In order for a relationship to be saved after you have been cheated on, there has to be genuine remorse and regret from your partner. There’s a difference between regret and guilt attributed to being caught versus remorse and regret for causing pain and suffering to someone you love.
If he exhibits guilt and regret for being caught, taking him back will only reinforce his behavior.
The majority of relationship experts will affirm that the only way to fix a relationship broken by infidelity is through remorse from the cheater and forgiveness from the betrayed partner.
But, you won’t be able to truly forgive someone who doesn’t feel genuine remorse for their behavior. To help you identify a remorseful ex, I’ve compiled an elaborate list of signs that he regrets cheating.
Related Post: What is considered cheating in a relationship?
How To Tell If A Man Regrets Cheating
Sign #1: Sincere Apologies With An Admission Of Guilt
People who are genuinely regretful and remorseful for their behavior take full accountability. Rather than passing the buck onto you, he will take ownership of his failure to be faithful, honest, and committed.
It doesn’t matter why someone cheats.
Far too often, we get wrapped up in the semantics of infidelity as if it really matters, but I would argue that someone who holds themselves to a higher standard will never cheat on their partner, regardless of whether they have a reason for doing so or not.
Infidelity is a character issue, not a relationship issue. There are people in relationships who have every opportunity to cheat but choose not to.
It’s not just love that prevents them from cheating. It’s the commitment that they have towards themselves and the values they hold.
Genuine regret can be observed when his apology pertains to hurting you and takes full ownership of his character flaws.
Related Post: Do cheaters realize what they lost?
Sign #2: Full Transparency
One of the common signs of someone who is genuinely remorseful is transparency. As much as the truth will paint him in an ugly light, he still divulges the truth to you.
Granted, some details are best left unsaid but for the most part, he should answer all your questions truthfully.
At first, most people have the propensity to trickle the truth out of fear.
Fear of feeling ashamed points to a lack of remorse.
Fear of losing you points to emotional distress and some degree of real attachment and love.
If you’re considering reconciliation, transparency about his whereabouts, feelings, thoughts, and actions is a good sign of regret and a commitment to helping you deal with the aftermath of his poor decisions.
Sign #3: Improved Communication
The only way to navigate through a catastrophic relationship event like infidelity requires unbelievable communication.
If he approaches you to talk about what happened even though it makes him feel ugly, shameful, and sad, it shows commitment and genuine regret for cheating.
Similarly, if he’s willing to rehash a timeline of events for you and opens up about his feelings towards you while comforting you, it’s a good sign.
I’ve noticed that people who are not remorseful and regretful sweep their affairs under the rug. When you try to broach the topic, they shut you down, avoid the conversation, or manipulate you into feeling bad for needing clarification and communication.
Sign #4: Consistent Behavior
Regret can often be the catalyst for change for some. When a man experiences regret for his foolish actions and commits himself to change, what you’ll find is consistency.
Apologies alone are not enough to build a foundation of forgiveness for cheating. It’s regular, expected, and sincere action that helps to build a bridge back to each other.
When his actions and words align over an extended period of time after the discovery of his cheating, then that’s a good sign of regret and remorse.
Sign #5: He Cuts Contact With The Affair Partner
Someone who truly regrets their decision to cheat will not hesitate to end all contact with the person they cheated with.
Anything other than zero communication is a problem.
If you ask him to end contact with that person and he does it, that’s a good sign. But, it would be even better if the idea came from him.
Paranoia isn’t helpful but if you feel like checking up on whether he’s staying away from that person, do it.
This person has burned you already.
Blind faith in them isn’t something they deserve anymore. But, at the same time, I’m not advising you to walk around like a detective all the time. That will drive you crazy. If you have suspicions, examine them and try to find out if you have something real to worry about.
Sign #6: He Accepts The Consequences Of Cheating
The relationship you once had is over and the blind trust you once felt will never completely return.
To be with this person, you may no longer be as carefree and accommodating as you once were.
He may have to do most of the work to rebuild a relationship with you without a time limit.
You may have certain requirements for him that necessitate some sacrifice on his end.
If he’s willing to accept all that, then that can be considered a real sign he regrets cheating.
Related Post: How being cheated on changes you
Sign #7: He Avoids Temptation
I don’t believe anyone mistakenly cheats. There’s always something at the root cause of it.
Whether it’s childhood issues, bad friends, a lack of boundaries, or bad environments, you can always find something that influenced or tempted a person to cheat.
A man who is self-aware and is genuinely let down by his own behavior will remove temptation from his life.
Even if he cannot eradicate all of it, he minimizes everything to the best of his ability.
Sign #8: Seeks Out Professional Help
We all know how averse men are to therapy or couples counseling.
So, it would be fair to say that a man who is willing and invested in getting professional help to overcome his character flaws and to help you heal is a man who regrets cheating and wants to improve as a person.
Therapy alone isn’t enough.
It’s disciplined and committed action towards self-improvement that makes the biggest difference.
Sign #9: Allows You To Heal On Your Terms
Until you’ve been cheated on, you don’t really know how it’s going to affect you, what it means for the relationship, and how long it may take you to heal from it.
If he’s showing commitment and willingness to wait for you, to help you, and to be by your side through this entire process without any guarantee that things will work out, then that shows genuine remorse and care.
Sign #10: Increased Effort And Connection
Most of the time, people become brash and ungrateful when they are cheating. You’ll notice in it their behavior towards you.
When guilt is involved, they could do the opposite and up their affection towards you at times but it will feel inauthentic or weird in a subtle manner.
Remorse and regret, along with a realization of their feelings for you, can inspire him to be more emotionally available and expressive towards you with sincerity.
Sign #11: Emotional Suffering
If he cares about you and is overwhelmed by regret, you’ll notice that he experiences turmoil over what he has done to you.
Self-loathing, insecurity, shame, depression, and self-judgment are some common signs that a person regrets cheating on their partner.
Should You Take Him Back?
If he has genuine regret and remorse for cheating on you, coupled with an ongoing commitment to change and growth, you could take him back. But more than him, you need to think about whether taking him back will make you happy.
Some people are capable of enough forgiveness to be with someone who cheated. I’m not someone who is against second chances under the right circumstances.
But, if taking him back amounts to a lifetime of insecurity, suspicion, low self-esteem, sadness, and anxiety, perhaps you have to accept what he has done and let him go.
It’s not going to be easy.
Sometimes, the people who cheat possess other wonderful attributes that hold a special place in your heart.
Letting go of them may still sign you up for all of those hard emotions.
But, at least you’ll give yourself a fair chance at healing and moving on without a constant reminder of the massive blow to your heart.
Think about whether you can like yourself while being with this person again.
If you can’t, then that relationship may turn into a nightmare for both of you.
You’ll never truly feel safe or happy with him, and he may always feel shame, sadness, and regret for what he did.
I wouldn’t want that for someone I love.
More importantly, I would want to have a chance at love that isn’t colored by infidelity.
That brings us to the end of this article on signs he regrets cheating. I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject, so please leave a comment below. If you’d like to get an ex back, be sure to grab a copy of my eBook called Reconcile by clicking here. Also, get email coaching from me for your relationship issues by clicking here.