Before you give him your heart, there are a few things you should know…

So you’re in love with a married man. Some might even call you his mistress, but in your eyes, your relationship means so much more than that.

The experience of falling in love with a married man cuts across almost all cultures, age groups, ethnicity, religions, and education levels. Yet, despite the knowledge that this scenario is unethical, immoral, and guaranteed to bring pain to everyone involved, many otherwise smart, single women get their hearts tangled up this way.

You already know this is a story that does not end well. Maybe today you’re only fantasising about getting involved with an unavailable man, and you’re looking for a sign that the universe is warning you to stop, take a deep breath, and just walk away.

Or maybe you did get involved and have been dating a married man, and now he has been the one to pull back.

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While it can be hard to get control of your emotions when you feel so connected to another person, you can at least control how you frame the situation for yourself.

If you’re only willing to use a romantic “soulmate” mind-set, you’ll just stay stuck in an emotional affair with this married guy. The only way to see things clearly is to re-frame your relationship.

Experience says that at least one of these five truths applies to your situation, so try these ideas on for size and see if any fit. Pray, meditate, and do your best to be open to a new perspective, because this is your chance to write yourself a happier ending, rather than throw away your romantic future by being in love with a married man.

So before you get too tied up in becoming his mistress, here are five truths you should know about being in love with a married man:

1. There’s nothing special about breaking up an already broken marriage

It can be tempting to think you are more “special” than his wife; more beautiful, sexier, nicer – everything he says. But if he already had one foot out the door – and that’s the case for most men who actually end up leaving their wives – you are mainly this: the nearest exit.

This man may end up remarrying, but hardly ever to the first woman who provides him with a convenient way out.

The experience of falling in love with a married man cuts across almost all cultures, age groups, ethnicity, religions, and education levels

2. You’ll become “the guy” in the relationship

If you’re in the early stages of an affair, this part may be hard to believe. After all, he’s chasing you hard, right? You weren’t even all that interested in being the other woman at first.

That dynamic can’t last, though. You are available, but he is not. He is the one who is hard to get.

Eventually, you’ll feel less confident, less sure of his feelings, and you may start to feel like it’s you who’s chasing him.

3. You’re putting your life on hold for a fantasy

Even if your infatuation never progresses to a physical affair, it can still be damaging. Don’t be the “work wife” who takes trips with her married boss or crushes on a married co-worker.

You deserve to be at the centre of someone’s life, not lurking around the edges.

4. It takes two to create a bad marriage

He played a role in his “bad” marriage, and you’ll never really know the whole truth. If his wife is “crazy”, “possessive”, or “controlling”, it may be because he has a pattern of behaving improperly with female friends and co-workers.

Or maybe he has other issues that are easy to hide from a mistress, but that would destroy your relationship, too, if your lives were truly intertwined.

5. He’s OK with his life just the way it is

Some men choose a wife who is like a domestic worker bee; she makes him look good by keeping his home life humming. He feels entitled to stray, usually with more exciting women who have zero kitchen skills.

While his attitude is shady, understand that’s who he is. You will not change him. He likes his compartmentalised life.

He doesn’t want to marry a sexy siren, and as long as his wife is doing her job raising the kids and keeping a low profile, he will be content to share good times with you – but not much more.

Robyn Wahlgast is a certified dating- and relationship coach and a happily married mother of three. Subscribe to her newsletter at New Direction Dating.

This article was originally published at Digital Romance. Reprinted with permission from YourTango.