Infidelity is possibly one of the worst things that can happen to someone in a relationship. It brings about a change in both men and women but our focus is on the latter. So how does cheating affect a woman? How does a woman feel after cheating in a relationship?
In order to understand better how infidelity affects a woman, we spoke to consultant psychologist Jaseena Backer (MS Psychology), who is a gender and relationship management expert. We got her views on whether and how cheating affects the cheater.
Being cheated on by the person you love the most hurts. There is no doubt about it. But why does cheating hurt so much? Jaseena weighs in, “It hurts because it is a committed relationship where both partners are exclusively available only for each other. If a third person enters the picture, it is a violation of that commitment. It is a breach of trust. It hurts because the person, who has been betrayed, feels like he/she wasn’t good enough.”
Why do people cheat? Well, there are myriad reasons for it like lack of emotional satisfaction, lack of physical intimacy, depression, low self-esteem, and addiction to sex or need of a different or new sexual experience. For some, cheating is seen as a confidence or ego booster. People also cheat to avoid personal or relationship problems.
Jaseena elaborates, “Maybe they find someone else attractive or seek a certain level of sexual satisfaction that’s probably missing in their marriage. Some women cheat because they can no longer find love, care or any emotional security in their marriage. Some seek validation.”
It doesn’t matter how long a person has been with his/her partner. The act of betrayal by either partner, then, decides the course or future of the relationship. In some cases, couples are able to put it behind them while, in others, it becomes impossible to overcome the betrayal.
9 Ways Cheating Affects A Woman – As Per Expert
Do cheaters suffer for their deeds? How does cheating affect the cheater? According to Jaseena, “Initially, the cheater may not think much about how the extramarital affair or the other relationship affects her partner while they’re cheating. Later, a sense of guilt sets in due to a lot of anger thrown at her by the person she is cheating on. This cheating guilt tends to be higher if children are involved.
“Cheaters also feel a sense of shame if family, friends or colleagues find out about the affair. Due to the clandestine nature of the relationship, cheaters usually live with the fear of being caught or humiliated in public by the deceived partner. They also tend to experience self-loathing and regret.”
All said and done, there is probably no justification for cheating on someone. You cannot play with your partner’s emotions. Infidelity is devastating. It dismantles long-term relationships and marriages.
Related Reading: 10 Cheating Guilt Signs You Need To Watch Out For
Cheating affects both men and women in different ways. But, here, we talk about how cheating affects a woman. Here are 9 ways:
1. It can bring her closer to her partner
Jaseena says, “Cheating can also bring a woman closer to her partner. Both partners may have reached a point where they’ve begun to take each other for granted. If they decide to continue the relationship, they probably did, which should not happen. When that realization hits, they start to rework their boundaries, which brings them closer to each other.”
Infidelity is usually considered an unforgivable mistake in a relationship. But, a lot of couples are able to get past it and continue the relationship. For that to happen, both partners should be willing to acknowledge and address the issue at hand. They should be able to accept their flaws and figure out the underlying issues that led to the affair.
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The cheating woman should render a heartfelt apology, take responsibility, acknowledge the hurt that she has caused to the man who loved her so much, and take action to avoid going down the same perilous path again. Both partners must talk to each other about it. It is painful but necessary.
Therapy can help. Attending couples’ therapy can help them navigate through this difficult experience. With licensed and experienced therapists on Bonobology’s panel, the right help is only a click away.
2. She experiences shame, anger and guilt
How does a woman feel after cheating in a relationship or marriage? She feels guilty for the hurt caused to her partner, especially if she gets caught in the act. There’s a lot of anger and shame involved as well if people close to her find out about the affair.
Even if the couple decides to move on, it is hard to establish trust in the relationship causing the woman to feel regret at having caused so much hurt to her partner. This is how cheating affects a woman. The guilt and anger also come from the realization that she is not just cheating on her partner but also her family and friends.
Jaseena says, “She feels guilty and finds it difficult to face her husband and the rest of the family. She goes through a lot of internal turmoil because she knows that her marriage will not be the same anymore.”
3. She experiences mental and emotional stress
A cheating woman tends to live a dual life. She is involved with her spouse as well as an affair partner. So how does cheating affect a woman? Hiding an affair can be exhausting. The fear of being caught is always there. Plus, the guilt and anger toward herself for having hurt the person who loves her so much.
She may enjoy the thrill and experience of having an affair. Jaseena says, “She might rediscover romance and sex. It could make her happy at that point in time.” But, at the end of the day, she has to face her partner and put on a facade. In such a situation, it becomes quite difficult to channel emotions leading to mental and emotional stress that eventually affects her behavior with her spouse and other loved ones.
Jaseena further explains, “A woman could go through anxiety as well as feel a sense of insecurity. She could become possessive of her affair partner. She could experience failure if she loses both the relationships – her spouse as well as her affair partner. This could further lead to depression.”
Related Reading: 15 Ways To Satisfy A Woman In Bed
4. It breaks her family
Why does cheating hurt? If a woman is caught cheating, it is bound to affect her family. It can have a damaging effect on her partner and children because the betrayal emotionally breaks them. It shatters their trust, sense of security and belief in relationships.
It can be especially hard for the kids because it scars them for life. They may not be able to fully trust their mother or invest in relationships in the future. The knowledge of their family breaking due to this act of betrayal by their mother can cause irreparable damage to their mental and emotional health.
“If the woman decides to discontinue the marriage, she stands a chance to lose everything, including her moral ground because people are going to blame her for breaking her home,” says Jaseena.
5. How does cheating affect a woman? She fears karma
Jaseena explains that the biggest fear a cheater faces is karma. “The cheating woman betrayed the person she’s in a relationship with or married to, for someone else. What if this someone else also betrays her for another person? Or what if her spouse cheats on her as an act of revenge? This constant fear of karma working always exists,” she says.
A cheating woman is always worried about being given a taste of her own medicine. What if she calls it quits with her spouse and moves on with her affair partner only to be betrayed by him? “She also feels insecure about this new person. If she walks away from her marriage, will her affair partner be willing to get into a relationship with her?” Jaseena explains.
6. There’s a stigma attached to cheating
How does cheating affect a woman? Why does cheating hurt? Well, it is fun only until someone finds out about it. Once family, friends and loved ones come to know about the betrayal, the cheating woman is forced to deal with the negative comments and stigma that come her way. She can’t run away from it. She will have to bear the brunt of their anger.
Jaseena points out, “The woman will have to constantly put up with a lot of taunts from her husband and family members. She will also have to face punishment, possible cold shoulder and a change in her partner’s attitude toward her. Even if he forgives her, the relationship is likely to complicate and undergo a massive change.”
Even if she does not have kids, she is betraying her partner. In fact, not just her partner but also his family, her own parents, friends, relatives, siblings and extended family who have always been there for her and given her so much love. A cheating woman tends to disappoint and hurt them all if she’s caught. They’ll probably never be able to love or respect her in the same way.
Related Reading: 15 Shocking Things Cheaters Say When Confronted
7. She can always cheat again
It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you’ve cheated once, you can definitely cheat again. In fact, a recent study claims that cheaters are always on the lookout for more fun. They wish to explore, thereby increasing the likelihood of cheating on their partners multiple times.
Another study by the Archives of Sexual Behavior revealed that people who have cheated in former relationships are three times more likely to repeat the act in new or future relationships. Factors like low relationship commitment, declining sexual and relationship satisfaction and individual differences compel people to cheat multiple times in a relationship.
Can a woman change after cheating? Of course, yes! Don’t get us wrong. We’re not saying that a cheating woman can’t mend her ways. But the possibility of repeating the act does exist once you’ve tasted the forbidden fruit.
Jaseena says, “A woman will no longer be the same after cheating. There’s a change in her emotional state. She found something new, something more after having cheated in the relationship. She will continue to wish for that ‘something more’ in her life.”
8. She puts future relationships at risk
How does cheating affect the cheater? One act of betrayal and a cheating woman puts all her future relationships at risk. The ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’ theory comes into play. Future partners are less likely to trust a woman once they find out about her past infidelity experiences.
The fact that the woman they see as their potential partner has two-timed or had multiple affairs in her previous relationship is bound to make them wary. They will not be able to trust the woman because if she could cheat on her previous partner, she could cheat on them too. There’s no guarantee that she will be faithful in the new relationship.
9. She reinforces toxic patterns
How does cheating affect a woman? Well, it’s not exactly a sign of healthy behavior, to begin with. It might seem like a great idea in the beginning if you’re dissatisfied with your partner, but, at the very core of it, it’s a sign of toxic behavior. You’re probably lying to yourself if you think it’s fun or makes you feel better.
Maybe the woman developed trust issues or relationship anxiety as a child. Past experiences could also have played a role. If she thinks the current relationship has run its course, then cheating may seem like an excellent way to end it. But all she is doing is reinforcing toxic patterns in her life. Come to think of it – isn’t it better to have a conversation with your partner about the future of the relationship instead of cheating on him and ending things on a bitter note?
How does a woman feel after cheating? A woman goes through a whole range of emotions – anger, shame, anxiety, embarrassment, regret – after having cheated in a relationship. If she feels remorse for the pain she has caused to her partner, she starts to blame herself and finds it difficult to fix the situation. She feels like she deserves the punishment being meted out to her.
Jaseena weighs in, “Even when she decides to cheat, a woman knows that it isn’t the right thing to do. There are elements of frustration and resentment because she loses her power to make decisions concerning the future of the relationship. There’s a sense of loss and failure as well.”
Infidelity can tear a relationship apart. If you’ve cheated on your partner, know that you’re in the wrong. Cheating will affect your partner as well as you because there’s a lot at stake – family, friends, coworkers and other important relationships. Most importantly, your mental and emotional well-being is at risk too, which is why it is advisable to communicate and work through relationship problems and understand the underlying issues that led to the act.