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Why Do Men Stay in a Marriage After an Affair? I’ll Tell You

I often get emails from women who want to know why men come back home or return to their wives after an affair. Sometimes, this question comes from a broken hearted mistress. But most times, it comes from the wife. Often, the wife fears that she’s the consolation prize, and that the husband is only back because he’s been caught or because he’s comfortable in the marriage or because he doesn’t want to cause any more pain. These reasons are sometimes part of the equation, but more often than not, the husband realizes just what a huge mistake he has made and the threat of losing everything has opened his eyes to a very dim reality – one that he wants to make right. I’ll discuss this more in the following article.

Cheating Is Often A Man’s Attempt To Feel Better About Himself. It Has Less To Do With You (Or With Sex) Than You Might Think: If I asked 100 people why men cheat, I’d estimate that at least 85 of them would tell me something like “because the sex is better with the other woman,” or “the passion has died out at home,” or “his wife doesn’t appreciate him, understand him, or give him enough attention.”

This is the overwhelming perception, but it isn’t always the reality. Many men who cheat have strong and fulfilling marriages. Many have satisfying sex lives. But, what he isn’t happy with is usually himself. He’s feeling older and more vulnerable. His self esteem has become lower, for whatever reason. He wants to feel powerful again – like he matters or is still a contender. And she is simply in the right place at the right time when he is most vulnerable.

Sure, the sex may be an exciting diversion and it may temporarily make him forget the doubts that he was having, but it almost always never lasts. Soon, when the fog lifts, he will figure out that he was seeking relief in the wrong place, with the wrong person, and that he’s now created even bigger problems for himself. Sometimes he can simply return to his regular life because no one knows about the cheating. But, sometimes, he’s caught or the mistress just won’t let him go and suddenly his very embarrassing behavior is out in the open, and he has bigger issues to deal with than the fact that he was feeling vulnerable.

Most Men Will Come To Realize That Cheating Isn’t What Is Going To Fix Their Problems: In the beginning of an affair, things are often exciting and feel positively. And this is often because an affair doesn’t occur in real life. She never has to pick up after him, clean his soiled laundry, or reassure him that his thinning hair or other short comings don’t mean that he’s not desirable or lovable. She doesn’t yet see his flaws or know his fears or has witnessed his biggest mistakes or regrets. She doesn’t have any history with him and while this can be seen as a plus at first, it quickly becomes evident that they are little more than strangers.

Over time, she will start to want more from him. The weaknesses or flaws in both people will soon start to become more evident, and the insecurities or pain that he was trying so hard to gloss over will return because he hasn’t done anything to address it. Cheating on your wife is not really going to fix what’s wrong with your life. It’s only going to magnify it. It is only a band aid. It may take them a while to catch on, but most men will eventually see this harsh reality, and when they do, that’s when the panic sets in.

When A Cheating Man Comes Back To His Wife, Is He Really Sorry?: This is the million dollar question that almost all women ask. They want to know if he really wants to be back home and if he is sincere with his apologies or if he’s just beaten because he’s caught and his heart is only half in it. I am sure that there are men who fit into this category (especially husbands who have cheated more than once), but most men who write to me truly are sorry. I can not tell you how many times I hear: “what was I thinking? I was a complete idiot. I am so embarrassed by my behavior, but now I’ve potentially ruined my marriage and I can’t make my wife believe any thing that I say.”

I don’t tell you this to argue that you should forgive your husband or let him off the hook. This is your decision. And even if you decide to save your marriage, I don’t think that any man should be given a free pass. Both of you must understand why he cheated and work very hard to prevent this kind of vulnerability again. He has a lot of making up to do and his sincere sorrow over his actions doesn’t negate that. He still dealt you a very difficult blow which he must make right. However, he likely is truly sorry but is hesitant to really be honest about it because doing so often only paints him as vulnerable and insecure and these were the feelings he was trying to cover and band aid in the first place.

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