Less than 5 percent of relationships that begin as affairs survive, according to psychologist Phillip "Dr. Phil" McGraw in the article "Dating a Married Man" on DrPhil.com. This may be partly due to a lack of trust: If he's cheated on his wife with you, there's nothing stopping him from cheating on you, too. By making the decision to leave a married man, you've already done the hardest part. You may need to dig deep to find the inner strength to go through with it.
No matter what the man has told you about the state of his marriage or his wife's behavior, your presence is threatening their relationship. You are attacking their family unit, McGraw warns. If you think you are his soulmate, you may be deluding yourself. If you were true soulmates, consider whether he would be content to keep you as the "other woman." Everything the man tells you should be taken with a grain of salt, McGraw advises. He is lying to his wife and children, so you should consider the possibility that he is lying to you, too.
Love Yourself More
Your primary focus should be on yourself and your kids, not the married man. Spend time figuring out what makes you tick. You may have spent several months or even years fitting in with this man's schedule, making arrangements to suit him and changing your plans on short notice to see him. It's time to put yourself first. Being in love with a married man typically leads to loneliness, secrecy and anxiety, says Kristen Houghton, author of the self-help book "And Then I'll Be Happy," in the "The Huffington Post" article "Affair Survival: Tips for Dating a Married Man." Your needs will always come last in a relationship with a married man, Houghton warns. Start putting your needs first to give yourself the strength to end the affair.
Turn to Friends and Family
If you feel able to confide in a trusted friend or relative about the affair, talking about it may help you see things more clearly. Even if nobody else knows about the affair, having a strong support network can help you find the inner strength to end it. An unhealthy or frustrating relationship may lead to low self-esteem, says psychiatrist Neel Burton in the article "Building Confidence and Self-Esteem" for "Psychology Today." Boost your confidence by spending time with positive, encouraging, caring people who make you feel good about yourself. You may have been putting your married lover's needs before those of your family and friends for a long time. Now is the time to focus on them again.
Leaving the married man may be like ripping off a bandage -- extremely painful at first, but in time the pain will subside. Prepare yourself for the breakup by looking after your emotional and physical health. Eat a balanced and nutritious diet, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep. Make time in your life for relaxation, and experiment with stress-management techniques until you find the one that works best for you, such as yoga or meditation. It may help to record your feelings about the relationship and the imminent breakup in a journal or to seek professional help. A suitably qualified, experienced counselor may be able to help you learn the skills required to cope with the end of the affair.
C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."
David Oldfield/Photodisc/Getty Images