8 reasons why women fall in love with married men
The woman's relationship with her father may explain why she likes married men.
The Kangana-Hrithik spat seems to have remerged, with the former accusing Hrithik of disrespectful behaviour following their very public showdown circa 2016. Slighted by team Hrithik's leaking of Kangana's private mails to the public, the actress spoke at length about the humiliation and emotional trauma she faced during the ordeal. Hrithik, who was married to Suzanne Khan at the time of the alleged affair, refused to acknowledge that there was a relationship between the two in the first place. If Kangana's allegations are true, then it is understandable why she hasn't let the bygones be bygones even after all these years. Apart from being humiliated, she also has to nurse the heartbreak following her former paramour's indifference towards their alleged relationship.
While sympathy and support have poured in for the actress from most quarters, some people have also questioned her decision to pursue a married man. If she went ahead with the affair knowing that he had a family, she somehow had it coming. But the truth is far more complicated that says Mumbai-based Psychiatrist Dr Sanghanayak Meshram. "We often don't get to chose whom we fall in love with," he adds. This explains why more and more single women are finding it hard to resist chasing the forbidden -- the allure of an affair with a married man. Dr Meshram helps us decode seven reasons why women are drawn towards married men.
With married men, there are no strings attached
When a woman gets into an affair with a married man, sometimes, there is no expectation of a serious relationship. "Women, especially those living in the metros may not want a relationship, following past bad experiences in their love life. So they don't expect a stable, conventional relationship," says the doctor. These days, women may want to focus on other things like a career or studies. So it is quite possible that a relationship is nowhere on her list of priorities.
"While they do look towards some kind of emotional support, women don't want to date single men because there is a chance it may develop into a relationship. So by being with a married man, she can enjoy a no-strings-attached sort of relationship that may not turn into anything serious," says Dr Meshram.
Women idealise married men
The dating game can be very puzzling to women who may have encountered one too many men with commitment phobia. The other extreme is also very likely. A married man comes across as someone who is capable of commitment, which increases his appeal. "Being married means he is accustomed to living with a woman and understanding how they think and function. Which makes him slightly better placed than single men when it comes to understanding women. So he may come across as someone who is more mature," says Dr Meshram.
(Read: 5 things that make your partner cheat)
The doctor has a point. A study published in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology1 explores the idea of 'Male poaching' which shows that single women were more interested in chasing a man who is attached (in a relationship or married).
He says, "Many women may also judge married men by how they dote on their wives in public (irrespective of their actual dynamics behind closed doors). This may make him seem like a caring, thoughtful companion, hence irresistible to women. So it creates an image of an ideal husband in their minds."
Attention from married men is flattery
Women love attention from married men, mainly because he appears to be risking his marriage. This can be a tremendous ego boost to some women. For inexplicable reasons, women also tend to value compliments coming from married men more than those from single men according to Dr Meshram. "When a single man compliments a woman, she may misconstrue it as his tactic to get her into bed. But with married men, she is surprisingly more trusting since she believes that they have no ulterior motive, other than wanting to genuinely appreciate her." Get it? Because he is married.
Married men appear to be more in control of their lives
Often, married men are more settled in life. Since they are married, they may hold steady jobs, have a house of their own and are financially more stable than their single counterparts. Women may be responding to a deep evolutionary need by being attracted to men who can provide for them. Dr Meshram adds, "Married men are mostly settled in life. So, the idea of him risking his social status to be with her can be irresistible to a woman. For example, he may not want to be seen in public with her. So, she will make small sacrifices by adjusting to his demands."
Women buy into their lies
Almost all women who have had affairs with married men will tell you the same story: He was unhappy in his marriage; his wife doesn't understand him; they stopped having sex long ago; he was never in love with his wife; his wife was torturing him; I am the only one who understands him. These are some of the commonest excuses men use to lure women into having affairs with them. "A married man may lie when he knows that the woman has started to idolise him. He tries to generate sympathy in her mind and uses pain to create a connection," says Dr Meshram. These excuses also help him justify his affair to the new woman.
Married men are the forbidden fruit
"There is always the thrill of doing something forbidden. The risk of getting caught, hiding the affair with from family and friends and stealing away to some far off place where the two of them can be alone can give them a tremendous rush," says Dr Meshram. The sense of danger heightens her attraction towards the married man. "They almost have to live a life of secrecy, a second life. Especially if you are brought up on films and stories of espionage, the thrill is tremendous," jokes Dr Meshram. Taboo is always in!
Bad marriage of parents plays a role
Dr Meshram says, "If the woman has seen her parents' marriage fail, she may stop trusting the very institution of marriage." Women coming from broken homes don't view marriage as something sacrosanct that cannot be trifled with. So there is no guilt factor that stops them from pursuing an affair with an attached or a committed man.
Women need a father figure
Being attracted towards married men could also mean there are deeper issues at play."Daddy issues" are a set of psychological problems arising from the absence a father figure in a girl's life. These childhood issues could manifest later on in life, when the woman starts dating. Women who tend to be rejected by their father figures may seek out men who may have similar attitudes towards them in relationships. They fall for emotionally unavailable men or have affairs with married men. "There have so many cases of women having fallen for their teachers or employers, someone who is an authority figure in their lives and who may remind them of their own father. Usually, there is a huge age difference between a woman with unresolved father issues and the man she is in a relationship with. She may enjoy being dominated by the man, which she misconstrues as affection," says Dr Meshram.
Advice to women who fall for married men?
Dr Meshram says that he isn't the one to play the moral card on this issue. "Well, I would say that happiness is ultimately important. But it is also important to see facts as facts. When you are infatuated with the married man, you may see the world through rose tinted glasses," he says.
A very small percentage of married men may want to leave their wives, irrespective of what he tells you about his equation with his wife. Many women accept their "mistress" status, silently suffering alone while the men spend holidays with their family and never acknowledge their relationship in public.
"It is important to assess whether there is a future with the married man. There is always a chance of the man repeating his behaviour with other women. Maybe there is a pattern. If you are not gaining anything in the relationship, you should reconsider it," says the doctor.
1.Parker, J., & Burkley, M. (2009). Who s chasing whom? The impact of gender and relationship status on mate poaching. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45(4), 1016-1019.
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