When it comes to marriage infidelity, finding out that your husband cheated causes intense emotional distress.
From heartbreak to shock, to disbelief and confusion, there are many questions that end up arising due to the overwhelming emotions and the new-found knowledge that your husband is cheating.
When the betrayal is discovered, it can be hard to know if he is acting with true “honesty, humility, and empathy” or if they are just acting as if they care to move on from the situation.
Although most former cheaters are committed to saving their relationship, figuring out how to know if your husband is remorse from cheating, will stem from multiple actions on their end. But in order to identify these actions, understanding the difference between guilt and remorse is key.
Know What the Difference Between Remorse and Guilt Is
If your cheating husband feels bad because of the pain that they put you through, then that is simply remorse. However, if he feels guilty, the direction of his actions will be focused on himself.
For instance, if you pass judgment on your cheating spouse because of the affair and they feel guilty for the actions they took, then this is guilt. If they feel bad for their actions because they hurt you, that is remorse.
For the betrayed spouse who find that their partner feels guilty rather than remorseful, it is important to note that lessons are not often learned out of guilt as there is limited awareness of what was wrong with the actions taken.
When a partner is aware that their actions were wrong and they show remorse for it, they are likely to stop the behavior and learn from it. To put this a little more bluntly, someone who feels guilty will ask you to stop making them feel bad, whereas someone who feels remorse asks to be forgiven.
What Are The Signs of True Remorse?
In order for your relationship or marriage to survive an affair, the forgiveness, pain, and confessions have to come from feeling remorseful. So how do you know if your husband is showing signs of remorse?
He will acknowledge what he has done, he will cut off contact with the other woman, and he will do what needs to be done to rebuild the trust and ensure the marriage will survive.
Let’s take a look at the signs that your husband is showing real remorse.
1. The husband will take full responsibility. This means that he will bear the brunt of the fault, since it was their choice to cheat, and will choose to be accountable for their actions. They will do what is necessary to help you move forward, by offering reassurances and answering all of your questions honestly with real answers.
He will take on the full responsibility for the fallout and will show shame.
2. He will be patient with you and understanding. Repairing a marriage after an affair will take a long time if it becomes repaired at all. He won’t tell you to “get over it” but instead tell you that he is there for you. He will listen to you and absorb the pain that you let out.
3. He will be completely honest with you. He won’t give you useless lies like, they were a friend, or that the other person needed them. Instead, he will give truthful, consistent answers when asked about the affair details and that are never “I don’t know”. If he does not know the answers, he will work hard to figure them out.
4. He will take the initiative required to move forward. This could include heading to counseling, reading relationship books, or putting an intense effort into you. Either way, he will never need to be begged to do the work involved in surviving infidelity.
5. He will have humility. Meaning that he will not lead with relationship grievances. If your husband leads with entitlement and privilege, like “the problems in our relationship made me look elsewhere” or chooses to have dismissive anger, or argues with “false equivalencies” like “you suck just as much as me”, then he is not remorseful.
If he is truly sorry for cheating, then he will demonstrate his apologies without putting himself before them.
6. He will choose to be an open book. Since infidelity breaks trust, the unfaithful partner must be willing to open up their daily life to their partner. Mainly, the partner must be willing to showcase their whereabouts and account for them.
Passwords to social media accounts, cell phones, and other personal devices should be brought out into the open, as this also builds transparency and trust.
7. He will do more than just say that he is sorry. For instance, he will openly express that he is sorry that he hurt you or that he is sorry for betraying you and your trust. He goes beyond just the blanket sorry to really show you that he is thinking about you and how his actions affected you and your relationship.
8. There will be some form of recompense. Remorse requires the understanding that there is more than just emotional losses at stake and that both time and financial losses should be factored in.
Real remorse looks to compensate where possible as it recognizes that heartbreak cannot be reversed.
In addition to the above, it is important to note that when you want to discuss the affair, your husband should not try to shut you down, push you to get over it, or completely dismiss your emotions.
Instead, he should be asking for forgiveness but never expecting or demanding reconciliation as that is only up to you to give.
Navigating the road to a trusting relationship will be difficult after infidelity, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the line. A lot of couples will find that joining an affair recovery center like this one can help with self-esteem, to rebuild trust, understanding, and reconnection.