If you’re in a relationship with a committed man, you know full well that cheating is more often than not a thorny thing.
The relationship by its very nature is strained and difficult — it has to be hidden away and kept a secret.
Day in and day out, that can be a struggle — especially for you. You’re justified for wanting things to change and valid for hoping that maybe he decides to choose you once and for all.
But, the plain truth is this:
There’s very rarely a good outcome from a cheating relationship.
Accepting this fact is the first step in coming to terms with the situation, and the reality of the relationship. No matter what the outcome ends up being.
That outcome — though rarely positive — can vary greatly, depending on each person’s unique circumstances.
This article is going to detail 6 reasons why he might leave his wife for you. Then I’ll run through 4 definitive reasons behind why he might never leave her.
At the end, I’ll discuss some of the motives behind why men cheat on their wives. I’ll also explain why, most of the time, cheating relationships are unsustainable.
These points will help you better understand the reasons behind why he cheated in the first place, and what you can do in your specific situation.
So, let’s get started.
6 signs he (might) leave his wife
1) His marriage is strained and unhappy
People get married for all kinds of crazy reasons. The motives can be nearly infinite–plenty of good ones and plenty of bad.
Most of the time, getting married was a decision that wasn’t entirely thought through. And the numbers agree.
Around half of all marriages in the U.S. end with divorce. That means half the people who get married did so in error.
Here are6 terrible reasons people get married, along with 5 really good ones.
So the guy you’re with and his wife made a mistake, a lapse in judgement, a faulty decision, or didn’t think things through enough.
That could work in your favor.
Maybe the man you’re cheating with is really unhappy in his marriage. He’s facing a lot of strain and stress because they’re genuinely incompatible. Or he regrets marrying her at all.
It’s a good sign he might be willing to leave his wife for you.
On the flipside, there’s still huge concern as to why he isn’t already divorced, or why he’s looking for a relationship while he’s unavailable.
Trust is a huge part of any relationship, so to start things out with a lie will always have its difficulties.
Here are some ways to tell if a married man is in love with another woman.
2) He doesn’t have children
Kids are like innocent bystanders when it comes to a cheating relationship. Children that deal with infidelity are often the ones hurt the most.
If your man has children, he has huge reasons to stay with his current family.
But if he doesn’t have any children with his wife, there’s less to worry about. It’s more likely he might leave his wife for you.
That being said, no kids doesn’t just mean he’ll come running to you in a heartbeat. There’s still a lot at stake. Marriage–no matter how or why it happened–is a really serious thing.
Understanding the nuances of a committed marriage, along with the difficulties of leaving that kind of relationship, is important. It won’t be easy for him to leave his wife, children or no children.
3) You trigger his hero instinct (and his wife doesn’t)
Does he step up to the plate for you? Protect you from harm (even in little ways)? Go out of the way to make sure you’re okay?
Chances are you’ve triggered his hero instinct in a way that his wife can’t (or won’t)
The hero instinct is a new theory in relationship psychology that explains what men really want from a relationship.
To fully commit to a woman, a man needs to feel like he’s her protector and the one guy she can count on. And that she genuinely appreciate him for it.
I know it might all seem kind of silly. After all, women don’t need a ‘hero’ in their lives to “rescue them”.
But this misses the point about what the hero instinct is all about.
The hero instinct is an instinctive need that men have to step up to the plate for the woman in this life. This is rooted in male biology.
Although you may not need a hero, a man is compelled to be one. And if a woman wants to be more than friends with a guy, then she has to let him.
If a married man is displaying this behavior for you and not his wife, then this is a clear sign he’s at least thinking of leaving his wife.
Triggering the hero instinct is a man is surprisingly easy when you know what to do.
The trick is to make him feel like a hero in an authentic way. And there are things you can say, messages you can send, requests you can use to trigger this natural biological instinct.
The best thing to do is watch relationship expert James Bauer’s excellent free video here.
He reveals the things you can do to trigger the hero instinct in your man starting today.
I don’t often recommend videos but the hero instinct is one of the most fascinating concepts in relationship psychology I’ve come across. And James Bauer is the real deal when it comes to relationship advice.
4) His wife is mean to him or toxic
Unfairness, disrespect, even verbal or emotional abuse are characteristics of an unhealthy and toxic relationship. Even if it’s the woman towards the man.
If his wife is being toxic to him by being mean, berating, or belittling him, it’s possible he’ll leave her for you.
Maybe he turned to you for refuge or escape in the first place. Or maybe he’s just looking for any excuse to get away from that damaging relationship. You happened to be in the right place at the right time.
But even if he does leave his wife for you because of this, remember that there will still be fallout. Divorce is never easy, especially when he’s been cheating on her.
If he’s suffered from a damaging relationship for months or even years–one as serious and binding as a marriage–he’ll probably have a lot of emotional problems to work on. He has to heal from that experience.
Helping him heal won’t be easy. And once he starts to heal, there’s the possibility that he concludes you were just a part of that healing process, and makes the decision to move on.
Each situation is different, of course, and each person will react differently. Healing is a difficult and often unknowable process. “Recovery is an individual experience and will be and look different for everyone,” says the Manitoba Trauma Recovery website.
If his wife’s behavior is less extreme, it’s possible that he’s not being entirely truthful about the problems in his marriage. He might be using his wife as a scapegoat.
He could be the actual cause of them, and those problems could carry over into your relationship–should he leave his wife for you.
Here’s some really good tips on how to handle toxic people and stay authentic while doing it.
5) He no longer connects emotionally with his wife
Emotional connection is vital to a healthy, dynamic, and sustainable relationship. Angela Bisignano, PhD, claims it’s the secret to lasting love.
And if there’s any love with the requisite “it has to last”, it would be the love found in a marriage. “Till death do us part,” is the vow.
So if a man finds himself in a marriage without emotional connection, it’s unlikely to last. Without an emotional connection to his vowed life partner, it makes sense he would turn to other people instead.
Other people being you, in this case.
So how is your emotional connection with him? Does it seem deep and lasting?
That can be hard to answer in a cheating relationship, which is often based on the scandalous, risky, and sexual nature of affairs.
But, maybe you do share that kind of connection. If he won’t share his emotions or open up about his marital problems and why he’s having an affair with you, it could be that he’s the actual problem.
It could be that he’s not connecting emotionally with her, instead of the other way around.
6) He feels trapped
There are a lot of reasons why a man might feel trapped in a marriage.
The burden of family life can be heavy. Some men might feel too weighed down by the responsibilities and monotony involved in this kind of domestic life.
A mistress (you) could be the jolt of excitement that he wants. The perfect solution to the entrapment he feels in his current situation.
So if he’s feeling especially trapped and in need of change, he might leave his wife for you.
Doing so would drastically upend his life.
It’s also possible that his wife is moving too fast for his comfort. She might be ready to buy a house together so that they can have children. That’s just not something he’s ready for yet, so he feels the need to get out while he can.
In any case, a sense of entrapment in marriage can lead a man to do erratic things, one of which might be running away with you.
These are a few of the reasons why he might leave his wife for you. Even so, if he chooses to leave her for you, there’s still more to the story.
Cheating on someone is walking on thin ice, whether it’s you doing the cheating or you dating the cheater.
Even the best case scenario can end in disaster. Broken families, court costs, trauma, heartbreak, and more often result from a failed marriage.
These are all strong factors a married man takes into account if he’s thinking about leaving his wife. In fact, there are countless reasons why he’ll never decide to leave her for you.
Let’s take a look at just a few.
4 reasons why he’ll never leave his wife
1) Divorce is messy and difficult
The average cost of a divorce in the U.S. in 2020 is $12,900. The cost only starts to go up when you introduce complications, children, custody, and more.
That’s a lot of money to spend just so he can be with you.
And that’s not to mention the emotional cost of separating from his wife–the pain he knows he’s going to cause her, the difficulty of that guilt. Never mind the logistics of having to extricate his life from hers.
It all adds up to a huge amount of pain, work, stress, strain, and difficulty.
It all adds up this: strong reasons to stay with his wife, and to keep you as his mistress. That way he doesn’t have to deal with the financial difficulty and burden of a divorce.
2) Between his wife and his mistress (you) he has everything he needs
When people leave their home country to go to a new one, there are two types of factors that might make them do so. (Bear with me a moment.)
There’s the push factor, meaning that there’s something negative in their country that they want to get away from.
And then there’s the pull factor, meaning that there’s something in a different country that draws them there.
The end result is the same: they emigrate from their country to a new one.
When it comes to an affair, a man faces neither a push nor a pull factor.
Because he has everything he needs. He has the best of both worlds.
With his wife he has structure, a family life, and financial stability. With his wife he has a house, a future, and a support system.
With you, his mistress, he has excitement, pleasure, sex, desire, and the chance to be “a bad boy”. He has passion, escape, and privacy. There’s arguments it’s even beneficial.
So which should he choose?
Neither; why should he have to choose? That’s what’s running through his mind if he’s cheating on his wife with you. He can have the best of both worlds right now.
Why should he blow up his whole life just to have you when he can keep his life the same and get both?
It’s not good reasoning, and it’s definitely not fair for either you or his wife. But it’s the way he’s probably thinking about things, and it’s why he won’t leave his wife for you.
3) He still loves her
Ask yourself why he’s still with his wife at all.
He may complain to you about everything wrong with her, how terrible marriage is, and how much he wants out. If he’s particularly shameless, he might even keep promising he’ll leave her for you.
But why hasn’t he left her yet?
It could be because he still loves her. And, if a healthy person stops loving the person they’re with–married or not–they’ll be able to confront them and talk about it. On their own accord and without having to cheat.
If the guy you’re with still loves his wife, he’s not going to leave her for you.
That’s not to say that he doesn’t love you, too, or that he doesn’t care about you.
He likely cares about you a lot, and wants to make sure you’re okay, too.
Remember, though, he’s only married to one of you. And if he’s hesitating to blow up his whole life for you, it could be because he still dearly cares about his wife.
He worries about how much it will hurt her, how damaging it would be if she found out that he was cheating. Never mind how stressful and unfair a divorce over infidelity would be for her.
It’s a huge reason why he would never leave his wife for you.
Here are11 signs it’s time to leave a relationship and move on.
4) If he had a strong personal reason to leave his wife, he already would have
This point touches on his motives for cheating in the first place, as well as his personal reasons for having an affair.
He might tell you that he wants to leave his wife, and that she’s not an important part of his life anymore. He might say that he’s planning to leave her any day now because he just can’t take it anymore.
But ask him, “why haven’t you left her already?”
If he had a strong personal reason to leave his wife, he likely would have done so already. Of course, every person and situation is different, so this might not be the case
However, by and large, ending a relationship with someone–regardless of marriage or not–will be done for personal reasons, and doesn’t have to involve infidelity.
Here’s some no bullsh*t ways to break up with someone you love.
Understanding why people cheat
Making the decision to be unfaithful isn’t exactly a simple one. Living a double life and hiding your actions from your spouse comes at great cost.
And while the decision isn’t simple, the reasons behind why are even more complicated.
This article goes into detail about some of those reasons, and features some insights from renowned sex therapist Vanessa Brown.
Remember, while you may be party to the cheating, you’re not the one actually cheating. It’s important to understand why he’s cheating on his wife with you.
There are a lot of reasons why affairs are usually unhealthy and unsustainable.
These relationships tend to root from selfish decision-making.
No matter how hard the two of you try to justify the depth of your love or the reasons for your choices, the hard truth is this: you both made a decision that will directly hurt another person. And you made that decision willingly.
Cheating isn’t the only time we don’t get to decide if we hurt someone.
It’s also highly likely your relationship is too one-sided.
Due to the nature of an affair, he has to dictate when the two of you meet up. His life is structured around his family first, then you. You might find yourself at his every beck and call, waiting for a late-night rendezvous, waiting for the day he finally leaves his wife for you. But, there’s a strong chance you aren’t as important to him as you deserve to be.
Trust is going to be a huge issue.
It’s so difficult to trust a cheater. There’s a reason the phrase “once a cheater, always a cheater” exists.
It may not be entirely true, in fact I don’t think it’s necessarily true at all. But I do think that trust is one of the most vital keys to any relationship. If the person you’re with is breaking the trust of someone they said they loved and would be faithful to, it’s a big red flag.
There’s also the reality that you might not be his first mistress, and you might not be his last. A man who shows a pattern or history of cheating is a man that assuredly can’t be trusted, no matter the relationship he’s in.
Everything he says should be taken with a grain of salt. If he tells you he’s going to leave his wife for you, what reasons do you have to believe him? He’s not exactly a stellar example of someone who’s trustworthy.
Then there’s dealing with the fallout if he does leave his wife.
How prepared are you to deal with the fallout of a broken family? If he has kids, are you prepared to deal with all the damage that comes from infidelity, a broken family, and divorce?
Even if he doesn’t have children, the legal process for divorce will likely be messy and expensive. So, too, will the process of separating his life from his spouse. Moving, finding a new place to live, leaving behind a well established life–the list goes on.
All of this comes with what you might say is the “best case scenario,” him leaving his wife for you.
These points are here to help you think about the situation rationally, not to discourage you or shame you from your decisions.
Love is love, and sometimes we can’t control the circumstances around how we find it. No matter how damaging they may be.
Here’s some examples from people who ended up happy with the person they had an affair with.
If you’re certain that you’ve found true love with a married man, he’s going to do everything he can to be with you, he’ll be 100% open and honest with you about every facet of his life (including his marriage and family), and there will be no doubts about his intentions and whether or not he’s going to follow through with them.
Most men who cheat won’t act like this.
More important than him, though, is you. Make sure you’ve thought things through, and understand your personal reasons for choosing a married man to be with.
Do you know why you picked someone who’s unavailable? Have you thought about how your actions–and potential future actions–will affect his wife and family?
These aren’t easy questions, because cheating is not an easy thing.
The best way to move forward is to make your own proactive decisions. Don’t wait around for him to leave his wife. The likelihood is that nothing good will come of it.
Consider ending it. The best thing you can do is give yourself the respect you deserve–which he as a committed man is unable to give to you.
When he cheats, he’s disrespecting his wife and he’s disrespecting you.
If you really care about him and think it’s possible to have a healthy relationship, you could put things on hold. Tell him you don’t want to see him, not until he reconsiders his marriage seriously. He has to decide whether or not your relationship is important enough to him to make some hard choices (like leaving his wife).
You could start seeing other men. Your relationship is hardly exclusive as it stands.
He’s sleeping with two women, and one of them has no idea about it. You should hardly feel guilty for going on a few dates with other guys.
So don’t be afraid to see other men. Date around, find a sense of independence that you can hold on to. That way he’s not just stringing you along in a relationship that’s as damaging to you as it is to his wife.
A cheating relationship is a thorny thing. Rarely is there a good outcome from it.
But if you take a proactive stand, reclaim your independence, and make a few difficult decisions, you can come out of it ahead–whatever the outcome may prove to be.