What To Do If You Fall In Love With A Married Man

Medically reviewed by April Justice, LICSW
Updated May 1, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Developing feelings for or falling in love with married men can be challenging. If the married individual is in a monogamous relationship, uninterested in you, or unable to leave their partner, you might feel stuck and unsure how to proceed. 

When considering how to proceed, try to avoid negative self-talk. Many individuals from all backgrounds can experience challenging situations like the one you are going through, and you’re not alone. Before reacting, take a step back and evaluate your unique situation, then develop a plan for moving forward. 

Whether your feelings for a married man are unrequited or returned may also factor into your decisions. There are a few solutions you can explore, and you might also benefit from talking to a licensed professional if you struggle to make a choice.

In love with a married person?

Unique solutions for unique situations  

There are several ways someone may fall in love with a married man. It is possible you were not aware the man you fell in love with was married when you began pursuing him or engaging in a relationship. In some cases, you may be harboring feelings for a married man you’ve known for many years. In other cases, you might have been approached by a married man for a romantic relationship with or without knowledge of the other woman or partner.

No matter the case, whether it’s been a few days, a few months, or many years, situations that involve married people can often involve painful emotions. If you are experiencing any of these situations, there are a few ways you might attempt to navigate them. 

What to do if you have feelings for a married man in your life

People sometimes fall in love with married individuals they know from their personal life. If you experienced this situation, you might have met the married man through a friend or spent time with him at work. The married man might also be the spouse of someone in your family. While it can be challenging, it might be best not to act on these feelings if the man you’re interested in is monogamous or uninterested. Consider opening up about these feelings to someone you trust who is not affiliated with this individual. You can also consider journaling about your feelings to understand them more profoundly. Studies show that journaling has many mental health benefits and is an effective way to externalize emotions. 

It might also be common to feel a sense of shame if you have fallen in love with a married man, which could cause you to keep your feelings to yourself. It may feel wrong, and you may feel guilty or hurt by the situation. If you’re experiencing these emotions, consider speaking with a licensed therapist or counselor. There are discrete forms of therapy, like online counseling, which may suit you as you cope with these experiences. It’s important to work through the thoughts and emotions you may be experiencing, and a professional can help.

What to do if you were unaware the man you love is married

The development of romantic feelings for a married man while being unaware of his marriage could also happen. In some cases, men may hide their marriage by using dating apps or cheating on their partners. These situations can be painful if discovered by the man’s spouse or by you. 

If you have discovered that the man you are in love with is currently married, you might feel betrayal, distrust, or fear. It could also be common to experience feelings of guilt or shame. When the reality of the situation comes to light, try not to blame yourself. If the guy you were with was hiding the fact that he was married, he knew the risk and is at fault for his choice. 

While you might feel true love for this person, consider whether continuing the relationship would be healthy for you. If the individual is polyamorous and open to discussing your relationship with their spouse, you might consider couples therapy. However, if they want to have an affair or hide your relationship from the world, you might end your connection or let their spouse know the truth of what’s occurring. It’s possible you may want to stop dating a married man in this situation. Either way, a lack of trust could occur when you realize an individual has been lying to you. This type of dishonesty might continue if you continue your relationship with them. 


What to do if a married man approached you

You also may have been approached romantically by a married man. The man might be someone you met in the workplace, through a friend, or on a dating site, among other formats.

If you are actively dating a married man, finding a way to end the relationship may be most beneficial. It can be understandable to be in love with him and hope that he might leave his wife or husband, but knowing that the man you love is cheating on someone – potentially with multiple women or men – can lead to future challenges, distrust, or lack of respect in your relationship if he were to leave his spouse. In addition, a recent study found that those who cheated in a prior relationship were three times as likely to cheat in their next relationship. 

If the married man insists that he is planning to leave his wife or divorce his spouse, you might consider resuming the relationship when you can confirm that has happened. However, you might tell him you’re no longer interested and would like to stop dating while he is still in his relationship. Even if you miss him now, it may be the best option in the long run while he decides on his next steps and either ends or continues his marriage.

What to do if you pursued a married man

Perhaps you are in a situation where you have connected with a past love who is now married or a married man that you’ve recently met. You may now be in love with a married man.

A situation where you have pursued and engaged in a relationship with a man you knew is married can be challenging. You can choose to continue an affair. However, if you are tired or hiding or feel that your affair with this man is unhealthy or negatively impacts your mental health, you might benefit from leaving the relationship and seeking professional support. 

It may also be valuable not to interact with the man’s wife or spouse. Even if you want to allow them closure, doing so might cause them to feel angry with you, which could leave you and them in an unsafe situation. If you choose to leave the relationship, let the man know you’re leaving them and hope they will tell their spouse about what occurred. 

If you’re in a relationship with a non-monogamous individual, your relationship may be healthy. However, a few ways exist to ensure that polyamory is ethical for all involved. Ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Do I feel like a priority, or does he put one person above the other in his relationships? 

  • Do I feel I am getting enough time with him? 

  • Is he practicing sexual safety with me after having sexual relations with others? 

  • Is he open to me practicing non-monogamy or only himself? 

  • Is his partner aware of our relationship? 

  • Do I feel safe, respected, and heard in this relationship? 

  • Where do I see the future of this connection going?

In love with a married person?

Counseling options 

Any situation involving the navigation of feelings toward a married person can be challenging due to the stigmas and shame that may come with it. You might benefit from online therapy if you’re looking for a therapist but feel unsafe seeing a counselor in person. 

With online therapy, you can partake in therapy from home, allowing you to speak and open up in a safe environment without fear of judgment. You may feel more comfortable talking about dating a married man from the comfort of your home. In addition, you may be able to choose between phone, video, or chat sessions. If you feel unsafe talking to someone over video chat or a phone call, a chat session can allow you to use a nickname and discreetly receive care without showing your face. A licensed therapist will hear your story and can serve as a trained, unbiased party that can help you move through difficult decisions and find the best steps to take. 

Recent studies have proven online therapy as effective as face-to-face therapy for individuals experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. In addition, many couples who have attended online couples therapy have reported that the distanced nature of video chat therapy allows them to feel more comfortable with their therapist than with face-to-face options. If you’re ready to get started, you can sign up with an online therapy platform like BetterHelp for individuals or Regain for couples at any time by completing a short questionnaire. 


Developing feelings for or participating in a romantic relationship with a married man can often create a stressful and upsetting situation for multiple parties. In many cases, dating a married person may end in a breakup or an affair, which can be unhealthy. If you’re experiencing the complexity of a relationship with a married man (or woman) or the desire to be with one, consider contacting a counselor. You’re not alone, and talking to a non-judgmental professional may help you make the healthiest choice in this complex situation.

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