As per statistics, 40% of unmarried relationships and 25% of marriages see at least one incident of infidelity. Infidelity is more common than you think. Most people who cheat on their partners experience guilt over their actions and the cheating guilt signs are always present whether one admits to cheating or not.
Cheaters understand that they have betrayed the trust of their beloved by cheating and have caused them deep anguish. This guilt that they carried often reflects in their actions, be they voluntary or involuntary. For instance, if your boyfriend or husband is being overly nice, making it abundantly clear that he is overcompensating, it could be one of the signs he cheated and feels guilty. Likewise, if your wife or girlfriend is suddenly playing hot and cold, you could be dealing with signs of guilt in a woman after cheating.
However, if you don’t even suspect your partner of cheating or trust them too blindly to even think that they’d cheat on you, spotting the signs of cheating guilt can be that much harder. But not impossible. So, how do you know when someone is guilty about cheating? Psychotherapist Dr. Aman Bhonsle (Ph.D., PGDTA), who specializes in relationship counseling and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, shares a few insights into some tell-tale signs of cheating guilt, and life coach and counselor Joie Bose shares her thoughts on cheating at the end of the article.
Love, Cheating, And Signs Of Cheating Guilt: An Overview
One of our readers wrote to us, “I hooked up with my ex after a big fight with my girlfriend. She was angry with me and I saw her “like” a few posts of some man she knows I am insecure about. When I tried to speak to her about it, she hung up on me. I went and got drunk, and chatted about it with my ex, who too was a little tipsy. We met and made out. I feel terrible. I am experiencing cheater’s guilt. Please help. What should I do?”
What this reader shared with this is one of the clearest signs he cheated and feels guilty. In his case, the symptoms of guilt after cheating ranged from anxiety to self-hatred and remorse. However, cheating guilt doesn’t always manifest through the same emotions in everyone. This may leave you wondering, “How do you know when someone is guilty about cheating? And how does a guilty person act when accused of cheating?”
Talking about relationship red flags, Dr. Bhonsle says, “Lying in a relationship are signs of cheating husband or wife’s guilt. What are they trying to escape into or escape from? It’s often hard to tell. Without trust and respect, relationships always suffer. From a porn addiction to infidelity, they might be hiding anything. If you sense manipulation and dodgy behavior, ask yourself if you’re with this person for companionship or to play cops and robbers. If you have trust issues, then the very foundation of your relationship is shaky.
“When we talk about the signs your husband or wife regrets cheating, it really depends on the kind of person your partner is. They might even be someone who doesn’t get too affected by cheating or they may just be someone who can’t stand the guilt and confesses to the whole thing.” People may be too blinded by their love to notice signs of cheater’s guilt but eventually, they all do. Once discovered, cheaters try and cover up with shocking lies.
The things cheaters say when caught can be really shocking, making you question your whole belief system. You can spot the signs of cheating guilt by being a bit observant. The most noticeable cheater’s guilt signs are nervousness. Cheaters are always jittery, unsure, and defensive, giving away what you need to know. These guilty reactions to cheating cannot be ignored. You can spot the signs of cheating in a husband or wife easily.
Your partner will worry about the consequences and do things that they normally don’t. They might be overcompensating for their guilt. Cheating partners understand the pain and anguish they have caused (or may cause) their partner. They also feel shame, and in order to convince themselves that they are being good, they start being overly loving to you.
Cheaters can, however, be good at covering up their lies if confronted. A cheating partner might manipulate you into believing that you are the one overreacting. Somehow they make it seem like you are the one who has changed rather than them and this is a classic tell that they are hiding something. These are absolute cheating guilt signs.
Related Reading: 6 Cheaters Tell Us How They Feel About Themselves
And of course, there’s your gut feeling. Almost inexplicably, you can often feel that you’ve been cheated on. Even so, if you wish to take a more comprehensive look at answering the question, “How can you tell if someone is guilty of cheating?”, let’s guide you through everything you’ll ever need to know about signs of cheating guilt, and what you might need to look at.
What Is Cheater’s Guilt?
Most people would tell you that cheating is wrong, and that is true. There are times when people cheat for reasons unknown to them. People can cheat out of sheer boredom, frustration, or compatibility issues. Sometimes, it’s simply because a new colleague giving them attention can feel like a fresh breeze! It’s a very complex thing to wrap your head around, and if you look at the psychological facts about cheating, you may realize that it might not even have been as sinister as it appears.
Even so, how do you know the signs that your husband is guilty of cheating? What do the signs he cheated and feels guilty even look like? Does he even realize he has done something terribly wrong? Some people are in an emotional affair and are unaware of it. Some cannot communicate their feelings, and then there is another set of people who blame their partners for “making them cheat”.
Whatever the reasons may be, one indelible truth for most people who cross the line is that they feel guilty after cheating. Barring sociopaths, most people do experience cheater’s guilt. The fact that they strayed, and the shame thereon makes cheaters guilty conscious. If your partner is not one of the Don Drapers out there, their guilty reactions to cheating will give them away. This is something from which they will not be able to escape easily — for how can you escape your mind?
Guilty reactions to cheating are psychological but also tend to manifest externally in behavior, actions, and physiology. Cheater’s guilt is when the person who has transgressed feels terrible about his or her actions and struggles with what to do. It is a painful feeling of having let down the person you love.
The cheating guilt signs are always there and this article tells us about how they felt about themselves after they had cheated. Most cheaters do not go about planning to cheat, for who wants to rock the apple cart deliberately? But something happened along the way and they landed in the situation they did.
The person who gets cheated on never truly understands why it happened and the person who cheats too finds it difficult to figure out the why clearly. Even though they may use the excuses to cheat to justify their actions to themselves. Whatever be the cheater’s inner turmoil, some cheating guilt signs are always visible in their behavior.
More often than not, cheaters are aware of the fact that they’re crossing boundaries they shouldn’t, and that’s exactly why signs of cheating guilt set in. When a man feels guilty for hurting you, they would show the signs too. He could regret doing what he did to you and might want a second chance at the relationship.
So, do cheaters suffer? Barring psychopaths, yes, yes they do. If you’re in a relationship with someone who has a conscience and doesn’t shamelessly cheat and get over it, there are a lot of signs of cheating guilt that you can take note of.
Related Reading: Dear Wife Of Cheating Husband, This Is Why I Don’t Feel Guilty
How Cheating Guilt Affects Cheaters
The answer to, “Do cheaters suffer?”, is an astounding yes. And though you may not believe it, cheating hurts the cheaters too. Once the excitement and the newness of the person they have cheated with wears off, they feel an entire gamut of emotions. Shame, guilt, even anxiety, and most importantly the fear of losing their beloved.
Cheaters start to feel ashamed, they begin to fear being judged by the people they love and value most. Above all, cheaters tend to feel bad about themselves. However, cheating guilt manifests itself in proportion to the intensity of the affair. A sexual affair can make people feel more guilty than an emotional one.
Cheaters also do their homework. They tend to research how to cover their cheating episode. They want to know how they can undo the damage. They are well aware of the harmful effects of an extramarital affair on their partners and they know how it can destroy their partner’s sense of self. That’s why one of the signs of cheating guilt can be self-loathing.
They may stand to lose their partner and family (if children are involved). Often they lose the respect of their friends and extended family, even colleagues. They fear being judged and shamed by people they call their own. This causes misery as they know that they are the reason for the mess and misery that all their loved ones are going through. These are emotional signs of guilt. They start to exhibit signs of cheating guilt and try to work on rebuilding their relationship.
So while a part of them is in the seventh heaven about the pleasure that a new romance brings into their life, another part hates themselves for it. Living between these two extremes does cause most cheaters to feel guilt and in some extreme cases, the guilt of cheating can cause depression. But the question remains, how do you know when someone is guilty about cheating? A person’s guilty reactions to cheating are what we will talk about in this article. We will tell you what are the signs of cheating husband guilt and how you should look out for it.
13 Sure-Shot Cheating Guilt Signs You Can’t Miss
How do you know if your partner is cheating? If you are even asking this question, perhaps you have noticed something off about your partner. Catching a cheating partner is not really a huge thing — it’s easier than ever, with apps and some smart moves. Perhaps you are thinking of confrontation.
What you think to be your gut feeling are actually micro signs of your partner’s cheater’s guilt that your subconscious has picked up. Watch out for these cheating guilt signs to be sure that your hunch is right. Read ahead only if you are sure you want to open Pandora’s box. Study your partner to see if they exhibit cheater’s guilt. Look for their mannerisms, their eye contact, the way they respond to things. Here are 10 cheating guilt signs you need to watch out for.
1. Projecting their guilt onto you
How do you know when someone is guilty about cheating? Pay attention to any projections of guilt. If your partner turns around and accuses you of cheating when you ask them the same, they project their guilt onto you. Projecting is a defense mechanism and a big red flag. In fact, saying mean things to each other is often indicative of bigger problems in a relationship.
“Gaslighting in a relationship under such a scenario is often an evasion tactic. To make sure they’re not confronted with a difficult conversation, they may try to turn the tables and pick fights with their partner,” says Dr. Bhonsle. If your partner is accusing you of cheating when you confront them, then it’s the biggest cheater’s guilt sign. S/he is trying to justify their cheating this way, and they may think they can successfully avoid a conversation about this.
When they try to flip the tables on you in this way, trying to maneuver your next steps can be difficult. Remember to never let them walk over you, and make sure you voice your concerns if there’s something bothering you. Trying to sweep it under the rug — like your partner wants you to — is not going to do you any favors. When you see the signs of guilt in a woman or a man, call them out.
2. Defensive about their changed grooming patterns
Perhaps, the first sign of cheating can be a sudden change in grooming patterns. Maybe your partner started wearing too much blue and that tipped you off? Changed their perfume? Started wearing aftershave every time they step out? This could mean they are meeting somebody who likes them in blue, likes that perfume or that particular aftershave. These may be signs of a cheating husband or wife.
A person who is cheating becomes more conscious of their appearance and pays more attention to personal grooming. If you ask them about this newfound penchant for dressing up, they get all defensive. Even a simple statement like “Oh my god, someone’s looking hot today” can be enough to trigger an argument, leaving you confused about why your partner reacted so badly to a compliment.
Then suddenly, your cheating partner starts to feel guilty about cheating. So to make up for the same, he starts to dress the way you like him to. The blue is there, but there is also a white or pink. Your gifted perfumes are making a comeback. They are trying to ensure that you feel loved too, and it’s entirely possible that it’s a sign he cheated and feels guilty or she is consumed by cheating guilt.
3. Signs of a guilty conscience in a relationship: Suddenly over/under zealous in bed
Has he always been a missionary man? Has she always been the one to be on top? A sudden change of preferences in bed can be suggestive of cheating. Your partner may be trying new positions with you, or simply covering up their guilt by making you happy. Or they may also be uninterested in sex since they are already getting it somewhere else.
Being overzealous in bed can mean overcompensation and is a sign of cheater’s guilt. If a husband is suffering from cheating guilt, he would try to overcompensate in bed, in an attempt to try and please her in bed to clear his guilty conscience. However, keep in mind, trying out a new move in bed doesn’t immediately make it a sign of a guilty cheating husband or wife.
That being said, a continued deviation from how they usually had intercourse could very well be a cause for concern. Especially if it seems like they’re suddenly a pro at this new position that you had never even heard of before. If you notice a sustained difference in the way they now approach sex, it’s definitely a cause for concern.
“The changes in bed cannot, unfortunately, be treated in absolute terms. They depend from relationship to relationship, and what’s common for one is bizarre for the other. So, in order to understand if it’s different than it used to be, you need to give it more time than a few instances of changed behavior in bed,” says Dr. Bhonsle.
4. Constant mood swings are among cheating guilt signs
Have you noticed that your partner’s mood is mercurial? One moment they are celebrating with you, the next they are annoyed at something you don’t know about (and they refuse to talk about it no matter what). The reason is the emotional toll of balancing two relationships.
Juggling both can get overwhelming and when with you, the cheating partner cannot help but feel bad about what they are doing to you. It might be the cheater’s guilt surfacing in the form of this pendulum-like behavior. They can see how much you are doing for them, for the house, the family.
All of this can leave them overwhelmed with the guilt of cheating on you. This guilt can make cheaters feel angry at the same time. So, do cheaters suffer? More often than not, they suffer in their own heads, feeling extremely conflicted about what they should do.
5. Gifts for no reason is the sign of a guilty cheating husband or wife
One of the guilty reactions to cheating is overcompensating. If you are showered with gifts (expensive ones!) every other week/day (depending on how guilty they feel) and there’s no real occasion, it can be cheater’s guilt gift-wrapped especially for you. The guilt of betraying your trust may be eating away at your partner or they may be consumed by the fear of getting caught and the repercussions that may have on your relationship. To deal with this inner turmoil, they start overcompensating.
It is also a way to take your attention away from signs of cheating and onto this new, expensive gift. The likelihood of you feeling loved and cared for will temporarily wash out the fact that you are being cheated upon. This also gives a cheater some time to think about what they are doing.
They feel sorry and the gifts are a way to soften the blow: “I cheated on you, but I love you. Here’s the expensive watch you always wanted.” As this is one of the biggest signs your husband regrets cheating, it’s not that hard to spot. Especially since men think they can buy forgiveness with a few expensive gifts.
6. How can you tell if someone is guilty of cheating? They won’t say “I love you”
Remember those mornings when the first thing you heard was “I love you”? If this phrase has gone AWOL, this might be a red flag. They might even refrain from saying it back because they don’t feel honest about the words uttered. This is one of the most common cheating guilt signs.
When a man feels guilty for hurting you, he would stammer and stutter but would not be able to look into your eyes and tell you he loves you. Likewise, one of the signs she cheated and feels guilty is that she may start being excessively cold to you, trying to pick fights with you so she doesn’t have to say those three words.
Related Reading: 12 Signs Of A Lying Spouse
7. Odd plans – Common signs of guilt in a woman or a man
They step out at night to “finish the presentation” with their “colleagues” way too often. That could just mean that s/he is having an affair with a colleague. When asked about their plans, they are whimsical, and indecisive about what they are doing for men’s/ladies’ night out.
They work out excuses to go out of the house. You often doubt if they are at a place where they said they would be. If you probe about their whereabouts they could get angry and upset or if you ask them where they are over the phone, it could trigger a fresh spell of fights and arguments. If you find that relatable, you have been dealing with your wife’s or husband’s cheating guilt signs already.
And if you’re looking for signs of a cheating husband at work, try to take note of every time they say they’ll be late at work and the reason they give to justify it. Ask him about how that presentation is going a month later, and watch him fluster to give you an answer.
8. Their stories keep changing
A person struggling with cheater’s guilt would not be able to give you the same answer every time about his whereabouts. Because they’ve simply forgotten. The events of the day are often overlapping and make no sense. “I was at Jacob’s place” quickly becomes “I was with Nash, trying to work”.
Turns out they were with neither. And that they have been lying. This is one of the classic cheating guilt signs because they can’t keep track of their own excuses. One of the biggest symptoms of guilt after cheating ties right into these lies. Once you call out the fact that they’re lying, they may aggressively get defensive as a final attempt to try and salvage their story.
9. Friends start acting uncomfortable
Often in a relationship, your friends or common friends tend to get wind of your partner’s cheating long before you do. If your partner’s friends suddenly start acting uncomfortable around you or try to avoid you, it could be a sign they are aware of your partner’s infidelity.
It’s also one of the biggest signs of a guilty conscience in a relationship when your partner opts to tell their friends before they open up to you about it. They’re worried about the consequences of their cheating, but they probably couldn’t hold it in anymore. Your partner’s friends could be avoiding you on purpose so that you don’t get to ask too many questions. Or they themselves feel guilty that they are not telling you about your husband’s or wife’s affair.
10. Expensive purchases are one of the cheating guilt signs
Unexplained purchases? Hidden orders? Expensive packages? This is a classic sign of a cheating partner, especially when they do not tell you anything about it. Now, a person can exhibit only a couple of cheating guilt signs but that doesn’t mean they are guilty of infidelity. A cluster of all the signs, along with your gut feeling can sum up the fact that you are being cheated on.
You’ve known your partner long enough. You know their habits. If you get a gut feeling even without following their trace of infidelity, you might just be right. Confronting them about your feelings can make things clear for you. But before you go ahead and level accusations of infidelity on your partner, it’s best to garner some concrete evidence to back your claims. Thanks to technology, there are numerous tools available with which you can discreetly gather proof of your partner’s transgressions.
11. Depression is among the symptoms of cheating guilt
How do you know when someone is guilty about cheating? Well, look closely at your partner’s behavior patterns and see if you notice any worrying changes such as inaction, lethargy, insomnia, increased or decreased appetite and social withdrawal, to name a few. If these behavior patterns are uncharacteristic of your partner, it could be a manifestation of their cheating guilt.
Studies have shown a close connection between guilt and depression. So, yes, the guilt of cheating can cause depression. This is especially true if your partner still loves you and is living with deep regret over betraying your trust. Their act of infidelity may not have come to light so far, but every waking moment serves as a horrible realization of having put their relationship in jeopardy. This, in turn, can trigger feelings of distress, anxiety and depression.
12. A lack of emotional connection is among the common signs of guilt in a woman
When a third enters your equation, it’s bound to throw things off balance. The partner who has forged a strong romantic/emotional/physical connection outside of the relationship may feel hard to connect with their primary partner the way they used to. The act of infidelity serves as an invisible wall between you two and causes the emotional distance to creep in.
If you feel emotional intimacy dwindling in your relationship, cheating and disloyalty could be the root cause. This is one of the most signs of guilt in a woman. However, that’s not to say that cheating cannot make a man emotionally withdrawn in a relationship. If your husband or boyfriend evades any deep or meaningful conversations with you, it could be one of the signs he cheated and feels guilty.
13. Manipulation could be a sign your partner cheated and feels guilty
How does a guilty person act when accused of cheating? There are no one-size-fits-all answers to this question, and a person’s reaction in such a situation can vary from denial to expressing anger and hurt or even breaking down and admitting to their transgressions. However, one common response to being questioned about cheating or any suspicious behavior is manipulation.
Do you feel that your partner has mastered the art of turning the tables on you whenever you ask them about their stories not adding up or any uncharacteristic behaviors? Has your partner made it a habit of never giving you any straight answers, even to the simplest questions like when will you be home? Have sarcasm and sharp jibes become their go-to language?
You’d be surprised to know that there could all be signs he cheated and feels guilty or signs of guilt in a woman. Because your partner is consumed with cheating guilt, they constantly live with the fear that you’re on to them. Twisting facts or resorting to scathing retorts could be a defense mechanism to throw you off the scent.
What To Do When You Spot Signs Of Guilt In A Woman or A Man
Spotting these tell-tale signs of guilt in a woman or a man you love can be crushing. Your worst fears are coming true and you may feel as if the world around you is crumbling. But now is not the time to fall apart. You need to get yourself together and figure out your next steps. The most obvious choice here would be to talk to your partner about your suspicions and clear the air. Tell him you see the signs he cheated and feels guilty or tell her that her behavior points to signs of guilt in a woman, and give them a chance to come clean.
However, there is no guarantee that they will respond to your insinuations favorably. Who’s to say how does a guilty person act when accused of cheating? If your partner chooses not to come clean even when you give them a chance to, you need to focus on gathering concrete evidence to counter their denials. For that, you could consider buying spyware to catch a cheating partner and to keep track of their online activities.
Get a GPS track to know their whereabouts. Order a spy camera and install it in your home, if you suspect that’s where they carry out their shenanigans in your absence. Or use a phone cloning device or software to get a detailed lowdown on their activities. Yes, this can be a bit disconcerting and leave you riddled with guilt if you don’t find anything untoward in your partner’s activities. But it is always better to get your facts right than operate from a space of suspicion when handling such delicate matters.
Oftentimes, however, trying to find signs she cheated and feels guilty or signs of a cheating husband at work are usually a matter of how well you can read your partner. If you catch most of the signs we listed out today, it’s best if you have a conversation with them about it. Instead of getting angry, tell them that honesty is going to do you both good since there’s no point floating about in a relationship that’s devoid of trust.
Joie Bose speaks on cheating, society, and partners. “Cheaters — the term itself is derogatory. It terms the people who seek any comfort beyond the socially acceptable monogamous relationship as criminals of sorts. Hence when a “cheater” is made to feel bad about it, they may feel bad about causing the partner pain but they don’t feel guilty about the act of getting close to another person.
“It’s like having chocolate cake during a diet. You feel guilty about the consequences — about gaining weight and having been derailed from your weight loss journey — but it doesn’t mean that you didn’t enjoy the act of biting into the cake.
“After having counseled many, I have one question to ask everyone — why does society judge before understanding the whole issue at hand? Usually, a person cheats when there is a rift between partners — emotional or physical. Couples often don’t do anything to bridge the gap and let the gap widen further. As a result, a person gets lonely and jumps at the first opportunity to kill the loneliness and get happiness, even for a brief period. Will you blame the hungry for stealing a loaf of bread?
“Most “cheaters” have suffered emotional or physical abuse of some sort and they treat their “extra” relationship as a balm. Hence even if the person admits to the world that they were wrong in cheating and apologizes, they often do so under societal pressure and to gain acceptance in a world that doesn’t understand them. But cheating should not always mean the end of a relationship. It is possible to reinstate trust in a relationship if both partners are willing.”
So, do cheaters feel guilty? Sure they do. Whether that guilt is driven by a need to be accepted or guilt of having hurt their partner is harder to pinpoint. However, the fact remains that the cheating guilt signs do tend to manifest themselves in one way or the other, all you have to do is know what you’re looking for.
You would know your husband is feeling cheating remorse when you are being showered with gifts, he is being overzealous in bed and he is having constant mood swings. He understands he is causing you hurt, and breaking your trust and he tries to make up for the same.
The infidelity statistics show that 25% of people in marriages end up in an affair or people cheat in some way. Though it may seem like your relationship will never go through a similar fate, catching the cheating guilt signs can help you figure it out.
Yes, serial cheaters are common. Cheating can happen multiple times. Unless a person is truly sure of himself, cheating can happen again and again even though most cheaters know they are doing the wrong thing.
You will know he regrets hurting you if he puts in every effort to apologize and mend the situation. He would try to win back your trust and do everything possible to give you the assurance that he is clean.
Both individual and couples’ counseling can be immensely helpful in working through the feelings of hurt, anger, and betrayal that the partner who has been cheated on is experiencing as well as the shame, guilt, and pain that the cheating partner is grappling with. While counseling cannot guarantee a reconciliation, it will certainly equip you with the tools to acknowledge, embrace and manage your emotional responses better.