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Do Cheaters Regret Cheating?

by Ossiana M. Tepfenhart about a year ago in breakups

If you're betrayed and hurting, you're probably wondering whether cheaters regret cheating...

I belong to a lot of scenes that are notorious for being filled to the brim with "the type of people you don't marry." Sometimes, that issue is due to stigmas surrounding the lifestyles we lead, but in most cases, it's because there's a notoriety surrounding cheating.

One of the most mind-boggling things for betrayed partners to experience is a cheater who just doesn't seem to understand why they are in hot water in the first place. Or rather, they assume that their partners will "get over it" sooner rather than later.

Even when the wandering partner is caught and starts to grovel, there's one major question every betrayed spouse tends to ask. Do cheaters regret cheating? Do they really feel remorseful?

After having been on both sides of the fence and doing some serious research, here's what I've learned about cheaters and their capacity for remorse, regret, and everything else...

Do Cheaters Regret Cheating On Loyal Partners?

This is a tough question to ask, and an even tougher one to answer. A quick look at shows featuring cheaters getting caught in the act reveals that most of them will cry, grovel, and beg to come back. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean they regret cheating.

Most people who have cheated on a partner don't necessarily regret the act of cheating until they are caught. This suggests that they aren't really remorseful for the act, but rather, regret what they are likely to lose now that the cat's out of the bag.

The true mark of regret is if a person stops doing what they're supposedly regretful of doing when given a second chance. Here's the problem: cheaters typically don't just cheat once.

If you read stories about what happened when cheaters are forgiven, it's usually punctuated with "and I caught him again." It's a pattern, really.

Why? Cheating becomes a habit for most cheaters after they get forgiven the first time. This is because they are basically shown they can get away with it. It's a lot like the reason why abusers don't feel remorse.

Why Do Cheaters Seem To Regret Cheating When They're First Caught?

If there is one thing that people don't like having to deal with, it's change. Unless the affair in question is an exit affair, the wandering partner isn't actually looking to change their situation.

Their primary partner offers security and predictability rather than a quick thrill. When their primary partner uncovers the infidelity, there's a good chance that all the security they built up may vanish.

Think about it. If you married someone, cheated, and got caught, it will be a major life-changer. You may have your partner divorce you, which could slice your income. You might get kicked out of your house. Oh, and your friends might find out, which could tarnish your reputation.

Knowing that you're facing that kind of major life change, wouldn't you want to grovel? Even if you aren't potentially facing a lot of loss, the fear of lost potential can easily make people feel a need to preserve the status quo.

Why Don't Cheaters Feel Remorse?

If you've ever seen a cheater who tried to shift the blame onto a betrayed partner, you probably already know that remorse isn't always a cheater's strong suit.

There are several reasons why a person who cheats might not feel any remorse. The most common reasons include:

  • They're selfish. This is the crux of the problem when it comes to cheating. It's inherently a selfish act, because you're putting your want for a thrill over the need to be loyal to a partner. When you have a selfish mentality, you'll come up with reasons as to why you shouldn't feel bad for hurting others.
  • It could be a matter of revenge. Revenge affairs are a thing, and when they are done, it's almost never done with remorse.
  • The relationship may have already been over in their eyes. If the affair was an "exit affair," then the wandering spouse may have already grieved the end of the relationship.
  • They have an entitled attitude. A lot of people who have affairs tend to justify it as an "escape" because they work hard, provide for the family, or just "put up with" their partners. It's mental gymnastics, sure, but it's the way they think.
  • The person in question has a personality disorder. Asking a narcissist or a sociopath to feel remorse is like pulling a cow up a tree.

Can You Make A Cheater Regret Cheating On You?

Honestly, most cheaters will not regret cheating on their partner right off the bat. The best way to ensure that your partner doesn't cheat is to break up with them--even if it's not what you want to do.

Breaking up with a cheater accomplishes five major things.

  1. First, it prevents your future ex from hurting you again. After all, he can't betray you if he's not dating you anymore. It's better to cry once over a breakup than to cry year after year.
  2. It also shows him that you will not tolerate bad treatment. Here's the thing about cheaters: most of them take forgiveness as a sign that they can do it again. They genuinely need long-lasting consequences to change.
  3. Dumping a cheater also means that you get more time to focus on yourself. When you're with someone who's betrayed you on that level, you end up losing yourself because you're constantly trying to figure out whether or not he's lying. Getting him out of your life lets you pick up the pieces.
  4. Getting rid of a cheater also means they don't get any more of your resources. Nothing quite hammers home how much a person lost like actually having to deal with losing everything in one fell swoop.
  5. Breaking up boosts your self-esteem in the long run. Standing up for yourself does that.

It's important to realize that your absence from a person's life can be a blessing or a curse. If you were a good partner, chances are that the person who betrayed you will start to miss you more and more as time passes. The regret becomes real. But you? You might end up realizing your ex's leaving is for the better.

breakups

Ossiana M. Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer based out of NJ. You can message her via Twitter on @bluntandwitty or via Instagram on @ossiana.makes.content. She's always looking for freelance work and collabs!

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