Wronged men less likely to end marriage

This story was first published in The Straits Times on Oct 13, 2013

WHEN faced with a cheating spouse, a wronged wife is "a lot more likely" to end the marriage than a cuckolded husband.

Dr Terence Yow's research on marital infidelity turned up this finding, which he found surprising.

He said: "Gender does make a difference when it comes to the divorce proneness."

Marital counsellors interviewed shed some light on this, saying men tend to be more reliant on their wives and more reluctant to start life over on their own, so are less likely to quit the marriage when their wives cheat.

Care Corner Counselling Centre's manager Jonathan Siew said: "On the surface, men have a lot of ego. You would think that it's so shameful when they are cuckolded and they would leave their wives.

"But many men are so emotionally attached to their wives, they rely on their wives a lot and they find it very hard to cope when their wives want to leave."

Many of the men seen by counsellors and divorce lawyers want a reconciliation even when their cheating wives ask for a divorce.

Lawyer Koh Tien Hua of Harry Elias Partnership said some of these men want to save their marriages to give their children a complete family, while others feel they neglected their wives and inadvertently sent them into another man's arms. Some feel guilty because they themselves had cheated on their wives in the past.

Mr Siew recalled a professional in his 40s whose wife felt "lonely and ignored" for years while he worked or did his own thing even when he was home.

The wife met another man who met her need to feel wanted, and she wanted a divorce.

Desperate, the husband initiated counselling, saying he still loved her and wanted their children to have a complete family. But the wife remained unmoved and proceeded to divorce him.

Another reason men are less likely to divorce is that they feel they might lose out, said Mrs Chang-Goh Song Eng, head of Reach Counselling.

They are loath to split their assets with their wives and lose custody of their children, she said.

Lawyer Amolat Singh added that many men cannot afford a divorce, as it means having to get a new home and paying maintenance, among other expenses.

Lawyer Tan Siew Kim, a partner at RHTLaw TaylorWessing, said: "Women are more concerned about feeling happy and appreciated in a marriage. And they no longer rely on men for money.

"So if their husbands cheat, they don't have to put up with that nonsense and they are not afraid to end the marriage."

This story was first published in The Straits Times on Oct 13, 2013

To subscribe to The Straits Times, please go to

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.