Married men hitting on other women: You're gross.
Whether we want to chalk it up to the popularity that is Scandal or Being Mary Jane, the role of the mistress has become insanely popular again. It's constantly perpetuated on TV shows and in real life, with women openly enjoying the benefits of being a mistress — they'd rather have a piece of a man than no man at all.
But there's one glaring problem: married men know that women want them, so they're milking it for all it's worth. In this resurrection of infidelity, men aren't even attempting to conceal their marriages anymore, they simply want a woman on the side who understands their lifestyle and knows her place. Heck, I've even been solicited myself to be someone's mistress.
Recently, while I was picking up takeout at a new local hotspot, a guy engaged me in conversation for about an hour, even though I insisted that I had work to do and needed to get home. As it turns out, he'd been hiding his wedding ring in his pocket, which he showed me before admitting that he was taken.
He then asked if I'd be open to "hanging out" since his wife lives in Texas and he hadn't seen her in four months. (Seriously, I can't make this stuff up.) I told him to call me when he gets a divorce.
And that's just one story. I could tell you at least three more about married men who've studied my actions over time before making the move, claiming they're in "the throws" of divorce. In each case, I felt like the guy assumed I'd be interested, despite his marriage status, and I had to make it clear that I was NOT interested in married men nor would I ever be. I'd rather spend my time with a single man looking for a wife.
Because I've attracted so many men with commitments (wives, girlfriends, fiancées), I'm here to offer a bit of unsolicited advice on how to avoid these shady, already-commited dudes.
1. It's not you, it's him.
Does something about you give off "the impression" you're open to dating an openly married man? No! You might be quick to take a good, hard look at yourself and wonder whether what you're wearing, saying or doing that attracts committed men to you. But trust me, it's not you.
The men who approach otherwise classy, educated and smart women to "hang out" are being opportunistic. Find comfort and confidence in the fact that this isn't your fault, and that you deserve much, much more.
2. The slippery slope is, well... slippery.
Women enjoy being wined, dined, and complimented, and those courtships can be difficult to resist when single guys aren't making the move and you're feeling extra lonely. I get it, loneliness sucks. But keep this in mind: if you're accepting invitations from married men for drinks, appetizers or anything really, you're leading them on and sending an invitation that you're OK with the nature of the relationship.
Even with good intentions like "We're just friends!" you could accidentally end up in a no good, very bad situation if your feelings become involved.
Here's the best (and only) appropriate course of action: Don't accept their invitations for friendship, period, unless you were friends before they were married or you're 500 percent confident they have no interest in having an inappropriate relationship with you. If there is a doubt in your mind, though, run — do not walk — away.
3. Engage the wives.
Speak to his wife first when you see the couple in person, and always ensure your conversation with her is longer than the chat you have with him. This move will make him so uncomfortable he wouldn't dare try anything, and it also calms his wife by eliminating her insecurities about your presence. It's a win-win!
4. Use the cold shoulder approach when you have to.
Sometimes women have to network with married men, but feel uncomfortable when married men seek more than just a professional relationship. It's difficult to totally shut the guy down if you may need him later for other reasons.
The trick here is to use similar tactics as you would with single guys you're not interested in: don't give him your number, communicate only via email, and be forthcoming about what it is you want. Men may hate being turned down, but they know exactly when a deal is all business and no play. Show your professional side only and you can have your cake and eat it, too.