Do Men Who Leave Their Family Regret It?

Last Updated on May 30, 2022 by Alexander Burgemeester

It happens more often than we’d like to acknowledge. Men walk out on their wives and their families when they think they’ve found an upgrade, and the searing feeling of betrayal rips through a family.

t’s natural to feel betrayed and angry at the person you’re supposed to be able to trust the most in the world. You’ll wish for him to realize he’s screwed up. You’ll hope he regrets his terrible life decisions and begs you to take him back.

Do men who leave their family regret it? Are they going to settle down and play happy families with someone else and divorce their wife? If it gets to that point, do they ever regret the divorce, and will they consider coming back? 

We will answer these questions in the scope of this article. First, let’s see why men leave their family for another woman.

5 Reasons Why Men Leave Their Family

Of course, there are millions of reasons why men will leave their family and it is impossible to list them all. That’s why we stick to the most common explanations why men suddenly leave their families for another woman.

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1. Boredom

Many men enjoy the thrill of the chase; flirting and ‘conquering’ a woman is an excitement they don’t get in a settled, monogamous life. 

2. Falling out of love

Relationships require work, and it’s easy to let it fall by the wayside if you’re both caught up in work and family life.

3. Sex, or a lack of it

Mismatched libidos can cause many problems in a relationship. The partner with the higher sex drive becomes the “pursuer” and their partner will distance themselves from any intimacy so they can avoid sex.

4. Wife diagnosed with an illness

Studies have shown that men are six times more likely to leave their wife if she’s diagnosed with an illness; women will stay and look after their husbands, become a caregiver. They call this “partner abandonment.” 

5. Communication breakdown:

Often, communication breaks down or was never even present. We can solve so many problems by talking about them! Nipping them in the bud before they turn into colossal issues is important. People have different communication styles and ways of expressing their needs, and some people don’t understand their needs at all if they had a troubling childhood. 

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They may also fear conflict and asserting their needs can feel like conflict. This is a matter for therapy, and it can be helpful for a couple to sit down and understand how they can best communicate with each other at any stage in a relationship. Either half of the couple may feel dissatisfied and unable to express their displeasure before it’s too late.

There’s a myriad of other common reasons according to this article

Unfortunately, the only way to know the reasons your husband left is to ask him. Men will have a unique combination of motives for making that choice. Whether you can trust what he says, and if you want to hear the truth, is another matter.

Does the other woman know about me?

She may or may not. When a man leaves his family for another woman, she is usually vilified by betrayed wives and their families, which is understandable. 

Men often don’t tell their mistress that they have a wife and a family as they fear losing everyone. Sometimes the other woman will find out about his family and end things, but other times they’ll hold onto the “I’ll leave her for you, just give me time” empty promises. 

Realistically, he will likely cheat on her if they stay together. Will he regret leaving his family behind? It depends on why he left, and the kind of man he is. 

  • His new relationship may turn sour, and the other woman isn’t quite what he was expecting. He might regret walking out, and he’ll be feeling guilty for leaving his wife.

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  • Once the honeymoon period ends with the new woman, he’s going to realize that he’s made a mistake. Running away from his family to someone else solved nothing.
  • If he left because you became ill, then he might feel unburdened, and he’s gone for good. It’s heartless and lacking in empathy, but women are seen as more nurturing and empathic than men, with different societal conditioning. It’s possible he didn’t want to give up his career, or he took the easy way out and found someone new.
  • If he has a conscience, he will regret leaving on some level. Whether that means he’ll come back is another matter. Regardless, he should be feeling guilty for ripping your family apart.

Do husbands ever regret leaving for another woman? 

Well, this man did. It’s not an enjoyable read as there’s a shocking lack of empathy throughout. Thankfully, he gets his comeuppance, and you can see his mindset before and after.

As for how long before men regret leaving their family, it depends if he’s swept up in a thrilling whirlwind with the other woman, or if he hasn’t fully checked out of your relationship. He may still love you and your life, but the draw of something new and shiny was too much to resist.

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It could be a matter of weeks until regret sinks in and he realizes he’s made a huge mistake leaving his family, and he’ll feel guilty for what he’s done to you. On the other hand, that day may never come, and he may settle down with her for good.

Why do men regret leaving their family? 

Maybe they remembered just how good they had it; a comfortable, familiar life with their loved ones and the new woman isn’t living up to their expectations. 

Once the initial excitement has worn off, the appeal of another woman isn’t going to be as exhilarating. The chase is over, and the relationship is settling. 

The problems that existed in your marriage may also exist in their relationship. If he marries her, second and third marriages fail with much more gusto than first marriages!

Do they want their family back?

He may be enjoying his ‘freedom’ without the mundane things that come with a settled life; however, when the bad days happen with his new partner, he’s going to long for simpler times, family life, and you. 

  • He’ll be comparing you to her and vice versa, and he may realize you had traits he’d overlooked and taken for granted. 
  • He’s going to have lots of happy memories of you and your family, and those memories are going to create some intense regretful feelings.

If you’re asking, “How long does this phase take before they regret it and want their family back?” It can take a while for “what ifs” to set in, and when they do, he may come crawling back to you. 

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Many men regret the catalysts that led to their marriages ending in divorce. You also need to remember the common reasons men leave. Are they going to change if he comes back? You’re not suddenly going to know how to communicate better, have an excellent sex life, and trust him again. It’s hard work to accept someone back after they’ve deceived you.

Do husbands that leave come back? 

Men leaving their wives probably aren’t thinking too far forward and may instead be thinking about what’s right in front of them. The fact they’re throwing away years of love and commitment might not concern them at the time.

When regret sinks in, and the other woman isn’t who he hoped she would be, if he can swallow his pride, he may come back.

How long does it take a man to regret divorce?

According to a 2011 study, relationships harbor the most regret compared to any other life struggles, with 19% citing love-related history as their biggest regret. He’ll likely be riddled with guilty feelings over the pain he’s caused his family. How long it takes depends on the circumstances; some will feel it within days, others may manage to push it down for years.

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How to react when your husband leaves you and regrets it

  • Ask yourself if you want him back. Give yourself grace and treat yourself like you would your best friend, sister, or daughter. Would you advise them to get back with their cheating husbands who walked out?
  • Are you going to be able to forgive the flagrant disregard for your vows and your commitment? Don’t take him back because you have a misplaced sense of loyalty. He hasn’t been loyal to you, so you don’t owe him any in return.

What to do If you want him back?

  • Push for couples therapy. Many cheaters will refuse to go to therapy as they don’t see their actions as wrong or needing to change. If he refuses, then you know he’s not changed, and he’s unrepentant.

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  • If he tries to turn his infidelity into your fault and spins a sob story from your pain, he needs kicking out of your life! 

A common manipulation tactic in psychological abuse is DARVO: defend, attack, reverse victim and offender. This helps them escape accountability as they blame the wrongdoing on the victim, taking the focus off the fact they were the perpetrator.

Signs he won’t come back

  • Commitment to his new woman can be a sign of this. If he’s got the picture-perfect family life, he’s unlikely to return. However, this could be a façade, and as above, many second marriages end in divorce. 

It’s possible he’s found true love with her, and it’s time for you to find true love with someone else.

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  • If he’s cut off all forms of contact, and there’s no avenue for discussion, you can be fairly certain he’s decided. Lots of men will string their exes along, either to use them as a jealousy pawn in their new relationship or to keep the door open to return. 

If he’s not doing that, he’s gone for good.

How to win your husband back

Firstly, consider if you want to win him back. Do cheating husbands deserve their wives’ undying love and forgiveness? You’ve been a good wife, and he’s not appreciated you.

One thing to consider if you have a daughter is the impact on her, and how this will set her standards for men in adulthood. If she sees you allow a cheater back into your lives, she may well accept the same behavior from a man in her future. 

These unfortunate, painful events during formative years can lay the groundwork for what girls and women view as acceptable in a relationship. Your children will be impacted by this. 

If you decide you want him back, then there are a few things you can do to win him back, but there are no guarantees he’ll be interested. Plus, these ideas may lead you to question if you even want him back!

  • You can offer him an open relationship, but you must be fine with him sleeping with other women. If this is entirely against your morals and doesn’t even bear thinking about, then this isn’t an option, and it’s likely time to say goodbye.

An open relationship can bring up so many problems of its own: Intense jealousy on both sides and lack of trust, to name a couple. You could move from an open relationship back to monogamy, but how likely is that to work and not obliterate your relationship in the process?

  • You need to work on your relationship with him. Communicate and bring back some of the exciting elements that made you fall in love with each other. Remind him how special your life is together.
  • You need to forgive him. It will not be easy, especially if he’s still with the other woman. He will not come back if you’re still actively loathing him and bringing up his infidelity all the time. This is where intense therapy comes in to help you reach this point.

If you honestly think you can forgive him and you want him back, insist on couples therapy. You’ll also want to consider family therapy if you have children that need to talk. You may think this situation is only affecting you emotionally, but it will also be impacting them. 

In therapy, you can work through your feelings and the issues that led to him leaving. It’ll also ensure that your rightful trust issues don’t affect your family. You will learn how to communicate with each other properly, making sure you’re both meeting your needs.

How to accept your marriage is over and how to move on (with children)

  • You need to maintain a degree of contact with your ex to raise your children. If this is too painful to start with, you can go via an intermediary, whether a mutual friend or through legal means. You may want to cut off the man who caused your family regret, pain, and agony, but that’s not in the best interests of your children.
  • Whilst it’s easy to vilify your ex to your children, this is not a clever idea. Not only does it reflect badly on you, but it also damages their relationship with their father permanently. They will remember what you said when you were poisoning them against him with details they didn’t need to know.

Protect your children as much as you can from the harsh realities of life and preserve a mature approach for them.

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  • You will want to talk to someone about what you’re going through, and that’s where friends, family, and a therapist come in. Do not parentify your children, they are your dependents, not your confidantes. 

If they’re older, they may know what happened, but young children don’t need to know the dirty details of why their father left. It’s up to you to ensure they’re not traumatized by his actions and his leaving. This may feel unfair as you’re also dealing with the fallout, but your children rely on you for safeguarding and stability. 

Hopefully, your ex will also have their best interests at heart and won’t drag you through terrible custody battles.

As time goes on and you heal, you should be able to talk to your ex in a civilized manner. This means it will be easier to communicate about your children and any other matters.

You can move on and stop hoping that he’ll come back reformed and willing to make amends for the untold damage he caused. 

Plus, you can be happy knowing that men are more affected by breakup regret than women.

Final thoughts

Men leaving their wives is an unfortunate part of life. As studies show, some men will regret cheating, they’ll ruminate over their bad choices, and want to return to their families.

However, they might not be able to swallow their pride enough to return. Your ex may also choose to settle down with his new woman, which rules out reconciliation for you both. 

Being left behind is a type of grief. Consider not doing this alone and find help in the form of a therapist or coach. Also consider finding support with your friends and family. There are also lots of support groups both in real life and on Social media.

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Alexander Burgemeester

Alexander Burgemeester has a Master in Neuropsychology. He studied at the University of Amsterdam and has a bachelor's in Clinical Psychology. Want to know more?

1 thought on “Do Men Who Leave Their Family Regret It?”

  1. I have read the above and find it interesting. I was married to my ex husband for 23 years this is our second marriage he had 2 children when we got together and we went on to have 2 children. I was poorly having a mastectomy but no treatment after and then liver and kidney problems through alcohol that is wat we used to do together go to the pub and drink. A young girl used to come I. And didn’t have much she had a young dog and didn’t seem like she cud look after herself and the dog so I helped her out,she always had money for drink if not we would buy her drink feed her and the dog. Basically I helped her out as a friend. I was rushed to hospital with problems and stayed in hospital for 7 weeks I knew something was going on I could tell but didn’t have the strength at the time to deal with it, my husband even brought her to see me on my death bed, after months of me being at home and my husband being horrible to me always out coming home for half an hour lying taking my car of me my son asked him to leave, he denied he was seeing her until it eventually came out he is 57 and she is 36,. He bought her item after item taken her on holiday etc etc, after 8 months they are still together, he has no home now, doesn’t really see his children won’t pay maintenance for the youngest as he says I had a good pay out. I know you can’t predict things but will he be happy.?


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