Men Who Cheat And Want Their Wife Back: What Is Their Thought Process?

By Katie Lersch: I sometimes hear from people who are confused as to why a man would cheat on his wife and then suddenly want to break off the affair because he wants his wife back. Sometimes, the person who is confused about this process is the woman with whom the husband is cheating. And sometimes, it is the wife herself.

From the other woman, I might hear a comment like: “I was so shocked when the man who I have been seeing told me that we can’t be together anymore. He has gone out of his way to see me every night for about six weeks. We get along wonderfully. He always told me that he couldn’t get enough of me. He seemed to be crazy about me. And, on the rare occasions that he would talk about his wife, it wouldn’t be a favorable conversation. He mostly described her as a nag who didn’t understand and appreciate him. So, when he broke it off, I assumed that I did something wrong. It never occurred to me that he would want to work on his marriage or pick up where he left off with his wife. So I asked him what I had done. I told him that this whole thing was so confusing to me. All he would say would that the relationship wasn’t right, that it was a mistake, and that he wanted to end it. I finally asked him straight out if he was going back to his wife and he only nodded. This has happened to me a few times. I will fall for a married man and I will think that he is the one. He will represent to me that he is married in name only. And then he will go back to his wife. What is wrong with these men? Why do they do this?”

And although the wife might voice this differently. She too, often wonders why, if her husband is so unhappy with her and with the marriage, doesn’t he just divorce her? And if he wants to discard her or the marriage, then why is he suddenly so desperate to save the marriage now?

The answer to both women’s questions is surprisingly similar. Granted, I am not a man who has cheated. But I’ve been married to a man who has cheated (once) and I hear from many of these men on my blog. I firmly believe that many men who cheat never intend to leave their wives or end their marriages, despite what they might tell the other woman.

There is often an assumption that men only cheat when they are in unhappy marriages to nagging or frumpy women. I don’t believe this to be the case. Admittedly, I have a vested interested in not believing this because I most certainly don’t want to believe it about myself or my marriage. But, I have heard it from the men themselves. Most of them separate the affair from their marriage. They see them as two distinct and separate things. And many will tell you that their wife and their marriage has nothing to do with this. (Many will have a very angry tone when they tell you this because they are a bit offended by the implication that they don’t love their wife.)

So, if this is true and they are not necessarily responding to their marriage or their wife, then why are they in this situation? What is the problem? Well, here’s my theory, although I fully admit that a theory is all it is. If you look at many men in this same situation over time, you will start to see trends. It is so very obvious that there are certain vulnerable times in a man’s life and these are usually times of high stress. This could be anything from the birth of a child, the death of a parent, struggles at the job, middle age, or any number of things. To be honest, sometimes these stressors contribute to the husband feeling badly about himself and feeling like he has let down himself and his family. And this is when he’s vulnerable to very impulsive and destructive behavior (like an affair.)

None of this means that he wants to throw his marriage away though. It means that he wants to feel more confident. He wants to feel better about himself. He wants to put aside his worries. But these things are very different from wanting to leave your wife or end your marriage.

And no, it is not fair that he tells the other woman otherwise. This is unfair to her and I am sure that it is painful. With this said, if you know that a man is married, then you can’t be all that surprised when it turns out that you are not going to be with this man forever. You must know that he is in the most committed relationship of all. He is married. And most people will ultimately decide to fight for their marriage simply because, by definition, it is the most important and committed relationship of their lives.

That was certainly true in my case.  Although there were days when I wanted nothing to do with my husband, in the end, my commitment was my family and my children.  And that is why my husband  and I fought for our marriage.  And we won.  You can read more on my blog at

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