I Feel Like If I Stay With My Cheating Husband, Then There Are No Consequences For His Affair

By: Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from wives who, somewhere deep in their hearts, want to stay with their cheating husbands. Sometimes, they have children and they feel that keeping the family together is going to mean a better outcome for those same children when they become adults. Or, perhaps they still love their husband and believe that, somewhere deep down, he is still a good man.

They may also just not want to end the relationship to which they have contributed for so long. I might hear a comment like “I am beyond devastated by my husband’s affair. But frankly, he has spent the last several weeks begging me to give him one more chance. He says that he will go to counseling. He says that he will stop going out. He says that he will come straight home from work. He says that I will not be sorry if I just give him one more chance. I am considering this, but here is the big issue that I just can not overcome. I feel like if I stay with him, then he will not suffer any consequences from the affair. He hasn’t lost me. His family was never in jeopardy. Essentially, he just gets to move on with his life. While I get to carry the pain and the insecurity with me. Part of me thinks that I should leave him for a while just to make him afraid of losing me. Shouldn’t a husband have consequences for an affair?”

I agreed with this wife that a husband should have consequences for his affair. Because if he does not, then what is to stop him from cheating again? What is going to give him pause to stop and think about whether or not he wants to repeat these same behaviors? I do agree that a man must understand that his behaviors mean that there are losses and consequences which are going to require for him to do some work in order to make this right again.

There May Be Consequences You Haven’t Considered: But, who is to say that he doesn’t see the other consequences to his actions? You are requiring that he goes to counseling. He will come right home and curb any going out without you. Additionally, he is likely to notice that the trust between you just isn’t the same and that he is going to have to work hard to restore this. Additionally, it’s a safe bet that you are going to be guarded around him and that this is likely to remain until he is able to undo the damage that has been done.

And, just because you are choosing to stay with him right now, this doesn’t mean that he is home free or that you won’t change his mind. I ultimately did decide to stay with my husband, but I made it very clear that this decision could be retracted at any time if for any reason that I felt that my husband wasn’t trustworthy or sincere. In other words, I was always watching and evaluating. And if something was troublesome to me, then I could reevaluate staying at any time. My husband was well aware of this. And this is definitely just one example of the types of consequences of having an affair.

There Are Always Losses:  There are almost always some losses that are the consequences of his affair. The loss of trust. The loss of a marriage without conflict. The loss of the blind believe that your husband is a good and transparent person. The loss of knowing exactly what tomorrow is going to bring. So no, he doesn’t have the consequence of watching his wife leave immediately. But he likely has the consequence of knowing that this could change at any time.  He knows that your marriage is fragile. He knows that he has messed up his marriage and that he now has to fix it. And he knows that the trust and the marriage will need to be rebuilt, which is going to require for him to be the one to take the initiative.

No, these things aren’t as bad as loosing you. But if you were to ask your husband, he would likely tell you that they are bad enough. And that they feel like consequences to him. I think the real key is to make it clear that even though you’re staying for now, this doesn’t mean that you are staying forever – unless you are happy with the rehabilitation that you are seeing.

As I alluded to, I ultimately did stay with my husband, but there were plenty of consequences for him. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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