For those of us who have been there, an affair can be full of turbulent emotions and strong feelings.
There’s the thrill of it: the intense, physical passion. But there’s also the fear, shame, and doubt that comes with secrecy.
Does he really love me? Can I trust him? He tells you he does. But he hasn’t lived up to his promises. He still hasn’t left his wife.
It’s only natural to wonder if he’ll ever leave her for you.
In most circumstances, unfortunate to say, he probably won’t.
In this article, I’ll take you through 14 signs he won’t leave his wife. After, we’ll talk about the reasons why he’s stringing you along.
Most importantly, I want to show you some great ways to take proactive steps forward.
Because, frankly, an affair can’t last forever. Sooner or later, something has to change.
14 signs he’s not leaving her
1) He never tells you he wants to
This sign might seem obvious, but it is one of the biggest. You might not want to breach the subject yourself, so it just doesn’t come up.
But wait, he keeps telling you how much he loves you, cares about you, or really just enjoys his time with you. Doesn’t that mean he wants to leave his wife?
No, not necessarily.
The two of you could have extraordinary chemistry, but if he doesn’t tell you he wants to leave his wife for you, he probably won’t.
There’s no point in hoping that one day he’ll come to you and say that he’s ended things with his wife. If it seems important enough to you to know if he’s thought about leaving her, find a good time and start up a conversation about it.
2) How does he talk about his wife?
You can find out a lot about the way that he views his wife by listening to him talk about her.
Or, wait, does he talk about her at all?
This is actually an important thing to note, and here’s why:
If he never brings her up at all, he’s pretty much saying that you and his life with his family are completely separate, and he wants to keep it that way.
He likes having a mistress who doesn’t remind him of his other life, or the responsibilities and commitment that come with a real relationship. He could also be searching for a solution to the emotional isolation he feels in his marriage.
But what if he only ever talks bad about her? That’s a good sign, right?
Here’s the thing, though: it probably isn’t. He’s likely just telling you what he thinks you want to hear. He might not be being entirely truthful.
If he really is looking to leave his wife, he’ll likely have come to terms with both the bad and the good. That’s going to affect the way he talks about her.
He’ll talk about the problems in the marriage, why he thinks it’s not working, but he’ll talk about the good things,too, and he won’t shy away from saying nice things about his wife.
To reiterate: you can learn so much about the way he views his wife by listening to what he has to say about her.
3) He has children
Children greatly complicate a cheating relationship.
There’s a reason people tend to think of children as the innocent bystanders in a divorce, regardless of the reason.
They don’t have anything to do with their parent’s relationship problems but they deal directly with the fallout.
If you’re cheating on a man with kids, he has a strong reason to keep his family intact.
He loves his children more than anything even if he resents everything else about his life, even his wife.
The point? It greatly reduces the chances of him leaving his wife for you.
Here’s a bunch of other really great things to know about being in love with a married man.
4) He talks about future plans that involve his family
Men are dreamers and planners. They think about the future, their goals, what they want to accomplish.
And they like to imagine who’s going to be there with them while they reach their goals.
Think about it: If your man talks about future plans that involve his family, do you think he’s going to leave them any time soon?
It’s likely that he won’t.
However, if he includes you in his plans for the future, at least take comfort in knowing that you’re really important to him, even if he doesn’t leave his family for you.
5) Your relationship is purely physical
Many cheating relationships are founded on physical passion.
A lot of guys cheat on their wives just for the sexual side of it. They may not think their wife is unattractive, but they may be bored.
The catch here is that a surprising amount of men also cheat for emotional reasons. Robert Weiss, phD, says:
“For these individuals, regardless of gender, infidelity is more of an emotional release than a sexual release.”
The point is that you have to understand the nature of your relationship.
A purely physical relationship is a lot less likely to inspire him to leave his wife for you. His wife is still giving him a lot of emotional and other support that he doesn’t want from his mistress.
As bad as it sounds: he really only wants you for your sex.
Take a look at this article to learn more about the characteristics of a dysfunctional relationship.
6) He makes a habit of canceling on you
No matter the type of relationship, cheating or not, and no matter the gender, this is a telltale sign that the person you’re with doesn’t think you’re important. Or that they just aren’t interested in you.
In this instance, it means that his family and wife are more important to him than you.
And if that’s the case, he’s unlikely to leave them behind for you.
Does he promise to meet up with you only to cancel at the last minute? Is there always some kind of excuse for why he can’t see you?
Obviously, if he’s cheating on his wife with you, he’s going to have to do a lot of “arranging” to make time for you. There are bound to be times he has to cancel or change plans.
That in and of itself is one of the reasons a cheating relationship can be so unhealthy. It’s unfair for his wife and it’s unfair for you.
And that’s because you’re always going to end up in second place.
7) He’s active in all aspects of his family life
Family dinners, trips to the in-laws out of state, vacations, and so on. Is he always arranging these events, making them happen, and attending them?
If the answer is yes, it’s a sign that he’s still really invested in his family.
They’re still important to him.
So, naturally, if his marriage and family life is important, he’s not going to just up and leave them for you.
Think about it: his actions show that you, as his mistress, are secondary to his family. He probably doesn’t mind keeping things that way, either.
Why? Because between his wife, family, and mistress, he has everything he needs.
8) He keeps you top secret
The day the man you’re cheating with stops caring about if he’s seen with you is the day you might have a chance to be with him for real.
But, if he does everything he can to keep you a closely guarded secret, it’s because he’s afraid his wife and family will find out about you.
So what? It means he still cares about what his wife thinks. There’s still something there for him to lose.
When he keeps you top secret, it’s because he still cares a lot about his wife’s feelings and he doesn’t want to jeopardize his relationship with her.
Of course, his actions by being with you are the reason his marriage is in jeopardy, not you, not his wife finding out. But that’s on him.
When a man decides to cheat, it’s an inherently selfish decision. Here are some signs of a selfish person and how to handle it.
9) He never opens up to you
How close does he let you to him? It’s important to figure this out.
Here’s why: He doesn’t want you to feel close to him. The nature of your relationship as it stands is more than enough for him.
If he felt truly comfortable with you, bonded, and invested in more than someone to cheat with, he’d want to open up to you.
As you know, men often have a hard time opening up. But, they will open up if they feel secure, safe, and think that you’re someone who won’t break his heart.
In a cheating relationship, he might just not be interested in you being that important in his life.
10) He doesn’t have a great reason to leave his wife
For some reason, people will cheat on someone they have a happy relationship with. Robert Weiss, phD, mentioned earlier, talks about that a little bit, too, saying that countless of his clients “love their spouse, they have a great relationship.”
What does that mean?
It means your guy might enjoy the cheating and doesn’t want anything to change. That’s not good news for you, as his second place.
On the other hand, if his wife is abusive, mean, derogatory, or his relationship with her is unhealthy, that’s a different story. He has something actively pushing him away from a marriage.
In addition to that, he has you actively pulling him from that marriage. In that instance, there’s a higher chance he’ll leave his wife for you.
Unfortunately, if he doesn’t have a great reason to leave his wife, he probably won’t.
11) He makes excuses
So maybe you have brought it up before, this idea of leaving his wife for you.
How did he react?
Maybe he doesn’t have the heart to tell you no, so he says that he will.
Ask yourself, did he mean it? How long has it been since he said he would, and still he hasn’t?
If he keeps making excuses, it’s because he isn’t ready to leave his wife.
It’s up to you to decide if you think he’ll ever be ready or if it’s worth it to hold out. Do you think that even if he left his wife, he’d be a good person to date?
The old adage “once a cheater, always a cheater,” has a certain amount of merit.
Not because someone who cheats once absolutely has to cheat again. But because trust is so important in a relationship.
To reiterate: If someone proves themselves to be untrustworthy, it takes a lot of work and time to rebuild that trust.
12) He puts you in last place
I’ve had experience being put in the last place in a relationship.
Mind you, it wasn’t a cheating relationship but it wasn’t a healthy relationship by any means.
I can say with firsthand experience that it’s really difficult to admit to yourself that you’re being put in the last place when you love the person so much.
I rationalized my partner’s behavior, gave them every benefit of the doubt, told myself that I wasn’t just being put in the last place.
My partner was so important to me so how could I not be just as important to them?
That’s really unhealthy thinking. In an affair, there are more legitimate reasons behind the priorities.
I mean, he has to hide your existence from his wife, right?
But if he’s constantly putting you in the last place, it’s a big sign he’s not going to leave his wife for you.
Beyond that, it’s a big sign of an unhealthy relationship. Here are some other signs why he’s keeping you around if he doesn’t want anything serious.
13) He doesn’t care about your emotions
So you’ve had a really bad day and you just want to vent about it. Maybe beyond that, it’s been a really long time since you’ve spent any time with him, so you’re excited to share your feelings with him.
But he doesn’t want any of it. He makes it pretty clear that he doesn’t care about your emotions.
This point is important because it points to the nature of your relationship, too. If it’s purely physical, he doesn’t want to know about your emotions.
However, if he vents all the time about his emotions, it’s because he’s searching for a solution to his emotional isolation, too.
And what about your emotions? If he wants emotional support from his marriage but doesn’t give you any support for your emotions, he’s unlikely to be a good partner, regardless of if he’s cheating or not.
That kind of one-sided behavior just isn’t healthy.
Here are some things to look for in a healthy relationship.
14) He doesn’t want to deal with a divorce
The thing about divorce is that it’s messy and expensive.
How messy and expensive?
Well, that depends on the state of things with his wife.
Do they share a lot of property? Do they have kids? It all plays a big role in the final price tag. Expect him to pay around seven grand to be with you.
And no matter what the final price, it’s still a massive headache and emotional burden unlike any other.
He has to extricate his life from hers. He has to find a new place to live if he doesn’t get the house. All of his stuff has to be separated from hers.
Essentially, the point is that his entire life has to be completely changed if he gets a divorce.
Does he think you’re worth it?
He might, but he might not. Either way, divorce is a big reason why he might decide not to leave his wife at all.
So why won’t he let me go?
You’ve probably wondered this many times.
If he’s so set on never leaving his wife for me, why doesn’t he just break up with me then?
It’s a valid question and an important one.
Here are a few reasons why guys keep their mistresses around:
The ego boost. Most men cheat on their wives for the ego boost. They want to reignite their ability to find a woman and win her heart. When he has a mistress, he has a bigger ego and that feels good for him.
He doesn’t have the heart. This reason is a little sweet but unhealthy nonetheless. He’s afraid to hurt you by ending things. He cares about you enough to be afraid of breaking your heart. On the flip side, he doesn’t give you enough importance to choose you over his family. That’s unfair for you.
You’re his emotional support. His marriage isn’t giving him the emotional support that he needs. He feels isolated, alone, and without help. While it’s kind of you to give him that, the fact is that he shouldn’t be cheating to get that emotional support. He could try to reestablish that connection with his wife or he could get therapy.
How to make a proactive change
Coming to the realization that your man is never going to leave his wife for you is a difficult one.
That being said, every relationship is different and maybe you’ve thought about things and decided that it’s still possible.
In either scenario, the state of an affair as it stands is unhealthy, unfair, and unsustainable. In either scenario, something has to change.
So how can you do it? How can you change things for the positive?
It starts with you.
Ask yourself: what do I want to see changed?
More importantly, ask yourself: what do I need to be healthy and happy?
It might take some serious soul-searching. You might realize that no matter how much you love him, you have to end things.
When you break up with him, you take back the power for yourself. You’re no longer just a pawn in his game. That kind of decisive action could lead him to reconsider things in his life, too, and make proactive changes the same as you.
What else can you do?
You can give him a timeline. Tell him your relationship can’t continue the way it is.
Ask him if he’d be willing to leave his wife for you. Don’t demand an answer immediately but tell him that if he doesn’t make you more important in his life, then you’ll need to move on.
You could also start seeing other people.
He’s hardly being loyal to you; an affair is hardly monogamous. So don’t even tell him if you don’t want to. Go on a few dates. See a few people. Who knows where it’ll take you.
The key here is to regain your independence. When you regain your independence, you have a kind of agency and freedom that a cheating relationship just doesn’t give you.
The wrap up
There are dozens of more reasons for a man to stay with his wife and keep you as his mistress than there are for him to leave his wife for you.
It’s unfair, unfortunate, and difficult, but it’s the reality of the situation.
On the flip side, there are instances (around 7 percent) where cheating relationships end in happiness and success. It depends on the scenario, the people, and each unique relationship.
However, here’s the main takeaway:
Make sure to really think about what your needs and wants are. They clearly aren’t being met the way things stand. Take plenty of time to give serious thought to what you need, what you want, and what needs to change.
When you do that, you can make a positive proactive change that in the end will be the best for everyone involved.
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