I Hate My Wife – Should I Cheat Or Leave Her?

Updated October 6, 2022by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Once marriage stops being a bed of roses, you may begin to wonder why the two of you made a commitment to each other in the first place. You may feel stuck in a relationship that seems like it was a mistake. Perhaps you are considering that the only way you can find happiness is to leave or find a lover. Let’s review the options.

“I Hate My Wife, But I Loved Her Once”

If You Feel Confused About Whether You Should Leave Or Cheat, Let's Talk

Love and hate are strong emotions. It can be very difficult to tell one from the other. Love and hate are distinct rather than opposed experiences; they are similar in certain aspects and dissimilar in others. Hate is not the opposite of love; indifference is. Hate can reveal an intense and emotional attachment. When you loved your wife, you likely noticed and embraced all of her good qualities. You liked the way she laughed. You liked her impulsiveness. You loved her personal drive to succeed and how she would seize every new opportunity and explore it. Now that your feelings have changed, her laughter may sound loud and brittle. Maybe her impulsiveness has caused more difficulties than rewards. As an opportunist, she has become loud and authoritative in your view.

Favorite Attributes Becoming A Source Of Resentment

Ironically, many of the exact attributes that once attracted us to our partners can become sources of annoyance later on. Often, this is because we are drawn to those characteristics we deny, or do not allow, in ourselves. For instance, someone who is very frugal may be very attracted, initially, to someone who is much freer in their spending habits. There is a sense of adventure, throwing caution to the wind, living in the moment, embracing the opportunity. But once you are in a committed relationship, you tend to revert to what is more comfortable and acceptable to you. In this example, that would be financial frugality.

A person might love and hate their wife at the same time. It creates a dissonance in the relationship because the two feelings seem incompatible with each other. They are more akin to flip sides of the same coin.

The reality is that love is both a feeling and an action. Relationships are either growing or deteriorating. Without intentional attention, care, and effort, virtually any marriage will certainly become less satisfying and may very well end due to neglect.

Consider The Consequences Of Cheating

You may be thinking that pent-up energy needs to go somewhere or that you deserve some satisfaction. It’s important to understand that it’s natural  to notice and be attracted to others, even after marriage. This is not necessarily a sign that you should end your marriage or choose to cheat. Noticing other women is not wrong. Neither is being attracted to someone other than your wife. The problem arises when you choose to act on those thoughts, inclinations, and temptations.

There are many concerns involved in cheating. Committing adultery always adds more stress and conflict to a marriage. Betrayal has one of the most damaging impacts on intimate relationships of any stressors due to it being so very personal. It is incredibly difficult to have a healthy relationship in which there is no trust. The vast majority of us want to be trusted and need to feel safe with our partners, especially when we have reason to believe we are in a committed arrangement. If you are considering stepping outside the boundaries of your marriage, this suggests that you have the opportunity to take a healthier and more mutually respectful action, rather than betraying your wife’s trust in your commitment.

If you hope to remain successfully or happily married, cheating is not the way to go. While it certainly is possible for marriages to recover from adultery, it is generally a long and difficult road, requiring strong commitment and effort from both partners. If your marriage is already struggling (it certainly is if you feel hatred for your wife), being unfaithful will only add to your problems. In other words, your choice to cheat could be your indirect choice for divorce, whether you realize it or not.

The Attraction Of Someone Else

It is unfair for any marriage to be compared to an affair. In a new relationship, you experience intense emotions and excitement along with the emotional intensity of guilt, fear of getting caught, etc. Think about how each of these emotions and experiences feels, literally. You experience them almost exactly the same, right? A racing heart, flutters in your stomach, sweaty palms, perhaps some anxiety or uncertainty, just to name a few. An affair feels more intense than an above-board new dating relationship. How can any marriage fairly compete with that?

Beyond the damage done to your marriage, cheating also involves defining a new relationship. One-night flings can be very risky. There’s no way of knowing the degree of the new woman’s trustworthiness, sexual history, intentions, or expectations. If you allow an intimate relationship to develop with another woman, now both your emotions and your body are involved. This only creates additional complications in your already unhappymarriage. If the other woman knows you’re married, you can quite reasonably wonder about her character and if she’s worth the entanglement.

When You Sort It Out

One potential risk of leaving your marriage as a result of cheating on your wife is that once the two of you have gone your separate ways, you might re-discover that you still love her. So, before you cheat or leave, do yourself the favor of seeing if there is hope for the two of you. Sometimes we just need an opportunity to address our issues head-on. Many of them may be very fixable, but only if we allow ourselves, and our spouses, that chance. Cheating on your wife while still with her is irrational. It just means you’re trying to hurt her, and if you want to hurt her, you probably still ambivalently love her.

Here are some ideas for ways to give your marriage the chance it deserves.

If You Feel Confused About Whether You Should Leave Or Cheat, Let's Talk

  • Talk it out. Many couples spend less than 15 minutes per day talking. One of the most common sources of conflict in relationships is a misunderstanding, much of which typically results from miscommunication. Choose to enter conversations with your wife assuming that you do not have all the facts, or perhaps you misinterpreted the facts. This allows room for your perceptions to change, which can lead to automatic changes in your feelings. You might even want to agree to a specific time each week for potentially serious dialogue. All relationships need both timely processing of issues and plenty of fun, playful, harmonious stretches, with a strong emphasis on the positive time together.
  • Be sure to date again. Some couples stop dating each other after marriage. Dating is probably all the more important once you’re married. Treasure each other. Prioritize each other. Look for things to do together that you both enjoy.
  • Consider yourself. Often, the greatest sources of frustration we find in our partner are also present in us. It is always helpful to do what is in our power to be the person we would want our spouse to be.
  • Treat your wife like the woman of your dreams! I know, it sounds crazy, right?! But you may be astounded at the results of such an experiment. Commit to just 30 days of this activity and see what happens. What do you have to lose?

How Therapy Can Help

Whether you choose to give your marriage one more chance or leave, do so with integrity, kindness, and mutual respect. This will help you have fewer regrets about the results. If you need personal guidance as you go through these difficult relationship stages, consider talking to a counselor. Research shows that online therapy is a powerful tool in strengthening relationships and can result in similar success and satisfaction rates. For example, the study Marriage: A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Web-Based OurRelationship Program: Effects on Relationship and Individual Functioning found that an overwhelming majority—94%—of participants were satisfied with online relationship services, and more than half made significant progress in strengthening their relationships.

If you aren’t comfortable with the idea of seeing a counselor in person, BetterHelp is a great alternative that allows you to chat with a professional online who is well matched to your needs. A qualified counselor at BetterHelp can help you determine whether your relationship is a healthy one and what you and your partner can do to strengthen it,. Below are two counselor reviews from people experiencing similar challenges.

Counselor Reviews

“Janie has been listening to my concerns and the things that are affecting me and my relationship. We have just started working together but she has given me a lot of good things to think about, recommended some reading, and is going to send me some prompts to think of ways to phrase my questions and thoughts to my wife in ways that do not make her feel that I am attacking her or that she needs to be defensive. I look forward to continuing to work with Janie to hopefully save my marriage.”

“Auslyn has been absolutely phenomenal. She has helped me with my depression, anxiety, some relationship coping, and even some parenting skills. She has made such an impact not only on myself but in my marriage as well. 10 out of 10!”


Whether you choose to give your marriage one more, fair, fighting chance, or leave; do so with integrity, kindness, and mutual respect. This will help you have fewer regrets with the results.

If you need personal guidance as you go through these difficult relationship stages, don’t hesitate to seek help from an expert. Take the first step today.

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