Why some wives stand by their man, and some don't - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Why some wives stand by their man, and some don't

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - When a male politician is embroiled in a scandal, all eyes turn to the woman by his side. That raises the question: why do some wives stick by their man, and others don't?

For the sake of her young son, Huma Abedin says she is standing by her man despite the sexting scandal surrounding her husband Anthony Weiner, a former congressman and current New York City mayoral candidate.

Like in the CBS drama "The Good Wife," when a politician cheats the big question becomes, what will the wife do?

From political sex scandals involving president Bill Clinton and wife Hillary, former governor Arnold Schwarzeneggar and wife Maria Shriver, presidential candidate John Edwards and wife Elizabeth and San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and his fiancee Bronwyn Ingram, we've seen some women stay loyal and others leave.

But why do some stay, and others go?

"That's a really good question. Are there women who stay or are there women who leave? I don't think so," clinical psychologist Deborah Pontillo says research reveals it usually depends on the circumstances.

"Women tend to forgive sexual exploits because they believe that this is something men just do," Pontillo said.

This leads to wives like Huma and Hillary to stay and preserve the family. Pontillo says there are also the societal and cultural pressures.

"Men are going to stray, men like sex, at least he comes home to you, family," she said.

But when men develop a strong emotional attachment to their mistress, wives like Maria Shriver and Elizabeth Edwards will usually leave.

"When attention resources go to another woman, getting another pregnant or clear emotional attachment -- often something that will break up the couple -- and women will not be able to stay with the man," Pontillo said.

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