Why Do Single Women Date and Have Affairs With Married Men?


With websites like Ashley Madison becoming more prevalent in the public eye, there are more questions being raised about why single women are having relationships with married men. Experts trying to pinpoint a single explanation have run into challenges, especially when asking those very women.

Understanding why it happens requires looking at all the reasons that these men and women give when asked about their extramarital affairs. To give you a clear idea, here are several of the most common reasons why single women date and have affairs with married men.

Self-Esteem of Single Women

The attention that married men tend to give their girlfriends boosts the women’s self-esteem. Sometimes, the another woman has some kind of insecurity about herself that is alleviated with the attention she gets in the relationship. Having an affair with a married man makes them feel good, even if they are fully aware that the relationship is wrong. That attention fuels her confidence and brings her self-esteem up, which motivates her to continue the relationship or seek out more relationships with other married men. It convinces them that they are capable of successfully “stealing” a person and their affection from someone else. For some, it may even be viewed as a personal achievement.

Financial Stability of Married Men

Many of the married men tend to be financially stable—even more so than unmarried men. It shows that he would be able to support a mistress in addition to himself and his family. Many women who have affairs with married men are seeking things other than sex and romance that they can’t (or don’t want to) get on their own. Men who are financially stable are strong candidates to help those women get those things through his support. It’s similar to instances of men who are financially well-off and are able to easily attract women, regardless of other factors like their marital status.

The Relationship with Married Men

Some women want a specific type of relationship and they may not be able to find it with bachelors. They may want more than just the attention given to them in a relationship. Often, they may be seeking a relationship that is loose on things like commitment or certain responsibilities. She can then find those with a partner who is already married. A married man already has those things in his marriage and therefore may be looking for an escape in his girlfriend.


A married man having an affair may be older than the single woman he’s having an affair with. The maturity of older and married men holds a lot of appeal to young single women. This is especially true if the available men of their age exhibit behavior that can be categorized as immature or below the level of maturity of those women. A married man may be closer to being an actual grown-up than a single bachelor is, even if they are the same age as their girlfriend. It’s the idea that being married is equivalent to a person having their act together and being able to successfully accomplish their goals.

A Sense of Adventure from Having an Affair with Married Man

There’s a thrill in having an affair; it’s something that is so inherently forbidden by society. The secrecy and mystery involved with an affair with married men create its own appeal and many women are outright curious to experience what it feels like. Rather than viewing it as a relationship or in a negative light, some women and the men they’re sleeping with may see it as an adventure. The risk of getting caught may even sweeten the deal for some, as it can generate a rush that is akin to a drug-induced high. That high can also explain why some women repeatedly have affairs with married men.

They Don’t Know That Men They are Dating are Married

Remember that the women in these relationships are not entirely at fault—the married men they date are as well. In some instances, the other woman is completely unaware that the man is married when the affair begins. He may have intentionally kept it a secret to protect himself as much as protect his family or his girlfriend. Some married men who actively seek out romantic relationships with other women hide their marriage to avoid alienating potential girlfriends who may not be okay dating a married man. When it’s revealed that he’s currently married, the relationship itself changes. The woman may end it, citing things like moral guilt, fear of the consequences of the relationship being made public, or possibly anger from being lied to by someone she trusted, amongst other reasons. She may even be okay with the relationship continuing, either being entirely okay with it or hope that he’ll end his marriage to his wife for her. However, that does not discount the fact that she may not have known about his marriage in the first place when the relationship started.

Did YOU know?

1) Only 9 percent of women and 2 percent of men found a relationship at a bar or club

2) 38% of singles are using online dating

3) One in six marriages now begin online