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. Helen

    Hey Anderson and associates, apparently there are alot of high powered alpha males projecting the image of a happily married man an doing the dirty behind the scenes.... so will they all make it easy on us and just come out ...either fix their marriages or get a divorce and go with the "lady"! Seems to me this idea of two kinds of women is perpetratored and continued by MEN from the beginning of time to the detriment of ALL WOMEN...or am I wrong about that?

    March 12, 2008 at 11:37 pm |
  2. Barbara

    Give the poor wife and mother a break. I think this was a surprise and the poor lady was just trying to sort the shocking situation out. The story had just broke. Other political wives usually have a chance to think the situation out, and then because they are usually good wives, they stand with their lying hypocritical husbands because of politics.
    I hope this woman thinks about what she is teaching her daughters by standing by this creep for the long run. obviously he does not "value " his family or marriage-not to mention the people of New York.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:36 pm |
  3. Kay

    I think America is beginingto get into a dirty game of dehumanizing ourselves. Why do you think the likes of Osama hated our ways of life. You don't hear other countries display their leader's and celebrities' social/personal life on TV like we do. Nobody cares about what people do with their personal life. Let his family deal with it, not the news media. We hurt America and his citizens when we do stuff like this, I guess its okay to play politics even when it affects children of the victims and the reputation of our leaders. I can assure you that half of Washington is involve in one thing or the other.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:30 pm |
  4. Wanda Andrews

    As the wife of a man that also got caught with prostitutes I must say most people don't understand. It forevers changes your sex life. My problem is that it is not fair because I was sitting at home and needed sex as well. It is complicated by a world that focuses too much on a man's genitals all their life. We flood men with pictures, images, strip clubs, videos, internet, magazines, etc. They are allowed to look but then you say don't touch. It doesn't work that way. I would rather he had an affair with someone that he just couldn't help being attracted to. Most people think there is something wrong with a wife or woman if her man pays for sex. I am here to tell you that is not true. Who do we think does this? Only single guys who can get any woman they want! For any woman that this happens to, DO NOT STAY. They are only sorry that they got caught. You will never feel they same about them and they will do it again because they get hooked on the forbidden aspect of it all. Your love and body will never be enough. By the way I am still with my husband to make him pay financialy and emotionaly.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:30 pm |
  5. Womenvoice


    No matter what media says, I cannot find any sympathy in my heart for these politicians' wives. They stand by their men not just at the time of humilation. They have been standing by their men at all times as they watch their men doing it again, again and again. These women are not stupid, like Spitzer's wife, like Hillary, they are Harvard and Yale graduates. It is their choice and deliberate calculation that they might just be as lucky as their men to skip public scruitny. Sadly he got caught; otherwise these women would have been enjoying what thier men's power offers. Face it, it is not one man's failure. It is the failure of that corrupted relationship.

    Voice of a normal woman

    March 12, 2008 at 11:30 pm |
  6. Fanm Vanyan


    Hey Anderson I like that Green tie looks good on you. This is not the first time a man have sex outside marriage and if you take a survey most American men are having sex outside their marriages. It's time that we come with reality that a man needs more than 2 women as long as he can afford it. Please women don't think your man is not cheating because he comes home on time.

    Please equal opportunity for the women in America to wake up and smell the coffee that a man is entitled to 2 women as long he keeps you safe and please don't think your husband is a saint because he's lawyer, doctor or preacher!!!!

    I believe my husband can sleep with another woman anytime as long as he keeps me safe and he doesn't than I will sue him for bringing me an STD. I think any man is capable of having another woman and please why everyone is so upset about Spitzer. The same people that are talking about Spitzer have extramarital affair too.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:30 pm |
  7. Brooke

    I'm posting a comment here regarding Anderson Cooper's interview of the brother of the prostitute involved in the Spitzer sex scandal because the alternate blog space is closed.

    It was arrogant for Cooper to mock this young woman's brother, specifically for his appearance. I found this surprisingly shallow and mean spirited. Cooper would not attack Silva Spitzer for any reason, especially her wardrobe, considering that, as far as we know, she is merely a victim of this tragedy.

    Furthermore, I find it distasteful that the media is unearthing whatever possible information available about this young prostitute. It's well known that young women who choose to be involved in prostitution are often victims of sexual abuse and are reinflicting the abuse they've never resolved. Most "johns" are sexual predators and in my opinion, sex offenders. I'm sad for this woman and the disproportionate consequences she's now facing, including having her private pictures and writings displayed to the public and having her brother mocked on CNN.

    22 year old "Kristin", Silva, and the Spitzer children are all victims here. My heart and prayers go out to them.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:30 pm |
  8. Walter Marshall

    Who do we the public and how dare the media put this woman on "trial"
    Leave her alone. She is a victim. When Paris Hilton or whoever pop star goes to rehab it's all hush hush.
    The woman is suffering as I am sure are her children. Give them privacey, they did nothing wrong.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:30 pm |
  9. Brance Baltimore Md

    Why does everyone assume she is hurt?
    "How could she not be?"
    "I would be!"
    How do you know they don't have a relationship different than the norm?

    March 12, 2008 at 11:29 pm |
  10. Jules

    I am quite sickened by the endless commentary about Silda's behavior, appearance, the fact that she appears at his press conferences for the following reasons:
    1. It takes the heat off of him, noone has commented on how disconnected he is from her.
    2. These women who purport to support feminist ideals are only being critical of and blaming the victim when they say she should not appear with her husband.
    3. It is very likely( as noone until Dr. Saltz commented) that she is doing what she feels is best for her children. In the end as she said he is still their father, but more importantly they share 50% of his genetic makeup.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:29 pm |
  11. Frank Greco


    The depth and stealth of Eliot and his efforts to curcumvent the authorities, not excluding his wife and daughters, who 'know their husband/dad better than anyone', is criminal. Elitot shoud face criminal charges. He was deep in the estuary of escorts and caroused curiously in the catacombs of the concubines. It will be a matter of time before his wife (remember her Eliot) serves him with a divorce.
    No woman should have to suffer so consistently in shame and disgrace because of a monumentally stupid decision by her spouse.
    The philosophy of married relationships is rooted in communication; both verbal and non-verbal. A healthy sex life, where both needs are met, is the foundation a successful marriage. However, more success can be garnered if the sex is with the married partner.
    If she stays its; stand by your sham.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:29 pm |
  12. Dennoe

    Eliot Spitzer's actions are not any different from what other men do or wish they could do. The only downside is that he got cought. Should a man loose as much as Mr. Spitzer has lost because he had sex? Why are all these women saying that his wife shouldn't stand by her man? Chances are....they are single and have no idea what it takes to make a marriage survive....explaining why they are single in the first place!!

    March 12, 2008 at 11:28 pm |
  13. susan

    Anderson If you dig a little deeper, you will find out that Mr. Spitzer is not the super hero. There are thoese that know He has 2 sides the hero and the side that uses his money and power to keep up his good guy show. He is a bulley. If you check on the word he utters as he leaves the stage from his statement when this broke, It sounded more like Mr Spitizer the bulley boss. Not the broken husband.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:28 pm |
  14. Brance Baltimore Md

    In today's world given what it is, to answer the question; why would she stand by her man? I think you have to look at all the options, not just those traditional, or normal, but what if, there was an agreement? What if she; the wife, knew and condoned, given some restrictions?
    It isn't outside the realm of possibilities.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:27 pm |
  15. jody

    I think Silda Spitzer stood next to her man to try and remain the class act that she brought to being the first lady of NY....

    Just because he's turned up slimey doesn't mean she is......

    Continued blessings to her as she figures out what to do next......

    March 12, 2008 at 11:27 pm |
  16. Craig

    I hope the daughters are OK. Time to back down CNN.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:26 pm |
  17. Pattie

    My goodnes your wedding vows say "for better or worse" don't you think this is exactly what is meant by worse? Also if you look at Mrs. Sptizer's eyes they look dead and the sparkle is gone. How sad. It will take a long time if at all for that to come back because first the trust must be restored.My heart goes out to her.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:25 pm |
  18. cynthia martinelli

    additionally, women need their energy to raise emotionally healthy sons and daughters, not be a parent to a spouse as well. get smart.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:24 pm |
  19. Kitty

    I want to see political wives do their won press conferences. I'd love to see one walk off in the midst of the husband's "apology". They should set an example for their children and other young women by not standing for such humiliation. It's embarrassing and pathetic.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:24 pm |
  20. Lisette River Forest, IL.

    Geraldine Ferraro is a racist. If she wasn't she NEVER would have said that. I am not surprised she supports Hillary. They have that same childish mentality, and I am being nice because I am on this blog! David Gergen said the right thing.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:22 pm |
  21. Natalie Stephens

    I think the entire situation is terrible. This is a classic example of how innocent and faithful women are contracting sexual transmitted diseases from their spouses. In this day and age it is too dangerous to risk your life with a person that is unfaithful. Standing by your unfaithful man is equivalent to walking near a cliff blind folded.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:20 pm |
  22. Celia

    I don't imagine it is anybody else's business but hers.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:20 pm |
  23. cynthia martinelli

    i have never understood why intelligent, successful women stay with spouses / significant others who abuse their trust. is it low self esteem or fear being on their own??? dont they know that independence and a single lifestyle is a beautiful peaceful gift.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:18 pm |
  24. Linda Clarke

    Everyone is saying that Silva is "standing by her man" . It's more lke she's standing "next to him". Two different meanings. What else can she do now. Give her some time. She'll be long gone. And rightfully so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 12, 2008 at 11:17 pm |
  25. Sharon Duncan

    Any one who has been married and divorced, should know that this is not a simple case of a husband being unfaithful to his wife. Eliot Spitzer subconsciously wanted to get caught. This is a symptom of his deeper problems and it's sad that he had to act it out in this way, literally destroying all that he had worked for. No rational person would have done what he did. This is a form of suicide. His wife can stand by him, because she obviously loves him and recognizes this for what it is. If they seek good counseling, this could be the beginning of a stronger marriage. It isn't just about him, it's about them.

    March 12, 2008 at 11:17 pm |
  26. Amanda

    Yeah!!! It's Amazing That She is standing by her husband it could send a good massage to women, because it's difficult time for her and her children. I will However, say that it will take a very strong women to do that .... Sad I couldn't watch the Program tonight... People like I are Called Workholic....

    March 12, 2008 at 11:11 pm |
  27. margie virginia beach virginia

    @Rosemay LOL...
    But, standing with husband during a time of crisis is really a personal choice not a public decision.....

    March 12, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
  28. Christy Pearson

    Shall we revert back to the days where a man could go out and get a switch from a tree no bigger than a thumb and beat his women and children for disobeying his orders. "Stand by your man," has been the exact actions of all women in political marriages since early american history.

    March 12, 2008 at 10:53 pm |
  29. Jessie Rock, NC

    The question is would he stand by her in such a situation? Let’s say that the role was reverse, would he be so tolerant as to face the public humiliation and risk his political career for her? It would be understandable if it was his first time and unluckily got cut, I am pretty sure that people would have understand, but apparently he was not thinking about the consequences that could hurt, his family and specially his wife when he summoned that young lady eight times.

    Jessie Rock, Jacksonville NC

    March 12, 2008 at 10:45 pm |
  30. Rosemary Weldon

    I would like one reporter in the USA to show me one man standing by his wife who has been with male prostitutes. Please show me the man. !!!!! Does he exist in america?

    March 12, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  31. Linda

    She's doing and going to do whatever she feels best for her. Her husband, sadly, has been doing that same thing all along, doing what was best for him.

    March 12, 2008 at 10:39 pm |
  32. Thomas

    I wonder if perhaps Dr. Saltz might think that gov. Spitzer may need to find out ,, in this thankless world he is in, whether his wife loves him. Whether that is behind his need to be caught to come to the place where he life's meaning is put to the test and whether through the toughest of times his wife could still love him. At any rate, he is about to find out and I for one hope that Mrs. spitzer can show her love and compassion, but preserve her dignity because she is suffering alot.

    March 12, 2008 at 10:36 pm |
  33. Claudia

    The choice to stay together or separate (regardless of the adulterer's gender) is a decision to be made by the involved parties. sometimes the offended is the one that makes that decision, or the one that matters,anyway. He (Spitzer) should have a public office job. But outside of that, is none of our business.

    March 12, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  34. Christy Pearson

    Women have no other choice in these horrible situatons or a least they think they don't , show me a women in history who has made the decision to say to hell with this "I will not stand by my man", these type of relationships are more of a business partnership rather than what we as the American public like to beleive as the conventional marriage. Alot of these or should I say all of these women are living vicariously through their husbands so much that their true identity is a complete mystery to them. So much to lose and nothing to gain is the situation they find themselves in and how many of these women are having affairs themselves women are certainly not always the victims here. He got caught people!!! Dont live in the dark, his kind of behavior is very common amongour government officials.

    March 12, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  35. Judi Smith

    I can under stand why these women stand by their man, They are hunt beyond understanding yet as all women know they feel that they can change their man. Especially when the man is shown in public to have done the wrong thing. They feel that after this "outing" their husband will have learned, and would never do anything like this again. Sincerely, Judi

    March 12, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  36. Andrea in FL

    Just once I want to see one of these wives say "You are on your own buddy. You made your bed and now you can lie in it alone!" they do not have to leave their husband; just make hime face the music alone.

    March 12, 2008 at 10:29 pm |
  37. annie

    I think more wives should go out and find some fun; they look like a really bored lot! It seems that men are biologically driven to spill their seed wherever, and women have always seemed to put up with it. Time for a "change" not only in politics but in sexual mores.

    March 12, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  38. Julia Hays from NJ

    Everyone has to make their own personal decision. It's not my place or anyone elses to tell someone how to react to their spouse cheating. But I could certainly tell you that if I were married, and he were my husband, he'd probably be standing at that podium all alone, and with a black eye.

    March 12, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  39. Paul - Toronto

    What else is the spouse of a disgraced politician to do in such a case? Leave him stand alone and she will be accused of abandoning her husband in a time of need. Show up and share his disgrace and she is criticized "standing by her man". Public lives, private pain.

    March 12, 2008 at 10:26 pm |
  40. will

    I love when I hear women that aren't involved in a given situation scold the wife of the man who has done wrong. Every situation is unique and how dare one, me or any one else, judge the wife in such a horrible situation. I heard the one "expert" talk about why should she stand there at the worst moment in her marriage...well, who knows if it's the worst moment in that given marriage and maybe she's decided to stick with him. Or maybe she hasn't . Mrs. Spitzer is a very smart woman. She doesn't need me or anyone else, especially the righteous feminist, telling her what to do.....so annoying.

    March 12, 2008 at 10:24 pm |
  41. rgray

    Oh for God's sake!Of course he loves his wife and children.He wasn't carrying on an AFFAIR -he just wanted what every man who has been married for twenty years wants -a little variety.He should be lauded for attempting to achieve this without breaking up his family.I find this whole situation pathetic-a fine man ruined for seeking to fulfill his natural instincts without harming anyone.Grow up Americans-library at Ephesus with secret door to the brothel and the wives were none the wiser but everyone was happy.GROW UP.

    March 12, 2008 at 10:24 pm |
  42. Annie Kate

    Even if you still love the man, how do you recover the trust? Do you stay and wonder day after day if he's telling you the truth not only about your relationship but almost everything? In the end sometimes leaving while hard is the only viable option mentally that you have.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    March 12, 2008 at 10:20 pm |
  43. Tabassum

    If someone hurts you bad and humiliates you by such an act, not only in your personal life but publicly; why would a woman choose to save his political career by standing next to him. If she were to walk off now, that will humiliate the culprit more. What message are we giving to the women here. '

    Please don't tell me that this is for kids. Come on; kids will understand why the mother did so and there are divorced or widowed mothers who raise their child.

    This is what America is all about. I wonder how Mrs. Clinton will woe for rights of women in Kabul or Iraq, when she herself was a typical political wife. I wonder if there are other gains that you achieve by standing by HIM. well, Clinton is running for elections after all.

    March 12, 2008 at 10:18 pm |
  44. JaninNY

    I find it strange that during Spitzer's resignation, he looked like he just got back from a well-rested vacation and his wife looked like she had aged overnight. How does he explain all this to 3 teenage girls who are so impressionable and probably adored their father?

    March 12, 2008 at 10:17 pm |
  45. jerry

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

    March 12, 2008 at 10:14 pm |
  46. Linda

    I would like to see one of these women that 'stand by their man' at the end of the press conference hit them upside the back of their head.

    I was hoping for it today, looked like she could have, but didn't.

    She should have.

    March 12, 2008 at 10:14 pm |
  47. Cindy

    I think that rather or not someone stands by their man is according to how they grew up and what they were taught. If they were taught that you stay together no matter what then they will and will try to work it out. If someone was told that cheating is wrong and that there is no excuse and you should leave then that's what will happen. So it is really all about the past mixing with the present on what most people would do.

    Cynthia, Covington, ga.

    March 12, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  48. Desire - Michigan

    It is not a problem "to stand by your man", it is a problem to stand by "your man" which betrayed you and whole country and then humiliates you even more by asking to stand in public thinking this would take half of his guilt away.

    March 12, 2008 at 9:45 pm |
  49. Jennifer - Michigan

    The whole situation is very sad. Divorce ruins lives, especially the children's lives. It would be great if every man's dream was to get married and have children. But unfortunately, that's not the way it works. They have other ideas. I'm not sure if she should stand by her man. She looks so miserable, I hope she takes good care of herself either way.

    March 12, 2008 at 9:44 pm |
  50. Lilibeth

    Well said, Dr. Saltz. I would add, however, that "standing by her man" should be her choice. She may choose to stand by him emotionally, but not physically, for appearance's sake. Or she may choose to not stand by him at all. It's HER choice. I agree that she needs to take the time to assess and decide if she wants to continue her marriage, if she wants to forgive him, if she wants both of them to seek counselling, etc., but in the final analysis, it's HER choice. After all that she's been through, she deserves this at the very least.

    Edmonds, Washington

    March 12, 2008 at 9:44 pm |
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