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He’s married. You love him. Now what?

Updated on February 8, 2015
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Stop Lying to Yourself — He’s Never Going to Marry You

That’s right, ladies. He’s not. The dude’s staying put where he is. Nine times out of then he’s not leaving his wife. He really doesn’t have a compelling reason to. Here’s why.

Let’s look at your situation from a logical point of view. This is what we know:

  • You are single, panicky and want to be in a relationship. He’s married, bored and wants some fun on the side.
  • You would like to have children as your biological clock is starting to tick (louder). He already has children and has no intention of begetting more.
  • You want to be a wife and a mother behind a nice picket fence (or variations of). He has a wife who is a mother behind a nice picket fence (or variations of).
  • You understand him; you accept that he’s unhappy ‘cause his wife doesn’t understand him. He knows he’s done a good job ‘cause you accept that he has a wife who doesn’t understand him.
  • You feel special, and you know you are so much better suited to him than his wife. He knows he’s done a good job making you feel special ‘cause you think you are so much better suited to him than his wife.
  • You love him. He loves that you love him.
  • You’re willing to wait for him ‘cause you understand that he has children to take into account, so you accept that his leaving his wife is complicated. He loves how you understand that he has children to take into account and are prepared to wait and wait and wait until his children grow up and he’s free to leave.

And then he’ll marry you and you will both live happily ever after… Seriously, girls?

The following account is a true story. Learn from it what you will.

Beware of the Gonna Man

A woman I know, let’s call her Sharon, fell for a guy, let’s call him John, who was married with three children. Sharon, a single lady in her early 30s, went into the relationship with her eyes wide open as her and John had known each other for a while and she knew that a) he was married and b) a dedicated father who could never leave his children while they were still young. John, a 40-something married father of three, also went into the relationship with his eyes wide open because he had realized that Sharon had the qualities he was looking for in a woman destined to become his ‘bit on the side’ ie. she was a) trusting and b) understanding.

The two met, as it often happens, in a most banal of ways; at the pub where Sharon waitressed. John was a frequent visitor there, a regular, one might say as he had a stool reserved at the bar upon which he sat, almost every afternoon when he popped in, at first, for a few, and later when romance blossomed, a chat with Sharon, right after work and before going home; a fact which spoke volumes of his commitment as a family man but to Sharon this meant only one thing. John loved her. He just couldn’t wait to see her, hence the detour via the pub before going home, daydreamed Sharon from her stool, propping up her end of the bar where she sat listening to the man confide in her the very sad details of his very sad marriage, as became the norm. He was an unlucky husband John was, saddled with a wife who had no capacity to understand him…

I could go on like this but you get the drift. The dude reeled her in with his well-worn spiel and a love affair developed. It wasn’t too long before he moved his spare undies into Sharon’s dresser, followed by slippers and a shaving kit installed in the bedroom and the ensuite respectively, as he managed to frequently stay over. And how did he manage that? The same way it’s always done. He fooled the wife with the old ‘going out of town on business overnight’ excuse. Strictly speaking he wasn’t lying, to his wife anyway, as Sharon lived just outside the city limits.

So, the dude moved in on a part-time basis so to speak and from then on the two of them were an item, a pair of doves blissfully in love, and they stayed together in this non-conjugal bliss for a long time to come. For John, the sailing was quite smooth; Sharon was easy to handle, totally trusting and very understanding, and she practically believed his every lie.

And why wouldn’t she? The dude was a very good liar. He promised her heaven on earth. The things he was gonna do for her, the life they were gonna have if only they waited a little longer while his children grew up. After that, everything would fall into place.

So Sharon waited, a little less patiently as the years went by, but she waited nonetheless for the good times to begin. And who knows, maybe, when the children were old enough, John mighta, coulda, woulda... But we'd never know 'cause things worked out quite differently when the unexpected happened and Sharon fell pregnant. She was beside herself and so was John. While Sharon danced on the ceiling with joy, John was devastated. How could she do that to him when she knew he wasn’t in any position to leave his marriage! How could she do this to him when there were children to consider! He asked Sharon to terminate.

Of course, Sharon did no such thing. Nearing the end of her childbearing years, Sharon had grasped that this was her one and only chance to become a mother and positively stuck by her decision to have the child. No matter what John did, how much he threatened, pleaded and begged; Sharon wasn’t going to terminate. She stuck to her guns for once and threw the man out.

So that was that. Months went by, without a word from John. She waited and waited but of course, eventually she realized the ball was in her court and she called him. It was awkward; he sounded surprised as clearly he wasn’t expecting to hear from her, but there was his baby about to be born and Sharon on work leave and in need of assistance. The conversation was less than cordial. Sharon outlined her needs and John’s obligations in meeting them. He, of course, didn’t see things the same way so Sharon was forced to point out that there were things she was prepared to do and people to speak to, should the child support she saw herself needing in the very near future be not forthcoming.

Predictably, after that phone call relations did not improve. They did not speak or see each other until the day little Vanessa was born when John showed up at the hospital with a sobering message: he was prepared to, nay, was gonna support the child but only if his name was kept off the birth certificate.

Sharon was stunned. She did not see that coming. But what could she do? Fight this through the courts? Her, without a penny to her name and John a pauper on paper? She didn’t have the energy for this, so she did as she was asked. She listed the father as unknown, leaving her daughter fatherless, penniless and without the right to future claims for financial support or, further down the line, her right to inherit.

I wish there was a better way to end this story but this story ends exactly the way these stories do. Sharon and John kept up the acquaintance for a while as best they could. He saw the baby, sporadically. He paid some maintenance, sporadically. She hoped things would change but in the end, it all went to s**t.

Clearly, this relationship was doomed from the start. It only lasted when Sharon was following the script and playing the role she auditioned for; the mistress, the plaything, the bit on the side. She was never there to become the wife. The role of a wife in this man’s life had already been taken. She never even came close to being an understudy, and that’s the sad truth.

So how did it all end? Eventually, Sharon and John went their separate ways, by mutual agreement, and they never saw each other again. Sharon heard, years later, that John’s wife had left him after their kids grew up, and he had remarried, very soon after.

Sharon, of course, couldn’t care less about any of that by the time this came to pass. She was too busy making ends meet. Bringing up a child on single mother’s benefits is no picnic and she struggled with it, but in the end of course, she wouldn’t have changed a thing.

She wouldn't have changed a thing? Seriously?

Of course, she wouldn’t have changed a thing; after all, out of this relationship came the most beautiful girl in the world. But that is the only thing Sharon wouldn’t have changed. Everything else could have been better if only she had looked out for herself and didn’t get involved with other people’s husbands. If only she had respected herself as well as the ‘other woman’ in John’s life, things would have been better for her 100%, no doubt about it.

Consider this; by believing in John, his lies and excuses, Sharon let herself be conveniently manipulated into thinking she had a future with this man. And maybe at the beginning she did, maybe he was truly unhappy at home, but as time went on she should have thought more carefully about where her affair was leading. She should have questioned his commitment to her ‘cause plainly his commitment to his wife was there for her to see. If she had given this some serious thought, she would have surely realized that she was only wasting her own time while John was enjoying the best of both worlds. The dude had it good: a family to go home to, and a mistress to play with. And what did Sharon have? A little bit of his time. For eight long years she waited for things to change and when they did, he disappeared and she was left with nothing to her name. But that’s not the worst of it. The absolute tragedy of this sad, sordid affair is her waste of her own precious time; had she not kept that relationship going all those years, she could have met someone else, a good guy (cause they’re out there if you know how to look), got married and had the family she had hoped for during those years she wasted on John who really wasn’t worth it. Ah well, hindsight is always twenty-twenty.

If you're dating a married man, should you set a time limit on your relationship?

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