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“Me or her?” What to do if your Husband has Deserted you for Another

26.08.2019 Author: Psychologist Pavel Khoroshutin

“I will leave you for another”… These are the words that put an end to relationships and ruin all the joint plans. It’s about cheating and betrayal. In terms of the strength of emotional experiences, a breakup for a woman may be compared to a natural disaster. A huge wave of negative emotions rolls over her with the fear of loneliness, guilt, self-doubt, anger and resentment towards the partner and, surely, hatred to the rival. But in an emergency, it is important to keep calm and self-controlled. In this article, we shall talk about the reasons that push men to cheat. And, of course, – what should you do after betrayal? Should you instigate a divorce or else try to return your husband to the family?


Why do husbands leave?


“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”. These words by L. Tolstoy quite accurately characterize the complexities of the relationship between two people. Without an “anamnesis”, painstakingly collected, it is difficult to identify the reason that may prompt a particular man to pack up and leave (and it does not matter whether he leaves for his mistress or just “fades into the night”). One thing is clear – that it is a consequence of unresolved conflicts within the family. It may happen when problems accumulate like a snowball, without any positive outcome.

Of course, a complete break in relations is a rather radical way out of a family crisis. Yet not every person has the patience and wisdom that are so necessary for solving relationship problems. The words “I am leaving” may sound like a bolt from the blue, but they definitely mean that the very moment of the emergence of a crisis in the family was missed and also the point of no return was passed.

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So, let’s figure out why men cheat and finally leave their families for their mistresses.

  1. The psychological unwillingness of a man to be a husband

Marriage is a great responsibility; it is certainly hard work for both partners. Some men, by their character or the attitudes that they have endured from childhood, are psychologically not ready to bear this “adult man’s burden” – to take care of their loved ones and to solve routine problems. And it’s not always about age. Even quite mature men may not be ready for marriage. What they desire is freedom – without being responsible for children or even for the relationship. [1]

An affair brings no burden; it just gives you an entire storm of positive emotions. But most likely, even after leaving for his mistress, a psychologically immature man will not find happiness. History will repeat itself – he will leave his new mate as soon as she starts infringing on his freedom.

  1. Too much negative communication

When the “home climate” is all thunderstorms and showers, a man will search for someone who will bring him peace and comfort. The mistress is the very person who may become his best friend, and listen and support him whatever happens.

Perhaps the husband may decide to leave the family and his home if the home is not safe for him and peaceful relations with his wife are impossible to restore.

  1.  Life values are too different

Before the wedding, you might have thought that “True love conquers all obstacles and defies all storms”. Yet one issue needs to be taken into account – your life values. This issue may become the biggest obstacle and the hardest storm on your way to a happy family life.

You and your partner may be incompatible in everything: in the desire or unwillingness to have children, in the choice of housing, in a suitable standard of living.

If you didn’t care about finding compromises regarding basic life goals before you married, your family relationships will face serious challenges. Finally, a man may find a “true companion” in another woman who initially shares his life values.

  1. Family routine

Some men consider the stability and regularity of family life to be a disadvantage. Not everyone is able to embrace the monotonous elements of family relationships without a murmer. Some people need bright emotions, adrenaline, and passion in their relationships. It’s a search for thrills that sometimes inspires a man to cheat or maybe even leave his wife for a new partner.

Psychologists claim that it is the mundaneness of the  family routine that often becomes the reason for divorce during one of the crisis periods through which all marriages pass (1 year, 3 years, 7 years, 15 years, and more than 20 years together). Instead of working with his wife in overcoming the difficulties in the relationship, a man may prefer the simpler solution – just to leave. Perhaps he does not understand that with his mistress he will also soon “get bored” since he’ll face the same everyday difficulties. [2]

  1. “Tribal” conflicts

Ludmila Ermakova, a psychologist, highlights in her ‘Overcoming Divorce’ book, another possible reason why the husband may leave. This concerns difficult relationships with relatives (his own or his partner’s). Sometimes parents try to exert control even after their children have become adults and start their own families. In such cases, it can become difficult to find the  balance between the loyalty to one’s parents and one’s mate. Sometimes these conflicts may turn into real “tribal wars”. Not every person can be flexible – and this can lead to numerous problems within families. Escaping from these problems by leaving a family may become a strong temptation. [2]

  1. Mutual disappointment

People tend to change – and so do marriage partners. Before the wedding, it seems that a loved one is perfect, but everyday life makes its adjustments. Both the husband and wife show their true character, and their shortcomings and bad habits tend to surface. This can lead to a tragic outcome – complete disappointment in each other.

The changes in the wife may be unacceptable for the husband.  Coldness and alienation in relationships, unkempt appearance, attempts to dominate and excessive custody can all be contributary factors. Each of these problems can be solved, yet sometimes people have got no strength and desire to extricate themselves from the crisis that has arisen. When a man realizes that he is now living with a woman who is completely different from the one he was once familiar with, he can make a cardinal decision – to leave.

Learn from the mistakes of others: stories of the women left by their husbands

husband went to another

“Six months ago, my husband left me for his mistress. He left me with two kids – boys 8 and 3 years old. He just crossed out our 12 years together. He said that he’d found another woman when I had just given birth to our second child. I was shocked – it meant that their affair had existed for three years and I had known nothing! I just took care of our children! And one day he just packed up, bid farewell, and closed the door.

He stabbed me in the back with his cheating. Yet I still love him. I cannot live without him. I asked him to come back and I called him and sent messages. There were many things I did.  I scandalized, begged, and threatened to forbid him from seeing the children. I asked his mother to influence him. I even talked to his mistress to try to appeal to her conscience. It wasn’t a peaceful conversation — I just screamed and threatened the homewrecker. And my husband in his new family has now closed us out. He doesn’t answer my phone calls and he only comes to the children when I am at work. He avoids even the smallest contact with me.

Recently my husband said that I do not let him live and that I had prejudiced our children against him, so, he’s about to move from our city. Isn’t it possible to bring him home from the mistress? I cannot live without him”.

— Elena, 30 years old

Whether the husband leaves for his mistress forever largely depends upon his wife’s behaviour.

One of the most used tactics for a woman to get a man back is to hunt him down. Endless calls and scandals come into play. Yet psychologists believe that this tactic does not work. The obsessive behaviour of the ex-wife, bordering on aggression, only unbalances him more. Such a hunt may only succeed if the man went to his mistress due to a lack of attention from his wife.

A man will appreciate his ex-wife’s constant reminders of her existence in the form of “accidental” meetings and updates of statuses in social networks only if he still has warm feelings for her. Yet if all the emotions are gone, he will just pay no attention to any such efforts.

Sorting out their relationships, couples tend to forget about the children. But for them, it’s even harder since the divorce of their parents impinges on the idea of a safe home. Therefore, a woman should abandon manipulative tactics such as forbidding her ex-partner to meet with the children if he does not return to the family. But even if he accepts such conditions, it can hardly be called a victory since the husband will return not for love, but only for the good of the children.

One more tactic to try to get one’s husband back is to involve friends and relatives in this personal problem. This looks like a real conspiracy! Yet if a man is really in love with another woman, he will not follow any arguments and advice. This is more likely to lead to the breakup of all the ties with friends and family. [3]

“My husband and I have been married for 10 years. We have a beautiful daughter – she’s five years old. We went through a lot together – a lack of money, and unsuccessful attempts to have children, and the crisis after the birth of a long-awaited daughter. And we have achieved a lot – a big house, good jobs, many friends and travels at least once a year.

I was always confident about my husband. I felt that he would never let me down. But everything has changed. As I found out later, an office romance “happened” to my husband. To be honest, I did not even know about his affair – he somehow managed to hide her endless calls and their meetings in rented apartments.

A year ago, he confessed that he had been cheating for 2 years. He said that he could no longer hide his betrayal and did not know what to do next. We had a hard talk. I could not forgive him and proposed that we break up. Finally, he left to go to his mistress who was waiting for him.

I tried to make it through steadfastly. I couldn’t give up since I had a child to take care of! I was full of anger yet I peacefully spoke with my husband about divorce and property division. I had nothing against him  seeing our daughter because they are very attached to each other and I would do everything for her happiness. I did not try to start a quarrel between the mistress and my husband and I tried not to think about them at all. I even asked our common friends not to gossip about them in my presence.

Six months passed, and my life got back to some sort of normality somehow – work, friends, home. Though I avoided any romantic affairs since I felt I wasn’t ready for them. And finally, on our common friend’s birthday, I met my ex. We talked about our lives and it came out that he had left his mistress a few months before. He said “she’s nothing like you” and he couldn’t stay with her. He asked if I could forgive him. So, I gave him one more chance. We’re back together working on restoring our relationship. It’s hard, and hard for him too but we do our best since we do love each other”.

— Olga, 35 years old

Divorce is an ordeal for both partners, but it is very important to pull yourself together and find “a common denominator” together. How can you divide property? How many times a week should he see the children? Without screams and reproaches, it is quite possible to maintain a friendly relationship with the ex-husband. And if he later realizes that he left you for “a wrong one”, you may try to “resurrect” the marriage.

A woman who is ready to forgive her husband has to reconsider her attitude towards family life. Only full acceptance of the situation will allow you to forgive the betrayal without constant recalling all the hidden grievances in quarrels. And you’ll have to live with the knowledge that your husband has betrayed you once. [3]

Not easy yet not impossible: how can you get your husband back from his mistress?

how to get my husband back

So, your husband left you for another woman. You are overwhelmed with emotions – panic, hopelessness, anger. Sometimes, your first desire is to beg him to stay because it’s hard to cross out all the years you spent together. Yet you cannot solve the problem without finding out how the situation occurred. It’s important to understand why he wants to leave the family. Is it true love, momentary passion or just unacceptance of family life?

Before throwing all your strength into trying to return your husband to the family, think carefully about whether it is worth doing at all. Try to be reasonable.

Psychologists warn:

  • You need to fight for the marriage only if both partners are eager to keep the family together.
  • It always takes time to mend broken relationships. You need to be prepared for the fact that this time may be wasted – it is not always possible to “glue back” the marriage.
  • It is really hard to restore trust in relationships after the betrayal of one of the partners.
  • If the man had an affair once, there’s always a risk that he may do it again. [2]

Which recommendations may help bring your husband back to the family and restore your relationship?

  1. Talk

Leave all negative emotions aside and talk to your husband calmly. Does he still have any feelings for you? Be honest – say that you want to get your family back and are ready to work on yourself. But is he ready?

Psychologists advise abandoning all the attempts to “resurrect” the relationship if the husband loves his mistress. Don’t make life even more complicated both for you and for him. Just accept the situation as it is and move on.

  1. Work on your bugs

If the husband left the family for his mistress for good reasons – your constant groundless reproaches, scandals, manipulations, prudence – work on your shortcomings. Draw the right conclusions from the situation and try to change.

Even if you don’t get your husband back, personal changes will help you to establish harmonious relationships with a new partner in the future.

  1. Find common grounds

You and your husband have lived together for a long time, and you probably have many common grounds and interests you love doing together. You may try to revive all this. And if you have children – you will not stop seeing each other.

Recalling shared memories, going for a walk with a child – these will help to re-establish good, trusting relationships with a man. If you worked on your bugs well – you’ve got a chance to bring your husband back to the family.

  1. «Me or her»

In some cases, men who have left their families for their mistresses keep “attending” their wives because they now lack home comforts. Traditionally, this happens when a husband went to a young mistress only in search of thrills. But such “attendances” will not help a couple get out of the crisis. A man tries to sit on two chairs at the same time and he is still attached to the family he left.

It is important to make the man understand that you will accept him back, but only if he breaks up with his mistress. If betrayal with a further separation was but a momentary weakness, he will accept your terms.

Still for ever fare thee well: how to get over a final breakup

how to get over a breakup

Regardless of the real reason for the divorce, you still have to establish friendly relations with your ex-husband (at least for the sake of the children). You have to cope with your depression and apathy, and deal with your everyday problems by yourself.

What should you do if your husband leaves you forever?

  1. Become aware of what’s happened

According to psychologists, living through a breakup can be compared to grief after the death of a loved one. A woman passes through the same stages:

  • Denial — you cannot believe what has happened.
  • Anger — bouts of aggression, anger, and hatred towards the husband and his new passion.
  • Bargaining — trying to do everything to get a loved one back.
  • Awareness — apathy and depression, when you finally understand what has happened.
  • Acceptance – reconciliation with reality.

Think about which stage you are at right now. All the further “therapy” depends on this. It is easier to cope with yourself when you understand what kind of emotions are you going through. [2]

  1. Take a break

The first two or three months after your husband leaves are the hardest. This is the shock phase. If you are overwhelmed with anger and resentment you can commit a lot of rash acts.

Try to be calm and not give in to negative emotions. Take a break. Do not take any serious decisions. Let the mental state return to a stability after the shock, so that you will be able to think rationally again.

  1. Get rid of the victim complex and feelings of guilt.

How does a woman usually react when her partner tells her he wants to divorce? She begins to think that maybe she did something wrong, she recalls all her mistakes and faults from the past, and she becomes insecure.

This victim complex and guilt feelings need to be removed for they interfere with the development of personality and provoke a depressive state. It is important to understand that it takes two for a breakup. There are but a few divorces when just one partner is to blame. Try to accept the fact that your husband chose the other not because she is better and more beautiful, but because of the circumstances. Both of you couldn’t hold on to what you had. [3]

  1. In times of despair, return to the “here and now” state

Thoughts about the past, and even more so about the future, will be depressing after the breakup. As soon as you feel that negative emotions roll in, try to get yourself back to the “here and now”– and do it immediately. This will allow you to maintain your ability to work when suffering and guilt have literally take away all your strength.

This does not mean that you need to completely protect yourself from any negativity. You cannot escape from yourself. You will not get through a breakup if you don’t rethink everything that has happened, but your sorrow should not last forever.

  1. Feel free to ask for help

What prevents a person from seeking help and support from loved ones during difficult periods of life? A fear that you may look weak. Get rid of this fear! Do not close in yourself; do not try to be a superhero and try to get out of the crisis all by yourself.

Ask and accept help, heed the reasonable advice of close friends who do not leave you when times get hard.

  1. Take care of your personal life

After the breakup, you will have much more spare time. Use it for improving yourself instead of suffering. How long have you been putting off going to the hairdresser or shopping for a new dress? The time has come to do it! Try to be active. Find an interesting hobby. It doesn’t matter what exactly it will be – dancing, beading, knitting – do the things you love and that bring you positive emotions.

  1. Take advantage of the 7Spsy Behaviour Modification Technology

Not every woman can pull herself together and move on with her head held high after the betrayal of a loved one. Breakup leads to hard emotional consequences, and long-term grief after divorce can become a habit – a learned pattern of behaviour. It is important not to miss the point of no return and find a way to improve your own life after breaking up with your husband.

If you correct negative attitudes, you have every chance to get out of the crisis with minimal losses. The course of returning loyalty to a spouse or spouse using the method of behavioural psychology shows good results. This is a patented technique of behavioural psychology based on the theories of I. P. Pavlov, B. F. Skinner, and A. A. Ukhtomskii.

We will help you to discover greater loyalty in your family life

Make for consultation

Taking the course will help you change the behavioural attitudes that have pushed you into the abyss of fears and complexes after breaking up with the man you loved. You will understand that the world has not stopped, but continues to rotate at the same pace. This is important when dealing with stressful situations. Having mastered a healthy model of behaviour, you will stop blaming yourself for what happened. This is the beginning of a fresh path when it will be possible to build a new personal life without the shadow of the past falling over it.

The 7Spsy Behaviour Modification Technology Course is designed for up to 6 weeks. The training takes place in a convenient remote mode. Experts answer all questions and will counsel by e-mail, chat, and phone. You don’t have to advertise your work with a psychologist if you don’t want to. Participation in the course is strictly confidential.

Remember, no matter what happens, your happiness is in your hands! Don’t let suffering lure you into eternal sorrow.


  1. Psychology of the modern family, 2004, V. M. Tseluiko.
  2. Overcoming Divorce, 2009, D. Semenik.
  3. Family psychology: problems, professional approaches to their solution: Study guide, 2011, T. A. Makedon.