Close Encounters of the Married Man-Kind

March 15, 2016 — 71 Comments


Why is a married man out on a Saturday night, drinking and talking to me, instead of home with his family?


Saturday night, I went out with Donna, who I met in a Facebook group, lives near me, and is awesome.

We went to a new local place and sat at the bar. We’re both single moms but we weren’t specifically on the prowl for men. However, we have pulses and don’t look like Quasimodo so I assumed men would talk to us.

They did.

Initially, Donna and I got involved in conversation with two other women. Eventually, three men joined us. It didn’t take long for the men to split up and focus on the women separately (or in our case, on Donna and I together.)

The man talking to us was super nice. He was not inappropriate in any way. He made it very clear that he was married, and spoke about his wife in glowing terms.

She’s a stay at home mom to their three kids, which he acknowledged is a tough job. But he also spoke of how his wife gets to go to the gym and shop, every day. And how “nice” her closet is. He presented this as a way to justify why he goes out on Saturdays without her. That, and the fact that he puts in very long hours.

Like the majority of the men where we live, he’s very successful. Because I work later in the day, I used to go to the gym at prime “stay at home mom” hour – 9 am. Many of these women spend their days grooming – gym, hair, nails, waxing, facials, tanning. They have people who clean their homes. They spring into action between the hours of 3 pm and 9 pm, when the have to supervise homework/activities/dinner/bedtime.

Those six hours are hard, and if they choose to spend the six hours prior to that grooming, it’s their prerogative. I would spend that time writing, but I have the “Lindsay Lohan on drugs” chipped-nails look and I think It was February the last time I washed my hair.


I wasn’t sure what this man’s agenda was. He had taken his family out earlier. Now, he needed his going out time. Why didn’t he want to go out with this wife? Or stay in with her?

I posted this query on Facebook, and it opened up a debate that went on for two days.


Perhaps he’s just a hard-working guy, who enjoys time away from the family. I get that. But why not just go to a baseball game? Or play poker with the guys, like my Ex used to? Should a night out include going to a bar and talking with women who are obviously single?

It could be that he enjoys the ego boost of talking to women. A few people on Facebook mentioned that you can’t get everything you need in a marriage, and if you go outside it for some innocent validation, no harm, no foul.

Is there something inherently missing in a marriage if a man needs to spend a lot of time talking to other women? And is it okay to continue to look for that missing element outside the marriage, instead of investing energy IN the marriage to address this?

I’m not sure.


I’m an incorrigible flirt. My Ex used to say I would flirt with a piece of wood. But I’m an equal opportunity flirt. I flirt with men, women, grandmas, little kids, dogs. When I was married, I was more likely to flirt with a man in broad daylight in a supermarket than in a bar at night.

I went out without my husband, but my ‘girls nights out’ did not include drinking and flirting with men in bars. That seemed like a bad idea. My super ego is solvent in alcohol, and many of my bad decisions have been fueled by drinking.


I’m really not sure where I stand on this issue. My marriage had problems, but having fun and feeling very attracted to one another was never one of them. While we were married, my Ex was my favorite person to go out with – AND my favorite man to flirt with.


Saturday night, I was definitely buzzed. I appreciated this man’s attention to both of us. He made no overt moves on me, but I felt a definite vibe that he found me attractive.

Which is why, just before midnight, my fairy godmother whispered into my ear to get the fuck out of there. I wasn’t comfortable bantering with a 40-year-old married guy  who lives 5 minutes from me, who made it clear he had TONS of disposable income. It smelled of “looking for a little something on the side.”

I’ve been propositioned many times by wealthy married men who would like to spoil me and “keep me” on the side. If it’s Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, oh hell yes (he sleeps with 22-year-old models, so there goes that idea.)  Rock stars fuck women all over the country, so I wouldn’t feel guilty. I would just be his New Jersey piece. (Ugh, I hate that I would be anyone’s ‘New Jersey’ anything)

But if it’s Joe Shmoe who owns a contracting company, no thanks. I’m not interested in scratching some married guy’s itch.


Before Donna and I left, our friend asked us to meet him back at the same place in two weeks.

I’m such a trouble maker. I almost want to go to see if he’s there…


Should married people go out and banter with people of the opposites sex?
Can it be purely innocent conversation, or is there always a subtext?

Should I go back to that bar?
Talk to me. I’m listening. 

Join me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter  so I can have friends without leaving the house. 

71 responses to Close Encounters of the Married Man-Kind


    “I’m not interested in scratching some married guy’s itch.”

    [stops scratching]
    [makes sad boo-boo face]


    Why was he there by himself? Where were his friends? Who goes to a bar by themselves to drink and flirt unless they have something specific in mind?
    Maybe that’s just me being old fashioned… or my introverted side shining through.
    I don’t get it. In my free time, I’d rather hang with The Queen, even if all we are doing is reading books on the couch.


      Oops! In the interest of brevity, I shortened the story and left out that he was with two friends, who each left to hit on women.

      I like the reading-books-on-the-couch idea. I don’t think it’s old fashioned. I think you value your time with her. xoxoxoxo


        Hmm… so, he was with friends, they are single or married? And he was up front about being married… that muddies it a bit. Maybe he was just talking himself up because it’s the only thing he really knows enough about to hold a conversation?


        One was married, one was getting married.

        He was really very nice, but I strongly believe he was making sure that we knew his wife had a very comfortable life. As a way of justifying why he needs to get out without her. “I give her nice things, so I deserve a night out without her.”

        I don’t judge him, but I also don’t think how hard he works equals spending time without her.

        It’s all very confusing. I liked time alone, going out without my Ex, going out WITH my Ex. I had no agenda though. I’m still not sure about this man.


        Yeah… it all seems a bit shady. But, every relationship is different. Maybe the wife truly was okay with him being out and flirting like that.


    I don’t see any harm in flirtation – I have always been an incurable flirt (well, my ex did his best to extinguish that flame) – but I also had a very clear line. Banter is fun. I think it’s human nature to feel “accepted” by the opposite sex (and the same sex, too) – using “accepted” with a very wide net of interpretation. However, now that I’m older, I wonder WTF this man is doing encouraging friendships with people his wife knows nothing about. I wouldn’t like it – if I were her. Though I doubt she has any idea. I’d go back and see if he’s there and then i would banter with him just long enough to make some really pointed statements about his morality. :p I’m a troublemaker like that.


    I was really hoping you’d follow up your Facebook post with a longer piece, and I’m really glad you did. In an age where social media flirtation is so prevalent, I think crossing the line in “real life” is becoming more acceptable. Bottom line for me is that I married the person I love sharing time with. I never feel the need to fill a void somewhere else (literally and figuratively *cough cough*). If being with her left a void to fill, I wouldn’t have asked her to be my wife. Any married person who puts themselves in a position to seek attention from other men/women for validation or to fill a void is asking for trouble — or is avoiding the truth.


      Ned, I think you really hit on something here. If you put yourself in that position, it’s asking for trouble. Why not avoid that mess?

      It’s a much better idea to fill that void *cough cough* at home.


      You are SO right. In my previous marriage – had I actually been allowed to go out – I might’ve found myself in that position – and most definitely a symptom of the larger problem. I can honestly say I’ve never felt more complete in my life than I do now, and my husband is the icing on the cake.


      I second, third and even fourth your comment, Ned. I am sick, sick, sick to death about hearing how people should get to have their ego stroked as just some ‘harmless’ fun. It’s not harmless, especially when they wouldn’t do that in front of their wives and they damned well know it. Just sayin’… 🙂


        As I mentioned in that terrific piece you did a while back, my measuring stick is this: If it’s something I feel would make my wife uncomfortable doing or saying in front her — it’s off the table. Or bar. Or wherever…


        I guess not everything is harmless. It depends on the intention of the person.
        My intentions were harmless. That’s why I left. If he was single and cute, I’d be answering comments from his house right now 🙂


    I wouldn’t go out like that seeking to flirt. Most of my friends are scattered around the country these days, and I got over the bar scene in my mid-30’s for the most part.

    That said, conversation with other adults than your spouse can be healthy, because after a long time married, you develope a conversational pattern that you don’t often step out of. Conversation, not flirting.

    There are a lot of guys who just can’t get above that instinct to chase a beautiful woman wherever the opportunity arises. Women are such a pull on a man’s eyeballs they just can’t stop it. It’s hardwired. However, there is looking, there is staring, and there is chasing. If a guy doesn’t look, something is wrong with his circuits. If he goes beyond looking, something is wrong with his morals or his marriage, or both.

    Because of this instinct, there is ALWAYS a low-level sexual tension when a man and woman are in close proximity for any reason. The question is whether intelligence and ethics override it. Our culture is founded on the bet that it does.

    This entire debate will go on as long as humanity exists, because women must have their own version of this. How else would those guys who do cross that thin pink curve find someone to cheat with?


    Great comment!

    My friend might say this man was just talking. Just making conversation.
    I got a whole different vibe from him. Maybe it’s me?
    I don’t know for sure. We were all really buzzed. That’s problematic in and of itself.


    I have no idea what makes people do the things they do…there are probably thousands of answers.


      I’ll join you in the “people basically mystify me” club.

      And being single and not having a clue what motivates people? It’s exhausting. This is why I’m not in a relationship.


    I don’t know if you know James Corden over there, but it doesn’t matter anyway, he’s an actor/comedian over here – he used to have a reputation for going out and having quite a wild time, but now he’s married and doesn’t behave like that at all (as I understand it) – anyway, I heard an interview with him on the radio a while ago where they were asking him about that, and he said “The only reason I used to go out was to find someone to stay in with”. I kind of loved that. I always prefer to either go out with my Neil, or stay home with him, than do anything else. Not to say we never go out without each other, of course we do, but my favourite times are with him. But I wouldn’t judge that man you described just on the basis of this, as someone else suggested, it could be that his wife knows all about it and is perfectly happy with him going out and chatting with single women, unlikely, but not impossible.


      I like the idea of married couples who really enjoy each other’s company.
      This is pure speculation, but I got the impression that something is missing from his relationship that he seeks outside it. And while it may be totally innocent (harmless conversation) who knows where it could lead?


    I’m with Ned on this one.


    Conversation versus flirting. Adding alcohol to the mix is a bad idea though, no matter what the original intentions. Strange situation.
    This is just the topic I like to discuss and debate.
    Going back and request to meet you again in two weeks is the strangest part though.


      He liked us/me. I could tell. He didn’t want to be a sleaze and ask for my number. Which he wouldn’t have gotten.

      Thanks for contributing to the discussion!


    This man at the bar screams “bad character” and “sleazy” to me. He should not engage in any behavior that he wouldn’t be comfortable having his wife witness. To go out for a drink to talk with “the boys” is one thing, but he clearly has another agenda. Undoubtedly he will find a single woman willing to be on the receiving end of his selfish (narcissistic? egoic?) desire, but it will surely be someone of equivalent questionable character. Oh, and requesting you and your friend return in two weeks? Is there really any question here?


    Well, as a nice religious Jewish woman, I do not believe in flirting nor having anything to do with the opposite sex (strangers I obviously mean) 😛
    And especially not when you’re married. So I agree with you on that!
    Great read!


    I was such a terrible single guy in bars, I can’t imagine being a married one there, too.

    I may be ridiculously naive since I’m in a good marriage I can’t imagine why a guy would be “on the prowl” anyway. Even during my first marriage, which was awful, I wasn’t doing that.

    I think people make their own problems by being fearful or arrogant.

    This comment sucks because it’s not funny.


      It does NOT suck!

      I don’t know if he was on the prowl. I didn’t stay late enough to fully investigate.
      It seemed odd, but I really haven’t quite made up my mind yet.


    You ARE a total flirt. I love that about you.


      I can’t help it.

      I have on lipstick, and I just batted my eyelashes at Little Dude and said, “How pretty am I today??”
      I’d better start saving for his lifetime of therapy now.


    Just the fact that you’re not sure about this guy screams “red flag” to me. Although you can always have some fun with him at the bar, the way a cat plays with a mouse before they eat it. Although I am not suggesting in any way, shape or form that you eat him after you’re done playing with him. Your choice.


    I think you should go back there in two weeks. With another guy. If this married guy just wants to talk, the more people in the conversation, the merrier, right?


    Well, FML. I ASSUMED all Jersey women had a hunchback. Now I’m not gettin’ on that plane. I can find a woman without a hump anywhere. Well, I can run into them anyway. “Find” would imply that I was the rock star, haha.
    And I’ll bet you’ve flirted with some wood in your life. Haha again.
    Yeah, the guy’s looking for stray. Or at least a replay in his mind, at the critical moment later that night with his wife, of other women flirting back at him.


    Sorry to pipe in. It does sound shady, in that setting. Maybe suggest a double date with him and his wife and you with a friend? Bet that doesn’t happen and if it does, color me wrong. 🙂 I’m lucky. My closest guy friend is married. I flirted with him til I found out. Then the record scratched. We had enough in common that we have more of a brother sister relationship. His wife is fine with it. If she weren’t, he and I would no longer be friends. It would suck but that’s how it would have to be. That said, if he and I were friends before, I would sincerely ask her why she was so insecure…off to tangentland. That’s another story. Keep us posted!


      Oh my god, I LOVE the idea of suggesting a double date with him and his wife and me and (fill in the blank)! I doubt he would do that, but if all we’re sharing is fun conversation, why not?

      You never told me your best male friend is married! Interesting! I want to hear all about that…


    Maybe married men go out to get attention where they feel its not given to them at home… but i’m sure not every married man that goes out at night to clubs and flirts with women is innocent, some really go out with the intent to cheat on their wives… but i don’t think there is a problem with a man going out with his buddies to a club to chill, if now he talks women up and feels the need to flirt, that becomes a problem. i think it really dons down on how the marriage is and how great of a man that person is.


      Even the flirting can be okay, if it’s harmless. As the night gets later and the alcohol flows, the energy can shift. Why tempt fate?

      Wow. Wouldn’t it be a great scenario if I propositioned the guy, and he turned me down because he’s married? That would be kind of awesome.


        yeah that would kind of suck but i’d high five that man for turning me down and slap him for flirting with me the whole night… but also it could be just the drinks and the poor guy wasn’t flirting at all


    I don’t see any harm in it if he went with other friends…it would be weird if he went alone. As long as she’s given the same freedoms.


      I agree it’s harmless. It WAS harmless.
      I’m only questioning the potential for harm. The drunker I got, the more potential there was. Maybe that wasn’t true for him, but I’m the one who left. He stayed.

      I cannot imagine this woman even wanting to go out and banter with men after dealing with three kids! Kids are more draining than an outside job.


    I think that married people can and should have interests and activities that they may not share with their spouse. So, if he was at the bar with his friends, playing darts, shooting pool, or watching sports, I wouldn’t think twice about it. If he struck up a short, rather generic conversation with you while getting another drink or because you happened to be near while he was waiting for his turn in whatever game he happened to be playing with his friends, I wouldn’t think twice about that either. However, the fact that he felt the need to come and hang with you for a long while making sure you knew how much money he has – that is weird. Sure, he talked about his wife in a complimentary fashion – but he also made sure you knew how good he was to her and that she has all the nice things (again, coming back to the money thing). I wonder if the wife conversation might just be the set up for “but she doesn’t really understand my needs,” or “she’s so involved with the kids, that we never have sex anymore,” or “we have an ‘understanding’ about my nights out.” I guess it might be innocent flirting – but why put himself in a situation where something more than that might happen (bar, liquor, late nights, getting cozy with single women, etc)? It makes me think that he was at least checking out the water to see if he wanted to take a swim.


      It was a generic long conversation. And yes, it was harmless but like you said, it’s not a great situation. And yes, I feel like I could small the “my wife doesn’t satisfy me physically or emotionally” conversation, and no thank. Been there, done that, got the tee shirt.


    I do not think v high of showoffs which the guy seemed to be. If he feels happy doing what he is, where comes the need to justify it to others, specially someone who you met 30 minutes before.

    He is clearly fishing and using his money as a bait.


    Also his way of saying “Im not looking for anything serious. Im already married. Im just looking for ‘fun’ and you will be rewarded for that. So clear to me. At the very best, he’s unclear in his intentions which is wrong. He has already occupied your thoughts, mind, time,energy. Youve already given him power he doesnt deserve IMO. I think it’s sad when women settle for that type of husband, but we all make our own choices. Perhaps that’s all she thinks she deserves, or maybe she has a similar character, who knows.


    Honestly, I wouldn’t say he really occupied my thoughts, other than providing a great topic in which we can examine marriage, and what may or may not lead to trouble.

    I can’t even remember his name. But I was pretty drunk.


    I don’t what’s wrong with a married man seeking out interesting female company — with added flirting. The idea that one woman, or person, or spouse, can provide everything you want is absurd.

    I’m in the UK, where I think drinking is quite a different culture, and it’s perfectly normal for unaccompanied men — and women, honestly — to go out for a drink. Where I go, you often get into conversation with the next table, regardless of who’s sitting there, and they can be the best nights.

    But then in my local, most people are pretty poor, so there isn’t the implication of buying sex.

    And to be honest (as a man) — if he’s getting bored at home in ways that go deeper than sexual frustration, well, let him chance his arm. People get divorced and remarry all the time. Coupledom isn’t for everyone.

    Nice to meet you, btw — found you via Kono and Exile on Pain Street.


    Interesting read and interesting takes in the comments. My take? He does it all for the nookie. (Did I just reveal my age? Eh, at least this crowd is a little older than my classmates in one of my courses. Fresh out of high schoolers think I am old. I am somewhat insulted when high school feels like yesterday until I do the math.) ((Sorry, went a little off the mark there. Carry on.))


    Very good question. I was having this conversation with my BFF last night. Her husband was at a bar. She’s not a stay at home mom and they have 1 child who’s old enough to be self sufficient. My only conclusion was mid life crisis time. Although the assumption of ours was he was out with his much younger friends.

    My husband didn’t understand it either. Why a bar talking to women? But validation may have well been his objective. Who doesn’t fill up their ego meter when getting attention? My ex used to say only whores while he didn’t count his 24/7 Facebook messages to women around the world attention seeking 😂


    Good blog post. He was for sure searching for something. What that something is remains a question. But finally only he and his wife know how good or bad their relationship is. Before, while being married I would go once a month with my girls in the club or bar to chat and dance. My ex was introvert and was suffering when he came with me. This way we both were happy and I didn’t cheat. This happend later and even without a club, at that point our marriage was already dead.


    Think it’s a mixture of validation plus wanting something on the side. Sounds a lot like he was gauging things, trying them on for size, and perhaps unsure of what he wanted himself.

    Men are fascinating creatures. I mean that with not a single ounce of snark.

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