The cheater is not sorry for what they did

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When the cheater does not say that they are sorry for what has happened, what do you do? Do you need to do anything? In terms of reconciling, it is better if they express remorse for their actions, although it is not always necessary. You may need to ask yourself what you main goal is. Are you out to make them feel as miserable as you feel, are you out to make them feel every ounce of guilt for what they did or are you out to repair your marriage? If you are out to make them feel the pain and guilt, then their not feeling sorry or expressing it is a major concern. If, on the other hand, your main goal is repairing your marriage, then the remorse may not be a requirement. Yes, it would be nice if they expressed remorse for their actions. Is it a requirement that they feel sorry for what they did BEFORE you work things out with them? As they grow closer to you, then the remorse will come about naturally without you have to use guilt or remind them of their faults. As you mean more to them, they will regret any pain that they brought into your life.

Requiring them to feel sorry before reconciliation is not essential. One does not have to come before the other. Expecting the cheater to follow all the steps in order according to some book is not a realistic expectation. Since we are human, we do not always follow the pattern, stay in line, or do things according to the book. The cheater, especially if they are the independent or creative type may not follow patterns very well at all.

When you are doing what you can to repair your marriage, you need to keep your main goal in mind. Do you want them back, or do you want them to feel pain? Some of you may honestly want them to feel the pain before you accept them back. I can live with that as long as you are honest with yourself about that. When your main goal is to have them feel bad, then do not be upset that they do not want to get back with you. You are getting what you want. Just be honest with yourself. Don’t say you want them back, when your main goal is seeing them suffer.

Best Regards,

Jeffrey Murrah

Nothing in this Work is intended to replace common sense, legal, medical or other professional advice. If your situation warrants it, please seek competent professional counsel.


  1. Helena says

    I want him back, AND I want him to feel pain because I want him to understand the pain that he put me through with his affair. If he doesn’t understand the pain that he put me through, then isn’t he bound to put me through the same kind of pain again?

    He stopped contact with the other woman upon my insistence, and he has been doing his absolute best to be good and nurturing and sweet to me; I honestly think that most women would have forgiven him at this point. Many people would argue that there are circumstances that mitigate his affair, such as the fact that we are not married, have no children, and are still a relatively new couple – we only started dating in October 2010. He had been casually dating and having sex with the other woman when he started dating me, and their relationship continued to flourish on at least an emotional level parallel to his relationship with me. He told me they stopped having sex after he started dating me, but I don’t believe that. I understand that many would argue that parties in a dating relationship are still “fair game” in the first few months of the relationship, but he gave me the impression that what he wanted with me was a committed monogamous relationship when we started dating, and I was under the impression that that’s what we had.

    The other woman knew all about me from the time we started dating, and he would provide details to her about our relationship, including sexual problems we were having and complaints he had about me, but I didn’t even know she existed until about six months into our relationship when I casually picked up his cell phone for the first time and happened to find a text message from her that struck me as inappropriate. From further snooping in his cell phone and emails, I found out who this other woman was and what their story was. I waited an additional six months before confronting him about her because I kept giving him the benefit of the doubt and waiting for him to end it with her of his own accord, hoping he would come to understand that it was not appropriate to accept flirty or suggestive text messages from her and discuss our sex life with her and whatnot, but it kept going on.

    But he refuses to fully admit wrongdoing and apologize; by “fully,” I mean he has said he’s sorry, but he insists that his continued relationship with the other woman was justified by the uncertainty of our newness and by problems we were having and by feeling unfulfilled by me. For months, I pressed him to just fully admit wrongdoing and tell me he’s sorry and that it won’t happen again and not try to justify the wrongdoing. Ultimately, he has responded by reverting to a completely remorseless position where he refuses to acknowledge that there was anything untoward at all about his interactions with the other woman. And that disturbs me greatly.

    He doesn’t feel sorry about his affair, and I anguish over that, but I’m trying to just let it go, because it seems that’s the only thing that’s left for me to do if I want to keep him because he has been doing his absolute best to be good and nurturing and sweet to me, and he really is an amazing man otherwise. I have all this pain, though, which of course he is picking up on, and it’s driving him away.

    I desperately want him to help me with this pain, but he doesn’t want to or simply can’t.

  2. says


    Thanks for writing. You have a tough situation. Without the marriage bond, the commitment is tenuous. If you put too much pain on him, he may leave. In order to work through the pain, it helps to have a commitment in the relationship. You may have to share the pain, without having him go through the experience. I also wonder your reason for insisting that he go through the pain himself. You may find yourself having to choose between being in relationship with him or have him feel your pain. It seems that having him back would be more important than ‘punishing’ him or making him feel your pain. He does appear attached to you, which may work to your advantage. He may not feel sorry due to the nature of yall’s relationship. You can find out whether he feels that he did anything wrong and what made it wrong. Then the two of you can discuss what it will take to make things right between the two of you.

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