In my 15 years of coaching, women have come to me over and over again with the same problem: falling for a married man.
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The stories always begin the same way: "There's this guy... he's soo great! We connect in every way and he makes my heart flutter like a schoolgirl. I know, I know... he's married. But we've only gone on a couple of innocent dates..." Then, the guy makes his move.
From the beginning, he just tells you what a great friend you are and he tells you how nice it is to finally have someone he can talk to. You eat it up, thinking to yourself, Yes, talking. That's all we're doing... But then he finally does what he's wanted to do for a long while -- he makes his move.
Of course, he springs it upon you ever so slyly, making you feel really special, making you feel unique. He'll say things like, "Wow, my wife just doesn't listen to me like you listen to me," or, "She just doesn't understand me. And it's really nice to be with a woman that does."
He will tell you this over a glass of Tempranillo, as he looks longingly into your eyes, sweetly brushing a stray hair from your face. It's kryptonite for the nurturing woman.
And sure, on the surface he looks like the All-American dad; on the surface, he looks like a great husband; on the surface, he tells everybody that it's OK that his marriage isn't passionate -- he's grown so much as an individual that he doesn't need wild, fulfilling sex anymore.
He'd rather have somebody that would be a great mother than someone with great passion because 'passion dies.'
He's convinced himself of this.
And it's sad, because he's convinced himself that he's in a relationship that he wants.
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But he's not. He's sad, he's lonely, and he sees you as an opportunity for escape.
So, how do you spot this guy right from the beginning? Well, he's usually the guy you meet who immediately wants to be your "friend." Yet, these men aren't just friends with women. They're only friends with women they're attracted to. Because that's how it starts -- with a mental affair. He'll frame your interaction as business, like, "Hey, let's have a business dinner," or "Hey, let's grab a drink after work." He'll flirt with you in ways that seem all so innocent. But let me tell you something: It's not. Because this so-called "happily married man" is not happy.
He's going to flirt with you innocently. He's going to send you little texts to tell you that he read an article or saw something that reminded him of you, and it's all going to seem so friendship-y, almost like you met a good female friend.
But in reality, he's planting the seed for your future affair.
He'll even tell his wife about the great friendship the two of you have. He'll bring it out in the open, because he doesn't want to believe that he is actually going to cheat.