Glaring Red Flags Your Online Man May Be Married

Thirty percent of men using an online dating service are married. At least on Ashley Madison you know what you’re getting!

An MSNBC survey states that 30% of men using an online dating service are married. Alas, women rank slightly less! Online dating sites have created a wily playground for scammers, romance artists and married men (and women) who secretly cheat on their spouses. Married men create phony profiles and present themselves as single men looking for love, commitment and marriage. They conceal their true identity with a secret email address, a secondary cell phone, and if necessary a post office box. A single woman’s best defense is to be aware of the warning signs of men who are hiding a wife, children and family dog.

I dated a lot on Match.com and eHarmony, looking for the right man. I dealt with tire-kickers, trailer dwellers and man-skanks. My most memorable correspondence came from an online man whose profile name was TeeUp4Us. He emailed me telling me he had a successful career on Wall Street (a sweetener), he was divorced and he was in the process of moving to Middle Tennessee where I lived. He didn’t have a photo posted but he would forward me recent pictures if I would send him my email address. “You made me smile just looking at your picture and I would love to meet you,” he said.

I didn’t respond because he didn’t post a photo. A week later I received a second message from TeeUp4Us, which read:

“Hi, Jim is married. I am his wife in Pennsylvania. He is not moving to Tennessee. He just goes there during the week to work. We have been married for 3 months. We are newlyweds.”

I wrote Mrs. Teeup4Us back telling her I suspected he was married. I told her she was married to a pathological liar and consummate cheater and she should divorce him before he crushes her heart. And I told TeeUp4Us, “If you’re reading this you’re a lying, cheating scumbag.”

If you’ve used a dating site even a little bit these fishy scenarios have happened to you:

An online man emails you saying he is closing his dating site account but at the last minute he saw your profile, he was extremely attracted to you and he asks you to send him your email address so he can correspond with you. You feel uncomfortable communicating with a strange man outside a secure website. You’re right to trust instincts because the quicker an online man can garner personal information about you, the easier it is to seduce and hoodwink you.

After a series of email correspondence with an online man, he sends you his phone number and he asks you to call him (he puts the monkey on your back because he says he doesn’t want to be forward). You call him and he doesn’t answer and he waits a day or two to return your call, or he emails you saying, sorry he missed your call but he was in a meeting, he has bad reception on his phone, blah, blah, blah. A married man has to wait to call you when he is away from his wife.

He emails you, telling you are a beautiful, fascinating woman and he would love to get to know you better. But when you click on his profile his account is closed. A married man will hop on and off of a dating website because he is afraid of being caught with his fly open.

He emails and texts and even calls you regularly for a month or more, but he never makes plans to meet you in person or he cancels his trip at the last minute. Don’t be afraid to call him out, tell him you’re not interested in a cyber relationship. Either he meet in person to see if there is a connection, or you’re off to bigger, better game.

The one thing I have come to know about married men who cheat (on and off online) is: they are uber-confident and uber-charming. They can be this way because they only want a fling and they don’t intend to leave their wives.

There are distinct warning signs that an online man may be married (or have a girlfriend). When in doubt, ask yourself these questions:

Tip: Married men online are more likely to initiate the first contact on a dating site.

  • Does he not post a photo or is his photo dark or blurry? (He doesn’t want anyone to recognize him.) Does he post only one photo or is he unwilling to trade additional photos? (His online photo may not be his.)
  • Do you only get a cell phone number because he claims to have no home phone? Are you unable to reach him by phone at night and weekends?
  • Does he call from a private number? Do you call him but constantly go to voicemail? (An indication that he has a wife or family and it is inconvenient to talk.)
  • Are his calls and responses back to you irregular or at set times? (He calls when he is driving or at work, away from his wife.)
  • Does he say that he travels a lot and that’s why you can’t reach him by phone? Or he’s frequently out of the service area; his battery died or he was with a client? (He is controlling when you can talk to him.)
  • Will he not share his last name with you? (Maybe he gave you a phony name; the reason he doesn’t show up when you research him.)
  • Does he avoid conversations about himself, his family or upbringing? (Some men say they’ve lead a boring life, or they change the subject and they focus the conversation on you to avoid divulging the details of their lives.) I asked an online man was about his “divorce”, he said it was complicated, code for: it’s complicated because I’m married.

If you are dating a long-distance man, ask yourself these questions:

Hint: married men will date out-of-state women to conceal their immoral activities.

  • Is he taking too long to meet you in person? (That’s because he never intends to meet you face-to-face.)
  • Is he secretive about where he lives? Or you can’t come to his house because it’s inconvenient, it’s messy or he’s not ready for company? (If you’ve been dating him for a while, and he hasn’t invited you to visit him long-distance, you need to ask yourself—why?)  
  • Do you get the chance to meet his friends or family? (If not, odds are you are a secret in his life.)
  • ​Does he have an excuse for not spending a holiday, his birthday or other celebrations with you? (You may an intense relationship with him, but the wife and family come first.)

The burden of proof of whether a man is single or married is on you.

I learned to pay attention to my knee-jerk instincts about an online man. I asked lots of questions and I studied between the lines. I saved a man’s emails for future reference; a liar will eventually contradict himself. I called him in the evening to see if he would answer his phone and I didn’t buy into his flimsy excuses. I asked direct questions about his work, family and friends and I invited myself to his home. If I was truly interested in a man, I ran a background check on him.

Bottom line: trust your gut. If something about a man doesn’t feel right, stop and ask yourself, WHY?


Learn the warning signs of men who are emotionally unavailable, self-absorbed, non-committal or abusive in the best-selling self-help book:

Never Date a Dead Animal:
The Red Flags of Loser, Abusers, Cheaters and Con-Artists

By Nancy Nichols

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