Ask Wendy

Why Am I Attracted to Married Men?

Friday, July 20, 2018
man holding wedding ring finger
Hey Wendy,

Why am I attracted to married men? I don't mean to be. And we don't really start anything beyond communicating as friends, but there is still that crush or attraction that I have to get over, or else I wait for it to disappear over time.

It's that excitement when you get a message, it's that general good feeling of being around them (and they're not always even my physical type).

I feel some guilt even when I tell myself it's admiration and it will eventually not cause the same excitement in time.

I don't like beating myself up over liking a married person for being a beautiful human being. But there is that attraction and fascination and I don't know what I should do with it.

Thanks in advance for your insights on this.

Dianne T. ~ San Jose, California

Hey Dianne,

If you absolutely know without a shadow of a doubt that you will never ever act on any of these feelings in any way, including flirting, then crush away. You have my blessing. Feel all the feelings guilt-free. That particularly sharp-edged zing we vibe on from the unobtainable can be delicious. And there is no shame in thinking thoughts.

Now, if you’re compelled to move beyond just a feeling that you keep to yourself, here’s why:

Our animal instincts in this area are driven by hormones, and that animal craves excitement (and drama).

When women compete for men, one tool they use to steal men from other women is sex and/or seduction. The game can be thrilling, fun, and risky. And ooh boy, does that animal inside love risk!

So why else do you consciously entertain attraction to married men?

One reason you find him sexy is because with him, you have evidence that he knows how to commit. Sometimes single women get discouraged when they’re dating because it feels like no guy wants marriage these days—and obviously, this guy does (or did).

Another reason: Are you independent? Do you love autonomy? Married guys are only available a fraction of the time, leaving you free as a birdie to travel, focus on your career, hang out with girlfriends, see other men, go to yoga class, shop, and generally not be bothered by the minutia of coupledom.

Reason number three: How’s your self-confidence? Do you need to prove something to yourself around how you stack up to other women? Like the competition element, attracting married men feeds the need to “win” over others.

Finally, back to the “zing”: The taboo nature of it all might be hot to you.

But do you want to know what’s happening on his side of this equation? Most men who cheat on their wives have no intention of ever leaving her (no matter what he says).

He might think you’re the hottest thing he’s ever seen. He may also thrive on the risk and the taboo of it, but chances are he won’t leave his wife. If he’s not getting what he needs at home, he’ll step outside the marriage to get it—and pray he doesn’t get caught, because he doesn’t want to hurt anyone (even if that’s what ends up happening).

Life-long monogamy is damned hard for most people. Some are able to resist the temptation to stray, while others just aren’t.

Men stray out of a need for sex, or attention, or newness, or risk, or excitement.

Here’s my takeaway: If you crave partnership, use your higher human spirit to power over your base animal instincts and recognize that married guys are the least optimal choice available to you. Most likely, he’s not going to leave his wife for you, and if he does, that ups the odds of him leaving you for the next one.

Good luck out there!

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