Amy Winehouse sang from the perspective of a cheating partner, “I cheated myself. Like I knew I would. I told you I was troubled. Yeah, you know that I’m no good.” If you’ve been cheated on, you may become consumed with the sense of having been wronged. But your cheating husband doesn’t have it easy either. There are telltale signs of cheating husband guilt that make it clear as day that he’s struggling to come to terms with his transgression.
Do guys feel guilty after cheating even if their partners forgive them? Of course, your man can’t escape the anxiety and guilt after cheating on you. Even Robyn, singing from the perspective of the ‘other woman,’ famously tells her partner, “Call your girlfriend. It’s time you had the talk. Give your reasons. Say it’s not her fault.” What we are trying to say is, if he doesn’t feel guilt on his own, others will serve as reminders of his actions.
What Is Cheating Husband Guilt?
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While the context of each case is different, the guilt factor is common among the cheaters, and the signs of guilt when confronted about cheating in a man are often too apparent. This is because marriage or a long-term relationship is all about commitment, trust, and staying loyal. Leaving aside the various excuses to cheat men usually come up with, a groundbreaking research has identified 8 key reasons for why people cheat. These are:
- Lack of love
- Low commitment
- Need for variety
- Sexual desire
- Situation or circumstance
Do cheaters suffer? Cheating is looked down upon in all cultures because it is not completely honest. So, of course he is feeling cheating remorse. He knows once he has broken the trust of his partner, it is difficult to rebuild. This, in turn, makes the cheater feel terrible about their actions (even if they may not be able to control them). The affair guilt usually eats away at them even if they are unreasonably mad at their partner.
Unless your cheating partner is some sort of a sociopath or has completely checked out from the marriage emotionally, they will exhibit signs of cheater’s guilt in their behavior and demeanor around you. It is especially true of ‘good’ men — Husbands who are generally seen as loyal to their wives and have an image of being ‘family men.’
Casanovas and commitment-phobes are seen as red flags and usually escape the scrutiny, but a man who is otherwise seen as a role model is judged more harshly. When a cheating husband feels sorry, he shows certain signs that he is guilty of cheating. (Think Bill Clinton and how his body language spoke volumes on TV.)
To maybe escape the punishment, they try to cover up or rationalize their indiscretions. So a man who shows emotional signs of guilt after an affair, will probably do something completely out of character to assuage it. You will certainly notice their changed behavior and new outlook on life. This is their way of internally dealing with the mess they know they have created.
Related Reading: Is He Cheating Or Am I Paranoid? 11 Things To Think Over!
How Does Cheating Guilt Affect The Cheater?
To put it bluntly, to feel guilty for knowing that you have irrevocably hurt someone you love is not something one can easily get over. Even though it is indeed hard to empathize with the cheater, the real truth is that they are tormented at their relationship falling apart. Self-loathing, regret, and confusion are some of the emotional signs that a cheater is heavily affected by their own actions and is feeling guilty.
Most people cheat in the first place without expecting repercussions, and then feel troubled about it for months or even years. Research has shown that there are marked gendered differences in how people process guilt. A study shows how men feel guiltier following sexual infidelity, whereas women feel guiltier following emotional infidelity. But either way, they do feel remorseful about their actions.
11 Signs Of Cheating Husband Guilt
How to tell if someone is guilty of cheating? A study quoted in The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships states that people who betray their partners often feel bad about their mistakes but they try to feel better by either cutting down on their cheating guilt, by over-explaining and justifying it. These become obvious signs of guilt in a man when he cheats on his wife.
All these traits result in behaviors that sometimes are dead giveaway of their misdemeanors (when they are trying to hide them). One can even say that first-time offenders and guilt trippers are easier to catch than those to whom cheating comes easy. If you’ve come here asking the question “How do I know if my husband feels guilty?”, it’s time we get right into it and give you all the information you need to know today.
So how do you know if your better half is showing signs of cheating guilt? Here’s what you should watch out for:
1. Lashing out is one of the signs of cheating husband guilt
Weird but true that when cheaters feel guilty, they tend to lash out, a LOT. The man cheating on you might accuse you of being dishonest in the relationship. Coach Adrian, from Love Advice TV on YouTube, talks about this common sign and says, “They can’t process their emotions and insecurities, so they project their guilt on you. When someone is constantly insecure about something, it should trigger your radar.”
- Manipulation: He uses these attacks to defend himself but, actually, he is manipulating you to reduce his anxiety. When you ask him why he comes late, he feels offended. As he is not prepared to face the question, he resorts to deflection
- Blame: By blaming you, he tries to be relieved of the fact that he has done something he shouldn’t have
- Pointing out your faults: He tries to confuse you by finding faults in you, as it is the easiest thing to do. But it is also one of the guaranteed signs of cheating
- It empowers him: With his efforts to reverse the situation, he feels empowered. This enables him to throw his guilt out of the window and make your suspicion and insecurities the bigger issues. Thus, when his infidelity finally comes out in the open, he can partly hold you responsible for the relationship breaking apart
2. He suddenly showers you with gifts and attention
A very common and the easiest guilt sign to watch for, so pay close attention to your husband’s behavior. A cheating husband obviously spends less time with his partner. But since he feels guilty about doing so and doesn’t want his recklessness to be exposed, he tries the typical distracting tactic of wooing you with material comforts.
If you have been receiving attention, compliments, and loving gestures, it’s time to get your super vigilant senses active. Coming home early is something that he constantly does now to spend time with you, but he never bothered with it earlier. Your otherwise distant hubby might be on a guilt trip of cheating. He will show you how much he loves and wants you in his life, but that is only because he’s a guilty person who is trying to make up for it.
According to relationship therapist Tracy Ross, this new behavior is among the common signs of cheating husband guilt: “They may be considerate or thoughtful in ways that aren’t usually the case, such as doing chores, planning date nights, buying small gifts…”
3. His behavior undergoes a sea change
As he is guilty of playing with the trust and emotions of his partner, he subconsciously undergoes some behavioral changes. These changes are evident, and could be a sign that something is seriously amiss in your relationship. Like, hiding things from you on his phone may be a sign of cheating. Because he doesn’t want you to see any questionable text or call.
- He is more wary around his gadgets: Does he change his passwords often? Or refuses to share his bank details or credit card bills all of a sudden?
- He has no answers for you: Does he fumble or refuse to address why he comes home late every day? Has he been getting too many work-related late-night calls of late? And when you ask him about it, he simply brushes it off and says that you are being nosy. These are classic, guaranteed signs that your husband is cheating on you with another person
When people change their behavior drastically, it can be one of the ominous signs of guilt in a man, says Coach Adrian. “But trust your gut and first make sure that you are not feeding your insecurities. Give yourself time to observe the behavior and ensure you are prepared to have a conversation with him,” he adds.
Related Reading: How To Survive Betrayal In A Relationship? 8 Ways To Figure It Out!
4. He tries to be the perfect husband and father
John Legend sang, “And oh I’ll feel sorry for mistake we’ve made. There’s no reason that we should tell her today. She don’t have to know, she don’t have to know.” How to tell if someone is guilty of cheating? Acting like nothing happened. Additionally, a guilt-riddled man will try to be a doting father and the perfect husband a woman can desire.
- He is suddenly a family man: He will spend more time with the kids, helping them with their homework or coaching. You will also be given a helping hand at household chores, one of the many things he used to never do before
- He tries to be a better partner to you: All of a sudden, in the affair aftermath, your wants will be taken care of and your rants will be carefully listened to. These could be emotional signs of guilt of cheating
On the other hand, these could simply be manipulation techniques he is using to keep your suspicions under check. Whatever be his motivation, if your husband becomes too good and perfect to be true, then it’s time to smell a rat. Suddenly, your late-night TV viewing habits or endless shopping trips do not bother him.
On the contrary, he laughs them off. You might feel he has changed for the better but these could very well be just the signs of cheating husband guilt.
5. Mood swings and irritability are signs of cheating husband guilt
The famous psychologist Guy Winch says, “Even mild guilt can make you hesitant to embrace the joys of life, and bring out some negative emotions.” So, if you find your man feeling low and refraining from basking in the everyday happiness the way he used to, the reason might be his cheating remorse.
In some cases of extramarital affairs, his guilt and worry about what he’d say upon getting caught might result in his anxiety and irritable behavior. After all, there are many shocking things cheaters say when confronted. He might panic over the smallest of things, look lost and sad, or might be unable to meet your eye when you want to have a conversation. Very obvious signs of guilt in a man who still cares for you.
“If it happens too frequently, it’s time for a sit down with your significant other to find out what’s going on,” says Adrian. “Do not attack or blame them, but make it known in a kind way that you are concerned.” Mood changes may be reflections of how cheaters feel about themselves. They are often unable to express their unease.
So, open channels of communication. If a cheater husband feels cornered, he might slip further into his shell and become more distant from you. So, irrespective of how hard it might be for you, empathy and compassion are your biggest allies in drawing him out and perhaps even getting him to come clean about his transgressions.
6. He stays away and excludes you from his plans
If this happens for an extended period of time, your marriage is on the rocks for sure. According to Guy Winch, “Guilt can make you avoid the person you’ve wronged.” In fact, this emotion can make a man become distant from the one he’s cheating on, which actually seems opposite to some of the cheating guilt signs we have discussed earlier. He may even go to the extent of maintaining distance or steering clear of things and places that can trigger anxiety.
- Avoiding you: So, if your husband is cheating, he will be reluctant to spend time with you. Suddenly his weekends might get busier. He will start spending more time at work and is often unreachable to avoid being confronted about his absence, weird behavior, and coming home late.
- He does not take you out anymore: He subtly excludes you from his social plans. Needless to say, he has an excuse every single time he can’t take you out or have you join his office parties
The desire to spend time with one’s partner should come organically. If he is indeed having an affair, he will find it difficult to juggle time between home and his lover. Hence, the excuses to hide the other side of the story.
7. Signs he regrets cheating: He talks about separation and divorce
Guilt is a pretty powerful emotion, right? No matter how hard your husband tries to suppress these feelings of regret and remorse, they will find an outlet, one way or the other. Among the most common manifestations of this are constant, albeit veiled, threats about ending the marriage and it could be a sign that your partner has cheated on you. If he often alludes to the marriage having run its course and how this is the last time he might ever see you, consider it one of the guaranteed signs of cheating.
Notice how in the middle of an argument, he will bring up parting ways out of nowhere instead of just confessing cheating on you? Don’t dismiss it as something said in the heat of the moment, for it counts among the most telling signs of cheating husband guilt. He may be subtly planting the idea of the possibility of separation in your head in order to allay his own guilty conscience when you find out about the other woman.
As he is living two relationships at a time, he might find himself torn between the two women in his life and might even be considering choosing the other woman over you. For a person who has someone else, the breakdown of marriage might not feel like such a big deal in that moment.
8. Your sex life sees an upswing
Suddenly, your man will be hotter than ever, and you will be surprised by the novelty he brings to making love. Not just trying new things in bed, but you’re also have more sex than ever. This is a way to compensate for his extramarital affair, and a renewed hunger for you could well be among the signs of guilt in a man.
- Having more sex: What used to be dry spells for weeks, is now having sex on the kitchen counter in the morning before heading to work. Even when you two pick fights, he finds a way to transform it into angry sex to avoid any real conversation about the problems you two might be having. Before you even get back to the original question of why you fought, you two have already made your way to the bed. This changed behavior might appear rosy at first, but you need to start paying close attention to what might be brewing in your man’s head
- Putting more effort: Suddenly, there are all these new moves in the bed, your sex life is spiced up, and he has turned more sexually attentive. You might feel loved passionately because of his increased sex drive. Watch out. All this might be the result of being sexually adventurous with someone else
It could also be one of the signs he regrets cheating and wants to atone for his guilt. Or it could be that he doesn’t want to raise any suspicions in your mind. There is no real way of knowing, so it’s best to combine this behavior with other signs of how a guy acts after he cheated, and observe.
9. He develops unusual interests and hobbies
This is great, isn’t it? But when these are outcomes of his cheating guilt, no hobby is cool. His new hobby interest might be an outcome of his new love interest. Developing new hobbies or tastes is always healthy but only if it is organic and keeping in tune with his personality. If your gym-hating husband hits the treadmill with a vengeance, it is odd. This might indicate that he is shaping up his body for someone.
Maybe he has even recommended reading a love story book together such as Pride and Prejudice which is a book he used to sneer at every time people talked about it. Or if your non-smoker beau suddenly finds it cool to swing a ciggy, this smoke is not without a fire somewhere. Possibly, his other partner smokes and that’s where he picked up the habit from.
People change and can pick up new habits, good and bad, from friends or outsiders. But sometimes, these new interests might be a smokescreen to hide what’s really going on with them. Even hobbies can be among the guaranteed signs of cheating.
10. Signs of cheating husband guilt can be non-verbal
There are certain emotional signs of feeling guilty from cheating as well. Some of the major signs of cheating husband guilt can be picked from non-verbal cues such as eye contact. If your man is having an affair and the guilt weighs heavily on him, it will be visible in his body language and expressions, especially if you have conversations around ‘uncomfortable’ topics that trigger guilt.
For example, try bringing up the topic of infidelity or share a story of a friend indulging in things that amount to cheating. He might blush, not be able to meet your eye, might get defensive, or not share your vehement views on betrayal. Pay extra attention to his eyes as those hold the key to what is really going on inside him.
Conscientious men who are already feeling bad for what they are doing will definitely get affected. You need to keep an eye out for these non-verbal cues, and you may be able to pick up the signs of guilt in a man.
Related Reading: 10 Questions To Ask Your Unfaithful Spouse
11. When your husband cheats on you, his social media behavior is out of place
Signs of cheating husband guilt can be detected from unusual social media activity too. Initially, you used to ask him to check your story, status, or a new post. But now, he has become too active on these platforms.
- Love bombing you online: If he did not follow you on Instagram or Facebook until now, he may suddenly start doing so and go overboard in liking, sharing, or commenting. Your posts are being commented on with flattering words, leaving you suspicious
- Withdrawing completely: On the other extreme, he might withdraw from social media and might hesitate to put pics of the two of you together, share memories, or comment too much on your posts. Possibly, out of fear of repercussions it might have on his new relationship
It is simple. Social media affects relationships and mirrors our reality. Any drastic changes in social media behavior can be an outcome of emotional signs of guilt, so keep a tab on his online behavior to notice if he exhibits any common guilt signs. But do not overreact or jump to conclusions just based on two signs of cheating husband guilt.
How To Deal With Cheating Guilt?
If you are someone who has cheated in the past, then you must be familiar with the ocean of confusing feelings that come with it. Not many couples are able to survive cheating in a relationship. While some find it easier to forgive and forget after couples therapy, most couples break up after an episode of infidelity.
If you are someone who has been feeling this guilt for a while, know that you are not alone in this. Even though you cannot stop blaming yourself right now, here is what you should do to overcome your feelings of remorse:
- The easiest way is to be real with your partner, and with yourself: Coming clean to your partner about your infidelity is one thing. But have you been honest with yourself about why you did it? It is time to reflect and understand what was going on in your primary relationship and truly evaluate where things went wrong, without placing any blame
- Confide in someone other than your partner: Since your partner was at the receiving end and is feeling incredibly hurt by you, they are not in the position to offer you the support you need. So instead of calling them and telling them how horrible you feel about yourself, talk to someone else like a family member or a close friend
- Put effort into your relationship: If you have decided to leave your new relationship and make things right with your primary partner, take all the little steps required to make them believe that you love them (not by giving Birkins and vacations). First, give them space but let them know how sorry you are and that you wish to make amends. When they ease up, tell them how committed you are to making things work and prove it with your actions every day
With these noticeable signs of cheating guilt in your husband, you will not be caught unawares if your marital issues escalate. You might also find ways to mend your marriage before things go beyond repair. If you give it enough time, things might just become better. Be watchful, be wary, and don’t be fooled. Stay smart and handle things while holding your head high.
He spends too much time outside, he snaps at you all the time, your sex life has changed, he makes excuses for not spending time with you, he is fiercely guarding his phone. These are some of the signs he is cheating on you.
If he suddenly pays more attention to you, if your sex life sees a sudden upswing, if he is showering you with gifts, if he looks away and acts uncomfortable when you bring up subjects like infidelity, these are signs that he regrets cheating on you.
Cheaters often suffer from guilt, especially if they are otherwise conscientious people and there were no other problems in the marriage. They are aware that their actions have hurt their partner who trusted them and that they have broken the vow of loyalty in marriage.
There is no real way of knowing that. Even if a cheater experiences guilt for betraying their spouse, there is no guarantee that in a similar situation in the future, they won’t slip up again. If their guilt is too high, and they really love their life partner and work hard on mending the relationship, they may not give in to temptation again.