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7 Signs a Man Is in Love with His Mistress: What’s Your Action Plan?

February 9, 2024

Affairs are never straightforward. In fact, they’re always complicated and difficult. That’s true whether you’re the wife he cheated on or the mistress he cheated with. His lack of courage and honesty has created a painful situation that should never have happened.

This becomes even more challenging if he falls in love with his mistress.

In this article, we’ll look at signs that a man is falling in love with his mistress, what needs to happen if you want to save the marriage, and how you can look after yourself if you’re the mistress.

Key Takeaways

  • Men cheat on their partners when they aren’t willing to be open and honest about their needs 
  • Affairs are usually about wanting to feel attractive and valued. They’re not ‘just’ sex
  • If your husband has cheated on you, put your own needs first
  • Repairing a marriage after infidelity is difficult, but it is possible if you both work at it
  • As ‘the other woman’, don’t let your needs take second place to his

Why Does a Man Cheat in His Marriage?

Let’s get one thing out of the way first. Men don’t cheat on their marriage because they couldn’t help it. It can sometimes feel tempting to imagine a man as being like a hungry dog - unable to resist stealing a piece of steak. That lets him off the hook far too easily.

Men who cheat on their wives make an active decision to do it. They didn’t “slip” or “succumb to temptation.” They actively chose to cheat.

That might not be a comfortable thought, but we need to recognize that they are adults who are making their own decisions. Accepting that they weren’t being seduced and unable to resist their desires is essential if you’re ever going to rebuild your relationship.

People will give all kinds of reasons for cheating on their partner, such as a lack of physical intimacy, being lonely, liking the attention, or having a specific kink that their partner isn’t into.[1] The basic explanation is always the same, however. 

They had a need that wasn’t being fulfilled and they chose not to talk about this openly and honestly with their partner.

This is in no way an excuse. Everyone can realize that their needs aren’t being met in their relationship without deciding to cheat on their partner. There are a million other ways to deal with this problem that don’t involve betraying your partner’s trust.

7 Signs a Man Is in Love with His Mistress

Of course, even something that started out as a simple fling can change into something more serious. Here are some of the signs that the married man you’re seeing has started to fall in love with you.

Man and woman looking at each other

1. He notices the little things

We pay attention to the things that matter to us in life. If he notices small details about you that’s a good sign that he’s starting to have stronger feelings than just wanting to have fun. The same is true if he remembers things that matter to you.

For example, lots of guys will tell you that they love the dress you’re wearing. It’s much more serious if he says “I love you in that dress. You wore it when we went for coffee a few months ago and said it was your favorite color. I think of you every time I see something of that color now.”

2. He finds ways to spend time with you

A married man has commitments. He might also need to hide what he’s doing from his wife and other important people in his life. Spending time with you is often difficult. If he keeps making the effort to see you, you probably mean something important to him.

3. He wants to move beyond the physical

Lots of people assume that affairs are only about sex.[2] If he wants to get to know more about you, this is the start of an emotional connection. An emotional, rather than just physical, relationship is deeper and is more likely to become love.

4. He cares about other people in your life

When he starts to feel a stronger emotional connection with you, a man will often start to care about the people who matter in your life. For example, he might ask you whether your mom is feeling better after her cold, or whether your child is doing well at their new school.

He wants you to have a strong support network and he’s thinking about all of your life, not just the time you spend with him. This is a sign that he cares about you. 

5. He finds ways to help you out

When we love someone, we want to make their lives easier. We want to do things that make them happy. If a man loves his mistress, he will find ways to help her out and look after her.

Lots of articles about being a mistress talk about your man giving financial support and gifts. That can happen, but it isn’t the only way that he can (or should) support you. 

He might give you career advice, help you fix a leaking tap, or remind you about important appointments. He might also urge you to take care of yourself, reminding you to eat and get enough sleep. If he helps, he probably cares.

6. He opens up to you

Vulnerability helps us to form deep, emotional relationships. The more we open up to other people, the closer we become.[3] If he opens up to you, it’s because he feels safe with you. He probably wants to become even closer.

If he talks to you about things that matter to him (and especially things that he’s worried about) he probably feels a strong, meaningful connection with you.

7. He makes sure that your needs are met too

When a man loves you, he wants you to be happy and fulfilled. He’s not just thinking of himself. It’s important to him that your needs are being met in your relationship as well as his.

He’ll ask you about what makes you happy, and want to know how your relationship is making you feel. If you’re unhappy about him still being with his wife, he’ll be genuinely worried about that. Even if he won’t leave her, he’ll try to find ways to make things better for you.

9 Steps to Save Your Marriage or Save You from a Lost Marriage

Hands holding out wedding rings

1. Don’t make it about her

If your husband has had an affair, you need to sort that out between the pair of you. It often feels safer and easier to get angry at the other woman. Ultimately, it’s your husband who has betrayed your trust and treated you badly.

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If you’re considering repairing your relationship with your husband, it’s important that you don’t see his cheating as being her fault. He needs to be held accountable and to take responsibility for his own actions.[4]

2. Look after yourself first

Self-care should always be a priority, but most of us are guilty of putting it to the back of our priority list. Self-care is absolutely essential if you find out that your husband has been having an affair. He’s not putting your needs first, so you’ll have to.

When you discover something this painful, it’s important to focus your attention on looking after yourself. This is more important than making him feel better or even trying to keep your family together. 

Worrying about others when you’re hurting this badly can mean you try to suppress your emotions. This isn’t an effective long-term strategy.[5]

3. Take time to think

It can feel as though you need to make a decision about how you’re going to deal with your partner’s infidelity immediately, but it’s usually better to take some time to deal with your feelings first.[6]

Discovering that your husband has cheated on you is a huge thing to absorb. Try not to make any irreversible decisions until you’ve had a chance to think about what has happened and understand how you feel.

4. Communicate your feelings

If you want to rebuild your relationship with your husband, you can’t hide or suppress your feelings. You’re going to need to explain how you feel about his infidelity, and it’s essential that you are able to feel heard and understood.

5. Listen to his feelings

Although your partner was the one who cheated, that doesn’t mean that his feelings are completely irrelevant. Even though you’re understandably angry, you’ll still need to listen to his feelings as well. 

A healthy relationship requires great communication, which means sharing your feelings and listening to his. You also need to understand why he cheated if you’re going to be able to fix some of the underlying problems between you.

Having said that, you don’t need to accept excuses. He needs to explain what was going on for him and why he made the decision he did, without making an excuse. For example, “I couldn’t help it” is an excuse while “I felt lonely and I dealt with that really badly” is an explanation.

6. Don’t be tempted to get revenge

When you find out that your partner has cheated on you, it can be incredibly tempting to find a way to take some kind of revenge. For example, you might have an affair yourself or post publicly about what he did on social media.

These can be satisfying, but they are incredibly unhelpful if you want to rebuild your marriage. Public shaming about his affair might also have negative consequences, for example, if you have children who find out about his infidelity that way.

7. Work to rebuild trust

Rebuilding your marriage needs to start with rebuilding trust. Although your relationship needs to be balanced eventually, the burden of rebuilding trust is going to fall more on his shoulders than yours. He broke your trust. He has to earn it back.

You might need him to prove things to you that you used to take on trust. You might want to be able to check his text messages or ask for some other way to verify that he’s telling you the truth.

Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into trusting him again before you’re ready. There’s no set time frame for rebuilding trust. Importantly, he doesn’t get to decide when he’s earned your trust back, no matter how much he wishes he could.

8. Be prepared to walk away

Not all relationships can be saved after infidelity. It’s important to remember that you can walk away if the trust can’t be rebuilt between the two of you.

There are some warning signs that suggest you might not be able to repair your relationship. For example, if he tries to blame you (or the other woman) for his cheating, he doesn’t think that he needs to earn your trust back, or he’s not willing to talk calmly about what happened.

9. Seek support

Being cheated on in your marriage is an enormous betrayal. It can be essential that you get as much support as you can. If possible, reach out to friends and family. You don’t have to keep his cheating a secret. His actions hurt you and it’s entirely up to you how you deal with that.

Reaching out to your normal support system can be uncomfortable. If you’re not ready for that, you can talk to professionals about what’s going on. 

You could look for individual therapy or find a couples therapist. You might also try finding a great relationship coach to help you understand the underlying strengths and weaknesses of your relationship.

What to Do If You Are the Mistress? How Can You Set Your Expectations?

Unhappy man and woman

1. Make sure that your needs are being met

Just because you’re dating a married man doesn’t mean that your needs aren’t important. Your needs have to be met if the relationship is going to be healthy for you. Ask yourself whether you’re getting what you need to be happy.

If you need more time and attention (or commitment), this relationship might not be right for you. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. If he can’t give you what you need to be happy, you might be better off walking away from the relationship.

2. Don’t close yourself off to other romantic relationships 

If you’re dating a guy who is still married, I would recommend continuing to date other people as well. There’s a strong chance that he’s not going to leave his marriage. Don’t miss out on meeting someone who’s able to commit to you fully if that’s what you want.

3. Focus on the rest of your life

Being ‘the mistress’ can sometimes mean putting a lot of your own life on hold. You’re waiting patiently for every moment he has to spare for you and you cancel things that you enjoy so that you can see him. This isn’t a healthy pattern for any relationship.

While you’re in this relationship, take some time to focus on the rest of your life and make sure that it’s as rewarding as possible. 

4. Don’t assume that he’ll eventually leave her for you

There is a chance that the married man you’re dating will eventually leave his wife. That’s definitely not a guarantee, though. Most of the time, if he was going to leave her, he would have done it by now.

Don’t just hope for a time when he’s just yours. Decide whether you’re ok with things staying exactly as they are now. If that makes you more happy than it makes you sad, that’s fine. If not, you might want to reconsider the relationship.

5. Avoid drama

Dating a married man isn’t exactly a recipe for a simple and straightforward life, but try to avoid drama as much as possible. Threatening to confess all to his wife or trying to get caught isn’t going to make your life any better in the long run.

Minimize drama for your sake, as well as for everyone else who might get hurt.

6. Remember that you only see his best behavior 

When you’re having an affair, you usually only get to see him at his best. You get him coming to see you for stolen moments, focusing all of his attention and efforts on you. You don’t see him exhausted after a long day at work, or getting frustrated because he has to take the garbage out.

Try not to romanticize him. He might well be a wonderful person, but he’s not perfect. 

8. Forgive yourself

Being ‘the mistress’ can be a difficult place to be, whether he falls in love with you or not. Try not to become angry with yourself about ‘stealing’ another woman’s husband. Chastising yourself isn’t going to make anything better. Be kind to yourself. Be honest with yourself. And then do what’s right for you.

FAQs

Do married men fall in love with their mistresses?

A man can fall in love with his mistress, especially if they’re together for a long time. This doesn’t mean he’ll be willing to leave his wife or children for her, however. He might love both women or want to stay married for his children.

Will he leave his wife for me?

If you’re dating a married man, he might leave his wife for you. It’s unlikely, though. If his relationship with his wife was really bad, he would have left her already. If he does leave her for you, you might still find it hard to trust him.

Can I rebuild my marriage after he cheated?

It’s possible to rebuild a marriage after he has cheated, but it’s not easy. You’ll both have to be open, honest, and brave. It takes time and effort to rebuild the trust between you and you’ll only succeed if he’s willing to work at it as well.

What does a married man want in a mistress?

There’s no single answer to what a man wants from his mistress. What he wants depends on what he feels is missing from his life. He might be looking for sex, companionship, simplicity, attention, an ego boost, or many other things. He might not have planned it at all.

Conclusion

Affairs are messy for everyone involved. Even more so when there are strong feelings or love involved. Even if a married man loves his mistress deeply, she’s still likely to get hurt. Look after yourself and your well-being as much as possible.

What are your thoughts on this difficult subject? Let me know in the comments. And don’t forget to pass this article on to someone who needs to read it.

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6 Sources:
  1. Glass, S. P., & Wright, T. L. (1992). Justifications for extramarital relationships: The association between attitudes, behaviors, and gender. Journal of Sex Research, 29(3), 361–387. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499209551654
  2. Brand, R. J., Markey, C. M., Mills, A., & Hodges, S. D. (2007). Sex Differences in Self-reported Infidelity and its Correlates. Sex Roles, 57(1-2), 101–109. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-007-9221-5
  3. Aron, A., Melinat, E., Aron, E. N., Vallone, R. D., & Bator, R. J. (1997). The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness: A Procedure and Some Preliminary Findings. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23(4), 363–377. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167297234003
  4. Knight, K. (2017). Transgressor Communication After Committing a Hurtful Relational Event: Associations With Attributed Intent, Blame, Guilt, Responsibility, and Perceived Forgiveness. Western Journal of Communication, 82(4), 475–492. https://doi.org/10.1080/10570314.2017.1325925
  5. Impett, E. A., Kogan, A., English, T., John, O., Oveis, C., Gordon, A. M., & Keltner, D. (2012). Suppression Sours Sacrifice. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38(6), 707–720. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167212437249
  6. Teichert, T., Ferrera, V. P., & Grinband, J. (2014). Humans Optimize Decision-Making by Delaying Decision Onset. PLoS ONE, 9(3), e89638. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0089638
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