Its simple – you cheated your partner and are now weighed down by the guilt. You have hated yourself, despised yourself and are unsure about yourself. The guilt of cheating someone you loved is killing you in bits and pieces. But in the heart of your hearts you know you need to get over the cheating guilt, you feel awful having cheated, and that’s why you are here.
What is done is done. It is the time to move on now. Now it is time to make a fresh effort to rebuild a relationship.
Because infidelity is just a symptom: broken relationship is the actual problem.
Now it is time to face the music and start dealing with cheating guilt and regret of betraying someone you love. There are certain ways you can amend and atone for what you have done to your partner and the relationship. And if you are the one who has been cheated upon then there are certain ways you can cope with the fact and look to the future together. You both need to understand what is at stake here and evaluate your relationship in reference to the present crisis.
6 Ways To Get Over The Cheating Guilt
Getting over the guilt of cheating is the only way forward, but when you know you have caused anguish, pain and hurt to someone who cared about you and whom you loved, it is an uphill task to forgive yourself. You are probably experiencing the signs of cheaters guilt and are distraught yourself. Yet, it’s not impossible to put your past mistakes in the past. And that’s where we help you.
1. Acceptance of cheating guilt
First of all, accept it. Do not be defensive. Do not make excuses. And, definitely don’t blame anybody else; especially not your spouse or partner. When things come to light and the cat is out of the bag, then there remains nowhere to turn to. You must have thought that you hid it well, that there was no chance your spouse would find out that you have broken their trust. But it is a commitment that you made and breaking it have also taken a toll on you emotionally. And now that it is finally out and there is no more hiding. The guilt of cheating is staring you at your face. Take this chance to unburden your heart. Tell your partner everything. Not only the act but also your circumstances and emotional condition. This will help your partner to understand your point of view. Repent but without regret.
You can never apologise enough for cheating on someone, but feeling sorry does somehow act as a balm on the cheating guilt. And your apology is meaningless if it doesn’t come from the heart. Apology doesn’t just mean saying sorry. It’s not enough to utter that word. You need to mean it and show it in action. You have to make your spouse understand that you know why you are saying sorry.
Infidelity is not only about the pain, but also about the insult.
When you lie to and cheat your partner then you also question their intelligence. Your spouse must have noticed the changes in you but ignored them because they trust you. This trust is what you have broken and made them question their own understanding of truth.
3. Seek guidance
A committed relationship is never just between two people but also between two families. When something like infidelity tries to break apart the small thread that binds you then you need to seek guidance from the larger family. Young people think that they know what is what, while elders know what life really is. Let them in and talk to them about this crisis and they may be able to help you with your current situation. Their life experience and understanding of human nature will guide you through this hardship. Maybe then you will be able to successfully navigate through these emotional doldrums and find peace on the other shore.
Especially if there are kids in the relationship then help from the larger family is required to keep the kids unaware and unperturbed by this whole situation.
Related reading: Does an emotional affair count as ‘cheating’?
4. Seek help
Are you a serial infidel? Are you someone who cannot stop themselves from having external affairs? Are you someone to whom lying comes naturally? Are you never satisfied with one partner? Are you always looking to be appreciated in newer relationships? Then you are either into polyamory or a serial cheat. But the difference between polyamory and cheating is, you don’t need to lie to your multiple partners when you are into polyamory. If lying and cheating gives you pleasure, then there’s something wrong with you and you should really seek professional help, if you want to continue in your one committed relationship.
It is not fair to your partner to continue like this even if they are unaware of your transgressions because you are too good at hiding it. A mental disease is as common and treatable as a physical disease. But to look for the cure you need to take the first step: Admit to yourself that you have a problem, then only you can move forward and come out of this crisis.
5. Seek spiritual guidance
When everything fails, you come home to spirituality. It is said that the religion is the opium of people but it is also the only sign of relief for the oppressed. Spirituality can be like a guiding light when all you can see in your life is darkness. If you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel yourself then you should look for a spiritual guide to help you achieve that stage.
Related reading: 6 people on what they learnt about themselves after they cheated
At different stages of life, you need the guidance and emotional triangulation from someone who has higher knowledge of life as it is. They can give you an unbiased and radical perspective of your situation. That is because when we are in crisis we believe that we are the only people to whom this has happened. But a spiritual guide will help you to locate your crisis in the larger framework of life and then you might start to feel that maybe your crisis is not the overarching monster that you fear it is.
6. Seek therapy
Last but not the least, therapy. No, I am not suggesting you are going mad. I am talking about couples’ therapy that will help you work out the problems in your relationship. And obviously, there are problems. Someone felt neglected while the other felt nagged. Someone felt pressured while the other felt suffocated. Someone felt unheard while the other felt disturbed. Whatever the reason maybe, there has been some gap in the relationship that let another person to step in. Maybe there has been some bad blood between you two due to these issues. Speaking to a therapist openly about these things will help you get a different perspective. Once these things are out in the open, maybe you two can start working on a solution, or better even, take a leap towards moving on.
Does the guilt of cheating ever go away?
You might feel, “Guilt of cheating is killing me,” but things will get better. You need forgiveness, not only from your spouse but also from yourself. That is only possible when you have completely accepted your guilt and have been truthful. When a relationship is built on honesty, it can survive all kinds of relationship trouble.