If you have an adult daughter, and she’s dating a married man, you will need to understand that even though you are her parent, she is legally allowed to do what she wants. You will have to approach this situation using logic instead of pure emotion.
Have A talk With Your Daughter.
The best way to find out what is truly going on is to open an honest and non-judgmental dialogue.
Do not use the information she gives you against her. That is not the point of this. What you’re trying to accomplish is understanding where your daughter’s head and heart are so that you can be there for her if and when she needs you.
While talking to her, keep your questions and tone neutral.
She will not open up to you if you use specific terminology or down-talk her partner. Understandably, you may have very little respect for the man she is currently dating, especially if this is a clandestine situation. Still, your daughter finds some value in him, or she wouldn’t be dating him.
Ask What Future She Sees With Him
Ask your daughter why she is dating someone who is already in a relationship and what future she sees in him. If he is married, this means that he has made a commitment with another woman and that commitment should not be broken.
Try to point out the fact that your daughter is a potential homewrecker and that is something that can stay with her forever. Investing her time with someone who is single will make it more worth it.
Also warn her of the fact that if the married woman finds out, this can result in revenge and that is the last thing anyone wants to be involved in.
There are ways you can make your daughter stop dating but it will require you to put in some effort.
Adults Make Their Own Decisions.
Here’s the thing: she’s an adult now. She gets to make her own decisions, some of which you won’t agree with and many of which will keep you up at night.
There will be times within her adult life that you’ll be flabbergasted by her choices, but these are her choices to make. Unless her life is in danger, you have to stay on the sidelines.
Who she dates, how she dates, when she dates; none of that is in your control. I promise you; you aren’t the only mother or father to want to take their adult child by the shoulders and tell them they are screwing up and try to force them to make different decisions. In fact, many parents do this, and the results are less than stellar.
This Has Nothing To Do With You.
I know. This is hard. She’s been your baby her entire life, and you’ve imparted as much advice and wisdom as possible in the years you have raised her.
You’ve been there since day one, and you’ve told her the life lessons you’ve learned, hoping she’d take them all to heart and not repeat your mistakes or at least have the common sense not to do something so foolish as to date another woman’s man.
To you, this feels like a direct affront to everything you’ve taught her. To you, this is a level of unacceptable disrespect to the sanctity of marriage, but let me repeat, this has nothing to do with you. There are only three people in her relationship, and none of them are you.
How Do I know?
I have two adult children. One of them is married, and things are going well. The other has had seven jobs in the last two years and has continuously made decisions that have me up at 3 am.
The few times I tried to put my foot down, her rebellious attitude kicked in, and things got worse. Now that I’ve stepped back, she’s starting to grow up and learn from her own mistakes. Progress is being made, and she’s remembering those life lessons I spent years teaching her. She’s had to live and learn, and I’m respectful of that.
I was also that daughter. I got married young to a man 13 years older than me. It was a bad decision, and my father offered to drive me into the sunset on my wedding day. He was only half-joking. He let me learn on my own, but was always there with an open ear. He caught me when I fell.
To this day, 15 years later, I respect him for that. He recognized that if he wanted a relationship with me, the best he could offer was support.
All We Can Do Is Be There
As far as your daughter’s relationship goes, you don’t have to approve, and you can even tell her as much, but be careful. If you try to control the situation, you’re going to push her away.
I’m not telling you to embrace this and give her a high-five. Dating a married man is not ideal, and the baggage and pain that is headed her way if things go wrong will be one hell of a life lesson, but it’s a lesson she has to learn first hand. No anecdote is going to suddenly give her a change of heart.
What you can do is be there for her. Even as you tell her that you disapprove of her choices, you can still answer the phone when she calls.
This relationship with a married man is going to end in one of two ways: either they’re a match made, and he’s going to abandon his current wife and whisk your daughter away, or he’s going to get caught cheating, all hell is going to break loose, and your daughter will be left heartbroken. The truth is that you want to be there for her either way.
Do You Have All The Facts?
Relationships are finicky, and no one has a crystal ball. If your daughter is dating a married man, you will need to have all the facts before you say the wrong things.
Sure, there are massive amounts of statistics out there that say option number two is most likely, but it’s not a sure thing. Also, keep in mind, the blanket statement “my daughter is dating a married man” says very little about the actual circumstances.
If you’re searching this, it’s safe to assume he’s actively married and she’s the “other woman,” but just because this is the way it looks from the outside doesn’t mean that’s what is happening in reality. More than 50% of first marriages end in divorce, and your daughter’s partner could very well be actively in the process of leaving his wife.
Personally, I dated a married man for five years, but his marital status had nothing to do with our relationship. He hadn’t saved up enough money for the divorce, and his (now ex) wife was making things very difficult.
There was complete transparency involved. So much so that I was raising their kids in a house with him while she re-lived her “fun years.” As soon as they were officially divorced, we got married, and it was the absolute best decision I ever made.
What I’m trying to say is, nothing is black and white when it comes to legal status versus reality. There are so many shades of grey that it’s not fair to our children to make assumptions without getting the whole story.
Final Thoughts – My Daughter is Dating a Married Man
Remember, your daughter is not the one to blame here. If he’s cheating, that’s on him.
It can be easy to feel as if your daughter is doing his wife a disservice by knowing she exists and continuing with the relationship, but even if she is, the married partner is still the one at blame if the wife is unaware.
If he’s making promises and it’s obvious he’s using your daughter, you can gently ask how she feels about that. All I’m saying is that you should try not to judge without all the facts, and support your daughter emotionally, regardless. It is said that a portion of men cheat so this is a very common issue in relationships.
Hopefully, this ends well.
If it doesn’t, be ready with a tub of ice cream and open arms. “I told you so” is not an okay statement to say aloud in this situation, but feel free to shout the mantra in your head. Some lessons just have to be learned the hard way, and all we can offer is support.