Your cheating spouse may not be behaving as if they feel remorseful about committing infidelity. Either through action or inaction, your spouse may not be giving you any cues that he or she is sorry for their actions.

This may anger and frustrate you, and lead to you experiencing even more pain. When you observe your cheating spouse going about daily business like nothing has happened, it’s easy to feel as if your spouse isn’t capable of guilt.

In this blog, I am going to help you understand the 3 roadblocks a cheating spouse may be facing and why he or she is showing a lack of remorse. Read on…

The Role of the Cheater’s Feelings

What you’re witnessing and feeling could be a misunderstanding of what your guilty spouse is working through at the moment. You may have an expectation in mind of how the remorse should play out. Maybe you envision your spouse repeating “I’m sorry” dozens of times, or a sudden
desire to cuddle up with you and offer assurances of their remorse, or certain facial expressions that show how much guilt they are feeling.

It’s okay that you want these expressions. You’re trying to make sense of something horrible, and want to know your spouse feels really bad for what they’ve done to you and your marriage.

When your spouse isn’t showing any outward displays of guilt such as these, it may be particularly upsetting because it seems to show a lack of sympathy, caring, or remorse, and has you thinking he or she is likely to repeat the experience once you calm down and some time has elapsed. You may wonder how you can fix a relationship where the cheating spouse doesn’t appear truly remorseful.

Your cheating spouse also has thoughts and feelings regarding the affair. You can’t truly know what’s in someone else’s head or heart, or hear someone else’s inner dialogue. Your partner may be suffering immensely on the inside, or may be in a state of denial regarding his or her actions.

In order for your marriage to heal, the cheater must own his or her active part in the wrong-doing before he or she can have feelings of guilt. Then the cheating spouse needs to work through these negative thoughts and feelings-not avoid them. But in feeling and working through guilt, there are additional potential stumbling blocks for your spouse.

The Cheater’s Roadblocks to Feeling Guilt

In order to understand your spouse’s behavior when it comes to feeling or not feeling guilt, first familiarize yourself with the potential roadblocks he or she may be facing:

Roadblock 1: The Cheater Has No Clear Definition of Cheating

Many cheaters will say, “I didn’t cheat, because I never touched the other person.” However, your husband or wife may have carried on deeply emotional conversations over the phone or by email.

You may feel that the energy put into the relationship with the paramour—regardless of the level of intimacy—was energy that should have been kept within your marriage.

Until the cheater has a clear definition of what constitutes cheating, this becomes a roadblock to progress in repairing your relationship.

Roadblock 2: The Cheater Doesn’t Understand He or She Did Wrong

The cheater may know the relationship and conversations or actions were wrong, but has managed to rationalize his or her actions based on technicalities as described in step 1 above. Until the cheater stops evading the truth and accepts that what he or she did was wrong, deliberate, and conscious, it will prove difficult to move forward and deal with the guilt.

One self-test that the cheater can do is to think about everything said and done with the paramour (or would-be paramour) and then consider, “Would I have said and done those same things in the same way with a buddy of the same sex?”

Roadblock 3: The Cheater Blocks Out the Emotions Caused by the Affair

The cheater may be blocking out the guilt and related emotions because it is too painful to feel them, or have difficulty accepting he or she has done wrong.

This is why you may think your cheating spouse isn’t suffering any guilt: your husband or wife may be having a hard time actually working through those guilty feelings, the suffering you are experiencing, and the other damage caused to you, to your relationship and possibly to your family.

My best wishes as your spouse learns to  feel—and show you—remorse.

Is your spouse remorseful?

Whether you answered yes or no, what is your spouse doing or not doing to support your answer?

What can your spouse do or say to show true remorse?

Please share your ideas and personal experiences on this topic with other members of the community.

Wishing you hope and healing for your marriage,

Stephanie Anderson


Marriage Sherpa


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