I won’t take credit for this. It’s a reprint from something I saw on ehow.com from author Dawn Sutton. I found it doing research for someone based on their emailed question. While it’s hard to generalize about affairs and the people in them (it varies so much!!), I think what was written here sounded “right” to me. And answers that question, “Why would some smart, attractive, single woman get involved with a married guy?” I think a lot of Betrayeds have that question.
I refuse to take the obvious, nasty, mean-spirited tact on this — “Why? Because they are all just SLUTS!” or something like that, usually uttered out of anger and in the midst of self-righteous indignation that’s so strong as to allow the Betrayed to not examine themselves in the mirror before they point the finger at other women. Nor am I letting the “Other Woman” off the hook, which sometimes they like to let themselves do. I hear it all the time on blogs, in the email — that the Married Man MADE them have an affair. Or asking me things like “Well, why does HE keep coming back?” or “Well, he pursued ME!”, as if they had no choice or say in the matter. No, I think this article avoids the extremes, and self-serving nonsense and cuts to the heart of the matter.
And yes, I think understanding the psychology of the “Single Man” who gets involved with the Married Woman might be a good topic too, although from what I’ve gathered, it’s a much more rare circumstance and that single men rarely fall in love with their married affair partner and wish them to leave their spouses at the same rate the that single women in affairs wish this for their married men. I’ve yet to get an email from a single man involved with a married woman and needed my help, but I get emails weekly from women. So it’s obviously not as common. Anyway, I thought this article a good read.
WHY DO SINGLE WOMEN GET INVOLVED WITH MARRIED MEN?
Women have affairs with married men for a variety of psychological reasons. Some women find it feeds their egos, whereas others are excited by the risk. Still other women enjoy the sex or the challenge involved. Unfortunately, when a woman deceives another woman, she is actually perpetuating mistrust among women in general. Few men leave their wives for the girlfriend, and even when they do, the woman is unsure if she can trust him with other women.
1. Self-Esteem and a Sense of Power: According to Susan Sheppard, founder of Getting What You Want, a life and relationship coaching organization, one of the psychological reasons that women become involved with married men is to enhance their self-esteem and for a sense of power. Some women believe that it means they are attractive if they can steal a man’s affection from his wife and that they are powerful to be able to take someone else’s man. The truth is, however, that if a woman feels good about herself, she would seek out a man that is truly and solely available to her.
2. Married Men Make Fewer Demands: Many single women, who are focused on their careers, may prefer a married man because they may impose fewer demands on them than a boyfriend or live-in partner. Some women are not ready to get married or may not be ready to commit to having children. In that sense, they may believe that they can have love and romance and sex without any real commitments.
3. Married Men are Mature, Financial Secure: Many women believe that married men have more money and experience than single men. Many women believe that married men are generally mature and more experienced in relationships than single men. They equate experience with understanding women better and therefore being able to provide emotional support. Another psychological reason for women to get involved with a married man is the perception that a married man is more financially secure and that if he can manage his family’s finances, he can provide for her as well. Money is a big draw for women (eg, they look at men as “success objects” the same way men look at women as “sex objects.” Neither gender is immune from shallowness in their choice of partners).
4. Low Self-Esteem/Fear of Intimacy or Commitment: According to Victoria L. Rayner, author of “The Survival Guide for Today’s Career Woman,” some single women have affairs with married men because they are afraid of committing to an intimate, long-term relationship. If they seek out someone who is ultimately unattainable, then they are usually setting themselves up for rejection and loss and, therefore, do not have to commit to an intimate, successful relationship. Women with low self-esteem often don’t believe, deep down, that they really deserve a the full attention of a good man, which means settling for whatever love and affection they can get.
The article is pretty short. I think after my research, my interactions with some “other women” in cyberspace, I think it came down to this (and it’s not much different then men, really) — Why do they get involved with married men? Because they didn’t really intend to! Surprisingly, most women never really intend to fall in love with a married man, it just happens. And however hard you try to hold back, the slide in most cases is just too steep to resist.
I dunno. To me, it’s often about “forbidden fruit” that is irresistible to some women. There’s something about a married man, or even a guy who’s got a girlfriend, for that matter. I agree that there is a certain amount of lusting over some other woman’s life and wanting to take it for yourself. Or simply put that it is human nature for most of us to see a food look more appetizing when it is on somebody else’s plate.
Or I think its really simple. The attraction between the two is open in the air, they may feel this is the love they want and can get now. Why not enjoy the love they have? Why not have a good time? They think they can “control” and enjoy it, but let’s face it, few really can handle it once they fall in love.
And I think they don’t really consider the consequences. Infidelity can have devastating effects on a marriage. These are pretty well known. Some couples may be able to solve them through marriage counseling or may not. They may end up getting a divorce. However, some estranged spouses may fall prey to emotional disorders like depression, and may even resolve to extreme measures like suicide. It is not only the marriage that faces consequences. If children are involved, the contempt that it breeds in their minds for the cheating parent can never be eradicated. Apart from the trust issues in the marriage, the issues with the ‘other woman’ also can have severe consequences.
But most “Other Women” don’t concern themselves with the effect on their partner’s wife and kids. Some do, but most don’t. They figure, “hey, that’s HIS problem. He’s the married one!” But do they consider the effect on themselves of being in an affair with a married man? Doubtful. I think single women almost always get dumped, for whatever reason, and end up bitter, angry, frustrated and carry a lot of baggage afterwards. They are usually showered with attention and love from the married man and now expect the next “boyfriend” to be exactly the same, despite the fact that affairs carry a certain illusion and intensity that is difficult to sustain in real life. They end up a bitter shell of their former selves. And yeah, damaged goods — if they disclose the truth to a potential lover (and you should), how are they viewed ? Like anyone who has had an affair. Their morals, their decision-making, their stability is now, at best, seen as questionable. All things being equal, it’s going to be a fact that is a negative to most men meeting the ex-Other Woman (as it would to women if the man was the cheater). You can’t hardly blame them. I doubt I would date someone like that myself, truth be told (and in all humility recognizing my own checkered history).
You wish they would consider these things before they go down that road. But most do not. It feels too good. The slope is slippery. What started as a friendship or harmless flirtation turns into a hot romance like she’s never experienced and can’t let go of the delusional fantasy that it’s “real” and that he WILL leave his marriage for her, when in reality, this is pretty rare. He in turn feeds her fantasy with words and gestures just enough to keep her in the affair, but steers carefully away of making future promises that he could be held to. And she grasps these words like a drowning woman grabs a life preserver. Grabs them. Twists them. Forgets that what is said in the heat of passion may be convenient and not true. They become her reason to stay in the affair. And eventually he uses her and her good years up, leaving her bewildered, bitter, and angry.
And it’s all so predictable.
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