I wrote a post a while back about women going after married men (in response to an article written on the topic) and received a comment from a woman stating that women are often not to blame for affairs. Here is an excerpt of her comment, “The truth is that these men often aggressively pursue single women until they break them down over months or even years of pursuit. I am a very attractive single woman and unfortunately, I attract a LOT of married and/or attached men…My main point is stop blaming single women, it’s the men who are far more often doing wrong to both their wife and the poor victim they pursue, many times by lying. If the girl is young and gullible she is in for a hellish ride. It's time to put the blame firmly where it belongs, on the men who pursue these relationships. Very rarely are these men pursued by women and even if they are, they are still very much at fault.”
The reality is, regardless of whom is doing the pursuing, getting involved with a married man or woman is off. I don’t say this with a sense of malicious judgment, righteousness or any other mean-spirited sentiment. I say it from a place of humanity. If a person is interested in having multiple partners, that is their choice—as long as they have not promised to be monogamous to one of those partners. Marriage is a commitment of two people to be faithful, supportive and cherishing of one another—in good times and bad. Looking outside the marriage is a direct breach of that promise. It’s out of integrity, painful and toxic to men, women, children and families. It behooves all of us to know this violation…and to act accordingly.
Acting accordingly means work your side of this equation—because it’s the only side of the equation in which you have control and the power to bring about change. So to all those single women out there who are being pursued by married men, here is my advice:
- Verify. Just because a man says he’s single doesn’t mean he is. Pay attention to the red flags. Here are three quick ones: 1. He’s only available during the day, limited times on weekends or for sporadic periods. 2. He doesn’t introduce you to his friends/family/co-workers. 3. He shares limited information about himself, including where he lives and/or works.
- “A bad marriage” means STILL MARRIED. If you meet a guy who pursues you and tells you he and his wife are on the rocks and talking divorce even though they still live together…RUN. “Talking divorce” is NOT divorced. Couples can “talk” divorce for decades and still remain committed. You deserve someone completely, not just a part of someone. Tell him thanks but no thanks and move on. Don’t slow down, don’t look back and don’t give it a try or wait and see. GO.
- Unhappy marriage means STILL MARRIED. I’ve worked with many couples who were rocked by an affair…while both partners would have said their marriage was great. People don’t have affairs only because they’re unhappy in their marriages. If a married man is pursuing you, assume he lies. It behooves him to paint his wife to be the evil one, however, there are always two sides to a story. Don’t get fooled.
- Don’t cross the line. You can’t stop someone from initially pursuing you, however, you can stop yourself from crossing the line. Know in your heart that affairs are toxic to human beings and commit to not becoming part of that toxicity. The moment you discover someone is married—be appalled, offended and annoyed that they put you in that position and walk away. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that person will alleviate your loneliness; they will only prolong it in the long run.
The bottom line when it comes to affairs is...don’t do it. Stay out of them. Affairs hurt human beings. The attention you get from an affair does not wipe out the pain and hurt your affair is causing others and will eventually cause you. Walk away before things ever have the chance to grow. Take the high road even when others around you aren’t and then be proud of yourself for doing so.
Challenge: If a married man/woman is pursuing you…walk away. If you thought they were single and later find out they’re married…walk away. If you find yourself attracted to a married man/woman…avoid them. Take the high road…it’s the only road without guilt, shame and collateral damage.