I’ve dated a married man.
Yes, I know how wrong it was. Yes, I knew that somewhere there was this woman who might have had no idea of my existence thinking that life was still great. Or she did, but patiently waited for the day her husband would return to her arms, crying, “I’ve made a mistake. You’re my one and only!” and she would forgive him because she loved him and would do whatever it takes to fix his reasons for cheating. And yes, I am quite sure that at some point in my life, I will be happily living and some broken woman is going to try to come in and sweep my man right from under me, and karma will have come to bite me in the rear. I am also quite confident I have paid my dues and suffered quite a bit to make a better choice in the man I choose to be with so that I never have to worry of his inability to stay faithful. Let’s just say, I have learned to catch on to what makes a man cheat, or leave.
So, what is the luxury, the amazing glory, in dating a married man? What does the other woman get out of it? How does she live with herself being a home-wrecker? I know many people who have asked why women choose a man who is taken rather than finding their own. No respectable woman could ever do such a thing…
I’m writing this, not to condone or excuse my actions in the past, but to enlighten those who may judge those who commit these atrocious misdeeds without remorse or apology. I will not excuse the actions of the “other woman” because there is no honest way to try to justify such treachery, but this is to give the unforgiving spouse the information on why it happens at all. I am also writing this for the woman who is still in the midst of dating a married man and relating to her experience because no one ever wants to admit this. I am just trying to enlighten the general public of the other side.
In my experience with a married man, there is the beauty of no commitment. Having the beauty and romance of a relationship without the commitment makes dating him (or any man already in a relationship) so preferable, The danger and the mystery becomes exciting and an adrenaline rush sweeps over you because it feels so forbidden… and the thrill of knowing you only have this small amount of time to make it worthwhile due to the rushed and specific conditions and guises make the time all the more magical and cherished. In an affair someone knows that the other party cannot fully invest themselves into the relationship further than the intimacy that may be lacking with their spouse. So what’s wrong with that? I get to know, in advance, that he won’t stay. He can’t stay. This is all temporary. This already lowers the expectations of commitment and diminishes disappointment. The standard is set. You are here to satisfy needs that are not being satisfied at home, this is a good time, I go home happy, you go home happy.
It is also a small (and sordid) victory that you are somehow better than her and can do better than her and your pride shoots up because you have managed to get a man to want you more than his wife. It is in some strange way an ego boost.
The idea of an affair is simple, right? No. Far from it, my friends. The idea of an affair may be simple, but the act itself is complicated beyond comprehension. There really is a grey area in the affair, no matter how black and white some people make it out to be.
Remember, there has to be a line that you don’t cross. You learn to organize your schedule in such a way that accommodates his needs above your own. There is a schedule. You call me only from one time to the other. Do not text me during these hours. Do not call me on the weekends. I’m with my family, and my wife. So you learn to follow directions. You learn to call only at 10:15 am when he is at the office. You learn to wait for him during his lunch hour only once a week to sneak in some quality time. You learn to go home alone. You put him ahead of yourself.
So why even date a married man? In conversations I’ve had with other women, they praise the idea of not having the pressure of commitment. They can come and go as they please. They can do as they want, no man to hold them down and keep them from going out with the girls, treating themselves to some pampering, go out with other men. They can have a romantic relationship with a man who cannot ever be with them so they never have to feel like they don’t know their place in his life.
“I know I’m the ‘other woman’ and I’m completely fine with that.”
I said the same thing.
“I know my place.”
Knowing your place is like being your own prisoner. You can only follow these strict rules in order to prevent being caught and punished. I’ve said that time and time before in regards to my relationship with the married man. I knew where I belonged, and that was not with him. And for a while I was fine with that, because, well, it was better than thinking that I would have a wonderful relationship, he would one day leave his wife for me, and we would run off to be happy together, because we all know that never really happens. But if it does, you already know he is capable of doing the same to you. It does not actually change.
The idea of being okay with dating someone who has no intention of committing to you is absolutely flawed! Your logic is not logical, no matter how much you think you are not hurting anyone. You’re taking place in a farce. A relationship that will never go anywhere and you’re selling yourself short of having a husband to call your own.
So why even write this if I’m condemning the act now?
Dating a married man made me realize that at some point there was nothing really wrong with his marriage. No matter how much he made me want to believe that his wife was some prude, nagging, housewife who did absolutely nothing for him, it just was not the case. Even if it was, what was I really doing to help him fix it all by allowing him to use to me feel better about himself? If she was really that bad, why wouldn’t he just leave*? The kids will survive if he left and it would be better than seeing mommy and daddy fight all the time, right? But who cares about him. He’s a cheater, anyway, so we’re not going to worry about why he is doing what he is doing.
[*No, I am not encouraging breaking up families by any means.]
The real problem was why did I settle for dating a married man? Why was I okay with his cheating, and why was I okay with him cheating with me? Why did I settle for this commitment-less relationship? A relationship that will never go anywhere and at some point all the new, romantic feelings and the excitement eventually becomes resentment and bitterness. It becomes plans to ruin his marriage on purpose so he can finally be mine. It becomes this devious plan to ruin the lives of himself, the wife and the children. You become this woman, hell-bent on owning him… but for what? That “innocent” boundary of “knowing your place” just became borderline stalker-crazy. It almost always gets to that point.
Being the other woman only demeans yourself. You drag yourself down. You have to realize that you feel that you are only worth being the other woman because there is something wrong with you. We are flawed, and somewhere down the line we’ve been hurt to the point where we are so scared to get back into a healthy relationship for the fear of failure we set ourselves up to fail automatically by being with someone who is just emotionally unavailable on purpose. A married man cannot truly invest their time in you, and because we submit ourselves to being the other woman, we know we are not worth the investment. A married man can never take you out in public, and we resort to being the hotel room lover and accept not being intimate with someone outside. Public displays of affection will never be part of the curriculum and he will never express how he feels to you in front of anyone else. You are this shameful little secret and you’ve allowed yourself to be nothing more than a whisper, and a shameful dirty mark on a clean slate.
Ladies, no matter how much we want to believe we are not getting hurt in the process of an affair, of being the other woman, we really are sabotaging ourselves. There is no reason that we shouldn’t feel secure enough in ourselves to expect a commitment, or if we really don’t want commitment, to date around and set that standard early on with a man who is not already involved with someone else. We should know what we want and do it in a way that does not hurt others spitefully and willfully.
Women can be broken for many reasons: prior relationships, emotional issues that were never expressed and dealt with from their youth, or there can be other underlying issues that keep them from having healthy (and stable) relationships. The fact is, any woman who is willing to be the other woman is broken in some way. Not that we care to admit that we are broken, or we realize it too late, but the fact will always remain that no sane, secure woman will ever settle for being the other woman. She knows she deserves more.
In my case, I was broken from all of those things and felt that this would be as good as it gets. I don’t need to have my own man because I was not deserving of one, so I foolishly dove right in to being the other woman. I will never be proud of it, because it is a grotesque feeling to not be good enough to have your own healthy and happy relationship and to feel that that is perfectly fine. At some point you place yourself into this dark place of disappointment (although you thought the knowing about the lack of commitment would spare you the pain) and moralistic emptiness (because, well, cheating is highly immoral).
Dating a married man was not my highest point in my life, and although I am not proud of it, I learned a very valuable lesson:
I’m worth more.
So, what made me not be the other woman anymore? Well, aside from the obvious of the affair ending, my choice to not put myself in that position again was based on my self-worth. Being dumped, although I knew the affair could never realize itself into a flourishing relationship between the husband and myself, was still a draining process. The feelings were there. The rejection was still deleterious. It just became too much and I said to myself, I will never place myself in this position again.
I would never resolve to be in a relationship that is without commitment because I deserve to be a woman with a husband, a happy life, living in a beautiful commitment with a man who promised to be faithful to me, and I to him. So, although, I’m telling you about the experience as I learned how to be a better person due to it, it does not mean I encourage others to commit adultery, but to learn from my experience without committing the actions. Take what I’ve said to realize that maybe, somewhere deep down, you want something more than knowing that it won’t go anywhere. Where is the fun in learning about someone, enjoying their company and knowing that there is no chance of it becoming something profound and amazing? Relationships are meant to teach you something, regardless if it is just someone coming in for a moment and showing you something you didn’t know before. Why set yourself up for the failure? Do you think knowing it will not go anywhere will hurt less when it is over? Females are a sensitive species and for some reason those of us who choose to, continue to punish ourselves for our previous failures. That is where we tend to mistake our self-worth and place walls to try to protect ourselves. Being the other woman just felt like the easier choice at the time. We already deem ourselves unworthy of time and attention, so we reserve ourselves to feeling like we’ve controlled the situation by already knowing this affair cannot possibly go anywhere thus sparing us from gaining feelings and wanting more.
Don’t date a married man. It’s not worth it. The wife does not deserve that. The husband should be better in communicating his grievances to his wife and should not be seeking comfort in the arms of someone else. You should not allow yourself to be the one with whom he seeks such immoral comfort and you should not allow yourself to be less than a woman who deserves a man willing to court, commit, and someday marry.
Dating can become frustrating. Some men will decide you are not the woman for them, which is well within their right because you can also decide that they are not for you. But wouldn’t you like to be someone’s one and only? Not someone’s sometimes and maybe?
Yes, I dated a married man. I was the other woman. But that was before I believed I could be the only woman. That was before I believed I could be treated better than a temporary solution to someone else’s issues. That is before I believed I deserved to be loved completely and worth enough for someone to want to make a commitment to me. I should have learned that I was better than being the other woman before becoming one, but that was not how it happened; that was not my life choice. Don’t follow my path, because your path is your own. And if you’re on a similar path, then maybe reconsider your direction and see if there is something better that you can be doing with yourself that isn’t selling yourself short for some unhappy married mans’ misgivings.
I am not looking for a medal, or even praise for my honesty. I’m just trying to tell a side that gets overlooked, and how my actions have changed my life, regardless of how bad they are.
I was the other woman, and now you know some of the misguided logic behind it. My reasons may not be the same as someone else’s, but these are mine, and this is my story.
The honest story of the shameless other woman…