Would You Get Involved With A Married Person?

When someone who is married is available for another relationship, it is a sign that the marriage is troubled. I think that the vast majority of people don’t know what to do when they are in a troubled marriage. For most people, therapy is not an option, either because they find it too shameful or believe it is unnecessary, or because they can’t afford it.

So many people are walking bundles of confused contradictions. They may be unhappy and not know why. They may not be getting enough sex, and think the problem is a sex problem, not a love problem. They might be under a lot of stress. They might be out of town at a conference. They might be sex addicts or love addicts.

I don’t think it is at all easy for people to know about all these things, but more importantly, I think it is difficult for people to be able to put a finger on their problems. It’s just not so easy.

Certainly very strict moral codes can help people from doing some things, even when they are unhappy. But a lot of people are really good at spouting the morally correct line on the outside and yet not behaving according to those rules in private. They’ll wonder at their behavior. “I’d never get involved with a married man/woman,” they say, even as they are getting involved. It’s as if it were beyond their power to stop themselves.

Of course, there is a huge cost for not answering questions like this the right way. People care deeply about their reputations, and so they act as if such a thing would never occur to them. I’m sure that for many people, that is true. I’m pretty sure that for others it is not true.

There are places on the internet where people who are unhappy in their relationships congregate to complain about things. Many just complain. Others take the next step.

There are an awful lot of unhappy people out there. These people seem trapped. They don’t want to give up their marriages. There are kids and houses and other relationships involved. But they are so unhappy that they are willing to do what they never believed they could or would do. It’s just not so easy to fix a marriage, nor to break up a marriage.

When I was getting treated for infertility, my doctor told me that some extraordinarily high number of people are not related to their official father. I don’t remember the number now, but I think it was more than 10% and maybe as high as 20%. Married women are stepping out all the time! So are married men—but there’s less physical evidence of that.

Either people are all very moral, or the people who have stepped out don't answer questions such as this because of the harsh way that others look upon people who have had relationships with married people. I suppose it’s also a possibility that some people are lying, but I don’t think that is likely. No I don't.

For the record, as I’ve said here before, I have gotten involved with other women while married. For the record, I don’t want to ever do that again. It did, however, spur my wife and I to find a way to fix some of the problems in our relationship. There are more to go. Some mine, and some hers, and some both of ours.

Which gets me to the thing a lot of people have brought up here: the question of whether you would ever trust someone who went out on their spouse to be with you. How can you believe they will remain faithful?

People make mistakes all the time. To say, “once a cheater, always a cheater,” is to say people can’t learn from their mistakes. Or it might be saying that cheating is innate. Nothing can be done about it. I don’t think anyone will take that latter position.

So either you believe people can learn, or you don’t. If they can learn, they can learn to work a relationship better so that serious unhappiness doesn’t arise again. So that they won’t feel a need to go outside the relationship again. Let me say this: if you don’t believe people can learn, and if you don’t believe trust can be re-established, then, wow! I hardly know what to say. It just seems like a really, really sad way to think about your fellow humans.
wundayatta wundayatta
56-60, M
3 Responses Jul 23, 2010

Very well said. Your situation is not a usual case but unusual. Most spouses would walk away from their mate and not look back. Life is way too short to hold onto regrets, resentments, anger. I myself am cheating on my husband now and know I have a ton to lose if I were caught. I'm talking 7 years of infidelity! So now he is divorced (another woman accused him of having an affair with her and his wife found out). I never told anyone about this affair until I posted it the other night.

This is essentially a conversation with yourself, but it is a very wise one. These are all things to ponder for each and every one of us. I applaud your honesty and sharing.

Inspired post!<br />
I actually think that humans are naturally polygamous - I thought this in my 20s - and nothing I have seen or felt has changed that view. My wife even had 5 boyfriends when we met and I had to ditch my girlfriends or she would not move in with me. The only trouble is jealousy or possessiveness - which is a learnt human thing - Australian aboriginals used to share partners all the time and they lived here for 60 thousand years without a war - lol