Anyone who has been cheated on ends up asking the same question after some time. Do cheaters realize what they lost?
It’s a difficult question to answer because some people refuse to open themselves up to personal accountability, which tends to accompany a feeling of regret. But, for the most part, cheaters eventually realize what they lost when they are lonely, vulnerable, disappointed, or betrayed.
Cheating is such a complex topic that it is heavily debated. The various and contradictory opinions on the matter can be mind boggling, at least to me.
But I think if you are dealing with the average individual who wants to be a good person, at some point or another, they have to feel remorse for cheating. It’s unavoidable for someone who is striving to meet a certain standard of behavior.
I don’t think it’s possible to spend a significant amount of time with someone, share yourself with them, and create memories with that person only to cheat on them without a care in the world.
Even if it’s just a little, I’m pretty sure they’ll regret that decision at some point or another. The cheater doesn’t just lose their relationship or partner. They also lose a part of themselves each time they cheat.
It’s a betrayal of the morals and values they may hold and of the innocence they once possessed.
There’s very little honor or dignity attached to the act of betrayal. In fact, even from a legal perspective, treason is considered one of the most heinous acts against the state.
Throughout history, infidelity has been frowned upon because the unsuspecting lover is violated in a manner that is unjustifiable.
Nobody truly wants to carry the burden of being labeled a cheater, and it will trigger feelings of regret and shame.
If you were a loving, kind, honest, and good partner, you’re special.
If you’re unaware of this, then I want to remind you that it’s not easy to find people who truly commit themselves to someone else. Being cheated on can trick you into feeling like there’s something fundamentally wrong with you.
I’m pretty sure that the reason you’re even reading this article right now is because your self perception has changed to one of low value and low worth.
I’ve been there.
Some days, I’m overcome with feelings of low self worth. I look around and feel like the ugliest, dumbest, and most unworthy person in the room.
I know it’s not true.
I’ve worked hard on myself, but because I was cheated on by someone I loved and adored, it created this narrative that rears its ugly head from time to time.
It’s ironic because I don’t walk around thinking poorly about my ex.
And yet, on those bad days, I’m the meanest person to myself, and I’ll create a ton of reasons why I deserve to be cheated on.
The mind can be nasty if you allow it to indulge in unfair self-criticism after rejection, abandonment, or betrayal.
You need to read this article: What is considered cheating in a relationship?
Do Cheaters Regret Cheating?
Remove yourself from the picture for a second and examine the situation objectively. Often, you’ll find that it’s ridiculous to be so harsh on yourself and, more importantly, to assume that someone who cheated is a monster.
That’s another thing that I learned through my experience.
Just because someone cheats on you doesn’t mean they’re a heartless, evil, or devilish person who feels nothing at all.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some people who are. But, most people aren’t.
Often, cheaters get so wrapped up in limerence and the thrill of validation that they don’t really consider the ramifications of their decisions.
It’s not like they are cheating on you to hurt you. Unfortunately, they’re not really thinking about you. It’s about them. That’s the sad part of it. If they had considered you with more care and sincerity, they probably wouldn’t have hurt you in this way.
Often, that’s something a cheater regrets the most, especially when the truth is revealed and they are faced with the damage caused by the infidelity.
Truly hurting someone or breaking their heart is a devastating experience.
Even people who don’t cheat but end a relationship experience something called dumper’s remorse.
They are inundated with sadness and grief for causing pain and anguish to someone they care about or cared about.
Again, it’s important to remember that very few people are capable of causing drastic emotional pain and damage to someone without feeling regret, remorse, guilt, and/or shame.
Only a selfish, immature, sociopathic, and godless person is capable of inflicting deep pain on someone who vowed to love them and feel no regret.
They are the people who will remain cold, calculated, deflective, manipulative, and toxic after being caught.
They’ll find ways to blame you for why they cheated and use your weaknesses to evade all accountability and responsibility.
You need to read this article: How to get over being cheated on
What Do Cheaters Feel After Being Caught?
If the cheater has been keeping secrets for a long time and has been trying to hide their infidelity from you, it’s going to be a huge shock to them when you find out.
This may cause them to zone out and shut down mentally because they can’t process what is happening.
More often than not, they don’t know what to say or do at that moment, especially if they’re trying to fill in the gaps of what you know, how you found out, and what could happen next.
2. Shame and guilt
People wouldn’t hide something they do if shame and guilt weren’t involved.
The cheater is aware of how frowned upon their actions are.
They’ve probably been feeling some degree of shame and guilt, even while cheating.
Seeing you upset and hurt would only amplify that shame and guilt because now you know what they’ve done and their image is tarnished in your eyes.
3. Regret and remorse
Just because someone cheats doesn’t mean they don’t care for or love their partner.
As I’ve said before, cheating is a complex issue.
Sometimes, people with an integrity issue, childhood trauma, absent parents, mental illness, or deep insecurity may cheat while still loving their partner.
In those cases, it had nothing to do with whether or not they loved their partner and everything to do with unresolved intrinsic issues.
4. Fear and desperation
While the cheater may have been wrapped up in their affair, it’s highly possible that when the allure of a secret no longer exists and they are faced with the reality of losing their relationship, it’s like they are snapped out of a fantasy with fear and desperation overwhelming them.
At that point, they may desperately try to fix the damage they caused and save their relationship.
There’s a great burden to be carried when you betray your partner and lie to them.
You can never run away from what you’ve done, and you’ll always be torn up about it when they are loving or kind to you.
When you live in such a terrible space for so long carrying a secret that infects your heart and soul, there has to be some degree of relief that comes with the truth being revealed, even though this sense of relief is never long-lasting.
6. Denial and/or defensiveness
In some cases, the cheater may not be able to accept or own what they have done because it would destroy their self-image altogether.
They have probably been lying to themselves for so long that it’s too jarring and overwhelming to face themselves and what they have done.
That’s when they’ll look for excuses or reasons to justify their actions, but eventually, this too will pass.
Look, I would be lying to you if I said that every cheater realizes what they lost or that no cheater realizes what they lost.
It could happen soon, or it could be something that happens months or years down the road.
They may show and vocalize this to you, or you may never get to know that they do.
But, right now, what you have to focus on is getting through this period of pain that you are in.
You’re not just dealing with the pain of betrayal but also a breakup, which is why you’re wondering whether cheaters realize what they lost.
There are a lot of questions and emotions that you have to deal with right now, and it’s going to take time to get through them.
You have to direct all your energy and emotions towards caring for yourself.
Far too many people fixate on the cheater to the point that they develop deep feelings of resentment and hatred towards relationships.
Don’t let betrayal define you in this way, and don’t let it destroy your perception of love and relationships.
The best way to find relief from pain after being cheated on is through reflection and seeking lessons rather than answers.
I know that you have a ton of gaps in your mind regarding infidelity, but no matter how many answers you get, it’s not going to fix things. At a certain point, you have to accept what has happened and seek healthy lessons that you can use for the future.
Don’t just get stuck in the victim mindset.
At first, you are in that position, but after some time, you have to rise up and rebuild your identity as a person.
Through growth, you will find the strength to heal and move forward.
Sometimes, there’ll be a scar that remains, but there’s beauty in that. Take it from someone who has personal experience with this. You’d be surprised at how your scars become a reminder of the work you have put into becoming someone that you love and respect.
With that being said, I hope this article on do cheaters realize what they lost provided you with some comfort, answers, and solace during this time in your life. If you’d like information on how to get your ex back, grab a copy of my eBook by clicking here. If you’d like to work with me directly, check out my services page for more information on my email coaching package.