The Spitzers are the latest in a chain of publicised indiscretions where the wife not only stays put, but stands by her man: from Hillary Clinton to Wendy Vitter and Kathy Lee Gifford.
Public or not, what motivates someone to stay after his or her spouse has an affair?
In her 25 years of research and consulting on extramarital affairs, DearPeggy.com’s Peggy Vaughan says as much as 70 per cent of people stay in the marriage after infidelity. “Most people think all infidelity ends in divorce, but frequently they (the couple) just keep it quiet,” she says.
The common yet judgmental question “Why did she stay?” implies that she shouldn’t, Vaughan says. “It’s an extra burden for all the women who stay to have to defend themselves to their family and friends. When somebody tells you ‘If it were me, I’d …’ you can ignore the rest of the sentence because they aren’t you.”
She cautions couples from seeking divorce right away. “The people who get out right away second-guess themselves the rest of their lives,” says Vaughan, founder of the Beyond Affairs Network and the author of eight books, including The Monogamy Myth.