21 Best Ways To Deal With Guilt Of Cheating (2024)

You’ve made a mistake and been unfaithful to your partner? Now, you’re wondering how to deal with guilt of cheating?

In such situations, telling your partner isn’t always the best way forward. That might relieve your guilt, but it’ll often cause more damage for your partner and your children in the long run. 

If you’ve decided not to confess, It’s likely you’ll have to learn to cope with the guilt of cheating and not telling.

In my role as a life coach, I am often helping clients process dfifficult emotions – and that’s why I’m happy to help you out with this dilemma. 

Read on for 21 ideas to help you cope with the guilt of cheating.

Let’s dive right into it.

How Do You Deal With Guilt Of Cheating And Not Telling

Take a look at these tips and decide which are likely to work best in your situation. Perhaps you’ll use a multitude of these ideas to help you come to terms with what happened – and move on with your relationship. 

1. Accept The Situation

The first step to moving on from these feelings is acceptance.

This just doesn’t mean taking full responsibility for what happened and that you were to blame. You also have to accept that you feel bad about it. 

Don’t waste time denying exactly what happened, that it’s your fault or that you feel badly about it. This will just delay the process of overcoming these feelings.

The only way to move past guilt is to accept it first. 

Guilt Of Cheating
Photo By jcomp On freepik

2. Try Not To Dwell On It

Dwelling on the past won’t change it. To be honest, it won’t change how you feel about it either.

Yes, there were probably moments when you should have acted differently. From now on, it’ll serve you better to focus on how to move forward with your life, rather than continuously looking back. 

3. Forgive Yourself

Yes, you made a mistake. You made a bad decision. But all humans do this. None of us are perfect.

All men and women deserve forgiveness, especially when they feel guilt and have learned from their mistakes. 

That means you deserve to forgive yourself too. 

It’s no good continuing to punish yourself or wallow in self-loathing. That won’t help yourself or anyone else move on.

All the tips in this guide are essentially steps that make it easier to forgive yourself.

4. Understand Why You Did What You Did

Why did you engage in this adulterous act? Was it purely an act of lust? Was it partly because you were upset with your partner? An act of revenge because they cheated first with someone else? Try to dig deeper to truly understand why you thought this was a good idea at the time.

When you take the time to understand what led you to doing such a thing, it becomes easier to forgive yourself.

It will also set you on the way to improving your relationship and making sure you don’t cheat again.

Related content: What Does Cheating Say About A Person?

5. Reframe This Incident As A Realisation Of What You Have

It’s often said that “everything happens for a reason” – and this attitude can help you to feel some comfort when a bad thing happens.

In this case, you could reframe this as the incident that helped you realize how much you love your partner.

Most probably, as a result of this incident, you’ve considered what would happen if your spouse or partner leaves you. 

If you’re feeling guilty about it, it’s fair to say that you really don’t want them to leave.

So, perhaps you can use this cheating incident as a turning point in your relationship, where you start to treat them better.

6. Treat Your Partner Like Royalty

If you start spending more quality time with your partner and spoiling them to the point that you truly believe (once again) that they’re lucky to have you, that can help to alleviate you from feeling guilty.

The problem is: a sudden change in behavior like this is one of the biggest telltale signs of cheating too.

7. Take Relationship Counselling

In most cases, men or women cheat because they are struggling to make their relationship work. This is certainly more common than adultery within a happy relationship.

Perhaps you’ll use this cheating incident as a sign that it’s time to invest in relationship counselling.

These counsellors are highly experienced in helping couples solve their relationship problems. At the very least, they’ll act to help you to share your feelings in a safe and mediated environment. So, maybe this could be the first to solve your own relationship issues.

8. Take An Opportunity To Understand Your Triggers 

Even if this adulterous fling was a slow-burner, there’s likely something that triggered you to finally over-step the boundaries.

Take the time to understand these triggers and you might begin to find it easier to forgive yourself. After all, the truth is: every person has weaknesses that trigger us to cave into bad behavior.

When you understand yours and take steps to avoid being triggered again, you lessen the chances of you cheating again.

Related: How To Forgive Yourself For Cheating: 21 Helpful Perspectives & Tools

9. Separate Yourself From The Actions

Just because you’ve done a bad thing, it doesn’t mean you’re inherently a bad person. As previously mentioned, we all make mistakes. 

Yes, you can feel regret for making a mistake, but there’s no reason to hate yourself for it.

10. Don’t Brand Yourself As ‘A Cheater’

Just because we did something one time, it doesn’t mean we have to brand ourselves as it for the rest of our lives.

Labelling yourself as ‘a cheater’ will do nothing to help you get past this incident, so avoid doing so.

11. Don’t Cheat Again

Don’t ‘fall off the wagon’ and cheat on your partner multiple times, just because you did it once. You’re going to end up feeling a lot more guilty. This guide on Ways How To Have Self-Control In A Relationship should help you to stop cheating again in future. 

12. Cut Things Off With Your Fling

If you keep crossing paths with your fling, this is going to endlessly remind you of what happened. To curb your guilt, you’ll need to do whatever it takes to stop seeing this other person. If that means quitting your job or ditching your friendship group, so be it.  

13. Cut All Paths To Your Infidelity Being Revealed

If you’re confident that your infidelity will never be leaked, this will help to ease your anxiety surrounding the situation, which should eventually help to curb your guilt.

14. Realize It’s For The Best To Not Tell Your Partner

In many ways, a confession of infidelity is almost as selfish as doing the deed.

Most people confess not to make their relationship better, but because they can’t stand the guilt.

Oftentimes, this honesty destroys a committed relationship that could have otherwise been repaired. It might ruin the lives of your partner and your children if you have them. 

So, you shouldn’t necessarily feel guilty for not confessing, if it’s in most people’s best interests to not know what happened.  

15. Journal

It’s highly recommended to journal when you’re struggling with negative emotions and self-forgiveness.

Journaling can help you come to terms with your emotions and the best way to move forward in a certain situation.

 Perhaps in this specific situation, you might want to burn the pages afterwards.  

16. Get Active

It’s often said that distracting yourself from unpleasant emotions is a bad idea. Indeed, if you’re not processing your emotions at all.

However, once you have processed your feelings using the tips above, it’s not the worst idea to engage in something healthy and productive to take your mind off the matter.

High-intensity exercise can be particularly useful self-care for offloading stress.

Related: Common Marriage Reconciliation Mistakes To Avoid After Infidelity

17. Confide In A Person You Trust

The easiest way to alleviate guilt is to talk about it with another person. This is another great way to process your emotions.

Of course, you should choose a good person who you don’t fear is going to use this information against you. 

18. Pray

Whoever your higher power is, a talk with them is a good way to process your feelings surrounding your infidelity.

Many religious texts talk about how the higher power forgives us for our sins, so this might be a useful read if you’re struggling with self-forgiveness.   

19. Consider Investing In Professional Help

Life coaches or therapists are professionally trained to be able to help their clients through a tough time.

You’ll be able to confidentially open up to this person about your infidelity without fear of judgment. 

These professionals will be able to help you understand the emotional triggers that led you to this situation too. 

This form of individual counseling is highly recommended no matter what relationship issues or problems with your mental well-being that you’re struggling with.  

Empathetic Mindset

20. Take The Lesson

No matter how old or intelligent we are, we continue to learn as we go through our lives. 

Whenever we make a mistake, it’s a chance to learn and grow stronger. 

It might be tough to see it now, but this situation will give you a chance to know your weaknesses better and improve your relationships in future. 

21. Time Heals All Wounds

Maybe the wounds of your infidelity are still fresh at this moment. The good news is: time tends to soften all painful feelings.

It could take a while – perhaps a few years in some circumstances – but you can take heart in the fact that you won’t feel so guilty in the future.  

If you follow these tips, you could be standing on your own two feet even quicker.  

Related: Signs To Know When To Walk Away After Infidelity

How To Deal With Guilt Of Cheating: Frequently Asked Questions

I wanted to round off the article with the answer to some frequently asked questions about how to cope with feelings of guilt.

How To Forgive Yourself For Cheating And Not Telling

The key steps to take are to: 

  • Realize that everyone makes mistakes
  • Know you were being as strong as you could be 
  • Remember you’re a good person, even if you were weak in this moment.  
  • Understand that honesty could hurt your partner even more. 

How Do You Redeem Yourself After Cheating?

You’ve messed up and there might be nothing you can do to redeem yourself if your partner found out about your infidelity. All you can do at this point is commit to being the best partner or spouse you can be moving forward. 

Related: Falling Out Of Love After Infidelity: 21 Easy Ways

Female Infidelity Guilt

It’s a common debate topic whether men or women cheat more. Regardless of the answer, both genders are likely to experience the same guilt.

Stages Of Guilt After Cheating

These are the seven stages of guilt someone might experience after having cheated with someone else, as listed by healthline.com

  • Shock and denial. 
  • Pain and guilt.
  • Anger and bargaining.
  • Depression. 
  • The upward turn. 
  • Reconstruction and working through.
  • Acceptance and hope.

Anxiety And Guilt After Cheating

The anxiety that stirs up after having cheated on a partner is often a result of trying to anticipate the consequences that could be coming in the future. The best way to avoid this anxiety is to do what you can to remain present. This guide on emptying your mind should help.

Cheating Guilt Signs

Look for these common signs of cheating guilt in your partner or spouse 

  • They become cold or distant;
  • Self-doubt in their behavior towards you;
  • They create problems and blame you;
  • They accuse you of having cheated;
  • They go over-the-top and spoil you.

For more information, check out the following guide: BEST Ways – How To Stop Him From Cheating.  

Why Sometimes A Cheating Person Shows No Remorse

It is rare for a person to show no remorse after they’ve hurt someone they claim to love. If your partner or spouse would appear to be showing no remorse after being caught, this might be a defence mechanism to protect his feelings.

If a partner or spouse is truly showing no signs of remorse, that could be a symptom of narcissm or sociopathy. 

Does Infidelity Pain Ever Go Away?

This isn’t something you’re likely to forget. However, the guilt is something that fades over time, especially if you follow the steps in this guide.

Related: Gut Feeling He’s Cheating No Proof: 31 Critical Signs

Do You Feel Guilty After Cheating?

Thanks for reading my guide on overcoming feelings of guilt. 

If you’re struggling with the guilt of having cheated on your partner and would like to ask a question, you can do so in the comments section below. 

It would be great to hear how you’re feeling, so don’t hesitate to get involved with the chat

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About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.