Do Most Wives Take Cheating Husbands Back?

I often hear from wives who are struggling with the decision about how to react to their spouse’s adultery.  Many are tempted to declare that the marriage is over, but when they actually ask their spouse to pack his belongings or they consider leaving their home, the gravity of this decision can feel quite heavy.  People assume that the decisions made after an affair are black and white or cut and dry until this actually happens.  And then it’s not so easy.  Often, you’ve built a life and perhaps have children.  So just walking away is not something to be taken lightly.

To weigh this decision, many wives ask themselves what other women have done in a similar situation.  Most wives have friends or family members who have dealt with infidelity.   And some notice that few of these women have actually gotten a divorce, which can leave the wife wondering if most people just give in and take him back.

She might ask, “do most wives just take their cheating husbands back?  I kicked my husband out after I caught him cheating.  He has been calling me several times per day trying to get me to take him back.  He tells me that many of our friends maintained their marriage after an affair, so I started asking around.  I probably know five people who went through this and four ended up remaining married. Do I just have loyal friends?  Do most women take back their cheating husbands or does it just seem this way?”

There are definitely some statistics which seem to indicate that infidelity does not always mean a divorce.  I saw a recent statistic which indicated that a 2007 study from the office of national statistics indicated that just 17 percent of people who got divorced that year cited infidelity as the reason – which means that there are far greater reasons that people separate or get divorced than cheating.  Statistics also show us that women are more likely to forgive an affair than men, since women are more threatened by emotional infidelity than sexual infidelity – while the reverse is true for men.  Frankly, men are slightly less likely to take back a wife who cheated (at least this is what statistics say) because men care more about the sexual betrayal.  If a women perceives that the relationship was more sexual than emotional, statistics say that she is more likely to forgive her husband than if the affair was a deeply emotional one where the husband was claiming to be in love or emotionally attached.

Despite what the statistics tell us, don’t assume that women automatically choose to stay or to take a cheating husband back immediately.  Many don’t officially make any decision at all.  They just agree to wait and see what happens. So they don’t divorce him right away.  But they don’t make him any promises, either.  They wait to see what he’s going to do in order to restore the trust and to rebuild the marriage.

If he is sincere and does what is necessary to make things right again, then the wife inches closer and closer to staying or to taking him back.  But if he continues to exhibit troubling behaviors or doesn’t follow through on his promises, then this makes the wife inch closer and closer toward ending the marriage.

The ultimate decision usually comes down to several factors.  She usually considers things like her feelings for her husband, whether children are involved, the level of remorse, the willingness to go to counseling, and the willingness to take responsibility for his actions and then to make any adjustments or changes that are necessary.

Most women don’t just decide to give their husband a pass immediately. Instead, they watch and wait.  They weigh all considerations and they tell themselves that they could change their minds at any time.  Also in play is whether or not this is the first time that the husband cheated.  Obviously, a wife is going to be less likely to forgive or to give him another chance if he is a repeat offender.

So to answer the original question, statistics show us that an affair is actually the cause of divorce in less than 20 percent of cases, which would seem to indicate that many wives do give their husband another chance. But statistics don’t tell us everything.  There are plenty of wives who  walk away.  And their are plenty of wives who stay. Many consider a huge variety of factors before making this decision and most of us do not make the decision right away.  We wait and see how our husband is going to act and what efforts he will make to rehabilitate himself and the marriage.

I did stay with my husband, but I made him no promises and it took a very long time for me to commit.  I watched and waited for quite a while.  I gave him no guarantees.  Ultimately, I stayed because I still loved him and I believed that he was remorseful and would not reoffend (since we worked very hard on our marriage. ) I also did not want for my children to grow up in a single parent home.  I wanted to keep my marriage because I believed that, so long as we could revive it, this was going to be the best thing for everyone.  I have never regretted that decision.  But I don’t judge people who made a completely different decision.  Everyone has to decide what is right for them, considering their own circumstances and the past and present behavior of their husband. There’s more at

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