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Many wives who find out that their husband is still actively cheating often list “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 will discover the hoax and then look the other way or allow the hoax to continue. Most people want the cheating to stop immediately, even if the future of the marriage is unclear. Then the faithful wife or spouse can go on a crusade to demand that the matter end. And when that finally happens, the wife may feel a small sliver of success, until she begins to overthink it, and she worries that the cheating may eventually start again, especially given the uncertain fate of her marriage.

She might say, “For two weeks, I threatened my husband that if he didn’t end their relationship right away, I wouldn’t let him see his children. He tried to delay and begged me for more time. I wouldn’t give in. I told him no.” there was time to waste. And I suspect he was begging for time because he was trying to delay it, since he thinks he has real feelings for this fool, which is ridiculous. They’ve only known each other a few months. He told me last weekend that he had broken up. I don’t interact with him much lately, so it’s not like I’ve observed his behavior. I’m too angry. But last night I got up for a glass of water and he was in the kitchen texting. He said he was a text from his college-age son. But his face looked guilty. And now I’m worried that since I’m turning my back on him, he is or will start picking it up again. How often does someone stop the thing, just to start it again?

That is very difficult to answer. You may already know this, but if you do some research on this topic, you may find data indicating that anywhere from 22% of people repeat cheating up to 55%. Statistics seem to vary on this subject. But depending on what you believe, you’re looking at anywhere from one in four men to one in two. Now, these statistics don’t tell us if the person cheated again with the original partner. They only tell us if she cheated more than once. That’s why I suspect the number of people who cheat on the same person more than once is on the lower end 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 you are to cheat again. But I don’t think 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 return to the other person because it’s too easy. I understand why this is tempting, but rushing like this is also not ideal. You have not given yourself enough time to observe, wait and process what is happening. And frankly, if her husband goes back to the other woman, this gives you a lot of free information about her motivations and her commitment to her marriage, at least for the time being. Jumping back to the topic (or never stopping it in the first place) tells you a lot about her thought process. If he can’t take some well-deserved cold treatment, then I’m not sure if he’ll 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. However, not all men make this decision immediately. Some get caught up in the drama of the adventure, only to snap back to reality later, after reality fades.

There are no real guarantees in life or in marriage. It is impossible to have an ironclad guarantee that your spouse will never cheat on you again. In my experience, the best thing you can do is decide if you want to save your marriage, and then work tirelessly to do exactly that. Finally, you want a better marriage than the one you had in the beginning 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 accomplish by having an affair, and then figure out a way to prevent that process from happening again.

However, that is something that is usually decided over time. There’s no reason you should rush it just because you’re afraid he’ll cheat on you again. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep a close eye on it and get as much important information as you can. But if you’re serious about getting this right, you won’t start the matter again. Because it’s common sense that doing so would mean you might not give it a second chance.

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