Has your husband cheated and then claim he doesn’t want a divorce? There are many reasons cheating husbands don’t want a divorce. Many cheating husbands still love their spouses, although far from all. Reasons a husband stays include not wanting to start his life over, he was only using the affair to fill an emotional hole, has no backup plan, or is out of pride.
Infidelity is often considered a nuclear bomb to a marriage. It is routinely portrayed as the ultimate marriage breaker. After all, the person wouldn’t be cheating if they wanted to stay married, right? But that isn’t necessarily true. Marriage is complex, and so are the reasons people have affairs. Thus, just because the husband was caught having an affair doesn’t mean he hoped to end his marriage.
People often say, “I’d leave if my partner cheated.” But the reality is different: 70 percent of couples stay together after an affair is discovered. Relationships that began as an affair have much grimmer statistics. Only 5-7% of affairs wind up tying the knot. Of that small percentage that marries, 75% will eventually divorce. Marriages are complicated, but the reasons for staying can be simple.
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10 Reasons Husbands Stay Married After Having An Affair
Whether or not infidelity breaks a marriage depends on two people: the husband and the spouse. Both parties have to want to do the work to grow and heal. People cheat for many reasons, and many of them have nothing to do with wanting to end their marriage. There is commonly some self-entitlement that must be dealt with and possibly addiction tendencies, but there is potential for hope.
But sometimes, the cheater is a complete narcissist that puts all of the blame on his spouse. Usual excuses from these men are the spouse didn’t give him enough sex, respect, support, or will justify the affair along the line of “It isn’t a big deal, everyone does it.” These marriages have the least chance of success after infidelity. Eventually, the spouse wants out, and the husband’s opinions don’t matter.
1. Husband Stays To Avoid Starting Again
The husband has a family at home, with a house, maybe kids, and a dog. It’s all works for him; he just wanted more. The idea of going through a divorce and starting a new life is exhausting and expensive. Thus, he’d rather just say sorry and stay.
2. Husband Stays Because The Affair Was Just Taking Breaks
Life is hard, and people need to take timeouts from their everyday stresses. Some men play golf, others surf, some get obsessed with Peloton, and then some men have affairs. It’s a lot like using alcohol or drugs to take the edge off, but instead, they are using sex.
Thus, the husband stays because he wasn’t having an affair to escape his marriage; he was just trying to destress and clear his head. For him, an affair is a lot more fun and thrilling than going out to the golf course. Unfortunately, golf was probably a cheaper and easier way to deal with his problems, but there we are.
3. Husband Stays As He Was Just Filling An Emotional Hole
On paper, having an affair is expensive. The more affordable option is to go to therapy first, rather than find your emotional comfort in the arms of another, get caught, end up in therapy anyway, and potentially shell out for a divorce.
But therapy has a lot of stigma for some and initially seems like a significant expense. Thus, when awful things happen, like a death in the family or a career crisis, finding himself in the arms of another seems to fill that emotional wound. It’s a distraction from dealing with his anguish, but until he goes to therapy, he probably won’t understand that.
4. Husband Stays Because He Feels He Deserves You And “Fun”
There are some very self-entitled people out there that believe they deserve whatever they want. Sure, he might love his spouse in his own way, may even really enjoy having a family, and the prestige marriage brings to a man. But he also believes he deserves to have fun, and if that means having another sexual partner in his life? Well, he works hard and has a lot of stress; he deserves whatever he needs.
Thus, he stays after getting caught because why wouldn’t he? He likes being married. But also, he believes he deserves whatever he wants, too, and is not sorry, just irritated at all the drama getting caught has created.
5. Husband Stays Because He Has No Backup Plan
People don’t always think things through. He had an affair for whatever reason, but he has no idea what to do now that he’s been caught. He never thought about the next step or if there ever had to be one. So he’s just staying because he has no idea what else to do.
6. Husband Stays Out Of Pride
Husbands sometimes stay out of pride. They have already lost face by getting caught. But pride and status as a married man in the community keep these men married. Maybe just saying “sorry” and staying is better for his career and saving face with his friends, club members, and even his parents.
7. Husband Stays While Believing He Can Hide The Affair
Sadly, some Husbands stay because they believe they can do it all again, but better. Just calm the spouse down, promise it is over, then go back to the affair. But this time, he’s convinced he can hide it. He wants both: the stability and comfort of marriage along with what he was getting out of the affair.
8. Husband Stays Due To Not Wanting To Make Rash Decisions
Husbands sometimes stay because they want to consider their options before making a decision. It’s not that he doesn’t want a divorce; he just wants to think it through and avoid doing anything rash.
9. Husband Stays After Realizing The Other Person Was Human
Clichés often hold a grain of truth: “The grass is always greener…” In the initial stages of a relationship, there is lust and euphoria that make a person seem kind of perfect. The perfect glossy veneer can last 6-months to 2 years.
In an affair, this can be magnified because it sits out of the everyday hassles of life. Unlike a marriage with a shared space, responsibilities, and stressors (such as children), the affair is like a holiday land with little to no everyday problems.
But eventually, this perfect bubble gets popped. Thus, the husband realizes that the perfect “other” in his life is only human, just like his spouse who he already shares a life with, so he may as well stay.
10. Husband Stays Because He Still Loves His Spouse
A person can still love their spouse yet cheat on them. The affair may not even have much to do with the spouse. Sometimes when something is wrong with our own lives, be it grieving a dead parent or work stress, we might make poor choices that hurt the ones we love. Thus, the affair might have nothing to do with being out of love or wanting to end a marriage.
He stays because, in the end, being married to the person he loves is what he wants. If his partner can forgive him, however, it is not guaranteed. But that’s a separate matter.
Related Reading: After a Divorce, Are You Still a “Mrs.”?
There are many reasons a husband doesn’t want to leave his marriage after cheating. Some reasons are practical, others are emotional, and some are pretty cold. His reason for having an affair and why he wants to stay will play some part in if the marriage can be saved. But the spouse must decide what they want, too.
After earning his Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto, Stuart gained experience working with families in community mental health settings and in the child protection sector. Since becoming a father himself, Stuart now works in private practice offering psychotherapy services. FatherResource is an opportunity for Stuart to share what he learns on his journey as a father with a larger audience.