I recently heard from a wife whose husband’s affair had lasted for two months. The wife had found about it from a mutual friend. It really bothered her that the husband hadn’t come clean on his own. However, once the wife confronted her husband, he immediately expressed his sorrow and remorse. In fact, the husband had repeatedly said how sorry he was every day since this conversation.
His repeated apologies didn’t cut it for the wife. They rang as false and fake. Their logic didn’t make any sense to her. She said, in part: “If he were really sorry for cheating, he would have admitted it to me himself without my having to find out about it from someone else. And if he were really and truly sorry, he wouldn’t have done it in the first place. How can you cheat on someone you love and are invested in? I don’t think you can. Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a world where we could do anything we wanted, say we’re sorry, and then have the slate wiped clean? Well, that’s not the way that it works. I don’t believe he’s really sorry for one second. I just think he’s sorry because he’s been caught and now he looks like a dishonest idiot.”
Obviously, this wife was seething and the strong feelings were very fresh. After a bit of dialogue, it becomes quite clear to me that, deep down, she wanted to believe that he was genuinely remorseful and wouldn’t cheat again. She wanted to believe that she was important enough to him that he was telling the truth. But, understandably, she had trust issues now and she doubted if she could believe his claims.
In the following article, I’ll go over some ways to tell if a man is really sorry for his cheating or he’s just sorry that he got caught since everything is now out in the open.
A Man Who Is Truly Sorry For Cheating Will Show That His Priority Is With You: Hopefully, it goes without saying that a truly remorseful man will drop the other person like a hot potato. If he wants to repair your relationship and restore the trust, then he will be completely serious about cutting off all contact and ties with the other person. Not only that, but he’ll remove the vulnerabilities that lead up to his cheating.
For example, if he cheated on an overnight business trip, he’ll stop travelling alone. Or, if he has a certain friend who’s a bad influence on him, he’ll drop that friend immediately without giving it a second thought. In short, a man who’s genuinely remorseful for his actions doesn’t make excuses or try to shift your attention away from what he did. He takes responsibility for it, distances himself from those things that contributed to it, and then places his focus on fixing his relationship with you.
If He’s Really Remorseful For Cheating On You, He’s Completely Accountable And Welcomes Your Checking Up On Him: Most of the time, a man who is genuine after cheating will understand why you don’t trust him. To that end, he’ll likely want to go out of his way to prove to you that he has nothing to hide. He’ll hand over his cell phone, his Facebook account, his email passwords and anything else you might want to see.
He does these things because he knows that you won’t find anything and he wants to show you his willingness to work with you. Now, some men do feel resentful about this and some are reluctant to give up their privacy. But once they realize that this is necessary and important for your peace of mind, most will decide that your well being is more important than their privacy right now. (Although this obviously can’t go on forever.) Do you see the trend here? On almost every issue, he’s choosing your needs over his. Sure, he may really miss his friends or habits, but he wants to show that you are more important to him than any of these things.
When I tell women this, some of them tell me that although they wish their man was doing all this, he isn’t. He’s claiming to be sorry, but he isn’t showing accountability or placing his focus on the relationship. Before you assume that this means he isn’t truly sorry, at least give him the chance to make things right. Yes, it’s frustrating to have to spell out for him what you want and need. But sometimes, men just don’t pick up on the clues or aren’t intuitive enough to come up with this on their own. Sometimes, they really want to do the right thing but they need for you to tell them what that thing really is.
True Sorrow Is Demonstrated By A Person’s Actions, Not By Written Or Spoken Words: I sometimes have people ask me if I’ll read a letter that their husband or boyfriend wrote to see if it’s genuine. The truth is, you can’t always tell from this. People can and will say or write anything to get you to believe they’re sorry. Admittedly, the fact that they’re putting forth all of this time and effort certainly says something. But, only time and watching their actions are going to tell you the truth.
Because when a person is truly sorry that they hurt you, they’re pretty firm in their conviction not to do it again. They strive to become a better husband or boyfriend and then they follow through. They make it up to you in a variety of ways by the way that they treat you and your relationship. This is true remorse. It doesn’t come through written or spoken words. It comes through action and character.