3 Ways to Overcome Guilt After Betraying Someone

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3 Ways to Overcome Guilt After Betraying Someone
3 Ways to Overcome Guilt After Betraying Someone

When cheating on a partner, it is common to feel a strong sense of guilt. It's not the best feeling in the world, but it's totally normal. You have broken the person's trust and this can make you feel disappointed in yourself. Guilt is a powerful emotion that can trigger rash behavior, so don't do anything right away. Talk to someone you trust and get the support you need before deciding what to do. Then take some steps to forgive yourself for the wrongdoing and try to repair the damage done to the relationship, if possible.


Method 1 of 3: Seeking Support

Overcome Guilt After Cheating Step 1

Step 1. Get advice from someone you trust

Contact another person for advice on how to proceed. Explain exactly what happened and ask for feedback.

  • Choose someone close to you who can keep your secret. An older or wiser person is usually a good counselor. For example, if you have a co-worker or friend who has already restored a relationship after a betrayal, he might be a good choice to vent. Avoid talking to someone who might feel guilty about keeping your secret or who might judge you for hurting your partner.
  • Find the person and say, “I made a huge mistake and cheated on my girlfriend. I know this is wrong, but I don't want it to ruin my relationship.” Then explain the events prior to the betrayal and ask for specific advice, whether to tell your partner and how to do it.
Overcome Guilt After Cheating Step 2

Step 2. Join a local or online support group

Look for groups in your city or on the internet that welcome people who have committed a betrayal. There, you can talk to others who have already dealt with this guilt and find out how they overcame it.

Guilt often intensifies when you isolate yourself from people. By opening up to those who can relate to the situation, you can overcome guilt

Overcome Guilt After Cheating Step 3

Step 3. See a therapist to discuss multiple betrayals

If you have cheated several times, it may be necessary to work with a therapist to address the cause of this problem. Find one that specializes in relationship issues.

  • In therapy, you can identify the need that is not being met so that you no longer feel like cheating.
  • When you stop chronic cheating, you will feel less guilt.
Overcome Guilt After Cheating Step 4

Step 4. Seek spiritual advice

If you have spiritual or religious beliefs, try to consult with a counselor you respect. A spiritual leader will listen to you without judgment and offer practical solutions to overcome the guilt you feel at the moment.

  • Ask to meet in person and seek the support and guidance you need regarding your dilemma.
  • This person can offer valuable advice for you and your partner, if appropriate.

Method 2 of 3: Forgiving Yourself

Overcome Guilt After Cheating Step 5

Step 1. Accept that you are only human

Convert guilt into something that empowers you by having compassion on yourself. You weren't the first person to cheat – many others have been through this. Recognize that this is a common feature of humanity, so you won't feel as guilty about making a mistake.

  • Gently pat your shoulders and say, “I'm just human. I'm not perfect. I will always make mistakes”.
  • This statement does not justify your mistakes – it simply alleviates the suffering. You can even add something like “I made a mistake, but I can fix it and improve it in the future”.
Overcome Guilt After Cheating Step 6

Step 2. Write about the situation

Vent these painful feelings in a journal to ease the guilt and see the situation a little more objectively. You may even come across a solution while writing.

  • Write down everything that happened in vivid detail. Express your thoughts and feelings about the situation. You can say “I slept with my ex. I regret it, but I feel so guilty. I don't want my partner to find out, but I don't know how to proceed.”
  • If you're worried about someone who might read what you've written, tear up or burn the paper. This act of destruction can also symbolize that betrayal (and guilt) need not continue to affect your life.
Overcome Guilt After Cheating Step 7

Step 3. Perform rituals if you are spiritual

Use your belief in a higher power to overcome guilt. You can do this by reading scriptures, praying, meditating, fasting, or letting off steam with a spiritual counselor.

Your faith can serve as a guide to moving forward after the betrayal. Follow spiritual practices that provide peace and acceptance to minimize guilt

Overcome Guilt After Cheating Step 8

Step 4. Focus on the future, not the past

It's easy to be disappointed in yourself, but dwelling on the past will only make you a hostage to your mistake. Practice eradicating thoughts when guilt arises. Instead of harboring that feeling, ask yourself "What's wrong?" and try to continually take positive actions that will help you move forward.

For example, if negative thoughts arise about what you have done in the past, ask yourself "What is it?" and identify a positive action you can take. Actions include taking your partner out for a romantic dinner or committing to spend more time with her

Overcome Guilt After Cheating Step 9

Step 5. Be patient

Guilt changes over time, just like all other emotions. Instead of thinking that you must do something to alleviate it, be patient and wait for it to go away.

Beware of negative solutions that cause depression, addictions, and other emotional problems. Avoid going through difficult times isolating yourself from others, working excessively, or using alcohol or drugs

Method 3 of 3: Redeeming Yourself

Overcome Guilt After Cheating Step 10

Step 1. Complete the love triangle to overcome guilt

The only way to move forward guilt-free is to stop cheating. Being in two relationships is unfair to both the person you are cheating on and the person being used in the cheating. Decide who you want to be with and walk away from the secondary relationship.

For example, if you have fallen in love with another man and you no longer love your boyfriend, end the relationship and commit to the new person. If you regret cheating on your wife and want to strengthen your marriage, stop seeing the other person altogether

Overcome Guilt After Cheating Step 11

Step 2. Decide whether to confess

If your partner still doesn't know about the betrayal, don't assume that confessing everything will make you (or her) feel better. Confessions of infidelity bring immense pain, distrust and insecurity to the relationship. Weigh the pros and cons before telling your partner about your mistake.

  • You must confess if the betrayal involved unprotected sex that compromised your original partner's health. It's also best to tell everything if your partner is likely to find out otherwise.
  • In the end, telling the truth is the best option if you want to save the relationship. Remember, hiding the fact further damages her trust in you.
Overcome Guilt After Cheating Step 12

Step 3. Commit yourself to faithfulness and honesty from now on

Regardless of who you choose, take an oath to be faithful and honest with your partner in the future. If you prefer not to have a monogamous relationship, everyone involved should be aware of this.

  • If your partner learns of the betrayal and decides to give you another chance, you can perform a symbolic ritual of a new “commitment” that demonstrates that you plan to be faithful from now on.
  • Don't expect automatic forgiveness - strive to demonstrate that she can trust you in the future. This may mean you need to be more satisfied with what you do when you're not with your partner or allow access to your cell phone or email.
  • Even though you've made a mistake, don't accept abuse or mistreatment simply to earn a pardon.
Overcome Guilt After Cheating Step 13

Step 4. Identify the lesson from the situation

How can you use this experience as an opportunity for growth? Reflect on how the betrayal happened and try to learn from your mistake. This can help you break through patterns of behavior and thinking that caused the betrayal in the first place.

  • For example, maybe you weren't honest with your partner about what you wanted in bed. You simply decided to look elsewhere. In the future, be more direct about your sexual needs.
  • Perhaps you used to share your marriage problems with your co-worker instead of talking to your partner. In the future, talk about these matters only with someone-particularly your wife-who won't use your vulnerability as a door to having an affair.
Overcome Guilt After Cheating Step 14

Step 5. Do couples therapy

If you want to restore your relationship with your original partner, couples therapy can help you identify problem areas and resolve them. The therapist can help you revive your relationship by facilitating better communication, suggesting ways to bring more spontaneity to life, and even improving sexual intimacy.

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