If you’re constantly asking yourself if the married man you’re having an affair with will leave his wife for you (or constantly asking him if he will leave her) and never getting an answer or any of the change you so desperately want, the answer may surprise you!
Here is a clip from an amazing interview with myself (Kate London, Affair Recovery Coach) and Fiona Skene, a multi-talented, multi-faceted woman who has spent her life teaching women to find their power again and stand strong with boundaries and self-love. The full YouTube video that answers the question if your married affair partner will leave his wife is full of a rich variety of helpful information and actions you can take while trying to navigate your affair relationship.
Why does he say he’s going to leave his wife, but never does?
The answer to that question can be really complicated, but before it can be answered, you first have to understand some fundamental truths about yourself and men.
It’s all too common for mistresses to feel stuck in affairs wondering where the affair is going and if change is ever going to happen. As the other woman in an affair with a married man, you may feel a strong desire for change because you’re sick of the emotional rollercoaster; however, all your intense emotions leave you with doubt and confusion about how to actually create that change.
Maybe you don’t even know exactly what kind of change you really want?
Do you feel stuck in your affair, yearning for change but spinning your wheels?
Many mistresses often feel stuck in the affairs they are in and, even though you know you need to change things, sometimes you don’t even recognize what kind of change you need and don’t know HOW to create that change. So you stay stuck, in a kind of affair limbo, just hoping that the solution will magically come along and fix everything for you.
For a woman in an affair with a married man—who wants your affair partner to leave his wife to be with you completely—his constant promises to leave his wife with no follow-through may leave you constantly second-guessing yourself, him, and your entire situation. You want him, love him, and give him everything he needs, but he continues to stay married and carry on the affair with you, and nothing changes.
Why does this happen? How can you—as the other woman—figure out if the married man you’re having an affair with will leave his wife or if he’s just giving you empty promises to keep you hanging on? Why would a man promise to leave his wife for the woman he is cheating with and never follow through with it?
Well, before that question can be answered, it’s important that you understand a little bit about male psychology AND a lot more about yourself.
Understanding Male Psychology
A huge question in all of this is, if a man is getting everything he needs from both of his relationships (with his spouse and his mistress), why would he give that up? He wins at home and he wins in the affair and no one is willing to draw the line.
According to Fiona, one of the main things to understand about men is that the masculine side of their energy (they also have feminine energy, just as women have both feminine and masculine energy) comes with a genetic “need” to win. They are genetically programmed to try to control each situation they are in so that they get the best possible outcome. The side effect of this instinctual behaviour—in a married man who is cheating on his wife—is that he will never truly commit, one way or the other, because he’s winning on both sides. So that doesn’t always lead to certainty or a sense of love and trust between the married guy and the other woman because that lack of commitment creates confusion, uncertainty, and pain for her.
Men’s instincts have been handed down generation after generation and, although it’s not wrong, it’s the way that men have been programmed. So a lot of men have an almost “caveman” mentality where they have to provide for and protect their families and “win” at doing that job.
So, again, according to Fiona:
…for a guy—if he knows that he’s providing for his family and he’s looking after his children, and they’re safe and they’re protected, then—why would he ditch that relationship to go after another part that he really drives for too. Which is knowing that he’s wanted, knowing that he’s appreciated. Because sometimes, in families, what can happen is the wife might have a huge amount of focus on the children…so he might not feel as appreciated by his wife as he is by his mistress and he won’t want to let that go either.
In other words, a married man may be getting all his needs met by both his spouse and his mistress, so he won’t want to give either of them up.
Understand Female Psychology & Being The Other Woman
From a woman’s perspective—if she wants a man to leave his wife for her—she has an innate need to feel desired and safe, and a belief that if she is in the right environment, she can flow with life and succeed at anything.
At the end of the day, a woman wants to feel number one to her man. In order for a woman to feel fully safe, seen, heard, and understood she needs to feel like his eyes are fully for her and her only. When his focus is divided between two women, it can cause her to feel unseen and not safe enough to fully let go and freely be her full feminine self.
So, women who are stuck in a holding pattern (of waiting for their married affair partner to leave his wife) are not able to fully relax into being themselves and shining their unique light. They, instead, stay in “hidden” mode where they can’t fully BE who they are because their environment isn’t conducive to allowing that.
So, to make this very clear, a married man who is having an affair—having all his needs met by both his wife and his mistress—is probably NOT going to take a full step in either woman’s direction. He has no need to—nothing to motivate him to choose one way or the other—because he’s getting the best of both worlds. And, as long as he has the option to straddle the line, he’s going to continue to do it. Plus, the longer he promises to leave his wife and doesn’t do it—with no reaction or consequence from his mistress—the longer he’s going to stay exactly where he is.
This is where boundaries become VERY important and telling.
How can a mistress understand her married man and make the changes she needs to make to get exactly what she wants and needs?
So then, understanding his behaviour, what can the mistress do to change things (in and for herself) to create a better result than sitting idly, waiting for him to follow through with his promises and never doing so.
To start with, she can deep dive into herself to figure out who she is and what she needs to feel fulfilled and whole in her life.
In other words, a woman in an affair needs to understand her own needs, wants, and desires, and then set boundaries in her affair relationship based on those needs, wants, and desires in order to keep things moving forward.
Of course, that may ultimately lead to the end of the affair once she digs deeply into what she needs and what she’s willing to give or get from her affair partner.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but figuring all that out is necessary to find the happiness and balance she is lacking in the affair relationship by NOT setting boundaries.
The first step to figuring out if he’ll leave his wife for you is figuring out that you are enough.
Are you doing circles in your mind, going over and over how desperately you want change, but—at the end of the day—you don’t even know what it is you want, SPECIFICALLY, and how that will look and play out?
In the grand scheme of things, whether or not he leaves his wife for you is secondary to you being clear on what YOU need. You may believe that your married partner leaving his spouse is all you need, but if you dig a little deeper, you are definitely going to discover it is so much more than that.
I have said this many times, the affair relationship is not the problem. It is a surface layer symptom of a greater pattern that needs to be healed within you before change can happen in your external reality.
So it’s important that you take some time to figure out what it is you NEED in your life and in your relationships.
Start by asking yourself if you want this man to fill you up or if you are coming to the relationship already full.
If the answer is yes, and you are wanting somebody to fill you up, the universe is going to give you what you need—mainly a lesson in patience because NO ONE can fill you up or make you feel fulfilled, except YOU. You’ll be given a lesson in patience so you’ll have the time you need to figure this out.
Only you can take ownership of your own happiness, balance, and fulfillment. That can be a hard, sometimes painful truth to digest, but admitting it to yourself and finding ways to accept it and start working toward it, will change EVERYTHING.
So you have to look at what you want, what you’re prepared to play with, and what your definitive boundaries are.
Gaining clarity about your affair relationship
When a woman is swooped into an affair, it’s so easy for her to lose self-awareness and clarity about what kind of change she needs to feel fulfiled in her relationship and—most of the time—she hasn’t stated that to her affair partner. A lot of the time, it’s because she doesn’t understand what change she needs or how to get it. So she doesn’t ask for it, specifically, and ends up frustrated and confused.
Or, even worse, she holds on to the illusion of this perfect, dream relationship with her married affair partner and, because she’s hanging on so tightly to it, stays stuck in the “maybes” that never bring her any closer to what she dreams about.
“Maybe if I do this or if I do that or say this or say that or if I sacrifice this and give up that, he will finally see how much I love him and how good we are together and maybe he’ll hop into my dream.”
And by doing that—by changing all of who we are to try to get our affair partner to commit to us—we give away all of our power. We give away all of our control. We give away ALL of our opportunities to be truly happy and balanced.
This is why it’s so important to get clarity within yourself, in order to gain clarity in your relationship. The reality is, you have to do the work to understand yourself in order to get what you want.
The problem with not understanding what you need—and not understanding how to set boundaries based on your needs—is that you will end up feeling really disempowered because you have no control over anything. So, when looking at your affair relationship, it’s imperative that you sit down and figure out what you DO have control over and what your partner has control over, and then work to change it so that you have control over the aspects that matter—the way you feel about yourself, the way you present yourself to the world, the way you react to every situation that comes at you.
If you can’t or won’t take the time to dig into yourself and ask yourself some important (and sometimes really tough questions), you will most likely continue to stay stuck in your affair without ever getting what you desire.
Great questions you can ask yourself about your affair relationship (and your life in general):
- What does a healthy relationship look like to me?
- What actions would I need to take to bridge the gap from where I am now to what I want in my ideal relationship?
- What am I wanting my affair partner to give me that I’m not giving myself?
- What could I NOT be seeing? (This question invited you to look outside your current way of thinking)
- How can I create a relationship where I can speak my truth in order to bring what I want into existence and still be accepted and allowed to be all that I am?
That’s how you set your boundaries. You decide what you want and need and what you’re willing to put up with and not put up with and, when your affair partner crosses that boundary or demands that you ignore it or push it back, you will start to learn how far you’re willing to be flexible with it (or whether you are willing to push it at all).
Setting healthy boundaries in your affair with a married man.
This is how you set your boundaries in your affair relationship with a married man. You first express to your affair partner what you want and need and what you’re willing to put up with and not put up with and, if your affair partner crosses that boundary or demands that you ignore it or push it back, you begin learning how far you’re willing to push it (or whether you are willing to push it at all).
According to Fiona:
We have all shown up on this planet with a meaning and a purpose, with a mission and intention and that’s who we are. So we have to examine ourselves and find out how we live our passion, our intention, and our purpose rather than others telling us what we are. You are the only person on the planet who knows who you are and what you need. So to live in that passion and purpose, we have to ask ourselves who we are and what we need and figure that out first and then ASK the person we want to be in a relationship with to come along and walk beside us as we fulfill our life mission and intention. This is how we KEEP our power, without giving it away—we know who we are and we invite someone who complements our vibe to join us for the journey. What we don’t want to do—actually, what we never want to do if we ever want to find real joy and happiness in this lifetime—is to withhold who we are and allow someone to pull us along in their journey without acknowledging our own.
So once you answer the question of who you are and what you need/want/desire, you can then present those things to the person you want to be with (whether it’s the married man you’re seeing or someone else) and ask them to come along for the journey without demanding anything from them that they aren’t willing to give.
This is what I’m willing to give you.
This is how I want to walk beside you and champion your life and support you in your life.
Is that possible?
Why is it essential that you figure out who you are before you can figure out if he’ll leave his wife for you?
Because figuring out who YOU are will change the entire dynamic of your affair relationship (and your life).
Figuring out who you are will allow you to keep your power instead of giving it away.
By telling him exactly what you want and what you plan to do, rather than waiting on him to make a decision and choose you or her, it will allow you to stand strong in your convictions and lead the way. It removes the uncertainty and anxiety waiting around for him to follow through with his promises by telling him exactly what you need and inviting him to come along to build a mutually respectful relationship where you champion each other and support each other in the journey.
Practical tips to deal with your fear of your affair partner’s reaction to your boundaries?
Firstly, remember that YOU are responsible for your reactions to the experiences around you and if you are scared to have a conversation with your affair partner about boundaries, it is probably because you are going to take responsibility for the way they feel.
You DO NOT have to take ANY responsibility for the way other people feel. Their feelings and their reactions are entirely theirs. They may project those feelings onto you because they don’t understand that their reactions are projecting their own hurts, insecurities, and stress, but none of that matters.
It is STILL not your responsibility to take ownership of their feelings.
According to The Holistic Psychologist, Dr. Nicole LePera, the best way to deal with someone being reactive (such as your affair partner when you begin to set up boundaries that no longer allow him to keep one foot in two relationships) and prevent ourselves from taking ownership of their feelings is to:
- PAUSE and acknowledge that your affair partner is in an emotionally reactive state.
- WITNESS. Watch his body language and how he is speaking, but don’t get too caught up in what he’s saying and don’t argue with him.
- BREATHE. Breathe deeply and evenly to regulate your nervous system.
- OBSERVE: It’s so easy to become a part of their story yet that’s where you will lose your power. Take a step back and look at what you are going through from multiple perspectives. This requires you to observe your affair partner and yourself. See what meaning you attach to what is unfolding. It’s so easy to get sucked into one story, one way of thinking which can easily cut us off from being resourceful to see and act on change differently. Pay attention to how your affair partner is actually behaving (and not the story you have in your head about how you expect them to react based on past experiences).
- BOUNDARIES. If you set a boundary and your affair partner reacts, set ANOTHER boundary around his behaviour and be clear on how you choose to respond to him. Something like, “If you continue to [insert behaviour], I am not going to continue this conversation with you.” If he calms down, great, but if he doesn’t, stay in your power and disengage by leaving the room or going elsewhere to give him time to process.
- 6. SELF SOOTHING. Confrontation manifests as body trauma, so it’s important to get yourself somewhere quiet or into a place you feel comfortable in so you can return to a calm state. You can choose to do an activity that helps you calm down (walking, dancing, a craft such as drawing, or anything else you need to do to bring your nervous system back into balance).
Remind yourself that by setting boundaries, you are, essentially, preventing your married affair partner from having the best of both worlds and he is most likely going to be reactive and uncomfortable with that after having it all for so long. PLUS, by showing him who you are, what you need, and inviting him to come along with you on the journey, you will get your answer about where he stands, one way or another (his body language and reaction will tell you everything you need to know).
How does your married affair partner react when you set boundaries?
Pay attention to his reaction when you tell him who you are and what you need and what your plans are.
Pay attention to his reaction when you invite him to come along.
His reaction and answers will give YOU your answer.
Ultimately, his decision will either be a resounding yes and a dramatic change in your relationship situation (where he does leave his wife and follow through on his promises) OR it will be more of his usual tactics and evasive behaviours.
And, even more important, pay attention to how you feel with his answers and reactions.
Does his answer/reaction make you feel:
- happy and hopeful for the future?
- confused about the outcome?
- like you’re still not enough?
- like you’re still not desired?
- not fully understood?
- like he’s just telling you what you want to hear?
Our bodies tell us the truth much faster than our hearts and heads, so if his response doesn’t sit well within your body, that too is giving you an answer.
What do you do if he isn’t interested in leaving his wife for you?
This is the BIG question here, isn’t it?
What do you do if you are tired of living the double life? If you are tired of waiting for your affair partner to choose you? If you are being torn apart by the lies and secrets and this never-ending affair limbo you’re living in?
What happens if you invite your affair partner to share a life with you—only you—and he decides that he wants to stay with his wife? Or, even worse, what if he decides he wants to stay with his wife and also wants to keep cheating on her with you?
Rather than answer this for you right away, let’s take this a little further.
Do you want to continue feeling the way you do right now?
Are you willing to continue to be the mistress and willing to accept that his focus will be spread between two people?
How does your body feel when you think about being constantly pulled in two directions?
Do you open and feel expansive or shut down at the thought of continuing to keep your secret and living a double life?
Do you believe love can’t come easy or that you DON’T deserve to have the love of a man who is interested in devoting himself completely to building a beautiful life with only you?
The answer to those questions will give you the answer you seek.
And it’s all going to be okay. I promise.
Realizing that having an affair relationship with a married man is no longer serving you and realizing it’s time to walk away is an amazing turning point to reach in this journey.
This is where the world can really open up for you and present a beautiful opportunity for growth and change.
I know this, because the same realization opened up the world for me, too, and so many other women like us.
So, if you communicate what you want and invite your affair partner along on the journey you want to take and he makes it clear that he isn’t “ready” or willing to leave his wife for you, you have the permission you’ve been seeking to do what’s best for you, NOT HIM
Because, let me tell you another secret: YOU DESERVE MORE than being the other woman—someone’s second choice, someone’s mistress, someone’s side salad.
Let me say that again: YOU DESERVE MORE.
And, even though it probably feels absolutely devastating—like maybe you’ll never find another man who loves you like he does or makes you feel what he makes you feel—there is a part of you that knows that your affair is never going to bloom into what you so desperately want it to.
And that part of you is going to feel relieved. That part of you is going to KNOW that it’s time to put yourself first. That part of you is going to understand that it’s time to learn to find a way to love yourself and value yourself and stop placing the power of that into someone else’s hands.
And I’m going to be here to help you get through it and help you discover the truth of your beauty and your worth. So if you’re ready to take that step, let’s talk.
Or, if you’re not quite ready yet, consider joining my free Time To Thrive Facebook group—a private group for women who are in affairs or have been in affairs and hold a safe space for women like you to share your story in a non-judgmental, welcoming environment.
Interested in learning more about yourself and how you navigate your affair relationship?
- What to do when it’s all getting too hard
- Losing yourself to be loved by him
- A tool for making good decisions in affair relationships
- Signs your affair partner may have narcissistic traits
Fiona Skene, a self-defence instructor in Melbourne who also trains people in Neuro Linguistic Programming (success strategies through language, physiology, and story), protective behaviours, and resilience programs for students. She also works with victims of crime (especially women in domestic violence situations). Through her work with such a wide variety of people over such a long period of time (30 years), she has gained an in-depth understanding of the psychology of men that allows her to offer unique and logical explanations and advice for women in affairs with married men. Fiona always works with many people on understanding “why they do what they do” and teaches them that if they “can change the sequence, they can change what they do” and analyze the emotion and intention behind their actions so they can actually figure out where they are going and why. Fiona is an expert at teaching people how to recognize their behaviours, feelings, emotions, etc. and showing them how to create new patterns to get out of those situations.