Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Repeated Affairs/Why/How Many Marriages Survive(28 Posts)
How many marriages survive affairs? Particularly repeated infidelity? And what makes the difference?
My friend has been married for a long time. They have young children - oldest is a young teen. She has discovered that her husband has been repeatedly unfaithful. There has been a slow creep of information over weeks/months mostly acquired via emails and texts but she keeps discovering new info. She has gone from knowing about one woman to knowing now of several individual women and he is basically saying it was all a long time ago - one night stand here and there. He promised it was all over. She has now found out he is still seeing (ie. last few weeks) one woman - this was after a huge "row" ( not quite the right word - emotional trauma probably better) in which he swore it was all over and he'd never do it again. He doesn't want to leave and is still swearing it is all over.
I don't have children but can see that having young children would motivate a wife to stay in the marriage to keep the family together. But I was wondering what is it that makes the difference in the cases of marriages that survive? Is she doing something worthwhile in trying to work it out/keep the marriage together? Or will he keep cheating and is she only going to hurt herself and her children more in the long run?
How many marriages survive this kind of thing? Is it always the choice of the woman as to whether to kick out the husband? Does it depend on the personality type?
I mean if you look at say Boris Johnson's wife who is still with him after he had repeated affairs including fathering two children (
www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/boris-johnson-keep-little-boris-4030835 ) how do women cope with this kind of thing? Is it all about the personality of the wife and whether she can cope? Is it inevitable that the marriage is doomed? that even if they stay together and it rumbles along, eventually it will crumble? Or do some actually manage to repair the damage of repeated infidelity?
I had a friend just like this. Her husbands first affair was when their son was a baby, the last one that i know of was when son was in his late teens. Apparently he had a few women on the go while working abroad.
She loves him and had forgiven him following counselling and sex therapy. She made him get tested for STI' s and also got checked herself.
She rang each of the women to tell them that she knew and that they were not the only ones in his "little black book"
I dont hear from this lady now as I have moved away and we drifted apart , but I understand they are still together ...Lord alone knows why and how but all I can think is that she loves him and wants to stick together what ever cost.Each to their own .
That's my question though - what is the cost of sticking together? Isn't is just going to destroy her self esteem? I just don't understand why she doesn't see him for what he really is.
Why are you so overly invested in this poor woman's life? Why she does anything is her business and no one on the internet can do anything other than theorise.
What she needs now more than anything else is a non-judgemental friend.
You'd think the woman's self esteem must be through the floor to stick with a bloke like that. Very sad. Your poor friend It might just take some time to sink in perhaps she's in shock.
I have known many women who have made the decision to stay with an unfaithful spouse. Over the years the reasons have changed. 30/40 years ago it was a simple economic decision. Man held all the purse strings, if she kicked him out, her financial/housing situation could often be precarious. ( in fact she COULDNT Kick him out as he owned the house. ! If he wanted to be a complete shit, he would kick her out...in recent years it has become less about actual £ shillings and pence, more about 'status'.. Still an economic decision in many ways but not so cut and dried. The finances are often skewed in the woman's favour, but Half of a lot is still half. It is often half of a lifestyle that many woman believe to be essential to both their and their children's wellbeing.
Most men have affairs because there is not enough attention and sex at home. Babies come along and instead of being the glue that cements a relationship, it is often a handgrenade that blows it apart.
Instead of the woman devoting her love attention (sex) on her husband, she has a new, far needier creature that requires all of her attention and unconditional love. Man doesn't breastfeed, is often out all day. The mother child relationship is often 'exclusive'...there is no blame here. It's simply the way it is. Add into the mix chronic sleep deprivation and quite frankly you have to be a fairly strong character not to feel a little pushed out. Give it a couple of years and then do the whole thing over again, maybe two or three times..
Most men do not wish to leave their children when they embark on an affair. They simply crave attention and sex. Many woman who decide to stick with an adulterer know this. They put up with it whilst the kids are young because it keeps the family together and the OW is doing her a favour..she is far too tired for sex and fed up making excuses and feeling guilty. (My best friends marriage was exactly this)
As the children grow and require less input, wife feels more inclined towards husband. Things improve.
Sometimes the relationship has moved beyond simple exhaustion and mild disinterest, to actual hostility. Or as children grow one or the other realise they have grown too far apart and develop genuine love relationships with another and do actually leave.
There is a very strong correlation between wife's who put up with infidelity who are Sahm's and those more likely to split at the first sign of playing around being much more likely to be WOHM. The thought behind this being that women who opt to be sahm's often put far greater emphasis on 'family together at all costs' than WOHM's. ( logical really)
Serial cheaters rarely stop - especially when you stay with them. They take the affairs underground. They become very confident over time and when the BS never shows signs of leaving ....they have no need to stop as they have nothing to loose.
Some men and women put up with a lot of infidelity. The reasons vary from financial to lack of self esteem.
Some stay for religious reasons and just try and ignore the affair.
Fear of being alone also makes people stay. Fool me once....shame on you... fool me twice.... you know the rest.
Are you doing a bit of "research" on behalf of your friend ?
Are you doing a bit of "research" on behalf of your friend ?
Well yes obviously I am. Don't understand the point why else would I have posted.
I think she is making a mistake. It's so upsetting to see her like this and thinking that is completely inevitable that he will do it again and that she will go through all this pain again. I can't see how a happy long term outcome will result for her - that's what I was asking about - is it possible and how is it achieved.
My own view is that a serial cheat will always be a serial cheat.
You sound like a journalist digging for a story.
From what Ive seen, the affairs only stop when the Husband becomes too ill or too old, to play around and God does he need his Wife then.The Wife forgets all the hurt and pain he has caused over the years, finally he needs her and she becomes his loyal, devoted nurse maid.She's wasted her life waiting for him to only need her love and attention and as they both are near the grave, it finally comes, but again it's on his terms.Very, very sad.
My ExH had one long affair (5 months when I guessed and he denied) 8-9 months altogether.
Mine did not survive.
I knew I would never get over it.
I tried for a couple of days but no way!
I'm so glad as well. Life is much better now.
I didn't have to spend years agonising, picturing them together, wondering when he was going to do it again, etc.... And yes we had a child just about to go to high school. Fantastic timing!
I admire anyone who does want to try. But with that much infidelity I'd kick his sorry disgusting arse to the curb and get myself to the nearest GUM clinic as quick as possible.
I've literally just commented on a post saying if they get away with it once they are far more likely to it again.
If she lets him off with this he will think he can do it again!
I love this phrase:-
The more chances you give someone
The less respect they’ll start to have for you.
They’ll begin to ignore the standards that you’ve set
Because they’ll know another chance will always be given.
They’re not afraid to lose you because
They know, no matter what, you won’t walk away.
They get comfortable with depending on your forgiveness.
Never let a person get comfortable disrespecting you!
Most men have affairs because there is not enough attention and sex at home
Of course they do!!!???
Interesting reaction Hellsbells. Am I to assume with your amused derision that you are of the opinion that men have affairs when there is sex and attention at home. I think you have read this as though I find it an acceptable state of affairs. (Bad choice of words I know). It's not acceptable in any way. Let me make that clear. It is nevertheless the fact of life when it comes to affairs. Immature men are self centred. Babies take attention away. The huge majority of marriages/relationships break up when children arrive. This is not because most men dislike children. Would be genuinely like to know the reason for the amusement.
Marilyn it's funny because men who have affairs usually are getting sex and attention at home. It's their wives who are the neglected ones. I read that generally it is the one who is gives least to a relationship who is most likely to stray. That theory certainly fits my experience.
I did everything for my H, he had my full attention, and as for sex, I wanted a lot more than he did. We were even trying for a baby.
He on the other hand never did anything for me, and went on and on about how much money he earned and how lucky I was if I dared to ask for more of his time.
I didn't have an affair. He did. We had no kids.
This isn't an unusual scenario.
I've cheated a fair few times over the years with different boyfriends.
Honestly, I'm not proud of myself, but every time it just kind of happened and before I realized what I'd done, I'd already done it. The adrenaline and excitement of something naughty just engulfs me!
I have been honest with my current by, he knows about my past.i haven't cheated on him and hope I don't.
Most men have affairs because there is not enough attention and sex at home.
The ones who like to have many affairs will do it no matter how much attention or sex they get because it's an insatiable need to get people notched up. Think of Mick Jagger.
People cheat for a myriad of reasons.
- because they can
- because they want to, it's very rarely about what is happening at home, it's more about what the person engaging in the affairs wants (to still feel attractive, to feel power, to want a new experience)
- because being with one person for the rest of their lives isn't enough
More of this happens then most women want to think about. There is a reason we have a booming sex industry in this country. Every person thinks it's other people's spouses engaging in that behaviour, not theirs. Hmmmm..do the math.
People equally stay for a myriad of reasons.
Love, fear, not wanting to break up their family, saving face, lack of support structure.
Whether they are right or wrong is a deeply personal choice. Each to their own. I couldn't stay, I didn't stay. But then I have a great job and an amazing support network around me. That made it far easier.
Men don't leave their wives generally, so any ow who gets her-- sorry excuse for a-- man probally has the wife kicking him out to thank for her domestic bliss! Plus everyone knows when a married man moves in with his girlfriend it just creates a vacancy.
What a catch
I watched my father and Step father do this to my mum. It was affair after affair. Eventually it got to the point where I knew he was sleeping with my mums best friend. I was 12.
Everytime I wished my mum would leave as it was painful and humiliating for all of us as everyone in town knew what my step dad was up too.
My mum had no self esteem by the end, she was literally (medically) driven mad by the gas lighting/stress/second guessing. Eventually my Step dad left her after 20 years for ow. She was in hospital and he cleared out the accounts, sold the house, emptied her pension and now won't sign the divorce papers so she can be free. My mum is middle aged, sick and trying to scrabble around to rebuild her life.
Please encourage your friend to leave. Serial cheats don't ever leave until THEY are ready. When that happens your friend will have nothing and no one.
Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.
Being a man, in my experience of other men who I know, affairs/flings have got nothing to do with how much sex a man gets at home. It's more about opportunity and taking it when it comes.
A lot of it is about ego and buzz/excitement, all things that often take a huge knock in a longer term relationship. I think a great many men enjoy whats 'illicit' Thats why affairs often hold no interest any more once its 'all out there' and why so many are quick to bin off the OW.
That's exactly what it is yet more. It's the thrill of the chase for a man. Obviously some will then go on to develop feelings etc and it blows up from there but for many, they have zero interest in living happily ever after. It's the chase and the illicit nature of it.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now »
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.