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Standing By Her Man: Women Through History

Updated on October 26, 2016

Why do women stand by their men who can be jerks, especially when some of these men cheat so openly? Throughout history, there have been many women who have stood by their men when they did not so great things. With the downfall of Governor Spitzer and his wife's decision to stay with him and the constant conversation about how Hillary Clinton remained with Bill Clinton after the Monica debacle, this became a hot topic in the media. How can she do that you say? Sometimes it is about love and not giving up on a person, and sometimes it is about the business/political alliance the two have solidified. Other times is about, the lack of self-esteem and a woman being afraid she cannot brave the world without her significant other. No matter why they decide to stay, we have to be intrigued by these women because they took the difficult and rocky road of standing by their man. There is nothing wrong with leaving, but it is much harder to stay when the going gets rough. This hub is not advocating that women "stand by their man," it is just examining the women who have done this through history.

Would you stand by your man?
Would you stand by your man?

Eleanor Rosevelt, The Wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Eleanor decided to stay with Franklin Roosevelt after she discovered he had a long-term mistress. Eleanor contemplated divorcing FDR, but decided to remain with him for the sake of her family and his political career. Eleanor went on to be a champion for the poor and minorities, and much of this would not have happened if she had not helped Franklin D. Roosevelt to run for office. Not only did she help him win his first and second terms in office, but she was instrumental in making a political speech that helped him win his third term in office. Roosevelt won his fourth term in office because he was president during World War II and people like continuity during wartime, but he would never have achieved four terms without his wife Eleanor. When FDR passed away in 1945 his long-time mistress was sitting at his deathbed, but Eleanor accepted that she had a life independent of Roosevelt and went on to do many wonderful things. She sat on the board of the NAACP and fought against racial prejudice in the South. President Harry Truman appointed Eleanor to be a delegate to the new world body United Nations in 1946 and she helped to draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It would have been impossible for Eleanor achieve all of these humanitarian goals if she had not been the wife of one of the most famous presidents in American history. They say there is a powerful woman behind every powerful man, and that is truly the case with Eleanor Roosevelt. So Franklin might have been a jerk for cheating on Eleanor, but he would never have been president without her. Conversely, she used the celebrity that came with her position as the first lady to do good things in the world, which might not have been possible if she was an unknown person.

Why do women stay with men who are not good for them?

There are many reasons women stay with men who cheat, but here are a few:

  • Love
  • He is the father of her children
  • Business alliance
  • Political alliance
  • She is willing to forgive him and move on
  • She accepts his flaws and realizes he is only human
  • She has low self-esteem and may not feel she can do better without him
  • She is afraid she will never meet another man if she leaves him

I myself would never stay with a cheating man or a man that is not good for me, but it is interesting to see how many famous women through history have done so. In the case of Eleanor Roosevelt, she wanted to do great things in life, and the only way she could do that in the male-dominated society of the time was by helping her husband become president. So I might not stay with a man who cheats, but in years past sometimes women did this for political, social, or economic reasons.

Should a woman stay with a man that cheats?

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    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 19 months ago from Southern California, USA

      I think these women did it for the reason I outlined above, political clout in a time when women used whatever means they could. The world has changed and women no longer need a man to run for office or be a CEO of a company, but using your husband's popularity does not hurt as we are transitioning into a new era. Things are changing, but in the not so recent past marriages were political and financial alliances rather than love matches. Even today in India people still view marriage of this way. I would not stay with an unfaithful husband myself, but I wrote this seven years ago answering a question about why they may. Back at that time Hubpages had a feature where people asked questions, and you could answer these with a hub.

    • mckinney5252 profile image

      mckinney5252 19 months ago

      Supposedly there is written correspondence documenting the existence of the relationship. My point was that women in power and women without power often times remain in unfaithful relationships for various reasons. Yet, regardless of the reason, when a woman is fed up (as R.K. acknowledges) there is nothing that the man can do. As I stated, if a woman decides to remain in an unfaithful relationship, she does so with the knowledge that she is married to an unfaithful man who more than likely will remain unfaithful. To me the issue then becomes what are her motives? The relationship can offer no emotional security. It can offer her no peace of mind. It can offer her no frame of reference to attests the positive benefits of marriage. It is an uncontainable source of happiness that affects every area of her personal and sometimes professional life. So what is the payoff? In every relationship there is a payoff. The payoff is relative ,but nonetheless, there is a payoff. So we must examine our own hearts in order to determine what our true motives are. Eleanor remained with an unfaithful husband, Hillary remained with an unfaithful husband, Uma did not.

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 19 months ago from Southern California, USA

      Well I answered this question several years ago, and simply updated it a bit. But truthfully, some people do wonder why someone would stay in a relationship with someone who cheated, and this is my take. Some say Eleanor may have had another relationship, but without concrete evidence as to this being 100% true, I am not going to speculate whether she did or not. However, we know that FDR did have a mistress so I did address this.

    • mckinney5252 profile image

      mckinney5252 19 months ago

      Wasn't Eleanor involved in a lesbian relationship? That was the understanding I gleaned from a special aired by PBS. If that is the case, then relationships, whether they be based on power or not, are often times an arrangement of quid quo pro. As for being involved in a relationship that is detrimental to one's emotional health; sometimes it is similar to raising children. You plan the pregnancy, you pick the right schools, you monitor your child's friends but something goes awry. That child matures into an absolute horror. You sit and beat your head against the wall trying to figure out what you did wrong. Maybe you did not do anything wrong. Maybe that child made the decision to do his or her own thing. The same is true for some marriages. Some men consciously make the decision to take on a mistress. Some men are deceived into becoming involved in an extramarital affair. Some men receive no emotional or physical attention and so they stray from the marriage bed and sadly some men are just dogs. But once a woman makes up her mind to leave a man who is unfaithful then she leaves. If she stays, she owes you nor me an explanation of why she stayed.