Many wives who find out that their husband is still actively cheating often lists “getting him to stop” as the most important goal. This is true even if the wife has no idea if she wants to save her marriage. Very few people are going to discover cheating and then look the other way or allow the cheating to continue. Most people want the cheating to stop immediately – even if the future of the marriage isn’t clear. So the wife or faithful spouse may go on a crusade to demand that the affair end. And when that finally happens, the wife might feel a tiny sliver of success – until she starts thinking about it too much – and worrying that the cheating might eventually start up again, especially given the uncertain fate of her marriage.
She might say: “for two weeks, I threatened my husband that if he did not end his affair immediately, I would not allow him to see his children. He tried to delay and he begged for more time. I would not budge. I told him that there was no time to spare. And I suspect he was begging for time because he was trying to delay, since he thinks that he has real feelings for this bimbo – which is laughable. They have only known one another for a few months. He told me last weekend that he had broken it off. I don’t interact with him much lately, so it’s not like I have watched his behavior. I’m just too mad. But last night I got up for a glass of water and he was down in the kitchen texting. He said it was a text from his college-aged son. But his face looked guilty. And now I worry that since I’m giving him the cold shoulder, he is or will start up the affair again. How often does someone stop the affair, only to start it back up again?”
That’s really hard to answer. You might already know this, but if you do research on this topic, you can find information indicating that anywhere from as few as 22 percent of people repeat cheat or as many as 55 percent. Statistics seem to vary on this topic. But depending on which you believe, you’re looking at anywhere from one in four men to up to one in two. Now, these statistics don’t tell us if the person cheated again with the original affair partner. They only tell us if he cheated more than once. That’s why I’d suspect that the numbers of people who are cheating with the same person more than once are on the lower range of that scale, but I can’t be sure.
As someone who has dealt with cheating, I completely understand why you want this information and why you want to know how likely it is that he will cheat again. But I don’t think that you need to base your decision about your marriage on this information. Many wives feel pressured to resume the marital relationship too soon simply because they fear that if they don’t, their spouse will simply go back to the other person because it is so easy. I understand why this is tempting, but rushing in this way isn’t ideal, either. You haven’t given yourself enough time to watch, to wait, and to process what is happening. And frankly, if your husband does go back to the other woman, this gives you a great deal of free information about his motivations and about his commitment to your marriage – at least at that moment in time. Jumping right back into the affair (or never stopping it in the first place) tells you a lot about his thought process. If he can’t endure some much-deserved cold shoulder, then I’m not sure if he is going to act any differently no matter what you do or how much you walk on eggshells. A man who is serious about saving his marriage will end the affair no matter what because it is the right thing to do. Not all men make this decision immediately, however. Some get caught up in the drama of the affair, only to come back to reality later, after the reality wears off.
There are no real guarantees in life or in marriage. It’s impossible to have an iron-glad guarantee that your spouse will absolutely never cheat again. In my experience, the best that you can do is to decide if you want to save your marriage and then work tirelessly to do exactly that. Finally, you want a better marriage than you began with because this will give you the confidence that you can believe in your marriage again. But none of these things can happen unless and until you figure out what your spouse was trying to achieve from having an affair and then figuring out a way to keep that process from happening again.
However, that is something that is usually decided in time. There is no reason that you need to rush simply because you are afraid of him cheating again. That doesn’t mean that you should not watch him closely and get every piece of important information that you can. But if he is serious about making this right, he won’t start up the affair again. Because it is common sense that doing so would mean that you might not give him a second chance.