Do Wives Regret Staying With A Husband After He Cheated?

By: Katie Lersch: What to do after your spouse cheats on you can be a very big decision. It can be a life altering decision. And like any decision where the outcome can’t possibly be known, we can go back and forth on the decision and fret about whether or not we will make the right one. We worry whether we will regret our decision and therefore will live the rest of our lives wishing that we had gone down the different path.

Someone might explain: “I am seriously considering doing something that I swore that I would never do. I am thinking about staying with my husband who cheated – even though I have spent most of my married life warning him that he ever was unfaithful, I would leave him so fast that his head would spin. However, now that all of this has become a reality, I pause when I think of living on my own. I don’t want to start my life over. He does seem to be genuinely remorseful and he has agreed to counseling. But, I worry that I am going to deeply regret my decision. One reason that I feel so strongly about this is that I lived in a home with a mother who stayed with her cheating husband and who was miserable and sour every day of her life. Of course, this means that my home life was also miserable. Honestly, my mother should have left my father far behind the first time he cheated. I am pretty sure that he never stopped and I’m also pretty sure that they grew to hate one another. I don’t want to live my life like this. I don’t want to sentence myself to that kind of life. I am wondering how many wives regret staying with their cheating husbands?”

Get What You Need To Make A Sound Decision And To Follow Up: I would suspect that it boils down to this: The wives who end up with a rehabilitated, successful and fulfilling marriage don’t regret staying. And the wives whose marriage is unfulfilling do have regret. It is like any other decision – when it doesn’t work out, you tend to regret it. When it does, you don’t. Unfortunately, there aren’t any guarantees, but you can certainly do everything in your power to make sure that you have covered all bases and have the information that you need to make a sound decision.

Take Your Time: Also, I don’t really see the need to make a binding decision quickly. There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying: “Right now, I am leaning toward staying and trying to save our marriage, but we can’t possibly predict how things will go once we begin counseling. As long as we make progress and I am feeling positive about things, I will stay. But if I see any behaviors or indicators that makes me second guess my decision, then I might change my mind. This is just too big of a decision with too many variables for me to make any promises. I can tell you that I really want it to work, but I also don’t know what our progress will be like. I don’t want to live like my mother, but I am hoping that with counseling and some hard work, I won’t have to.”

Your husband has committed to counseling and that is wonderful, but making the commitment and actually going and participating are two different things. Give yourself permission to wait and see how this goes.

One Perspective: I can tell you my own experience. I do not regret staying with my husband because the whole healing process ultimately turned out well. But I can also tell you that there were plenty of times where I second guessed myself and felt like a fool because I had vowed that I would never allow infidelity and yet I stayed. I am very honest about the fact that I stayed for my children initially. But today, I’m also honest about the fact that I continue to stay because of me.  I do not regret it.

The marriage that I have today keeps me here. Yes, I am glad that I didn’t have to uproot my kids and that they have two engaged parents who love them. I firmly believe that this is best if you can swing it. But, if our home life had never recovered and my children were living in a house without love and full of anger and resentment, common sense would have told me that this wasn’t the ideal, either. I like to think that I would not have allowed this. I likely would have continued trying to make things work. But ultimately, if my efforts just weren’t enough, I probably would have ended the unhealthy situation.

I think you have to go into saving your marriage with your whole heart and every bit of effort that you can muster. If you try with everything you have and it turns out to be enough, then that’s wonderful and you likely won’t regret your decision to stay and then to see what happens.

But if it doesn’t work out, and you still gave your whole heart and tried everything in your power to make it work, I don’t think you have any reason to feel regret in that situation because you did everything that you could. I think that the best that we can do sometimes is to give our strongest effort and then just wait and see what happens. If we do this and we are disappointed, well, at least we know that we tried and that our intentions were honorable. I don’t think that there needs to be regret in that.

You are not at fault here. If you feel that you want to stay and give it a try, I don’t think that you need to make any apologies because marriage is supposed to be forever, ideally. But I honestly don’t think that the regret needs to be yours, as you have done nothing wrong. I think that everyone should be free to constantly evaluate what is the healthiest and best situation for themselves and for their families.

As I said, I’ve really never regretted staying with my husband.  He made good on his promises and our marriage recovered.  I never wanted to break up my family and I’m glad we were able to move forward.  There’s more about that process on my blog at

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