Although infidelity is the number one reason for divorce, some women still stay after their husband cheats. For many, marriage is no longer the sanctity it used to be, or thought to be. Historically, many states enforced laws making infidelity a grounds for divorce.
Now, all 50 states recognize some form of no-fault divorce. This likely has minimized the effects of infidelity on divorce proceedings. Not having to worry about any legal action as a consequence of cheating definitely does not help the idea that fidelity is immoral for some.
As a licensed psychologist in private practice, I focus on relationships from premarital counseling to divorce counseling, I can and will give you a litany of pretty common reasons women do not leave their adulterous husbands. It is important to understand that many of these reasons come from fear.
Some women are just afraid to be alone. Women, in general, are more afraid of being single again than men are. Women fear the male to female ratio. Any single, divorced or widowed woman knows the scenario of hundreds of women in a bar, nightclub, restaurant, event, etc. to a just a few men. Women fear getting older and worry about their husband looking for a younger woman. Women are afraid in general of the divorce process.
2. Self-esteem and dating
Being cheated on negatively affects a woman’s self-esteem, and makes her insecurities skyrocket. She is left feeling vulnerable and afraid to leave. It is a scary thought to get back into the dating game especially if you never dated anyone but your husband. Online dating can hinder self-confidence for some women. Ultimately, women are afraid no one else will want them.
“Mrs. Versus Ms.” Women like to say they have a husband. It gives them a sense of security and status. It is common to hear, “I don’t want to be a divorced woman.” “I don’t want to lose our married friends and social life.”
Some women stay because they do not want to break up their family. They want to save the marriage for their children’s sake.
Some women stay because they are financially dependent. They may lose their health insurance and possibly their home.
6. Belief system
Some women say they don’t believe in divorce. “Divorce is against our religion.”
7. What about L-O-V-E ?
Although the list above shows legitimate excuses for staying with an unfaithful husband, I find that it is “love” that keeps women holding on to their cheater. Just because she finds out he cheated does not mean that she no longer loves him or doesn’t want to live with him, or have sex with him, or hug and kiss him, or be held by him. Victims of cheaters actually want and need more attention, intimacy and expressions of love from their unfaithful husband. Other women just love the idea of “being in love.” Love has different meanings for people but, regardless of the interpretation, love is a powerful feeling that takes over our thoughts.
Here are a couple of examples from women who stayed with their cheating husbands:
“Why do I want to stay with him? “Because I love him. That SOB. I’ve always loved him. I’ve known him since I was 15 years old. He is the only man I’ve had sex with. He is the father of my children. He is my life, my family. I am not letting anyone else have him. I am not going to let her win.”
“I hope he got it out of his system.” “He needed to do it. I have been his only sexual partner and I know he has been curious.” Some of our friends and family easily say ‘Kick him out. Leave him,’ But until you experience the pain of an affair, you never know how you will react.”
I believe that with life experience, age, and growth, women understand that they have to make concessions and the fantasy of a perfect spouse is not reality. It is not all negative. For some marriages, infidelity is a wake-up call that can actually save the marriage and improves the quality of it. It is all relative. In some cases, you can work through the emotions of anger, betrayal, sadness, denial, hatred, etc.
However, it takes work and probably the help of a couple’s therapist. It will be easier if there is a foundation of friendship and love in the marriage. Forgiveness is helpful and necessary for the restoration and recovery of the marriage. As long as you do not stay out of fear or low self-esteem, and there are benefits to staying then try and work through it.
- Infidelity: Knowing Why Doesn’t Keep Him From Cheating Again
- After the Cheating
- He Cheated, Will A Judge Hold Him Accountable?
- Six Types of Cheaters