why do women fall for married men
Special Guest Post by Dr. Valerie Golden
Mate poaching is a robust phenomenon, and it is here to stay. When single women see a moderately attractive male, they are more interested in him if they believe he is already in a relationship! In fact, one sizable study found 90 percent of single women were interested in a man who they believed was taken, while a mere 59 percent wanted him when told he was single. Take Lisa, a young, attractive, smart, successful woman from a major metropolitan area. She professed to want and kids, desperately. So why did she waste precious time with Adam, a married father of two who never had any real intention of leaving his wife? And when they first met, was she really scanning the room for tall, dark, and handsome, or was she actually looking for married with romance sans responsibility? Is it because a man who is already taken is more experienced? Is he seen as able to commit? Is he more desirable because another woman has pre-screened him (while still single men are unknown commodities)? For some, the food on someone elseÁs plate always looks tastier. If someone else wants him, he must be worth wanting. There is no simple answer. Remember, too, that some traditional types may want happily-ever-afters of emotional availability and financial security, while others may be after less than the full enchilada of marriage and children. Counterintuitive as it may seem, she might want more than a one-night stand but less than a full-fledged full-time beau thatÁs hers and hers alone. ItÁs counterintuitive because, letÁs face it: if heÁs cheating with you, honesty and trust canÁt be topping your list. Nor can respect, availability, spending holidays and family time together, or being his first priority.
So why do it? Because for some single women, a relationship with a man who is married gives you breathing room. You are not accountable to him if you want to see a male friend or past lover. Plus, sneaking around has its thrills. The itself may be more lusty because itÁs clandestine. Having sex in the married coupleÁs bed, for example, becomes a daring thrill, full of lust and passion, in a way not possible otherwise. Likewise, unprotected sex. The need to be secretive, sneak around undiscovered, grabbing quick sexual encounters on the fly, can be a huge turn-on in comparison to a dinner date with a single man who calls on Wednesday night for Friday. Especially for rule-breakers, itÁs just more fun being naughty. And bawdy. Some women may have decided never to trust a man. The logic goes something like this: if he has a wife at home and is cheating with me, I know heÁs not me. And the sex is great because itÁs new, adventurous, no strings attached, etc. ThereÁs also the super-competitive woman who craves the, seeing mate poaching as the mother lode of wins to boost her. The hotter her rival, the hotter she is, the more she feels superior to the wife in terms of having the goods that men want. For these women, feeling superior has less to do with the man in question and how desirable he is, and more to do with being more powerful than and superior to the other woman. LetÁs not forget the purely carnal aspect. As long as itÁs illicit and forbidden, sparks fly. If he were to actually leave his wife or partner to make this relationship permanent, brace yourself for a nosedive. For starters, he cheated on her withá you, so how could you ever know he wouldnÁt treat you the same way?
And the sex might quickly become hum-drum once heÁs available. á What about tactics? How do they do it? Mate poachers, whether they want commitment or just sex, have a range of tactics, from dissing the current partner (e. g. , ÁYou deserve someone better. someone like me. Á) to showcasing desirable qualities that the current mate lacks (e. g. , ÁSheÁs cold and unfeeling; I, however, am warm, vivacious, and loving. Á) Still others engage in Ábait-and-switchÁ tactics, initially offering sex with no strings attached, only to expect down the road that her man will become so attached that he canÁt bear to live without her. We may not like the tactics, but sometimes they work and successfully (e. g. ,á á Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt seem to have stood the test of time, at least as far as we can see). So what can the wife do? Take these insights and understandings home. Maybe even start an affair with the husband you have. You just might discover a competitive streak you never knew you had. á Stephanie Newman, Ph. D. , is the author ofá Mad Men on the Couch: Analyzing the Minds of the Men and Women of the Hit TV Show, which can be purchased from,á , and. á The other woman is the butt of hurtful jokes. SheÁs 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 theyÁre not attractive to more suitable partners. Some fear commitment; if they select someone whoÁs out of reach, they wonÁt 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 didnÁt intend to fall in love with a married man. ÁI didnÁt know he was married when we first met,Á one explained. Said a second: ÁHe 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. Á Whatever the cause, the outcome is the same. The other woman is mixed up in a relationship sheÁs not proud of. SheÁs forced to lead a double life as she sneaks around her loverÁs family and schedules trysts when heÁs supposedly away on business. She spends holidays by herself. SheÁs excluded from social events. The other womanÁs 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, heÁs only portraying one side. Yes, she may be difficult, cold or demanding. He surely has his flaws, too. Besides, heÁs the one doing the cheating. That speaks volumes about his moral compass. Meanwhile, the outlook for the affair isnÁt 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 theyÁve created. Never date a married man. His wedding ring clearly says, ÁIÁm out of bounds. Á Honor that limit and search elsewhere. If you discover heÁs married, leave ASAP. HeÁs already got two strikes against him: HeÁs a liar and a cheat. Run for the door and donÁt look back. If youÁre involved with a married man, get out now. ItÁs not too late to amend your ways. Tell yourself that what youÁre doing is wrong, wrong, wrong. Then tell him itÁs over and leave. It may be rough in the beginning. YouÁll 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. YouÁve done what you needed to do. If a man is in the process of divorcing, steer clear for at least a year. Even if heÁs on his way to being single, heÁs 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 youÁre still interested in 12 months, make your move. Take control of your relationships. You are not a helpless victim. You determine whom youÁre with. DonÁt delude yourself into thinking itÁs fate. If youÁre in a bad relationship, change it. YouÁll reclaim a sense of personal power. Your relationships will improve.
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