Having an affair with a married man is isolating and painful, especially if you can’t talk to your friends and family about it because of embarrassment or shame.
With all the judging and hurt around this topic, it’s like salt in a wound when a married man mistreats and uses you.
Let’s talk about the signs a man is using a woman and how to cope or cut the rope once and for all.
Fortunately, the signs are pretty easy to read for those trapped in this cycle.
Why Would a Married Man Use a Woman He’s Dating?
How you got to this point isn’t relevant now. What’s important is learning why this is happening and how to identify the red flags.
For some answers, we’re going right to a recent study where married men explained their motives for having a sidepiece.
- They’re unhappy: Whether marriage has become stale or sex has become a chore, the married man can’t find happiness at home anymore (while studies show most have tried) and search for outside stimulation to fill that gap and nothing more.
- They’re not appreciated: When a man feels like his wife is always nagging and nothing he does is good enough, it triggers ego issues. As soon as a man feels someone offers that appreciation supply, they’ll use it as a lifeline without imploding their own family.
- The opportunity just presented itself: Many married men don’t intend to have affairs, but the convenience of social media and online forums can let a wolf into the hen house of single women.
- They don’t think they’re using a woman: Sometimes, the “other woman” presents a no-strings-attached opportunity and claims they don’t want anything serious. Then feelings can get in the way, and the tables turn.
17 Difficult Signs a Married Man is Using You
This is a labyrinth of lies and relationship legalities that can be tough to navigate.
You know he’s married, and that will come with stipulations, but when does it cross a line?
Only you can decide that.
1. You can’t initiate contact with him.
The married man can compartmentalize his life choices and responsibilities. You are a very specific compartment that can’t interact with any other compartments. If the controls all communication, even if it’s a few seconds of chat at midnight.
An even clearer sign of being used is that you have to wait up or stand by for this contact at the expense of your own life. If he gets mad when you don’t answer or respond, that is another red flag.
2. He talks about his wife too much.
Most married men who cheat never fall out of love with their wives. They just lose a certain connection, and you fill the voice. If a married man likes you but talks about his wife, he’s using you as a counselor and a cushion and likely only has superficial motives with you.
You’re already hooked on filling his empty gaps, so you let it happen. Even if he’s speaking negatively about her or comparing the two of you, she’s still the main focus.
3. He cancels plans at the last minute.
A married man is at the mercy of his family obligations, and that means a sick child, a wife who needs help, or a weekend of chores that he didn’t see coming. If his wife begins to suspect anything, he’ll 100% rededicate his time to her to ward off those suspicions.
You’ll be left getting dissed at the last minute often. There’s a good chance you’re being used when you are never a property.
4. He manipulates you emotionally.
Women involved with married men get a rush over being a prized possession and more desirable than the wife. As twisted as that sounds, everyone loves to be loved. However, a married man crosses a line when he starts playing games with those emotions.
If you ask where he’s been or why he didn’t call, and he uses phrases like, “I already get that at home. I don’t need it from you,” he’s showing a lack of respect and is likely using you.
5. He comes and goes as he pleases.
The married man has no responsibilities to you whatsoever, at least in his mind. If he disappears for a few weeks, he’s not going to think about you. That’s hard to fathom, as women aren’t designed to understand compartmentalization.
He’s also going to use time as a currency. For example, he spends a weekend with you and doesn’t call for two weeks after. He feels he’s “paid his dues” to you and can enter and exit like a turnstile in your life.
6. He gets really kinky in bed.
A married man might be perfectly happy in every part of his relationship except for the sex life. Especially if a wife isn’t into trying new things or exploring fantasies, he wants to experience that side of his sexuality. He might even want to try a threesome with you or go to a swingers club.
Then there’s the legendary mafia excuse for having a girlfriend on the side—”I don’t want the mother of my children doing those kinds of dirty things.” If he only sees you for rough or rogue sex, he’s likely using you for fantasy fulfillment.
7. He’s offering nothing but here and now.
Nobody dreams of meeting a married man and stealing him away from his wife, but it does happen. These affairs are filled with “when we’re together” and “I can’t wait until the divorce is over” statements. If your married man is not planning a future with you, he’s likely just enjoying the best of both worlds.
The red flag starts to turn into an emergency siren if you bring up future plans, and he shuts it down or gets mad.
8. He only talks about himself and never asks about you.
When a relationship is budding, even one that is an extramarital affair, both people are interested in getting to know the other. They still need to share goals, dreams, and beliefs.
Married men who just want a sidepiece aren’t going to so much as know your cat’s name or your favorite drink. Moreover? They don’t care.
This is especially true for men who feel emasculated or unappreciated by their wives. You’re there to build him up, not sell your own version of happily ever after.
9. He likes the risk and threat of being caught.
The adrenaline rushes for both of you when you steal a kiss in the hallway or have an afternoon shag in the bathroom. When something is new, whether it’s an affair or not, those same endorphins rush and sweep us away.
If he’s always trying to find a new way to “almost” get caught, he’s likely searching for the thrill of the hunt.
As with any relationship, the newness wears off, and as soon as you aren’t exciting anymore, he’ll find someone who provides the fresh rush.
10. He doesn’t think it’s a big deal.
Having an affair is a very big deal. Married men who say it’s just part of their nature and “men weren’t meant to be monogamous” have no respect for any woman, least of all you.
The fact that it’s not a big deal to him means there’s no respect for anyone in the situation aside from himself, and even that is debatable.
Someone will get hurt in this situation, and it will probably be you. If he doesn’t care about that, then he’s using you for as long as you aren’t hurt.
11. He blames you for the affair.
Men don’t want to take responsibility for affairs unless they have to, and they’ll try to express their guilt by blaming you. It’s your fault for seducing him. You shouldn’t have worn that dress. You were the one who initiated it. All these excuses make him seem like a victim of your prowess.
If he makes it seem like he’s with you as a victim or hostage, he’s probably using you, even though he keeps coming back for more.
12. He meets you at odd times and places.
A man with something to hide will geographically and chronologically change hook-ups. He might make you drive 20 miles to another side of town for lunch or have dinner with the “early bird” specials to avoid being spotted by someone who might know him.
The simple paranoia of getting caught can be as powerful as the intrigue of the affair, so if he’s hiding you, he’s likely not going to seek you out in the future for a long-term commitment.
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13. You can’t friend or follow him on social media.
As a compartmentalized portion of his life, he can’t take the risk that a new female friend was added or someone suddenly started liking all of his photos at the gym.
Keep in mind he can accept your request but still unfollow, hide, and remove you from lists to keep you from being noticed while still keeping you in the dark.
If you aren’t allowed to connect on social media or are prevented from liking or commenting on his posts, he’s likely using you for a particular need that has no place in his social forums.
14. You never have holiday plans with him.
Heck, he won’t so much as call you on Labor Day to celebrate, much less give you any part of Christmas week. Even the most sinister cheating man can become the adoring husband during the holiday season, and while he might promise you’ll get together to exchange gifts, that’s always penciled in.
It might be January 8 before you get that gift, and he’ll emphasize how he’s not available for Valentine’s Day to get ahead of that fight.
15. He won’t let you take photos of him (G-rated or otherwise).
A cheater needs to stay covert, and those photos can and will be used against him in a (divorce) court of law. Those photos give you power and control, something he’s not going to give up if he’s just using you.
He might also expect you to provide smoldering, sexy photos that are sent to him because—in case you forgot—it’s all about him and his needs when he’s using you.
16. He leaves when it stops being fun.
Even a serious affair will have bumpy patches, but a married man taking advantage of the situation will disappear on you like D.B. Cooper.
Since there’s no proof of the affair, aside from text messages (which could be faked, he’ll claim, or sent to a burner phone his wife doesn’t know about), he’ll act like he’s never met you in his life.
When this gets to the extreme, he’s even threatening a restraining order because he fears for his family’s safety.
17. He’s not introducing you to anyone else.
Even married men who are legally separated are still technically married, and if you’ve never been married, here’s something you should know—at the final divorce decree, the judge will ask, “Is there any way to salvage this marriage?”
Until both parties have answered “No,” there’s a good chance one will beg the other to come back.
No matter how good the excuses are, a man who isn’t willing to make you part of his social circle is likely using you as a rebound or revenge.
How to Deal with the Signs of a Married Player
Having an affair with a married man usually ends in tears.
Even when the wife finds out, there’s still a good chance she’ll forgive and heal. You’re left holding the emotional baggage alone and devastated. So what should you do now that you’re in this deep?
- Accept it for what it is. Taking judgment out of it, if this situation works for you, then deal with it. You can only be used if you let someone do it. Make it so it’s mutually beneficial on your own conditions.
- Get therapy to understand. Some women like affairs with married men because they fear commitment, and it’s a sure way to get the benefits of a relationship without the “ball and chain.” It helps if a professional can sort through how to find a relationship that is healthier for both of you.
- Give an ultimatum when you’re ready. At some point, you’ll want to transition either toward a more committed relationship or away from the affair drama. Set boundaries, stick to them, and walk away when it no longer works for you.
Even in a best-case scenario, if there is one in this situation, you’ll end up with a man who is known to be a cheater and forever labeled the homewrecker. Your self-esteem and self-love will suffer, no matter the outcome.
Take care of yourself to make the best choice, but don’t let yourself be used to making someone else happy.