Why Do I Attract Married Men?

“Hi Orna and Matthew,

Why do I attract married men?! I seem to be stuck in this pattern and I need a way to repel them so they stop wasting my time.

I must confess when I was younger, I was the other woman in a few relationships, and I feel terrible about it. Since then I swore off married men and promised myself that I wouldn’t be part of that kind of situation ever again. I want to be in a real relationship so I can share my life with my special someone.

Six months ago, I met a great guy and we hit it off right away. I had such a strong attraction to him and I thought I’d finally found The One. Then I discovered that he’s married.  Of course, he said they’re separated, and probably going to get a divorce.

The thing is I really wanted it to work out between us. Now it’s clear that no matter what happens with his marriage he’s not the guy for me and he’s not ready for a new relationship. I feel hurt and frustrated with myself, I really thought things would be different this time.

Please tell me why I keep attracting married men into my life and how can I stop it.


Hi Patricia,

It can be frustrating to discover that a person isn’t what you’d hoped, and the good news is you’ve recognized your pattern! This is the first step to breaking it. Brava! Let’s look at why you attract married men and what you can do to break this pattern for good.

There isn’t one answer to the question, “Why do I attract married men?” There can be many circumstances that created this particular pattern. The importance of realizing the cycle you’re stuck in is that’s the only way to create change. You first have to accept where you are and have an idea of where you’d like to be instead.

Why Do I Attract Married Men?

The way you’ve phrased your question assumes there’s something inside of you that married men recognize and are drawn to you. As if there’s a magnet or homing beacon pulling married men to you.

Let’s put an end to this theory immediately because you’re not attracting married men; your subconscious mind is highlighting married men. And it’s married men that you find attractive.

It may not seem obvious at first, but this is an important distinction to make. You’ve abdicated your personal power by assuming that something inside of you is drawing married men to you.

You don’t have a married man magnet inside of you, instead, you’re attracted to unavailable men. The connection you feel for a married man in some way aligns with your original experience of love in your childhood home.

On some level the longing for these unavailable men is a familiar dynamic, and because it’s familiar your subconscious mind highlights these men for you.

The brain science of attraction highlights married men because the feeling of longing for something you can’t have is familiar to you from childhood.

Instead of asking yourself, “Why do I attract married men?” ask yourself “Why am I highlighting unavailable men?” What about this dynamic is familiar from your upbringing? Whose love did you have to share, or earn, or prove your worthiness to?

Your Subconscious Highlights What’s Familiar

Your subconscious mind controls your habitual behavior. From how you brush your teeth to your automatic reaction to someone cutting in line in front of you, your subconscious has a learned behavior or strategy for your everyday behaviors. This applies to your random thoughts and emotional reactions as well as to your habitual behaviors. You even have subconscious patterns for who you find attractive and who you don’t.

Your subconscious mind works by the Law of Association, a system of categorizing this is like that. It recognizes familiar situations and runs the program that you learned a long time ago. It’s how your subconscious determines your reaction within microseconds in most situations. Without this ability, you’d be overwhelmed by the many conscious choices you’d have to make in every moment of every day.

Why do you attract married men? Because your subconscious recognizes a familiar energetic pattern and announces “This is familiar! This is familiar!”

Unfortunately, your subconscious can’t judge or analyze whether the familiar stimulus is good or bad. It just takes note and emphasizes the familiar for you. The problem is you confuse this signal of familiarity with excitement and attraction.

Attraction Is Determined In Your Early Childhood

Your internal GPS for love originates in your family of origin. Your experiences in your early childhood (before age 8) create your unique imprint for love.

When you were a child, you took on beliefs, behaviors, and strategies to feel loved in your family of origin. For example, if your father was distant or emotionally unavailable, you may have taken on a strategy to prove to him that you were lovable.

This example creates the familiar pattern of having to earn love or going into sacrifice for love. If your mother was a harsh disciplinarian, you may have taken on the belief that you could never be good enough, creating the false belief that you are unlovable.

It all adds up to your subconscious mind highlighting married men for you because not getting the love you want feels familiar. The hurt, sadness, and longing for what you can’t have is similar to the feelings you experienced in early childhood.

Why do you attract married men? Because the situation feels familiar to you and is therefore highlighted by your subconscious.

Downgrade Married Men From Co-Star To Extra In Your Love Story

Because your subconscious is highlighting married men, it’s like they’re co-stars in your personal movie. It seems like everywhere you look and every man who’s interested in you is married or already taken.

What if you could downgrade married men to the role of an extra in your love story, and upgrade available men to a starring role?

Here’s how to turn off the spotlight on married men and instead downgrade them to extras in the background of your life story where they’ll be gray and slightly out of focus.

7 Reasons Why You Attract Married Men And How To Break It

  1. You Don’t Feel Worthy Of The Love You Want

If you feel worthy of love, you won’t accept anything less than what you desire or deserve. However, if you have a pattern of dating married men it might be because you don’t feel worthy of the love you want.

Part of you probably hopes that the married man will choose you therefore declaring that you’re special and worthy of his love.

The truth is worthiness comes from inside of you, no one can ever bestow it upon you. If you’re chasing the desire to feel worthy through your romantic relationships you’ll choose partners who don’t value you or those who are unavailable.

Your inner beliefs are reflected back to you through your outer circumstances. Why do you attract married men? Because a part of you believes that’s all you deserve.

Rather than having to prove you’re loveable, focus on developing your confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. The love you seek is inside of you, it doesn’t come from someone else. When you realize this truth then you can share the love you have for yourself with another person.

Believe you’re worth loving and you’ll break the pattern of having to prove you’re loveable.

  1. You’re Not Willing To Risk Your Heart

Another possibility for you falling for married men is because you’re not willing to risk your heart. Married men are safer emotionally because they’re probably not going to leave their wives for you. It makes sense that if you’re not willing to go all in and risk that you’d choose someone who isn’t available for a relationship. You get all the excitement and romance without any of the fear of being vulnerable.

Why do you attract married men? Because they’re a match for you emotionally; like attracts like.  Emotional connection requires you risk your heart and there is less risk with someone who can’t reciprocate fully.

The first step to being willing to risk your heart is healing all your heartache. To tear down the wall around your heart you’ll have to grow resilient in love, knowing you’ll be okay no matter what happens. Only by risking your heart will you ever get the love you want.

  1. You Struggle With Boundaries

When you struggle with boundaries, you tolerate situations that aren’t healthy or good for you. Continuing to date a man once you discover he’s married is a perfect example of weak boundaries.

If you’re uncomfortable setting and keeping boundaries, you’ll struggle walking away from dating a married man. Having boundaries is the easiest way to teach people how to treat you.

Stop attracting married men and turn them into extras in your love story by setting a strong boundary with them. Don’t keep them in your life as friends once you discover they’re married, even if you enjoy their company. Cut them off and don’t respond to their texts or phone calls.

Nip the entire interaction in the bud the moment you find out his situation. A married man looking to cheat doesn’t want the chase to be difficult. Once you set a clear boundary and enforce it he’ll turn his attention to an easier target.

  1. You’re Too Accommodating

Married men like women who don’t ask too many questions. You may accommodate his need for privacy if you fear conflict. Just going along to get along can get you into trouble if you’re not curious and asking questions. You could be laying the groundwork to end up as the other woman inadvertently.

When you feel a strong attraction do you excuse bad behavior? Do you share what you desire in a relationship? Do you ask him what he wants in the future to find out if you two are a match long-term? If you’re too accommodating, you’ll avoid all the uncomfortable conversations and ignore red flags.

If this sounds like you now is the time to stop settling for crumbs! Say no to anything that is less than what you truly desire. Speak up and make requests, don’t just settle for hooking up, and make your plans for the future known — don’t keep them a secret just to get along.

If you spend all your time avoiding conflict while dating, you’ll never find your beloved life partner. Don’t worry so much about accommodating him and his needs. Instead, speak up about your needs and wants. The right man for you will want to accommodate your desires and he won’t mind that you’ve set a high bar. When you stop being accommodating, you’ll no longer waste time dating married men.

  1. You’re Giving A Stranger The Benefit Of The Doubt

If you’re expecting to magically know you’ve found The One after a few dates you’re giving a stranger the benefit of the doubt. Don’t let your hope and excitement cause you to put on rose-colored glasses and take a stranger at their word.

Instead, don’t invest your heart until his words and his actions are in alignment. Don’t pay too much attention on getting along, and instead pay attention to how he treats you when there’s a misunderstanding or a conflict between the two of you.

If he’s telling you that you’re not meeting his friends and family because he’s working so much don’t accept this red flag. A man who wants a relationship with you will introduce you to his friends and family. A married man will keep you a secret.

  1. You Rush To Exclusivity

It can be exciting to jump in the sack when you first meet a guy you like, but if you’re serious about lasting love with an available man, slow things down. Ideally, dating is a process of slowly getting to know one another.

Married guys move fast. They aren’t going to be patient because they’re not looking for a life partner. They have no reason to delay physical intimacy.

The right man will let you set the pace. He’ll be patient and willing to put in the time to prove to you that he’s in it to win it with you. Practice slow love and hold off on exclusivity. Date a few men in a rotation so you can experience the differences in how men pursue and show up. A married man isn’t going to put in too much effort to woo you or claim you. He’s not interested in something long-term.

  1. You’re Buying Into Instant Intimacy

Beware of instant intimacy! An overwhelming feeling of connection is not the feeling you’re looking for if you never want to date a married man again. That sensation is really your subconscious saying, “This is familiar! This is familiar!” What if you could change the meaning of this sensation?

Even though you made a conscious decision to stop dating married men, you got caught up dating another one again. Asking the question, “Why do I attract married men?” isn’t the right question to break this negative pattern.

Think back to all the married men you’ve dated and fallen for and see if you can identify the body sensations that coincide with that feeling. It probably feels exciting in some way — it’s these sensations in your body that have fooled you into believing there’s a connection with these married men.

What if you could assign dread or trepidation to these sensations?

Imagine your subconscious saying to you, “Beware! This man is unavailable! This is not at all what you truly want!” Decide now that the feeling and those body sensations are a false attraction and move on. These feelings are a false positive and you don’t have to run through the plot points again to know this is true.

If you want something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done. You have to be willing to decide you won’t be fooled by a false positive again to break this pattern.

The sensations you’re looking for to know you’ve met your beloved will be very different and may not come on instantly.

You can change your negative love patterns by changing your response to the familiar stimulus. A new response puts you in the driver’s seat of your love life! Once you’re in that seat you can navigate to a new destination — an available man who is hot for you as equally as you are for him!

Stop asking, “Why do I attract married men?” and instead decide that you can change this pattern of feeling attracted to married men. Making this change can happen a lot faster with a guide and that is exactly how we can help you.

If you’re struggling to break your love patterns and create the lasting love you desire, join us for a Soulmate Strategy Call. This complimentary call is tailored to give you insights so you have a plan to create the long-lasting love you desire and deserve.

About the authors

Love Coaches Orna and Matthew Walters

Orna and Matthew Walters are soulmate coaches and prolific writers about love. Finding love, keeping love, healing from heartbreak, bringing in your beloved and more. They have been published on MSN, Yahoo!, YourTango, Redbook, and have been featured guest experts on BRAVO’s THE MILLIONAIRE MATCHMAKER with Patti Stanger, and as guests with Esther Perel speaking about love and intimacy.

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