These days, as society becomes more open about different types of relationship, the traditional framework of marriage is slowly crumbling. Increasingly, married people are beginning to look elsewhere for sexual and even romantic opportunities, and married dating is on the rise. This doesn’t always need to involve secrecy. Some spouses are quite open with each other about their married dating, and it’s possible for relationships to be strong enough to take it. But people don’t tend to give so much consideration to the strangers they’re getting involved with and what the situation is doing to them.
Getting involved with somebody else when you already have a life commitment isn’t always easy to handle. If you don’t know the background of the person you meet, married dating can be looking for trouble.
Gone are the days of wife swapping parties and clandestine meetings in sleazy bars. Married dating has cleaned up its act, and you can now meet people in online venues like www.marriedandlooking.com. There are pictures to look at and profiles to consider before you get in touch. But as we all know, meeting people over the internet can be risky at the best of times, and you have to ask yourself how much you can be sure of in a situation where you know from the start that the person you’re meeting may have something to hide. If you’ve chosen to be honest with your spouse, that doesn’t mean they’re being honest with theirs.
There are way to reduce the risks when you start married dating through a website. Always make sure that your first meeting is in a public place such as a bar or restaurant, where you can easily leave if you feel uncomfortable. If you don’t want to confess what you’re really up to, tell your spouse that you’re going to meet friends in that place, but provide a time when you’ll be home and stick to it – that way you know that someone will come looking for you if things go wrong. If things go really well and you can’t resist pursuing a sexual opportunity that same night, regardless of the risks, you can always call to say that you’ll be late.
It’s a good idea to spend some time getting to know your date in person before you take things further, simply because doing so involves going somewhere private with them and this puts you at risk. And don’t assume, if you’re male, that the risks of married dating only apply to women. It’s not unheard of for men with important careers to find themselves blackmailed in what seemed like an innocent situation, or to discover that the women they’ve met are being followed by husbands who want to fight or rob them. You can never be sure that you’re dealing with just one person, so if you must get involved in something as risky as married dating, be cautious about it and don’t throw yourself into something that’s almost certainly too good to be true.
Most people who get involved in married dating are simply looking for a fling, for some sexual excitement which won’t impact too strongly on the most important relationship in their lives. However, there are other people out there who are looking for much more. It’s important to try and work out what sort of person you’re dealing with before you get involved. If your date is lonely and frustrated in a crumbling marriage, they may become attached to you very quickly and more intensely than you can cope with. It can be very difficult to get out of this kind of situation without breaking somebody’s heart, and you also risk finding yourself with a stalker. Try explaining to the police that you acquired your stalker through married dating and you may not receive the most sympathetic of reactions.
Beyond these practical concerns, there are moral complications to married dating. If you’re happy in your marriage (even if it doesn’t give you everything you want) and if you have no intention of ever parting from your spouse, what are you going to do if you find yourself falling head over heels for somebody else? It’s very difficult to navigate a situation like this without somebody getting hurt. Alternatively, if you and your spouse have discussed all the ins and outs of married dating and are confident that you can handle it, what will you do if you find out that your date is keeping it a secret from their family? What if there are children involved and a trusting partner who would be horrified by the very thought of married dating? This is the sort of thing which can break up families and you need to be aware of that from the outset. No matter how careful you are, there will always be some risks, because you are having to rely on a stranger’s honesty and capacity to handle complicated, high pressure situations.
There’s a reason why monogamy is at the heart of the western marital tradition, with affairs undertaken only in a context where nobody seriously expects them to last. Once you start legitimising married dating, people lose sight of important boundaries. There simply aren’t the social structures in place to cope with it. What might be a fine idea in a society where it carried no stigma and where jealousy was unusual, rather than expected, is far more complicated, difficult and dangerous to pursue in the world we live in today.
Before you get involved in married dating, stop and think carefully about the risks involved. You could face blackmail, physical violence, marital conflict, heartbreak and loss. You could breakup somebody else’s loving family. Is it really worth it? Can you continue to look upon it as a trivial fling when you’re aware of the damage it might do?
Perhaps you’re one of those fortunate people for whom everything will work out well. But for most of us, married dating should remain firmly in the realm of fantasy.