you are thinking of starting an affair with a married person, know this:

You spend your weekends alone pining for him because he can't get out of the house to see you. If your friends are dating or married, they've got no time for you on the weekends and your married boyfriend is not available to do "couples things" with you. Saturday night (typically, date night) doesn't apply to you. You spend it alone in front of the TV. Married boyfriends often are jealous, think they have a real relationship with you and don't want you dating other men. Weekends drag at the pace of growing grass. You can't just pick up the phone and call him whenever you want like you would with a single guy. One hundred per cent of the time, you have to wait for him to call you and you never know when that will be.

On top of weekends, you can forget having him around for birthdays, holidays, vacations and special occasions. You're alone and on your own during those times, times that are supposed to be joyous and fun-filled. He won't be there because you don't exist in his 'real' life. If you're ill, he won't be there. If you have an emergency, don't count on him. If you just feel like talking, then you'll have to wait until he can sneak out to see you which can be days away. You have to lie to your family when they ask if you're dating. Your wants and needs are constantly being put on hold and frustrated.

When he does call, your heart pounds and you are filled with excitement. You hang onto his every word, hoping he can steal some time to see you. You drop other engagements at the drop of a hat if he's got a moment right then and there to meet you.

He can't take you out in public in case someone he knows sees him with you. This wears and wears on your self-esteem because he needs to hide you as if you're some kind of freak or second-class citizen (which you are not). So you spend your time in your bed, ordering in food, or if you do go out to eat somewhere, it's usually a dive where for certain no one you know will see you. Not exactly normal dating. Heck, he can't even take you to a movie.

In many ways, you are keeping your lover with his wife and his marriage intact. If his marriage is terrible, you make it much more tolerable for him than if he didn't have you in his life. He has a little ray of sunshine (you) in his life, which makes his marriage bearable. Without you in his life, he might have left his wife long ago or made a true effort to save his marriage.

After 1.5 years of this nonsense, with my self-esteem totally trashed and urgently needing a psych ward, I finally ended it with him. It took me a couple of years to get over it and to build my self-esteem back up again. All of this destruction and misery in my life was because of his married situation, not mine. While I consciously agreed to participate in the affair, I can hardly claim I was a victim, but I did end up being damaged by it.

From this experience, I now have a completely different opinion of infidelity conducted by married people and the single (or married) people with whom they have affairs. I actually now come down on the side of the spouse who's being cheated on.

Whenever someone, either male or female, is involved intimately with a married person, they are trespassing on someone's marriage. Yes - trespassing. The lover has no right interfering with someone else's marriage and the married person has no right to conduct an affair while married. What a novel idea, eh? I admit it completely - I was trespassing on another woman's marriage and I had no right to do so, no matter how unhappy my married boyfriend was and how alone I was in the single boyfriend category at that time.

If the married person can't find someone to have an affair with, then maybe they might just have no option but to step up to the plate, address the problems in their marriage and solve them, instead of trying to find happiness elsewhere while still married. Another novel idea, eh?

Some people are just immature, insecure, bored, too highly sexed or feel it is their right to have extra-marital affairs. Whatever the motivation of the married partner, if potential lovers all said 'No!' (which I admit is completely unrealistic and totally wishful thinking, but we can only hope), then all of the pain and misery caused by infidelity would cease to exist.

Not many people escape an affair unscathed. Affairs hurt everyone. When they lead to divorce, there are often children involved, who can be scarred for life, and the experience of their parents' divorce can affect all of their adult relationships negatively.

Thankfully, there are many books, articles and websites out there to help a spouse who believes their partner is cheating on them. I encourage them to take advantage of all of these offerings, particularly, Often, confronting your spouse with real, hard evidence will snap them out of their fantasy and back into reality. If it's the bread-winner of the house who is cheating, the reality of actually losing up to one-half of their assets is enough to make them realize they were in Cuckoo La-La Land during the affair and that they must stay in their marriage, which is often never as bad as he says it is.

So to all of you single ladies out there who are having or thinking of having an affair with a married man - RUN, DON'T WALK, AWAY FROM IT. It will hurt you badly for sure. If you have low self-esteem, acknowledge it and do the appropriate things to help you build it up. Having an affair with a married man isn't one of those appropriate things and is frankly self-destructive. Know that. Do not fall for his charm or his sob story - this will only make you feel good temporarily, but in the long run, your self-esteem ends up much lower than where it was when you started. Carve it in stone that you will never date a married guy. Make it unacceptable to you. Make it one of your non-negotiable rules and boundaries. You deserve a much better life than sneaking around like a thief with a married man! It's hard enough dating single men never mind walking into the lion's den that dating a married man is. Here's to happy, healthy living without married men in our lives.

Comments for
Been There, Done That, Got the T-Shirt AND the Scars

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Jan 31, 2012
Well said NEW
by: Christtina

Been there, done that--it's old and I have a life to live.

Aug 01, 2011
Do you let him off scott free or do you tell the wife?
by: Jane

I'm 46 and I've been with MM for nearly 10 years. The lies are unbearably more frequent and I suspect every bit of dissatisfaction he's conveyed about his marriage is nothing but lies. For 8 years he told me they had seperate bedrooms just to find out last year that was a lie and they were still sharing the same bed. He told me the night of my father's funeral about that lie and I've been greiving feeling worthless for 11 months now.

He lies to me at the drop of the hat, especially in regard to his wife and child and their family activities. He's a great one for compartmentalizing.

Last night I caught him in a lie and he hasn't bothered to apologize or call. It has been nearly 24 hrs. and it feels as though he is punishing me for catching him lying.

Do I just walk away clean, never talk to him again? Do I drive the 600 miles to his home and demand my stuff back? Do I tell his wife that he's been cheating for 10 years and that there will likely be another (they have a child who is 16 with 2 years left in high school)?

Or do I forgive him yet again and accept that this is as good as it will ever get and accept that a liar is who he is. That I cannot expect anyone to love me so to feel loved occasionally by MM is better than nothing?

Jul 12, 2011
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your post. It was very insightfull for me. I am actually on the other end of things. I am the cheating married man. My situation is similar but different in many ways. Without going into all the details of my story, you have made me realize how painful it potentially can be not just for my wife but my mistress. We have been seeing eachother for 5 months now. I've been wanting to end things. We talk about it. We've talked about a couple times and it never gets anywhere. In fact our feelings have grown immensely. We both know that what we are doing is wrong. She is an amazing human being. And because of your post I would hate for her to go through what you have. I care for her to much for that to happen. The only problem is I'm having a hard time letting go. It's not just me, she is also having a hard time letting go so we end up back to sqaure one. I'm trying to get the courage and will to end things.....

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