So your spouse has had an affair, and you are now contemplating whether you should throw him/her out or work to save your marriage.  One question that most people in this position will be asking themselves is if the cheating spouse is going to cheat again? Should you trust again or not? You may feel torn, like you want to take your spouse back but feel like it is a point of pride not to, but then you may feel that the history and family you share is enough reason to reconsider.

Research studies show that cheating is relatively common. According to recent studies, even spouses who describe themselves as “happy” with their marriage have affairs.

But the good news is that married couples can actually work through the crisis of an affair, can become more intimate and they can put an end to cheating once and for all. This means that, “Once a cheater, always a cheater” is just not true. There are people who learn and grow from the pain and loss of closeness in the relationship that are the aftermaths of an affair.

Of course there are always those individuals who will cheat and cheat again. So how do you tell if your spouse might be a chronic cheater? Here are five signs of relationship advice from Diana Kirschner, Ph.D. that indicate your cheating spouse is not a habitual cheater and you have a chance to save your marriage:

1. Your spouse is truly remorseful and regrets having cheated. Look for heartfelt apologies that ring true when you hear them.

2. Your spouse cuts off contact with his or her affair partner.

3. The cheater shows a renewed appreciation and devotion towards you.

4. You wind up having deep, open and honest conversations with each other about your relationship, what was missing in it and where you’d like to take it in the future.

5. Your spouse wants to enter psychotherapy or counseling either individually or with you to understand his/her own dynamics and to make your relationship better and more intimate.

If the cheating spouse shows these signs and the relationship is good for you in many other ways, then the chances of you working through this crisis is very good.

So how do you know if your spouse has not given up the affair or is even cheating with someone different?  Kirschner points out just a few of the most common signs:

• He/she’s working late a lot

• He/she is suddenly taking trips you can’t go on

• He/she’s got new hobbies that don’t include you

• Mysterious phone calls with hang-ups

• Credit card bills for unexplained hotel stays or gift-type items

• Less sex

• He/she’s more distant, angry or picky

If your spouse has an affair, it doesn’t absolutely mean he or she will do it again. Once a cheater, always a cheater isn’t necessarily true. Forgiveness and a new found intimacy are possible as you work to save your marriage.



    25 replies to "Save Your Marriage: Will Your Spouse Cheat Again?"

    • Michael

      This is something that I wrestle with because of the lack of the communication about what we can do to be better. My wife is so deeply closed off that we lack the skills to open up completely to each other. I see one thing from the first list that I believe is true. I do think she has cut off communications with him. Her devotion and appreciation of me looked better for a while then diminished. And our intimacy was better then is slowly diminishing. Things look like there moving back to the way things were. Before I found out about what happened.
      This may be good for her because she is getting all the benefits of my renewed interest in her and appreciation of her. But I feel cheated because I don’t see any interest in her to change. She has very little interest in making me feel like she is devoted to making me happy or wanted. She tells me, when I ask about my needs, that that’s just not the way she learned to love someone. And that’s just not her. When I mention something that I would like, like sexy wear or at least help me feel like she’s happy I’m home, she says that’s slutty or just not her.
      So I don’t have that warm and fuzzy feeling when I get home. And I wonder if I am just being selfish. I should just be happy getting what I get when she gives it and not feel unfulfilled. I know she had a problematic past. But Its hard to see signs that I’m loved.

      • admin

        I understand what you are saying about not having that warm and fuzzy feeling. I felt the same way. I felt that I was back completely and Doug was still making excuses of why he didn’t meet my needs. I felt that he thought that as long as he was there, that was good enough. Over time I became very frustrated and kept thinking that the reason behind his behavior was he was still in love and wanted to be with her. It toiled with my emotions daily. Now I realize that his actions or lack of had little to do with his feelings for her and more with his resentment and trust that how I was acting was real and lasting. It really puts you in a bad position. You want to continue what you are doing, if you stop if will give her reason to think your changes are not real. If you continue without expecting anything from her, you will also become resentful and question your love for her. I believe that you need to continue to be upfront with her. Explain that you love her and want to continue being married, however you do not need her. She needs to make an effort to communicate how she is feeling and to make an effort to meet your needs as well. I suggest that you pull away some and really focus on you and your children. Give her some time to realize how lucky she is.

    • Mary

      So, how do you know if your spouse is cheating in the first place? Whether it is emotionally or physically? How do you know for sure? What if you suspect and have no proof? What do you do?

      • admin

        Hi Mary, and thanks for commenting. There are many signs that can give you a fairly good idea. Feel free to check out the Affair Signs category for a few posts on the subject. Have you confronted your spouse about your suspicions?

    • michael

      Thank you for that Linda.
      I have thought about that, maybe not that well, and find myself pulling away. I try not to call her as much, and find us talking less. So I don’t want that. I don’t try and hold her in bed as much and find her drifting to the other side and turning away from me. Makes it feel like when we were having problems. I tried leaving it up to her to reschedule our therapist appointment and she never did. So is my marriage doomed. I hope not.
      I did finally go to the therapist on my own one day. Because of what happened with the badge for her show, I had been feeling less trusting in her again and wanted to talk about it with someone. When I talked to her about it she made excuses like she ordered her badge before I found out, and just kinda shrugged her head in understanding. Later to ask me, when I was acting distant at the hotel, if I was mad. I wasn’t mad about the badge. I was mad that she was still hiding things.
      I tell her in emails, in text, and in person, how I feel and what I would like to see from her. And it goes nowhere. On a couple of occasions I felt like her attention was on me. Maybe she doesn’t think my love for her is genuine. Maybe she feels like its not going to last. Maybe he’s telling her, or told her, he’ll wait to see if It lasts. Maybe I’m not doing enough. Maybe I’m doing to much. All I know is that I can’t carry the two of use through this forever.

    • Michael

      I don’t even know if I know my wife anymore, or ever did. Going through old emails I found an email from her ex husband. The one she had just divorced when I met her. We have been together 13 years and a little over two years ago we got married. A week or so before we got married he emailed her and she responded that she would call him. 3 days after we got married she sent him another email kinda blowing him off. Then after he responded to that email, and she told him to email her again. So what do I do with that?

      • admin

        Michael, I feel for you buddy. If it were me though, unless the email had some serious stuff in it, I’d let it go. This is the least of your worries at the moment. You might want to casually ask her if she has spoken to him lately, or something along those lines. But I wouldn’t act accusatory in any way. You’re sort of at a crossroads in your relationship and you want to continue to build on the positive things you have been doing. It seems as though your wife has an issue with letting go of past relationships. Any ideas why? Could she possibly have low self-esteem?

    • Michael

      Yeah I left it alone, I did send a copy of the emails to my work email. And i think she read them on my blackberry. But hasn’t said anything to me. These came as a surprise because while we were working on us I found his Facebook on her computers history. She told me he came up as a suggested friend but that only suggests friends of friends I think. It doesn’t have anything to do with today I know but it just shows her character. I would like her to realize she has issues that need to be worked on, but I don’t think it will ever happen.

    • Mary

      Yeah, and he says I’m crazy. That he could never do that to me and the kids. We have three – very young children. He says that he cannot think of being with someone else without thinking about the hurt it would cause our family. But…. he does show some other signs. And when I ask him about those things he kinds blows me off. I have no person that I specifically suspect him of being with but I just know something is not right and some stuff definitely points to an affair. I wish I could just know for sure. Sigh. Thanks anyway.

      • admin

        Mary, Hopefully what he tells you is the truth. What sort of signs are you seeing?

    • Mary

      It’s hard to explain really. Some of it is just a feeling. But he seems less interested in ME. In all ways. He is annoyed with me constantly. He barely says hello when he gets home. And yes we have three small children who clamour for his attention but a few years ago we made a point of talking to each other and telling our son to go play because our relationship was important. That never happens anymore. He goes to work all kinds of early in the morning – much earlier than is necessary and is not coming home earlier because of it. And I don’t know – he just seems to not really see me at all.

      • admin

        Mary, I know you have asked him about your suspicions, but somehow you need to start up those relationship conversations you used to have. Obviously they are very important. Are you showing interest in HIM? Otherwise, there may be something else going on with him, and not necessarily an affair. Perhaps something is wrong at work, etc. There are certainly ways to determine if he is having an affair, some of which boarder on espionage, if you are interested in doing that.

    • Heartbroken

      Mary – For what’s it’s worth, I don’t think there exists a magic equation that tells for sure that someone is, or will, cheat. There is much to be said about your intuition though, and I still vividly recall that sick to my stomach feeling I had leading up to my catching my wife in an affair with another man. I’d trust your instincts and rather than continue questioning him when you now know his perhaps truthful response instead quietly look at phone usage, e-mail, and computer logs. I have an opinion that most cheaters are not thinking clearly (hence the cheating) and tend to get careless on how they communicate.

      Most cell phone companies have online account summaries that give you great details about your personal accounts. Depending on how severe your level of concern has become, you may wish to hire a private investigator to just trail him at specific times for a few days to confirm his honesty. They can get expensive though so I’d suggest that you narrow down services to address and hopefully eliminate your worst concerns. Perhaps you have a trusted friend or family member who could do much of this for you. At any rate, it would be a small price to pay for your peace of mind and much cheaper than a divorce.

      President Reagan once said ‘Trust, but Verify’. You need to focus on trust to keep your marriage positive and moving forward. Let someone else carry your doubts for you for a few days and set them aside. After I caught my wife and regained my senses, I actually told her that I chose to ‘Trust, but Verify’ and that I would no longer be checking the computer, phone bills, etc. What I didn’t tell her was that I hired an investigator to do it for me. Within 24 hours they were talking again and I was building a court admissible case if things continued to go south. In fact, the transcripts between them were painful to read, particularly from the hurt in knowing that she was actively lying to me. They had agreed to wait 6 weeks and then start talking again ‘after I forget all about it’. I sat quiet for weeks trying to make a calm, rational assessment of how to proceed. It was not until I began quoting some of their exact dialogue back to her did she fully realize how serious the situation had become and that she had to decide what she wanted to do. My point though is that there was something liberating in handing that stress to someone else for a period of time so I could focus on what I was going to do. In a state of panic, people sometimes say or do things they regret, and affairs seem to bring out strange aspects in everyone.

      I do hope that for your sake nothing is being hidden from you and that your marriage remains intact. Counseling has been very good for us and really has focused on mutual transparency so that neither of us have to wonder or doubt what is going on. Just based on what little you have shared online, maybe improved (mutual) communication and scheduled alone time together would go a long way and make both of you feel connected together again.

      • admin

        Wonderful advice Heartbroken. So why exactly did your wife tell you that chose to stay rather than continue a relationship with the OP?

    • Mary

      Thanks everyone!! I appreciate your help. I don’t know where this is going and I don’t know where we will wind up. The scary thing for me is that he knows how opposed to the idea of divorce I am. He knows that I probably will not leave – even if I catch him. So, he has very little to worry about. And who knows maybe I am crazy. The hardest part about it is feeling this way and not really being able to talk to him – which of course means talking to other people. Which of course drives us further apart. Sigh. I think I will get off the computer now and try to talk to him about something – anything. Communication is key, right?

      • admin

        Yes Mary, communication is key. Good luck and let us know how it comes out.

    • Heartbroken

      admin – She told me that she had lost her mind and never intended to hurt or leave me…that he said things to make her feel special again and that it all moved so fast. I think the tipping point was when I scheduled a meeting with our church pastor for guidance. I had my stack of transcripts with me and asked him if he thought I should call the OP directly and confront him. I used *67 before his work number so he couldn’t see my area code and called him with my pastor in the room for support.

      I made him aware that I had court admissible documents and that the affair must stop with the end of our call…that as difficult as it was for me to read some of the inappropriate language texted back and forth online, that I was pretty confident that his wife would find it even more disturbing than me. I calmly told him that I came from a divorced family and understood the hurt and pain his children would feel if he continued communications and how alimony and divorce will impact his lifestyle.

      He basically through my wife under the bus and explained that she initiated contact and aggressively looked to speak with him…that he was the innocent party. I told him that I recognized that an affair is a mutual decision and that I was the only innocent party in this equation. I firmly told him that the only reason the documents were not already in certified mail to his wife, employer, and oldest son were because I knew the pain it would create for his children and I didn’t want that guilt on me unless he continued speaking to her. Now that responsibility has been handed back to him and I have a clear conscience. To my knowledge, all communication stopped after that call.

      Under my pastor’s direction, I told my wife that evening that I spoke to him and how he placed the blame on her. He never denied any of the details of the transcripts or that they had secretly been spending time together at a motel. She was clearly angry that put the fault on her shoulders, and I think, at that moment, began to see how she had been played. I want to believe that this is just how this guy operates traveling around the country, meeting women at his various stops for work and keeping them on the side. We started counseling the next week and he made her take an AIDS test. This situation has turned my life upside-down. Productivity remains at an all-time low. I go room to room forgetting why I walked in there. It’s really been crazy. While I do believe the OP has moved on, she still does not show the remorse I would have expected. I guess only time will tell.

      Mary – Communication really is key. Our counselor immediately made us buy ‘The Five Love Languages’ by Dr. Gary Chapman and we were to read a chapter each night together (emphasizing TOGETHER) and then talk to each other about each chapter as read and how it applies to us and our marriage. What I learned is that everyone shows their love to others in different ways. I am an ‘Acts of Service’ kind of guy. I’d work on the yard or house to keep it maintained and play actively with our kids to show my love. She viewed it as not being interested in her…and not giving her the acts of service she needed most like loading the dishwasher. In those terms, it was like we had both been speaking two different languages all these years and didn’t even know it. The book gave us a new foundation to communicate in ways that we each better understand. I’d also still recommend that you also schedule a weekly date night where you can go out and have fun…but not to bring up any concerns…just have fun together.

    • Mary


      Thanks for the advice. That does sort of sound like us. My husband is very good with the playing with the kids and cooking dinner, etc. But he will leave a pile of laundry sitting piled up on the floor waiting to be folded – which drives me NUTS because I am always backed up on the laundry. I wonder if we have different ways of communicating love. But then I also wonder if he has lost interest in me – so what do I know.
      As for going out I wish we could – but we have no one to leave our kids with. We are overprotective and have no family near by. Its a good idea though.

    • Heartbroken

      Mary – We are in a similar boat with our 3 children, ages 3, 6, and 9. Affording a babysitter is hard, but we did sign-up for Netflix and do a movie ‘date-night’ at home least once a week where we share quality alone time after the children go to bed. We schedule it just as if we were going out. You will still need quality ‘talk’ time too…a movie alone doesn’t count…I’d still strongly recommend that book even if you can’t get him to read it and you can find it cheap on ebay or amazon…hope this helps!!!

    • amanda

      my hubby cheated on me i did most of the stuff heartbroken did confronted the woman confronted him with their sms’s etc and i was determined to save my marriage. Is it my position to save it or the cheating spouse. Before you know it you’re the one putting all the effort and the cheater is not. I don’t think marriage was meant to be painfull like that. I don’t know how to get what i thought we had because maybe when we face the music its scary to admit you never had anything to begin with. Is that why we try and save the marriage?

    • Pippi

      Mary — My husband was seeing his affair partner at lunch. I was suspicious but because lunch never occurred to me I didn’t pick up on it. He wasn’t texting/calling her. He wasn’t working late. He was just doing her at lunch four mile from their office at her apartment. Do what you have to to find out. Whatever that entails . . . good luck.

    • James

      Amanda – I can totally identify with you story. Just caught my wife in a 4yr old physical & emotional affair with a younger man and all she said was “I never told you I was a saint”. No remorse or apology! I considered leaving but chose to work things out for the sake of the kids and amazingly cos I still love her. However, though she says she to remain in the marriage, she doesn’t want to get close to me. Says I’m rushing her. That we should take time to know each other again but when I want to talk, she’s busy. When I send a romantic text or email, she doesn’t acknowledge or reply. Says she’s not ready to have such conversation with me. Beginning to think she’s not ready to give up her affair for me but wants to retain her social status as a married woman. So, I’m now inclined to opt out and ensure as little impact on my kids as possible. No need to seek counselling with someone who is not ready to be with you in the first place. Wish I was wrong.

    • mey

      we had been together since 19 years and married just after high school , we hav grown up together and now after 15 yrs of marriage he hav cheated on me with my cousin and i cant move on coz m still in love with him he says he is sorry but do i trust him again? cant even tell anyone coz my family adores him and they’ll b heartbroken m in such a dilemma he meant the world to me and i hate myself for loving him so much. hadnt been sleeping well for weeks every time i close my eyes i imagine them pls pray for me

    • hurtsobad

      i just found out my husband cheated on me with his friend who i never met 2 years ago. we were having long distance relationship. he came to visit me twice a year, and stayed for a month each visit. then he didn’t come to see me for 2 years and i couldn’t go to visit him as i was waiting for the reply from the immigration. the girl he was cheating with got deported back to hong kong 2 years ago (2010) and he went to visit her there behind my back. i was living in hong kong at that time and he didn’t even call me once when he was there visiting her! i just moved to where he’s from 2 months ago. i found the pictures of him visiting her from his computer, they were holding each other very close on all pictures. i found condoms in his drawer, i found female long hair on the floor.. i checked his computer history, he checked out alot of porn websites, some chinese website for girl clothings, chinese celebrities news (he doesn’t like stuff like this), some dinning websites, couple msn accounts for chatting.. ect (all in 2011 Jan – 2012 Jan). i was very shocked, cuz he was living alone for the past 5 years, how could he have girl stuff in his place. he’s the last person i would expect he would cheat as he was a very honest person that didn’t lie and he hates cheating and betrayal very much. he admitted he got a little too closed to her, but never sleeps with her. he missed her as a good friend, that’s why he went to visit her. and he said we fight alot and he started losing hope in us. and yes, we fight alot as he has very bad temper, he’s very bossy and controlling, and he knows his problems now. after i found out, i was going to leave him. up until now, he still begs me to stay, he keeps telling me i’m the only one for him, he only wants me to be his wife. he doesn’t care for others. he’s willing to go to see a marriage counsellor to work on our problems together. he cut arm, he cried many times, he wrote me couple letters to show how much he loves me. he will make it up to me for the rest of our lives.. but i don’t know if i should give him another chance, i’m very scared to trust him again, scared he’ll cheat on me again. he’s trying everything to have me back. i moved out and am living with my friend right now, i need to be away from him to think. but he hates it that i’m far away from him, he calls me at least twice everyday and worries if i’m meeting new people. he thinks i’m wasting our time to be away from him. he tells me how much he misses and loves me everyday, how lonely he feels. he wants me to go home and see marriage counsellor soon. what should i do? i love him so much that hurts, i’m totally lost right now..

    • hurtsobad

      and we haven’t had sex for abit over 2 years. he said he lost interest in me cuz we fight alot. he’s stressed from work everyday, he does have tons of work to do as he runs his own business. i went back to visit him for 3 days last week, he asked me to go back for all the doctor appointments. he said i could leave after all appointments if i wanted to. he wants me to be in good health even thou i don’t want to be with him anymore cuz he cares. he was so happy to see me with tears, i was too but didn’t show it to him. he wanted to make love to me the next morning all the sudden.. i was surprised.

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