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March 12th, 2008
09:29 PM ET

Stand by your man?

Should you stand by your man? Opinions often differ between men and women and they also differ based on your own individual past stories.

Someone who has been burned tends to feel "NO WAY!" and those that have either been the betrayer or know something about having made a mistake and hurt someone, think it's pretty reasonable to stay with your man.

The answer to what you should do is really quite complicated because infidelity can be the symptom of a very sick marriage that once repaired could thrive well.  It's also complicated because despite feelings of betrayal, humiliation, anger and sadness a woman may very well still love this man that she has built a family and a life with. Divorce has tragic consequences both emotional and financial for both partners as well as for the children.

Most marriages do not survive infidelity but some do and in the heat of the discovery is not really the best time to make a decision that will affect all of you for the rest of your lives.  Time to think, to grieve and to get professional help is tremendously valuable.

So in the interim it may appear that a woman is passively standing by her man when in fact she is biding her time and allowing herself to think about what she wants and what is possible for her.

– Dr. Gail Saltz, Psychiatrist

Program note:Dr. Saltz is the author of "Anatomy of a Secret Life."  She is a guest on Wednesday's 360° at 10p ET. 


Filed under: Dr. Gail Saltz • Eliot Spitzer
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. cary

    Just ONCE I'd like to a wife whose bigshot political husband cheated on her, go to a press conference and publicly humiliate the guy and then throw him out of the house! (it'll never happen)

    March 13, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  2. Beatrice

    I don't think any of us have the right to judge Mrs. Spitzer if she chose to stand by her husband. It's a private matter and she has the right to make her own choice. She chose him as her husband and stood before God and man for better or worst. In the end she has to live with her decission.

    March 13, 2008 at 1:46 pm |
  3. Claudette, TX

    Yeah...I'd stand by my man... with a bat...I'd slap the loser until Max Factor had to come back from the dead to make him look presentable on TV if he was my husband.

    March 13, 2008 at 1:40 pm |
  4. Charlene Harris

    I do not care one way or the other if these women stay with their cheating husbands. I just find it very disgusting that the men would embarass their family and themselves, then expect the woman to stand at their side when they face the public. You can see the pain and anger in their faces. Stay at home and watch the whoremonger on television like the rest of us do. These women are faking the act of standing by their man, for what? If the shoe was on the other foot and a woman had cheated, do you think for one minute that her spouse would stand their looking pathetic and stupid, come on people. Ladies show respect for yourself and your children. Don't pretend by standing there. Everyone would understand if you slapped him upside his head as he spoke arrogantlly as if he did nothing. Charlene

    March 13, 2008 at 1:30 pm |
  5. AJ

    Stand by your cheating husband?

    I don't think so! Were these guys standing by their wives and their marriages when they crawled into bed with prostitues? I'm guessing their wives and families weren't on their minds! A man who can take $80,000 away from his family and children and give it to a stranger for sex in my book isn't much of a man,a leader,or husband and definately would not deserve a supportive wife...This wasn't one indiscretion in a marriage during a hard time in their marriage this was countless times of repeated betrayal to his wife,his marriage,his children,and the public that he vowed to represent morally! Women in the past have been "trained" to just accept infadelity as something thats ok and acceptable...it's never ok to indure repeated betrayal and ridicule...

    Oh and then there is the whole...subjecting his wife to possibly countless STD's that prostitutes may have due to their abundance of sexual partners! Why would he deserve her support or devotion???

    March 13, 2008 at 12:52 pm |
  6. Susan

    I personally think.. that adultery is related to a persons character. Spitzer, obviosuly has a sexual addiction that has developed, into the extreme. However.. there is no excuse for money laundering and prostitution is a crime. I also think... it is sad and sick that many men turn to prostitutes and other.. loose women, for sexual acts that are out of the norm, that some women, have no limitation to doing sexually. If I were his wife, for the honor of his daughters and out of self respect and the pain and hullilation he has put me threw, and for the agony of what his daughers will endore in public and school, I would divorce his sick, sorry self, wish him the best recovery for himself, and sue the bastard for every penny he has! Who is to say he even used protection all these times? His wife is putting herself at risk and lowering her values, putting up wih this. He may even go back to this. Sometimes ... addicts can't stop, and do not seriously want to stop. He may tell her he will, but.. that would not be worth risking my life over.

    March 13, 2008 at 12:07 pm |
  7. Donna R.

    I feel that she should do what she can to help her daughters and herself to get through this difficult time, but I do not see how standing by the man, in public, who hurt and disgraced her is helping this what so ever. He made the mistake, he should be out there alone to feel the full impact. By her standing beside him in public is giving the wrong message to their daughters. That they are to be set in an embarrassing situation so that their husbands can look better in the public eye, no matter what he has done to them. This gives the wrong message that no matter what he does or how much he hurts her or the family she will always be there. That is why so many of these men continue to go down this path, they have such an arrogance that they do not care about anyone but themselves. Why does she have to help him through a difficult time?? He is the one who did this to himself and his family, he should be telling her that he will save her the disgrace and not put her in the forefront.

    March 13, 2008 at 10:14 am |
  8. marcia siegel

    What I don't get is why women need to stand by their man during humiliating press conferences. I think these cheating guys should take the press on their own.. Men, leave your wives out of this. Be a man and face this on your own.

    After all your wives are innocent victims. Men it was your massive egos and poor judgement (or perhaps addictions) that caused this.

    If it was my husband I would not stand next to him at a press conference. I am not going to let people think that I would support this type of behavior.

    March 13, 2008 at 9:31 am |
  9. JM

    I don't understand why many experts are saying this is normal for her to stand by her man? The guy cheated on her many times with an illegal 22 year old prostitute. He is nothing to write home about with his bald head and big ears! Apparently he has to pay for sex maybe his wife was sick of sleeping with him? It just seems like many psychologists are blaming his wife for him straying. I think he wanted the best of both world and he is pathetic. She should have waited until the press conference and shamed him in front of the world. I think she is staying because of political/social reasons. She'll end up writing a book and appearing on Oprah in a year or so when she does leave.

    March 13, 2008 at 9:28 am |
  10. Irish Kate

    I've never understood why every time some guy screws up and humiliates himself, we all devote ourselves to critiquing his wife's behavior. I think it's at least half the reason why the first move in the playbook is to put her up there next to him while he apologizes. Her generosity has 2 major effects: it rehabilitates him and makes her the focus of everyone's criticism. Sweet.

    March 13, 2008 at 6:49 am |
  11. Lucia

    Clearly, it depends on the way a person is raised, the bond that she has with her husband, the age and need of the children, how much she has to loose emotionally, economically and as status. Cecilia Sarkozy walked away from her husband while he was (and still is) President of France. Both are doing separately fine at this time, and so does France. Hillary Clinton never left her husband even after he repeatedly cheated on her: apparently this aspect of his does not faze her. She must find satisfaction and comfort somewhere else. If a person or spouse is running for office or is in office, it becomes a huge distraction and we, as the NY State or a country, need to ask ourselves if we can afford it. Privately, it is up to Silda and all the cheated spouses to decide to stay by their man or leave. Man have very few incentives to change this behavior in this society. Publicly, I would not call the women who stand by their man role models for other women, but mere survivors: they are the victims of their spouse and until they are able or willing to break that bondage, I cannot recognize them as true public leaders.

    March 13, 2008 at 5:06 am |
  12. George

    Since when do we, as public citizens and outlets of the news media, have the right to pass judgment on what Silda Wall Spitzer should do? In this day of sensationalist reporting and the desire to "find the next hot story" to sell newspapers and clicks, I cannot believe that people have the audacity to judge the Spitzer family as they experience a tragic downfall.

    If we were really a compassionate American society, we would leave the Spitzer family alone and give them time to grieve and to, ultimately, heal their wounds (if that is even possible). While I consider Gov. Spitzer's actions to be totally deplorable and his resignation the only acceptable outcome, we have no right to bother and harass the Spitzer family any further. LEAVE THEM ALONE!

    March 13, 2008 at 1:13 am |
  13. Stedley

    I don't think she is standing by her man. She looks pretty disgusted with his behavior, she's getting in her last digs, and is just as appalled at the reality of what he has been doing as we are interested in the drama of a man who is getting what he deserves. Bless those that have there own, and the ex-Governor sure owns this one.

    March 13, 2008 at 1:11 am |
  14. carol

    Alan doesn’t even listen to Bloom, he is just pissed off because she has a different opinion than his. She doesn’t come across arrogant…he does! It was obvious that Spitzer’s wife was only “Standing next to him” not by him. She had a lot of body language going on!! She looked miserable and you can see a few well-timed glances at him. Oh..and to the guy that said we need to “Grow up” about affairs. This is not about an affair…it is about "illegal/prostitution" and possibly being accused of a felony!

    March 13, 2008 at 1:08 am |
  15. Richard

    Exotic escorts during state business trips, $1500.00. A run-away ego, thinks it knows how to game the system. Seeing the expression on your wife's face repeatedly on every news channel as you publically admit guilt to cheating on her, PRICELESS!

    March 13, 2008 at 12:54 am |
  16. KristenLeAnn

    "People, leave them alone, this blatant sensationalism is what is wrong with news today. My heart goes out to the family."

    Amen Jerry, i couldn't have said it better myseld

    March 13, 2008 at 12:40 am |
  17. William, VT

    /cheer Sharon Duncan, you hit the nail on the head.
    men having affairs isnt new, and its not one of those 'gee i think ill have an affair today cause i can' things. They happen for a reason, and both men and women have the same reasons, and those reasons take Time to build to the point of action. This is not something that just happens. They are unhappy and or un-fulfilled at home in some way.

    The fact that she stood up there is amazing to me. Not because she was forced too, but because she did the one thing that proves to me this country still has a chance. She Stood There With Her Husband!! Way too often people experience a family crisis and toss in the towel, divorce is entirely too easy. Any one who was married to the 'basic' words "Till Death Do Us Part" and accualy ment them. Would have done what she did. She is a well educated, Intelligent person, she made the decision to stand there, no amount of 'momma tought us too' would have made anyone that smart just stand there and take it like a zombie, sorry not buying into that load.

    What happens in thier relationship from this point on should be 100% off limits for all news agencies. why? because its called "Private Life" for a reason.

    I wish thier family the best through these troubled times.

    March 13, 2008 at 12:35 am |
  18. rosie lyons

    standing by your man:
    there is a vast difference in standing by your man, and standing by your husband. It takes a lot of heart to stand by your husband, when he has fallen before the eyes of the world. These are the times when true love is put to the test. It's easy to give one support when one is doing well. It's easy to come out into the public eye, when all is well, but it takes heart to face your husband or wife's public sins. Love is the most powerful weapon, given to mankind. It is also the least understood by many. "He that findeth a wife; findeth a good thing."

    March 13, 2008 at 12:33 am |
  19. glenna, Atlanta

    It is difficult to understand how Silda Spitzer can reconcile that her need (and that of her phalandering husband) should take precedence over that of their daughters. Shouldn't she be more concerned with setting the example of self-respect than loyalty at this point for them? Isn't she worried her daughters might think there are exceptions to the respect they have every right to expect from the men who proclaim to love them? Alas! That would be more injurious than the suffering she is doing at the hands of their father and her husband.

    March 13, 2008 at 12:29 am |
  20. Brenda

    I feel the ONLY thing Spitzer is sorry for is that he got CAUGHT!!
    Doing a young lady the age of his own daughter! Makes me wounder if he is also a pervert.

    March 13, 2008 at 12:26 am |
  21. Pat M

    I agree this is not a public decision. Only the Spitzers can decide what is best for them, their marriage and their daughters.

    To those who feel the woman standing beside her husband is showing a lack of disgust towards him says more about those women than Mrs. Spitzer in my opinion. Mrs. Spitzer's disgust and sorrow was very evident. But more evident and important was her courage and composure during such a difficult time. I call that Greatness not weakness.

    To stay for whatever each woman's reason may be demonstrates much more strength, character and concern for the family unit than running from the situation. When your not in the situation opinions and advice are easy to render as you don't have to bear the consequences of the same. Therefore I feel it's only Mrs. Spitzer's opinion and assessment of her situation that matters and has any value.

    March 13, 2008 at 12:18 am |
  22. L.D. Watkins

    And lets be real, although many of us women are crying out that Silda should dump his butt, economics and social standings carry a lot of weight in her decision to stay and currently stand by her man. We all know that even in the more wealthier marriages, the woman always suffers economically. It is not that easy when you have invested 20 plus years into a marriage to just kick him in his &#@! and keep it moving. This is not a stupid woman, but a highly educated woman who is more than capable of holding herself down. But she is also a mother and she is more likely to be putting the needs of her daughters first before the needs of herself. Give it time, she will make her move and whatever decision she makes, will not surprise me in the least.

    March 13, 2008 at 12:13 am |
  23. rosie lyons

    My heart goes out to this entire family. I would that I could help them bear their pain, and suffering. My greatest disappointment is the lack of compassion, shown to them, and the unwillingness to forgive sin. I say this because none of us know what we will do, in any given situation. I felt so sorry for this family, when I saw how they were being treated, by their fellow humanbeings. It was as though they had become a full course meal for the hungry. How could we, who have our own sins to answer for, behave so merciless toward the fall of one of our brethren? How can we, whom God has so mercifully spared such humiliation, show no mercy for others who fall by the wayside. In God;s eye, there is no little sin and big sin. Which is why he has said, "Let him without sin, cast the first stone." Also God judge the heart of the man, so whose to say that in the eyes of God, Gov. Spitzer's sin will be judged on a lesser scale, than those of us who show no mercy, and are willing to rejoice at the expense of the pain and suffering of this family. Many are showing no mercy for the man, Eliot Spitzer, who was tempted beyond his control. I would also like to add, that we, the women also have our cross to bear. We can not condemn the man, Eliot Spitzer, without condemning the woman. This was a two way street. Its like condemning a drug dealer, and patting the drug user on the back. When the truth is, were their no users there would be no need for drug dealers. The same with such a matter as this, If there were no women willing to sell their bodies, there would be no, so call johns. For before one can purchase the body of a woman, a woman must first be in the business of selling her body. So should we look at such matter through godly eye-glasses, we would have to say, that before man can commit this type of sin, there must be a woman who has already given herself to sin. No matter how we want to close our eyes to what is truth; we must remember, it was not Adam who was the first to sin, but Eve. Who, after she had fallen from her holy state, encouraged Adam to do like wise. We must also remember that Satan desire to see all men fall, because Adam replaced him in his kingdom. So when we see our men fall, know that Satan has took down another one of God's men. And if there is any one who is in need of much prayer, it's God's men.

    March 13, 2008 at 12:13 am |
  24. L.D. Watkins

    It is unfortunate that Silda Spitzer has to not only deal with this violation of her vows in private but also on a national stage. None of us truly know what she is going through because unless we kill the men who have done it to us, it is barely a bleep on the radar. It is sad that the father of three girls just showed them that as women they are objects to be used and abused, and to hell with their feelings or their mothers feelings at that. Spitzer is not the first to do this kind of thing-he just got sloppy and got caught.

    Men from the beginning of history have let their johnsons do the thinking and as a result, nations have fought and crumbled over the decision to lust and fornicate (think Helen of Troy). Too bad that they continue to repeat history over and over again, to the detriment of the very ones that they are sworn to protect.

    March 13, 2008 at 12:09 am |
  25. catherine

    I think it is NOT so much the "LAY" a man gets as opposed to the "LIE" he tells that undoes a relationship with a supposedly trusting spouse.

    March 13, 2008 at 12:00 am |
  26. Susan

    I don't think she is standing by her "man." I think she is standing by her children – her family as a whole. Then she'll go home and tell him to take a long walk off a short pier and evaluate her options.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:57 pm |
  27. Leisa

    We seem to forget that this type of thing happenes EVERY day in the lives of regular people and women do the same thing. They may not be standing on a podium next to their unfaithful husband but for whatever reason women choose to stay in the marriage and "support their husband" even though their husband has broken his vow and humilliated his wife and family. More times than not the husband has been unfaithful on several occassions and the wives still stay. So the question is why do women stay period! Not just women of high powered men but women married to common men as well. Women from the beginning of time have been taught by society that you are to stay in the marriage and make it work no matter what the man is doing. Case in point: Recently, during a church service that I attended a visiting pastor(a woman) said during her message that she had several women in her church that were wanting to leave their marriages because of various things that the husbands were doing. The pastor stated that if the women were doing what they were supposed to be doing it didn't matter what the husbands were doing. The wives should be "taking care of business" at home and praying for their husbands and their husbands would eventually stop the behavior that was causing the wives to want to leave. I was shocked! I could not believe that in 2008 women are still expected to stay in a marriage that is unhealthy for them. But those are the facts. Women who choose to leave the marriage are then criticized for not supporting their husbands, giving up on the marriage, breaking up the family and often times called weak because they choose to leave the marriage indicating that they did not have what it takes to be strong and help their husbands with his apparent problem. But I will tell you, it takes more strength to leave a marriage that is unhealthy than it does to stay! So why did Spitzers wife choose to drag herself to that podium and stand next to her husband? Because it is exactly what just about everyone from church leaders to members of society expect her to do! The poor woman was shell shocked and probably did not know what she should do but in the end she succumbed to the pressure that she was no doubt getting from her husband and those in her circle.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:54 pm |
  28. John Sack, Washington, DC

    Mr. Cooper?

    I wonder why people of this "great" nation don't take marriage serious. It amazes me that the marital vows, "for better or for worse" do not mean anything to Americans. I can't believe people criticizing a faithful wife who is committed to standing by her husband in the most likely worst time in their marriage! This state of affairs points to how amoral this culture has become.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:53 pm |
  29. rgray

    A final word.If Silda was such a loving wife why was there any need for this?Obviously something was lacking in this marriage so stop blaming Eliot.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:51 pm |
  30. Joe, MI.

    I do feel bad for Spitzer's wife, this is a personal matter between him and his wife. If a politician cheats on his wife I dont care. What drives me crazy is the hiprocratcy. A man who comes down hard on prostitiution pays for sex. A man who spews the republican mantra about "amoral" homosextualls is caught waving his foot in the mens room. In detroit the mayor cost the city 9 million and fired 2 police officer over his affair, then lies about it in court, and then in his speech claims this is race motivated. I hope the city council and the law takes him down.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:48 pm |
  31. pamela jaggars

    Silva might be standing by her man but the world ,would know that i didn"t like because he would be black and blue form me letting i did not like it .These women r letting the men make fools out of them in front of the world

    March 12, 2008 at 11:46 pm |
  32. Mary Irizarry

    The bottom line is that Elliott Spitzer committed a crime which he condemned others for. He let down New Yorkers and he humiliated his wife and children. After all of this, he should have been a man and stood at the podium by himself, instead of allowing his wife to stand there suffering even more than she already has, at his expense.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:45 pm |
  33. sam

    what did obama do? remind us of ferraro- a great political figure..

    and a woman??

    March 12, 2008 at 11:41 pm |
  34. Todd

    A real man would protect his wife and family and sheild them from any harm. He should have asked her not to be there as to sheild her away from the attention, attacks, pictures, etc for his mistakes and poor judgement. He shouldn't want her associated with this story and pictures at all. He would only have her their for political gains, and not for the benfit of his family.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:38 pm |
  35. Tabey

    Whether she decides to stand by her man is up to her. No one knows what the intricate details of their marriage are. I think people are so quick to forget the vows they make when they get married- "for better or for worse". This is the"worse" part of their marriage and I think her standing by him is only her fulfilling a vow she made, if she decides to. The solution to a marital problem is not always divorce; the bigger picture has to be evaluated before deciding to run away from the problem.

    By the way, what is up with the Ferraro lady? What is she thinking? It is true that everyone is entitled to their opinion but you would think with the number of years she has to her cap, she would speak with better wisdom and judgment when she does decide to voice her opinion. It is a shame that you don't find maturity where you expect it.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:38 pm |
  36. Dave

    Spitzer is a Super-delegate supporting Hillary.

    So if she returns the favour, perhaps she will draw on her White House experience, and give Mrs. Spitzer a call of support @ 3:00 a.m.

    We wonder what advice she's have.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:38 pm |
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