You hear about it from friends and read about it online, but when you experience infidelity for yourself, you can’t help but feel as if you’ve had the wind knocked from your sails, leaving you unprepared to deal with it. The anger and frustration will probably leave you too winded to figure out the next step. Plus, your partners’ behavior after getting caught cheating is something you can never prepare for, regardless of how much you overanalyze everything.
It may seem like you’re ending up with more questions than answers and confronting your partner while in this conflicting state of mind doesn’t have a high probability of being fruitful.
To try and help you understand what you can expect from your disloyal SO and the things you now need to do, we’ve brought in counseling psychologist Kavita Panyam, (Masters in Psychology and international affiliate with the American Psychological Association), who has been helping couples work through their relationship issues for over two decades.
5 Behavioral Changes To Expect From Your Partner After Getting Caught Cheating
“You can expect your partner to respond in extremes. They’ll either become too hostile, or overly friendly. You might see them giving you more attention, buying you gifts, to overcompensate for their mistake,” says Kavita.
What do cheaters feel about themselves? How can you tell if they’re truly remorseful or are putting on a facade in an attempt to not lose what they’ve established with you? To help you understand what you can expect, let’s take a look at your partner’s probable behavior after getting caught cheating.
1. Deflecting blame
As a constant in almost any case of infidelity, you can expect your partner to try and shift the blame once you confront them about what they did.
“You might find them blaming the other person, trying to do anything they can to make themselves not look like the one at fault. Your partner may say things like, “I didn’t know it was going to happen”, or, “It was very sudden”, “I didn’t plan it”, “I drank too much”, “the other person came on too strong, I couldn’t say no”,” says Kavita.
These are a few of the common things cheaters say when accused. Even if you think your partner won’t try to deflect blame, make sure you go up to them with considerable evidence. You can’t really predict how someone is going to react when faced with an accusation like this.
Related Reading: How To Catch A Cheating Partner – 9 Tricks To Help You
2. The other end of the spectrum: Pleading for forgiveness & overcompensating
Another one of the common things cheaters say and do after being caught is pleading for forgiveness. You may see them become overly emotional, crying to show their remorse even if they’re currently not overcome with emotion. Who let the crocodile in?
3. They may turn the tables
As a common coping mechanism, you can also expect a cheater to turn the tables and put the spotlight on you.
“When all else fails, you can expect them to get very critical of you. They’ll shift the blame on you, criticizing every single conversation you have with the opposite sex. Their endgame here is to be able to say, “You’re doing the same thing as well, you’re cheating on me.” They want to make sure you end up in a tight spot,” says Kavita.
4. A narcissist’s favorite tool: Gaslighting
If you’re dealing with a narcissist, they might opt for emotional abuse in the form of gaslighting. Without sparing a thought about how damaging gaslighting can be for you, they’ll adopt any means necessary to try and get themselves out of this hole.
“Your partner may try to gaslight you and say things like, “You’re overthinking things, you need to go see a therapist”, or, “Because of your snoopiness, you’ve made yourself go crazy”. They will try to make you believe that something is wrong with you,” says Kavita.
From all the things cheaters say when accused, if your partner has decided to rely on gaslighting phrases to try and absolve them of any guilt, it’s a major red flag you need to look out for.
5. Grief and depression
There’s also a possibility that your partner will be overcome with cheaters’ guilt, and the fourth stage of grief will end up taking hold of them. Especially when your partner is the one who confesses to you, you can expect them to be going through a period of sorrow.
When a cheating person shows no remorse, it’s always a cause for concern. But succumbing to mental health issues like depression will harm your partner exponentially. If their behavior after getting caught cheating has become radically self-abusive and depressive, they need to get therapy for it right away.
So, how does a man feel after being caught cheating? Or even a woman, for that matter? As you can probably tell by now, it largely depends on how they are as a person. It also depends on how you confront them, and exactly what you accuse them of.
7 Things To Do To Help You Heal
Once you’ve weathered the initial storm and managed to deal with the upheaval of emotions you experienced, it’s now time to figure out what to do about it. Your heartbroken and enraged mind may have a few sinister thoughts floating about, but you know those won’t do you any good.
Your partners’ behavior after getting caught cheating may have ranged from narcissistic gaslighting to overcompensating. The steps you need to take for yourself, however, are arguably a bit more important.
Kavita tells us all we need to know about what you should do after you go through the unfortunate circumstance of experiencing disloyalty in your dynamic.
Related Reading: 6 Cheaters Tell Us How They Feel About Themselves
1. Calm yourself down
First things first, try to calm yourself down before you even take the next step. “In the heat of things, when you’re preparing yourself for flight or fight, you can’t really process your thoughts properly,” says Kavita.
It may seem like a million thoughts are racing through your mind, but at the same time, you’re not really processing anything very well. Bear in mind that you’re quite possibly still navigating between the denial and the anger phases of dealing with grief.
“Later on, when you’re in a calm state of mind, write down whatever you’ve been thinking about the situation. How many times have you felt as though everything has come to an end? Should you walk away or stay? How many times have you felt like sinking, but managed to stay afloat? Pen your feelings down, it’ll help,” says Kavita.
2. Have a conversation with yourself
We’ve seen all the things cheaters say and do, now comes the time to analyze what you’re thinking about and saying. Kavita sums up all the questions you need to ask yourself during this trying time:
“Make a list of pros and cons. Is the relationship worth pursuing? Ask yourself all the hard-hitting questions that you need to address. Can you forgive your partner? Can you live with them and be physically intimate with them? Will you be able to trust them after this?
“What happens if you live with them now? What if they’re still cheating after being caught? Ask yourself things like how much you trust your partner’s sincerity. Is it possible they’ll take you for granted if you forgive them?”
3. Get to the bottom of why it happened
Though it may seem like the last thing you want to do, if you want your dynamic to have any chance of survival, you must try to figure out what caused this event to transpire in the first place.
“Try to figure out if you turned a blind eye to any red flags in your relationship. Did you find some unknown contacts in your partner’s phone? Did you ever notice them leave the house under suspicious pretenses? Are there unresolved conflicts and ignored fights that could’ve led to cheating? Make a list of the red flags you might have ignored, and they might show you why it happened,” says Kavita.
4. Don’t go it alone
Though it’s only one person who has betrayed you, you may end up feeling extremely lonely. It might seem exceedingly difficult to reach out for help and if you’re struggling with depressive thoughts, it’s possible you may even end up rejecting help from loved ones.
One of the most important things you can do, however, is to find support. “You NEED to seek out supportive friends or even a support group to help you get past this,” says Kavita.
“A friend can help you process your emotions. By conversing with them or even sharing silence with them. Just knowing you have support on your journey will make you feel good,” she adds.
Instead of focusing on how cheaters feel about themselves, focus on finding support for yourself. Trying to go it alone is only going to end up making things rougher. Your best bet is to reach out to friends and people who care.
5. Talk to your partner
Perhaps the most important thing to do is figure out how you’re going to communicate with your partner and what you’re going to say to them. Kavita tells us why the tone of your voice and what you say hold such importance:
“Let your partner know you want to talk to them, in a neutral and gentle tone. Don’t be angry or blame your partner right off the bat. Only then will you get an opportunity to speak. Look for the right moment when emotions aren’t running high and try to talk to them.
“It is important to have the conversation in a supportive and safe environment. Even if you’ve never faced abuse before, don’t let the conversation take place where things like physical or emotional abuse can take place.”
Related Reading: The 8 Most Common Types Of Cheating In A Relationship
6. Begin the process of healing
When you spend your time focusing on your partner’s behavior after getting caught cheating, it’s possible you may delay starting your own healing process. Just like every other problem in your life, pain and trauma, when left unchecked, will only get worse.
“Check in to a wellness resort, if need be, to process your emotions. Practice mindfulness or meditation, or try to take up things like yoga or tai chi, anything that will help you deal with the pain,” says Kavita.
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7. Start rebuilding trust in your relationship
If you do end up deciding on giving your relationship another chance, rebuilding trust after infidelity must take centerstage. If you’re worried about your partner still cheating after being caught, let them know about your doubts and feelings, and talk it out.
The more you communicate, the better you’ll be able to work on this equation and eventually move forward. Rebuilding trust is an exercise you cannot do alone. Being understanding of each other’s needs is almost a prerequisite.
At the end of the day, the way your partner reacts to getting caught cheating will tell you a lot you need to know about the future of your dynamic. Even if you’re not ready to let go, when you notice your partner trying to gaslight you, you must acknowledge the difficult realization that the relationship is probably inherently toxic.
Now that you have a better idea of the things cheaters say and do, we hope you have a better idea of how to deal with your emotions.