Statistics reveal that about 45% of unmarried relationships and 25% of all marriages in America see at least one incident of infidelity in the lifetime of such relationships/marriages.
While infidelity isn’t something anyone looks forward to, there is that slight chance that either of you may make the mistake of cheating on your partner at some point.
What is the easiest way to tell if your partner is cheating on you?
Look out for cheating guilt signs. There are some subliminal signs of being guilty that your partner can display at certain points in your relationship which may confirm that they are guilty or not.
In this article, we will cover 10 of them, the emotional signs of guilt, and also equip you with winning strategies to deal with cheating guilt in your relationship.
What is cheater’s guilt
Cheater’s guilt usually follows an episode of cheating in a relationship. Cheater’s guilt sets in when the partner who has cheated starts feeling guilty about their actions and is at a loss for what to do.
At this point, the guilt after cheating is strong and at many times, the transgressing partner may find it difficult or impossible to confide in the other person because of the damage their actions might cause the relationship.
Here, they begin to exhibit signs of a guilty conscience. Most times, the trajectory of the relationship would be defined after the other partner has discovered that they were cheated on.
How cheating guilt affects the cheaters
Cheating guilt affects everyone in the relationship, both the cheater and their partner. Here are a few ways cheating guilt affects the cheater.
1. Shame and guilt
Shame and guilt are some of the most common guilty reactions to cheating. When someone in a committed relationship begins to cheat on their partner with another person, they tend to experience feelings of shame and guilt toward themselves, especially when they have come back to meet their partner.
This shame and guilt can be intense or mild. It is completely dependent on the person involved and how they process emotions.
2. They are forced to live a double life
Many people who cheat (whether as a one-off or a prolonged affair) have to deal with living a double life.
On the one hand, they enjoy the thrill that comes when they are indulging themselves. However, after coming down from that high, they have to face their partners and to do so, they have to put on a completely different facade.
3. Mental and emotional exhaustion
This is usually the result of living a double life. Keeping secrets from a partner you love can be exhausting. The weight of guilt from cheating can be so heavy that the cheater finds themselves always emotionally and mentally.
The knowledge that a cheater is jeopardizing everything they have because of a relationship with another person can be scary.
For example, a cheating parent who has a spouse they love and children they adore has to deal with the knowledge that their family may break up if their actions come to light.
The knowledge that they stand a chance of losing everything makes the journey of cheating worse and more emotionally draining.
5. Anger toward oneself
Another challenge the cheater has to deal with is the feeling of anger that comes from knowing that they are not just cheating on their spouse/partner but their friends and family.
The cheater may try to internalize this anger, but at some point, they may even begin to channel their anger toward the person they are cheating with.
6. The cheater always wants some more
A recent study revealed that there is a direct relationship between the number of sexual partners a person has had in their lifetime with the likelihood that they will cheat on their spouse.
According to this study, for people who reported 4 or fewer lifetime social partners, the rate of infidelity in their current marriage dropped to 11%. For those with 5 or more lifetime sexual partners, the number was nearly double (21%).
This study implies that there’s something about cheating that opens the cheater up to explore more. The more a person cheats on their partner, the more the likelihood that they would end up cheating on their spouse/partner many more times. Hence, the cheater would always reach out for some more ‘fun.’
Cheating can seem fun until it comes to the light of day. When everyone in the life of the cheater discovers their cheating activities, they may have to deal with some level of stigma among friends and family, whether silent or vocal stigma.
In turn, this stigma can affect their future relationships as future dates may be skeptical if they discover their last cheating experiences.
10 cheating guilt signs you can’t miss
These signs of guilt in a cheating spouse are difficult to miss. While they don’t always mean that your spouse is cheating on you, you may want to keep an ear to the ground if your partner begins to display these cheating guilt signs.
One of the first cheating guilt signs you would notice in your partner is their tendency for self-loathing. While this may not always be the case, you may want to pay attention to this if it was sudden and happens for no apparent reason.
If your partner has been feeling down and is hesitant to embrace the joys of things they used to love, it could be a sign of their guilt for cheating.
2. They are suddenly paying more attention to you
If your partner suddenly becomes considerate or thoughtful toward you, starts paying attention to you in ways that are strange/new, and acts more attuned to your needs, you may want to take that with a pinch of salt.
Could it be that this is one of their cheating guilt signs?
This is one of the major signs of guilt after cheating. Does it feel as though you can’t get a straight answer out of their mouth? Do they try to manipulate or confuse you into being quiet whenever you ask them questions surrounding your suspicions?
You may want to take a closer look at that.
If your partner has a habit of turning the tables on you when you try to ask questions about some of their questionable actions, that could be one of the signs of a guilty conscience.
4. They are suddenly emotionally detached from you.
Take a closer look at your partner when next you hang around each other. How do they respond when you try to connect with them emotionally? Are they always moody and detached from you, even when there is no apparent reason for such? More so, is their suddenly sour mood inexplicable?
That’s a cheating guilt sign there.
5. You feel it within you
Paranoia aside, if you feel as though your partner is cheating on you, it could be because they are. Even if it turns out that they aren’t cheating on you, after all, your intuition suggests that they are because there may be something they aren’t being completely honest and open about.
6. Intimacy suddenly went out the door
If you were once close, but for some reason, it seems like that intimacy is suddenly a thing of the past, it could be a cheating guilt sign. Usually, this lack of intimacy is sponsored by their tendency to pull back from you whenever you attempt to reach out and connect with them.
Since most couples have those periods when they experience dry spells, if your partner isn’t making any attempt to connect with you, it could be a sign that they are getting it somewhere else.
7. They are suddenly paying more attention to their looks
Everyone wants an attractive partner, right?
However, if you find out that your partner is suddenly more interested in their looks (for no apparent reason), they spend more time in front of the mirror every day and have a sudden need to switch up their wardrobe, could that be a sign of a cheating husband?
8. The excessive need to justify every action
This is one of the signs of guilt after cheating. The guilt that follows cheating forces the defaulting partner to feel an excessive need to justify all their actions.
Comment about how they are a bit late from work, and they would launch into a long tirade detailing every step that they have taken that day.
One of the first things you would notice about a cheating partner is their tendency to be touchy and excessively defensive about the slightest matters in the relationship. If they feel pressured, they may respond to their partner with violence or different forms of manipulation.
10. They become pessimistic about your relationship
If your partner suddenly begins to ask you strange questions out of the blue like “how would you respond if you discovered something bad about me; something that can wreak havoc on our relationship,” you may want to pay close attention to the hidden meaning of these questions.
Then again, one of the most common cheating guilt signs is when your partner suddenly begins to envision the end of your relationship.
If you or your partner has made the mistake of cheating, this doesn’t have to end your relationship. Here are a few practical states to manage cheating guilt.
This is easier said than done. Both parties in the relationship would have a hard time getting this over with. However, it is the first and most important step you must take as you move toward healing a relationship after cheating.
Sadly, cheating guilt signs would vanish into thin air simply because you decided to come clean to your partner about those acts of cheating. However, your relationship would be stuck in a single place if you don’t make any efforts to talk things over with your partner.
2. Forgive yourself
Another step to resolving cheating guilt signs is to forgive yourself. Even if your partner comes around and lets go of what’s in the past, you won’t be able to make a lot of progress if you don’t let go of the mistakes you have made in the past.
Forgiving yourself is a journey, and it may take some time for you to finally be free of yourself.
3. Accept what’s coming
This goes both ways, both for the cheater and their partner. To fully move on from cheating guilt signs and restore your relationship to what it used to be, everyone needs to accept and get ready for what’s coming.
The cheater needs to accept responsibility for their actions and the fact that they’ve hurt people. The partner also needs to accept what’s done and try to figure out a way through. This step of acceptance is not easy in any way.
4. Complete honestly
When the issue of cheating comes up in a relationship, there’s every tendency that the cheater will tend to withhold some parts of the truth in a bid to water down the effects of their actions. Saying half-truths affects everyone in the relationship.
For one, a survey documented by the American Psychological Association revealed that people feel worse when they tell half-truths about a transgression, as opposed to when they are completely honest about their misdeeds. So, you owe it to your partner to be 100% honest with them.
However, remember to practice empathy as you communicate with them. To access their forgiveness, you need to show them that you are truly contrite about your errors.
5. Don’t push them
If your partner needs some time to process what you’ve talked to them about, please give them some space. Different people have different reactions to these events.
The last thing your partner needs is to feel as though you are trying to invalidate their hurts and push them into acting as though nothing has changed.
6. Seek professional counsel
Cheating affects every part of a person’s soul. For some people, these cheating guilt signs wouldn’t be completely obliterated if they don’t consult with a professional. Be completely honest with yourself. If, at any point, you feel overwhelmed, you may need to seek professional help.
Do cheaters feel guilty? The simple answer to this is “more often than not.” Most people who cheat didn’t start with less-than-noble intentions. They may have just been caught up with several factors.
In case you have cheated on your partner (or they have done the same to you), don’t just fixate on the signs that confirm your fears. Follow all 6 steps contained in the last section of this article to begin your journey to freedom and emotional healing.
Suggested video: Successful relationships after cheating; how couples recover and survive cheating.
Frequently asked questions
Check out these important questions that answer the issues surrounding cheating guilt.
1. How do I know if my partner is feeling cheating remorse?
Answer: It is easy to know if your partner feels remorseful for cheating on you. There are some telltale signs they begin to give off. We have discussed 10 of them in this article.
2. How common is cheating in marriage?
Answer: According to a report documented by the Institute for Family Studies, about 20% and 13% of men and women respectively admitted to having cheated on their spouses at some point in the marriage.
3. How do you tell if your partner is remorseful after cheating?
Answer: There are many ways to know if your partner is remorseful after cheating. To be sure, you would have to pay extra attention to their body language and words. Did they apologize?
Have they tried to make it up to you? What is the state of their relationship with the person they cheated on you with? These are some signs that your partner is truly remorseful.
4. How do cheaters act when confronted?
Answer: When confronted, cheaters act in various ways. Some may get defensive, while others try to daylight you for confronting them. Generally, cheaters become angry, sad, and ashamed of themselves.
5. Can couples therapy help with cheating?
Answer: Yes. Couples therapy can speed up the journey of mending a relationship after cheating.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.