10 Painfully Realistic Reasons Men Won't Leave Wives For Their Mistresses

Why a mistress will likely never become the wife.

Man kissing his wife on the forehead and mistress upset  Aşkın Polat, chrisboy2004 | Canva 

Editor's Note: This is a part of YourTango's Opinion section where individual authors can provide varying perspectives for wide-ranging political, social, and personal commentary on issues.

The other day, I was grabbing a smoothie after my gym workout when I overheard a sad conversation. A woman was telling her friend that she was involved with a married man, that he loved her, but that he “still won’t leave his evil wife.” I sighed. It’s a tale as old as time, and it’s one that most women believe will never happen to them. However, I’ve seen enough in life to know that this scenario rarely works out well, especially for the other woman.

If you’re in this situation and are a married man's mistress, you need to be aware of the reasons why men will never leave their wives for their mistresses, even after years of adultery. Statistics show that the vast majority of cheating men end up staying with their wives and drop their mistresses once they are caught in the act. You should not think, not for a second, that you will be the exception to the rule. Here’s why he won’t leave her for you.


Why 10 painfully realistic reasons men won't leave their wives for their mistresses:

1. Men who cheat enjoy the idea of a mistress rather than a wife, but they don’t usually respect them

He may like you, but the fact is that men who go out to cheat often already have made the decision that he’s not going to upgrade you to wife status. Once that decision is made, it’s set in stone. The reason why men will never leave their wives is simple: whether he admits it or not, a cheating man does not respect his mistress.

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2. A cheater realizes  it’s better to have that solid foundation than to try to venture into the unknown

He knows what his wife can deliver, and it’s a higher standard of living. A divorce, a breakup, and a foray with a woman who might not live up to his expectations during “reality mode” might not be something he’d willingly undertake. After all, the cost of things falling through with you will be twice as high as the cost of just divorcing his wife alone.

3. Marriage comes with legal issues that will make most men immediately think twice

It’s not so easy to walk away from a relationship with someone you’re legally married to. This is true, even among people who detest their spouses. Most men do not want to deal with the red tape of law, nor do they want to deal with all the legal penalties that come with divorce. So, they’ll stay, even if they hate their wives.

4. Additionally, there’s also the issue of personal finance

Divorce is brutal on one’s wallet. In a lot of cases, it can lead to a man (or a woman) losing 50 percent or more of what they own. Unsurprisingly, a lot of men won’t divorce their wives because of the financial hit they would take.



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5. There’s the issue of potentially losing his kids

I’m assuming a lot of men like their kids. Divorce means that they will likely end up seeing less of their kids, regardless of what they do. If their kids find out that daddy cheated on mommy, it’s also very possible that they won’t want anything to do with him. Parents will understand why this isn’t a price many dads are willing to pay.

6. He has a public image to worry about

Nothing quite says “scumbag” like a man who leaves his wife for his mistress. Cheaters are aware of this and the stigma that comes with it. Most of them don’t want to face that since they are cowards and this will have long-term consequences.

7. Even if he would logically want to leave, there’s also a matter of a Sunk Cost Fallacy to think about

Sometimes, it’s just the fact that he’s been with his wife for so long and invested so much into being with her. In economics, this is called the Sunk Cost Fallacy, and it states that people tend to stay with decisions that they’ve already invested in. If he feels heavily invested, he will be way less likely to leave. And really, what’s a bigger investment than marriage?



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8. The quality of life they would lose, overall, is one that most men dread losing

Kids, finances, and reputation aside, there are other benefits to staying in a marriage that we haven’t listed. It’s nice to have a wife at home who takes care of the kids. It’s nice to come home to a clean house, have someone who will take care of you while you're sick, and also just have that regularity in your life. Breaking up would mean losing all the smaller, subtler perks of marriage, and most guys don’t want that.

9. There’s also the fact that a lot of guys realize that the time they spend with their mistresses is often just “fantasy time”

You’re his mistress. You don’t see him when he has diarrhea. You don’t see him when he’s getting allergic reactions. He doesn’t see you when you’re shaving your legs or when your period has gotten out of control. In most cases, the time you spend is when both of you are on your A-game. You can’t keep that up 24/7, and all the allure that you have compared to his wife will fade once things get serious. Many men realize this and will keep you at a distance because of it.

10. Lastly, it’s because he already has his cake and eats it, too

This is what it boils down to. He’s got what he wants — on all corners. Why would he change it? Moreover, why would he want to change it? He's got it made, and he knows it. For him, there's no reason to leave or change the setup he's gotten, so he won't.


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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, New Theory Magazine, and others.