Among the many turmoils a relationship goes through, cheating is considered the most devastating. And rightly so. The breach of trust, the disrespect that it embodies is nothing short of a cardinal sin. This understanding largely is molded by looking at infidelity from the perspective of the one who’s been cheated on. In the process, we often fail to see how do cheaters feel about themselves.
In fact, it won’t be a stretch to say that the state of mind of a cheater has been incorrectly stereotyped. They’re often touted to be insensitive, unfeeling and callous people who don’t flinch before exposing their relationships to the risk of destruction and their partners to a lifetime of emotional trauma. While no amount of rationalization can justify the breach of trust that manifests in the wake of infidelity, complex emotional situations such as these are hardly as black and white as they’re made out to be.
A cheater’s mind is fraught with feelings of guilt, fear of getting caught, the uncertainty of the future of both relationships, a sense of being torn between their primary and affair partners. Do cheaters get their karma? Do cheaters realize what they lost?
Do cheaters miss their ex? If such questions have been on your mind because your partner has breached the line of faithfulness or even out of sheer curiosity, we’re here to help you understand how cheating affects the cheater. Let’s hear it straight from the horse’s mouth with confessions of people who have cheated on their partners.
What Is Cheating?
Before we get to decoding how cheating affects the cheater, it’s vital to define what counts as cheating in a relationship. Broadly, cheating can be defined as a monogamist or mono-amorous person in a committed relationship forming a romantic connection with someone other than their partner.
However, as we said before, when it comes to complex emotional matters, things are hardly black and white. There is often a lot of grey area to navigate. For instance, for some people, even looking at another person as an object of desire is cheating. They may believe that there is nothing called harmless flirting when you’re already in a committed relationship.
Likewise, looking through your old flame’s photographs on social media can be considered cheating on your partner. Cheating can be very subjective and how a person defines cheating is entirely up to their perspective on cheating. People could be micro-cheating and treating it as a bit of harmless fun or they could be involved in an emotional affair without even realizing that they are being unfaithful to their partner.
Cheating has taken different forms in the modern age but how do cheaters feel about themselves? This is a very important aspect that determines how cheating will affect a relationship. Unless a person is a seasoned serial cheater, betraying their partner’s trust takes a huge toll on their peace of mind and emotional health long before their transgression comes to light and even if it doesn’t get exposed at all.
Related Reading: Confession Story: Emotional Cheating Vs Friendship – The Blurry Line
How Do Cheaters Feel About Themselves?
How do cheaters feel about themselves? Do cheaters get their karma? Do cheaters realize what they lost? Do cheaters miss their ex? Why do cheaters willfully hurt their partners with whom they claim to have been in love? Questions like these begin swirling around in our minds when we are cheated on.
We hope that by asking the right questions to an unfaithful spouse or partner, we can lessen our pain. When that doesn’t work out, we want our partner to feel the pain that we are going through. In most cases, cheaters do feel remorse for their actions long before they are caught.
Yet, they continue going down the path of self-sabotaging their relationships, knowing full well the consequences of their actions. Though cheating is a weakness, it makes people feel powerful and in control of their stories albeit momentarily. Perhaps, it gives them a sense of fulfillment in the moment or infuses a rush of thrill, excitement and desire in their lives.
Whatever be the reason behind this tendency to play with fire that has the potential of engulfing their entire lives and reducing it to ashes, cheaters do suffer emotionally at every step of the way. Infidelity can be a lonely experience, which can turn into a tormenting mix of guilt, shame, fear.
How do cheaters feel when they get caught?
When cheaters get caught, most of the time, it is liberating. For all the shame, pain, hurt, accusations, an affair coming to light also brings with it an end to the secrecy, hiding, carefully constructed web of lies to keep one’s partner in the dark. That can be a welcome relief for a cheating partner because most people are aware, at the back of their minds, that lifelong affairs are a rarity and an illicit romantic connection comes with a limited shelf life.
Once the affair is exposed, they are compelled to stop running away from making a choice between their partner and paramour. There is no longer a need to continue staying in a relationship that suffocates you but you can’t get out of owing to a latent sense of duty. There is also no need to continue deceiving the partner and betraying their trust at every step of the way.
Getting caught brings a cheater face-to-face with clear choices ahead of them: surviving the affair and rebuilding the relationship (provided their partner is willing to give them another chance), starting a new life with their affair partner, or leaving behind both relationships and turning over a new leaf in their life.
How do cheaters feel about themselves upon getting caught? No matter how constricted a person feels when cheating on their partner, the discovery of their transgression is never easy to come to terms with. Every cheater goes through different stages of guilt during this time, ranging from shifting the blame to their partner to trying to salvage the relationship, slipping into depression over what they’ve lost, and finally, coming to terms with the consequences of their actions.
So, if you’ve wondered do cheaters realize what they lost, they most definitely do. However, by then, a lot of damage has already been caused to all parties involved.
Related Reading: Everything You Need To Know About The 7 Types Of Affairs That Exist
What is cheaters’ psychology?
Basically, two types of mentality lead to cheating. First, when you are too cowardly to make a clean break of your current relationship but need a way out. Secondly, when you feel entitled to be loved by more than one person irrespective of how your partner feels about it.
The first one may be a result of deep-rooted insecurities or poor attachment styles that make you want to seek an easy way out of a sense of unfulfillment in your primary relationship than address it head-on. The second has all the telling markings of a serial cheater.
Cheaters from the second category never change. Even those who turn to cheating as an escape mechanism may find it hard to break the pattern without the will to work on rewiring their basic perceptions of love, relationships and conflicts with the help of an expert counselor or therapist. Most cheaters justify everything other than actual intercourse as casual or harmless. Cheaters have all kinds of things to say about what they feel about cheating and some don’t feel guilty at all. Strangely sometimes wives feel guilty when their husbands cheat.
6 Cheaters Tell Us How They Feel About Themselves After Cheating
Do cheaters get their karma? If so, what are the karmic consequences of cheating? Do they feel horrible about themselves for cheating on their partners? How do they go to sleep at night and look at themselves in the mirror? How do cheaters feel about themselves? The mind can truly boggle by a barrage of questions that infidelity can rake up.
We’re here to help answer at least a few of those through these insights on how cheating affects the cheater from people who’ve lived these experiences first-hand. These are true stories and therefore the names have been altered.
1. “I cheated before my marriage” – Rohit
“Bandana and I have been married for 6 years and she recently found out that I cheated on her before we were married. I thought that it didn’t matter because we weren’t married. I tried to tell her that but she would not listen. Then she asked me something that made me realize where I went wrong.
“She asked me, why did I hide it for so many years if it didn’t matter. For the first time, I started feeling bogged down by cheating guilt and realized why I hid it from her for so long. I was wrong then and I’m wrong now. I have felt the karmic consequences of cheating long after my transgression. Now, I can only hope she will find it in her heart to forgive me.”
2. “I feel horrible about her questioning eyes” – Kashyap
“Piu is the love of my life, she’s my home. But for years I cheated on her as I felt suffocated by commitment. But then, these affairs started feeling like a burden and I wanted to be released from them. So, I confessed everything to Piu and she forgave me. Yes, she forgave me, but I couldn’t forgive myself.
“If you ask me how do cheaters feel about themselves, I would just say one word, horrible. I have erased her smile. Every time my phone rings or I get a text, she looks at me with a question in her eyes but she doesn’t say anything. I feel like I’m in the prison of my own guilt. I feel so much remorse. I just ruined our relationship.”
Related Reading: The Affair Aftermath – 6 Ways To Get Over Cheating Guilt
3. “Karma got back to me” – Bihu
“When I was dating Samar, I cheated on him with Debu. It went on for a while until I finally broke up with Samar and started dating Debu. Samar was devastated but I didn’t care. It all affected me only when I found out that Debu was cheating on me. It is only then I started to understand how Samar must have felt.
I called Samar to apologize but it was too late. Samar was already in a happy relationship. My pain of being cheated on by Debu was only challenged by my guilt of cheating on Samar. Do cheaters get their karma? If you ask me, I’d say there’s no escaping it. Karma got back to me. The situation was truly sad and taught me a terrible lesson.”
4. “I feel guilty when he shows love” – Nilima
“When Pritam went to work abroad I felt very lonely. Rohit and I got intimate a few times but we both knew that it was nothing serious. It has been a long time, but now Pritam has come back to India and wants to marry me. I don’t know if I should tell him the whole thing but I can’t say yes to the marriage without telling him anything.
I feel like I have betrayed his trust and can never have a normal life with him anymore. Every gesture of love he shows me makes me feel more and more guilty every day. I don’t know how to deal with my guilt, which leaves me stifled every moment. That’s precisely how cheating affects the cheater.”
5. “My hasty decision ruined everything” – Shilpi
“My boyfriend, Swarna, was in a relationship with three other girls from my class or so I was convinced by one of my friends. I felt insulted and cheated. To get back at him, I went ahead and had a one-night stand. I made one of the classic mistakes in a long-distance relationship of letting distance erode the trust. Later, I found out that my friends were helping Swarna plan a surprise visit to see me.
“It was surprising for me but a shock for Swarna, who walked in on me in bed with another person. How could I ever hurt such a person? Maybe I have ruined my relationship with my hasty vengeance. I’ll never get over the guilt of what I did to Swarna. I cannot even begin to tell how I feel about myself after cheating. Do cheaters realize what they lost, you ask? Every single moment, I’d say.”
6. “My wife supported me when my secretary started blackmailing” – Riju
“My wife felt neglected while I had an affair with my secretary. My wife, mother of my two children: she sacrificed her career to take care of me, my children and my family and I rewarded her by cheating on her. I ignored her and spent all my time with my secretary.
“I had to tell my wife about the affair when my secretary started to blackmail me. My wife supported me and helped me to deal with the situation. But I lost her trust. I’m doing what I can to reinstate love and trust in my marriage but I don’t know if it would ever be enough for her to recover from her heartbreak. I only feel remorse now and nothing else.”
Do serial cheaters feel remorse?
Serial cheaters are different from one-time cheaters because cheating comes to them pathologically and it is a part of their system. Serial cheaters can keep cheating with a straight face and keep convincing their partners every time that everything is hunky-dory. Serial cheaters are typically narcissists who look at every person as a possible conquest, they are very charming and feel no remorse about cheating. Sometimes on rare occasions, if they feel guilty about cheating they quickly brush that aside and get back to their ways. So if you ask serial cheaters how they feel about themselves chances are they would say they feel great.
Cheating is a menace that destroys lives and families. Most of all it destroys trust in a relationship: that is truly a regrettable loss. It takes a toll on everyone involved, including the cheater. If you have been cheating on your partner and don’t know how to put an end to the affair before it’s too late, know that you’re not alone. Scores of people battle similar dilemmas and benefit from seeking counseling to understand how to break problematic attachment patterns.
The fact that you want to make amends is a step in the right direction. You can go through this journey with the guidance of a skilled therapist. With licensed and experienced therapists on Bonobology’s panel, the right help is only a click away.