He cheated. You knew it for weeks, months, or even years. He called you crazy. He told you that you were losing your mind. He made you feel like you were imagining things. He accused you of being jealous, possessive, and naggy. He belittled you for not having sex with him enough and seemed to be picking fights with you all the time over little insignificant things. Yet, somewhere deep inside – in the place referred to as women’s intuition – you knew something wasn’t right. And you kept on, often crying yourself to sleep and often over run with anger and feelings of not being good enough till the one day, the facts came in. And you were right. He was cheating.
The Gas-Lighting Effect – What Cheaters Do!
Infidelity involves an immense amount of deception. According to stats, 8 out of 10 men who have affairs never admit to the affairs, only conceding when they are literally caught red handed. Even then, most are reluctant to give women the information that they need to cope effectively. Often times, it takes women weeks and months to catch their husbands and many hire private investigators in order to put their minds at ease. In the meantime, men are prone to what is known as gas lighting, a term coined from the movie Gaslight. In the movie, the husband would constantly light the burners on the stove time and time again until he could convince his wife she was crazy. In infidelity, gas lighting comes in the form of constantly deceiving, playing emotional games, picking fights, and often covering up the guilt felt from unfaithfulness by doing nice things they would not normally do.
After all the betrayal involved in cheating the number one question on so many peoples minds is why do so many women STAY after infidelity?
Are they stupid? Desperate? Are they simply trying to save face with others? How do they simply shut down the painful emotions that they feel after the betrayal – and why don’t they respect themselves enough to move on and leave the ruthless cheater behind?
Main Reasons Women Stay After a Husband Cheats
According to an article at the Huffington Post, most women stay AFTER an affair because they have already lived through the worst part. For women, the not knowing – the lies and deception that seems to attack their intuition is what makes them feel the most off balance. However, when they know the facts and have transparency, they are able to move forward. This by no means indicates that women forget and instantly forgive. In fact, cheating on a woman who stays with a man afterwards can often put men into a replica of hell on earth. Often, as time goes on women tend to get angrier and often hold the affair over their spouse’s heads, preventing healing and health in the relationship.
Another very sad reason that women stay after affairs is because they tend to take so much responsibility for the affair. (Wrongfully of course) Maybe they have ignored their spouse in the bedroom. Perhaps they have gained weight and no longer feel attractive. Let’s face it, women are already self critical enough and tend to believe in their own unworthiness. For this reason, it is easy for women to think they are at fault for the affair, so they stick with the relationship and try to recreate themselves. This goes hand in hand with the phenomenon with women losing immense amounts of weight after being cheated on. One report from Women’s World indicated that 3 out of every 6 women who were victims of marital affairs lost large amounts of weight and started exercising in the direct aftermath. Sure, stress may play a role – but many see the affair as a signal that they need to reinvent themselves and indulge in the ‘attract a mate’ game again.
Another reason women stay? There are still plenty of women in this world that don’t feel complete without a man. They feel safer having a husband. They have kids at home, and worry that they wouldn’t be able to cope with their spouse gone. They have thought patterns that somehow force them to rely upon a husband whether financial or emotional, often stigmatized by dated gender roles.
A sicker reason that women stay is so that they can indulge in the victim card. Many women begin having such control in the relationship by holding the victim card that they benefit psychologically in their own opinion. Plus, they feel as if they have performed such a moral act of standing by their man, that they are entitled to more things in the relationship. For these women, the affair is never really over – and they are quite simply driven by fear of being alone and ‘losing’ in the relationship. In the meantime, they are able to inflict a great deal of emotional punishment on their spouse in the form of making their life miserable. The sad part is that woman doing so often makes her own life miserable in the process.
Convenience is of course another reason. Let’s be real, divorce is not pleasant business. It’s harder to move on an away than it is to just put up with the jerk who cheated on them. They might not be in a financial position to support themselves and their family. They might now desire to go back to work and lose their stay at home status. So essentially, they USE their husbands for what they can gain to live the life they choose at the moment and somehow push aside the hurt felt from the affair. Doing so may be wrong, but many women feel justified and some even use this perceived forgiveness to try and set themselves up financially for the future when they have every intention of leaving their husband, formulating 5-Year plans to independence. Plus, think about how much easier Christmas get togethers, family reunions, birthdays and summer vacations will be should a women just choose to ignore or deny her feelings and the affair?
Shame is of course another reason that women stay. It’s easier to live in the denial privately, be swallowed by the pain personally than to air their dirty laundry for others to see. Many women feel a sting to their pride and ashamed to admit that their husband had to run to another women to be satisfied emotionally or sexually. How do you tell your parents that your husband cheated on you? What will the neighbors think? And, of course – if a women just leaves and allows her husband to ‘be stolen’ by another women, doesn’t that mean she has ‘lost’ so to speak in the fight for her mate?
It is hard from the outside looking into decide what a woman should do. Some men may be worth trusting again, while others are just perpetual scumbags who need to inflate their own egos so many times that they will cheat again and again. While the old adage, ‘once a cheater always a cheater’ may ring true in many cases, women tend to be fairly smart, often manipulative and self-preserving creatures who will make many amends in order to take care of themselves and their children. It’s wrong to instantly assume a woman is an idiot because she stays with an unfaithful spouse. Perhaps she is just using this time to plan, because statistics seem to show without a doubt, that most women eventually DO leave. And when they do, they leave in style.
The pain caused by infidelity is something that never truly goes away. It’s the ultimate deal breaker. Before you cheat on a woman, you might want to think twice because even if it looks like she forgives you and wants to move on – chances are things will never, NEVER be the same again.
Wow – this is kind of brutal. I stayed because I genuinely love my husband. He has been very transparent and has answered my multitude of questions. It isn’t easy, and we still have work to do to rebuild trust. But it is possible. It isn’t always for negative reasons.
I just found out Dec 2 of 2021….after reading this article I felt as you do. We are working on it. Seeking a therapist. I don’t want 21 years thrown away.
He is my best friend…not only would I be losing my partner but my best friend. Doesn’t mean I don’t feel betrayed. The articles statement about losing weight and reinventing one’s self….that’s accurate. I have lost 30 BLS in 6 weeks.
Stef, A lot of you information is spot on but a lot of it is too much generalization. These kind decisions are life changing for not only the women but her children as well. The gaslighting from the old movie was not a stove being turned off and on. The main character was going up into the attic, and turning on the gas lights, and therefore lowering the gas lights downstairs. Then he told his wife she was imagining it among other things. I know this is just an article online but you don’t sound like a professional.