Do you often wonder if people who cheat on their partners feel guilty?
Do they sleep well at night?
Are they proud of their lifestyle?
Really, do cheaters feel guilty?
Apart from wondering why they cheat in the first instance, I have often caught myself trying to study the demeanor of a known cheat to see if they are proud of their actions.
It’s one thing to be guilty, and it’s another to feel guilty.
Guilt is the unhappy feeling that overwhelms the cheater about their actions.
Not all cheats feel guilty.
They probably felt terrible in the early days and got over the sentiment.
That a person feels guilty about their actions does not mean they would stop them.
They may keep battling with the feeling within themselves, especially each time after the deed is done and rarely before.
However, I would call it a possible step to remorse.
A guilt-stricken person may be remorseful or not.
Being remorseful implies that they acknowledge what they do as wrong and unfair and are willing to or already began to take steps to right their wrongs.
In other words, there is no remorse without guilt, but there could be guilt without remorse.
Now, the question that begs for an answer, at this point, is, what factors make cheaters feel guilty?
The reality of these factors will, in turn, provide an evident answer to whether cheaters feel guilty or not.
Do Cheaters Feel Guilty?
Absolutely, cheaters do feel guilty if:
It’s their first time
A first-time offender will most probably be jittery, miserable, and regretful.
They will probably swear to themselves never to let such repeat itself.
They may even be overwhelmed by the urge to confess to their partners and seek forgiveness. I recently saw an anonymous post by someone who had just cheated on their partner for the first time.
They claimed the burden of the secret was a huge one they couldn’t bear alone, so they needed to share it with unknown people on social media as they were undecided if or how they would confess to their partner.
They were caught
Another factor that could make a cheat feel guilty is exposure.
Some cheaters may not feel guilty for their infidelity until they are caught.
The expression of hurt and betrayal on the face of their partner is what activates the feeling of guilt.
In such a situation, the cheater is forced to confront their actions and be accountable for them.
They may even feel like they deserve any punishment that follows.
The cheater then has to decide whether or not to confess and accept responsibility for their actions or deny it and live with the guilt of lying.
They have never been cheated on
A cheater who has been cheated on in a previous or current relationship may automatically disallow their conscience from doing it’s work because they probably feel vengeful and satisfied with their action.
However, if they have had faithful partners and are now the transgressing partner, they may feel guilty for being the bad person when they have always been dealt with faithfully.
This guilt deepens when they realize that they are now hurting someone who has done nothing to them.
The feelings of remorse may be stronger, causing them to be more determined to come clean and make amends.
They may also be less likely to cheat in the future as a result of this experience.
4. They have really amazing partners
Just like the previous point, apart from fidelity, if their partner has been the best they could be to them and they still cheat on them, they are likely to feel guilty.
Even though no one deserves to be cheated on, some people have done all in their power to help their partners not have reasons to cheat, yet they still get cheated on.
They have been supportive, available, selfless, sacrificial, prayerful, etc.
In short, they have done all and more than they learnt during their premarital counselling sessions.
The partners of such people would be the devil himself not to feel guilty.
5. They have always seen it as a wrong
One of the worst feelings ever is being an offender for a vice you have previously vehemently spoken against.
A person who is held in high esteem by many, because of their seemingly upright ways and advocacy against infidelity will be more exposed to a greater possibility of judgement and criticism, if caught.
Therefore, they are likely to be overwhelmed with guilt and shame for letting their partner as well as many other people down.
6. Their expectations were not met
A cheater may feel guilty if their expectations for cheating were unmet.
Probably the person they cheated with turned out not to be who they thought they were, or the sexual experience was below expectation.
Some people who set out to cheat actually feel worse after cheating.
For example, a person who cheats for revenge on their partner, thinking they will feel less hurt by their partner’s offence after paying them back in their coin, may feel more terrible after the revenge mission.
Now they not only have to deal with the hurt, but also guilt, as two wrongs do not make a right.
And often, the grass is not greener on the other side; it’s only greener where you water the ground.
7. They have no cheaters as friends
Chances are, you will not cheat if you do not keep a company of cheaters.
And if you cheat, you will feel terrible because there is none among your friends who is likely to cheer you on or encourage such a misdeed or lifestyle.
You may not even be proud to let them know, because you know they will undoubtedly express their disappointment in you.
In short, if you do not feel guilty on your own, the lifestyle that your friends lead, whether they are aware or not, will unsettle your conscience.
8. If they are religious and are convicted of their sin
Those who are truly religious and take seriously their convictions about certain sins are less likely to cheat.
And if they do cheat, the guilt associated with cheating will supersede any pleasure that one might feel in a short-term affair.
Because of their belief system, no amount of rationalizing or justification can make cheating right.
The guilt that comes from this scenario will be intense, as those who are religious strive to live according to what they believe is right.
As a Christian who believes in the Words of the Bible, adultery is a sin and if you engage in it, the Holy Spirit is sure to ‘convict’ you, not ‘condemn’ you.
The Holy Spirit doesn’t condemn.
Conviction usually leads to repentance and forgiveness, but condemnation will lead to a feeling of hopelessness.
The Bible is clear that no sin, not even adultery, is too big for God’s unfailing love and grace.
When it comes to adultery, acknowledging the wrong you have done is the first step in finding God’s grace and restoring a healthy relationship with Him.
The Bible tells us that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us.
As I have pointed out at some point, it is not enough to feel guilty.
It is equally very important to acknowledge the wrong in infidelity and seek to make amends.
Some relationships do survive infidelity, provided that both partners are willing to put in the efforts needed to bounce back.
It is essential to take active steps to seek help and identify the missing desire that prompts the need to cheat.
Chronic cheaters started the journey of infidelity one day.
If you have ever been cheated on, I reckon that the hurt that comes with such betrayal cannot be described, and your partner feeling guilty does not necessarily assuage it.
However, I would urge you not to lose yourself to hurt.
You are not the problem, they are.
You did not cheat, they did, and they should be ashamed of themselves.
Do your best to protect your interest in the relationship.