Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin
07/31/2013 at 07:45 PM EDT
While people are speculating about what Huma Abedin was thinking when she decided to stand by her man in his latest humiliating sexting scandal
, close friends and family members tell PEOPLE the answer is simple: her toddling, talking 19-month-old son, Jordan.
Confidants of Anthony Weiner's wife tell PEOPLE in this week's issue that Abedin was on the verge of leaving Weiner
last fall, after he confessed in September he was sexting again.
The couple had even confided to family members that they might split. But when it came to actually packing her bags and carrying their son Jordan away, Abedin couldn't do it.
"Huma has a very strong moral character, and she made a commitment for better or worse," explains her longtime friend, New York businesswoman Rory Tahari. "She never wanted Jordan to say to her, 'Why didn't you do everything you could to help Dad?'"
She entered "intensive" joint therapy with Weiner last fall that continues today. "They really became a unit and she feels much closer
to Anthony now," a family member says.
And thanks to the therapist's advice to "live your life, don't be paralyzed by your past," Abedin encouraged Anthony to get back into the political game by chasing his lifelong dream of being New York City mayor.
"He's out there every day with people telling him how great he is," explains a close friend of Abedin's, "getting it more than he did sitting on their couch for two years."
For more details of the family's coping – including when he came clean about his relapse and how Abedin's boss, Hillary Clinton feels about Weiner – pick up the new issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday