In this guide, we will discuss “How to forgive yourself for cheating”, how you could start a healing process and what could happen if you don’t forgive yourself.
How to forgive yourself for cheating?
‘How to forgive yourself for cheating?’, you are wondering. Well, we need to think about it more in-depth and in perspective.
First of all, let’s consider that there are various degrees od ‘cheating’.
You can consider cheating as being emotionally involved and satisfied by someone different than your partner, being physically intimate or having sex, or even both.
Let’s analyze Andy’s case. He is very much in love with his partner but one day he decided to open Tinder, Badoo, or any of the current dating apps.
He went on a few dates, had a great time but ‘nothing’ really happened. There were no kisses or sexual relationships.
However, after a while, he felt awful for cheating on his girlfriend and most of all, for having a great time with someone different from her actual partner.
He feels extremely guilty and now is full of regret.
Now, let’s analyze Linda’s case. She is married to her college sweetheart and never cheated before.
One day she went on a business trip, had too much to drink and ended up having a one night stand with one of his work colleagues.
Here we have full physical contact and he really thinks it didn’t mean anything, he loves his partner very much.
He feels horrible for hurting his partner and can’t forgive himself for it.
Who really cheated?
We have two different scenarios and we can evidence the degree of cheating in every case.
Some people may think that only one cheated and some may argue they both did.
Here, we need to evaluate the concept of cheating and what cheating means to you and your partner.
The following question you need to ask yourself is ‘How do I forgive Myself for cheating?’, why?
Because even if your partner never finds out about this, you will feel guilty every time you look at them or even kiss them.
However, they may have known and confronted you for it but they have said they actually forgive you for it, forgiving yourself next is extremely important.
Subsequently, if you don’t forgive yourself for cheating, it can actually be detrimental to your relationship in the long term.
It will hurt…but it’s normal
If it hurts, it means you have something called conscience, you are aware that you did something wrong and would like to erase it from your life.
However, unless you are able to make your own time machine and go back in time, then you will have to deal with the situation and accept it.
Sometimes what we do is just pretend we acknowledge we did a bad thing but we don’t really want to look at it for what it is but we try to bury it deep down so we don’t have to deal with it.
But the fact that you were selfish and disrespected the person you love, if you did carry the affair or had simultaneously another relationship, is something that you may find difficult to bear or live with at this moment.
Here your needs and wants were above the consequences of your actions and how this could affect your partner.
Understand the situation (Why?)
Understanding the reason why you cheated is not intended so you can keep thinking about it over and over again.
The idea is to know why you cheated in the first place so you can forgive yourself and close this chapter.
You could have felt dissatisfied with your love life, insecurities, being vulnerable, a moment of weakness, or because your emotional needs were not met.
Whatever the reason it might be, you need to dig deep down to find it and be able to talk about it with your partner without blaming them for it.
Remember that you were the one who cheated not them, so accept the blame and ask for forgiveness.
Telling the truth
If your partner still doesn’t know about the affair because you kept it a secret, to fully forgive yourself, you need to come clean about it.
You may be thinking that coming clean and telling the truth would actually make things worse but in order for you and your partner to get over this is being honest, facing the situation not hiding from it.
Moreover, consider how your partner may appreciate your honesty, may even improve the communication and subsequently the relationship itself.
However, be prepared if your partner finds that he/she is not able to forgive you (yet or never), but at least you told the truth and don’t have to carry that weight anymore.
Also, don’t force your partner to forgive you, understand it takes time and your partner needs it to find within themselves if they can forgive you.
Stop it and commit yourself to not cheating again
If cheating and coming clean to your partner have made your relationship stronger then make sure to learn from it and refrain yourself from doing it again, commit entirely to being faithful to your partner.
In contrast, if what you want is to keep sleeping with other people or explore the depths of romance with someone else then let your partner go because the result would be even more pain and suffering for them and it is not fair to keep hurting your loved one.
If you belong to the first group, meaning the ones that consider cheating once was enough then you will need to make serious changes in your life so you can amend and forgive yourself.
Try to think about what led you to the situation in the first place and the things you can do to prevent it from happening in the future.
Living in the past and letting your actions define you
Living in the past only brings pain, remorse, regret, hurt, and many other things that not only won’t let you move forward in your relationship but also your mental health.
Moreover, you may think the act of cheating defines who you are and ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’.
This is not true, you define who you want to be and who you want to become.
Making a mistake doesn’t mean you are a bad person and no one should love you because you don’t deserve it.
On the contrary, if you are able to accept the mistake, reflect on it, ask for forgiveness, and most importantly, forgive yourself then you are tracing a healing path for you and your partner.
You may feel the need to rely on someone you trust, a friend, or a relative.
However, they can give advice according to their experience or what they think about the situation which can make you feel judged or even more guilty.
However, a mental health professional can help you get to the point where you can forgive yourself without pointing any fingers, being blamed, or judged.
You may not feel ready to tell your partner or don’t know how you could do it, then a professional can help you come up with a plan or strategy on how to deal with this situation.
Why is this blog about How to forgive yourself for cheating important?
As we have discussed, forgiving yourself for cheating is really important, independently from the outcome of being forgiven by your partner or not.
Also, accepting the reality instead of hiding or pretending like it never happened is the way to start your healing process.
Don’t let a mistake define you or who you really are, go past it and look at the bigger picture.
Telling your partner about cheating can make you feel scared of losing your loved one but coming clean is the best way of getting the weight of the guilt, remorse, shame, etc., off your shoulders.
If you feel you can’t do it alone, get help from a friend or mental health professional so you can truly forgive yourself.
Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How to forgive yourself for cheating
Can I ever forgive myself for cheating?
You can forgive yourself from cheating and it should be a must, even more important than getting forgiveness from your partner.
If you can’t forgive yourself but your partner does, the relationship can get damaged to the point of no return because even if you have been forgiven, the relationship will keep deteriorating.
How do I stop feeling guilty after cheating?
If you want to stop feeling guilty after cheating:
– Accept you made a mistake and you are willing not to do it again.
– Be honest and sincerely apologize to your partner, communication is key.
– Learn from your mistake and learn from yourself (the reasons behind it).
Can you still love someone after cheating on them?
Yes, you can still love someone after cheating on them.
Everyone can have a different reason for cheating, for instance, being too drunk, revenge, or feeling neglected, and not necessarily because you don’t love your partner.
How do I forgive myself for past mistakes?
If you want to forgive yourself for past mistakes, here are 6 steps:
– Identify and name what you have done.
– Ask for forgiveness to people you may have hurt.
– Forgive yourself for making a mistake.
– Learn from your mistakes and try to prevent it from happening in the future.
– Repeat to yourself you are not defined by your mistake.
Is it true once a cheater always?
Many people believe it is true when they say ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’.
This indicates that if you have created in the past, you will always cheat or it is more likely you will cheat in the future.
However, it is not true this happens in every case since some people decide to learn from their mistakes and avoid doing it again.
What we recommend for Relationship & LGBTQ issues
- If you are having relationship issues or maybe you are in an abusive relationship then relationship counselling could be your first point of call. Relationship counselling could be undertaken by just you, it does not require more than one person.
If you are dealing with LGBTQ issues then LGBTQ counselling may be a great option for you. Maybe you are confused as to your role and identity or simply need someone to speak to. LGBTQ counsellors are specially trained to assist you in this regard.
Peacock, J. (2017, Jan.) How Do You Forgive Yourself If You’re the One Who Cheated?. Retrieved from huffpost.com.
Dewitt, S. (2020, Mar.) How To Forgive Yourself For Cheating In Your Relationship. Retrieved from regain.us.
Janani (2017, Sep.) How To Forgive Yourself For Cheating. Pandagossips.com.