I am having an extramarital affair. Should I be feeling guilty about it?

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For everyone concerned, infidelity is a nightmare. It can be challenging to trust your partner if you come to know that they are cheating on you. However, if you are the one who has cheated, you will not get off lightly either.

Your shame for what you’ve done might weigh you down and hurt your future. It is a difficult situation to comprehend. After all, it’s something for which you should feel some remorse. You betrayed someone you cared about, and you need to accept responsibility.

However, while you shouldn’t completely ignore it, you shouldn’t blame yourself for it.

What is an extramarital affair?

Non-marital partnerships with an illicit sexual or romantic relationship, a romantic friendship, or a passionate attachment are extramarital affairs.

Extramarital affairs affect people in different ways. Some seek to prove that they are still desirable, while others want to kill boredom or relieve tension, avenge their spouse, or simply enjoy life outside their marriage.

extramarital affair

Why do people have extramarital affairs?

Following are some popular reasons why people have extramarital affairs:

  1. Unhappiness/Dissatisfaction: Emotional or sexual dissatisfaction with the marriage is widespread. Most men and women cite a sexless marriage as the reason for their illicit affairs[1].
  2. Lack of commitment: A 2018 study discovered that those less committed to their relationship are more prone to cheat [2].
  3. Feeling undervalued or neglected: Feeling unloved might lead to infidelity. In certain circumstances, the affair bolsters a person’s self-esteem. On the other hand, feeling ignored may be due to unreasonable expectations of a relationship rather than actual neglect.
  4. Body image: Cheating may occasionally be a technique for a person to prove that they still “have it”. Coupled with these sentiments, a spouse could blame their partner for their transgressions, believing that their partner has “let themselves go.”
  5. Revenge: If one partner has had an affair or has hurt the other somehow, the aggrieved partner may feel compelled to seek retribution, leading to an experience.
  6. Boredom: Cheaters are more prone to cheat if they are yearning for the thrill of the chase and the excitement of new love. Rather than seeking a replacement for their partner, some people believe that their fling is a method to spice up their relationship. Some people also tend to justify cheating due to falling out of love after being married for many years to their partner.

Should you feel guilty about it?

  1. First and foremost, it’s critical to emphasize that your being here is a good thing. If you’re reading this, you’re probably feeling wrong about something you did that caused someone you care about to suffer.
  2. That suggests you’re a person who has simply done something wrong. It would only be necessary to start worrying if you didn’t feel any guilt
  3. It’s natural to experience a sense of remorse in cases like these because you’ve betrayed someone you care bout’s trust and caused them grief.
  4. Accepting accountability for what you did means you’ve taken responsibility for your actions, which is the first step toward moving ahead. The remorse you’re experiencing is also a guarantee that you won’t be cheating ever.
  5. You’ve realized that no matter how tempted you are, the shame, sorrow, and heartache that follow cheating aren’t worth it. In many respects, your guilt is good since it implies you’ll come out of this a better person, having learned a difficult lesson. However, you must not let the responsibility of your previous actions overwhelm your future decisions.

How can you get over your guilt?

Guilt is nothing but your inner conscience telling you that you’re mistaken or what you did was wrong. It is like you are not able to forgive yourself. We all live in a society with a set of particular morals, and growing up, we learn to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong based on these morals.

When you cheat on someone, your inner self describes it as wrong, which begins internal conflict resulting in overwhelming guilt. If you are feeling guilty – well, you are a moral person. Begin with accepting yourself.

Yes! You did something wrong, but that was a mistake, which does not define who you are. You believed in a person and fell for it while knowing well that it would go nowhere for you.

Your inner self confronts you about the erroneous decision and the potential repercussions. You’ll have to live with it, but hey – slowly, you will be able to forgive yourself and forget about it in the future.

Should you confess?

There is a massive argument about confession. Some believe it is necessary to confess. While some believe it was in the past and will not happen again, sharing this with your partner will only hurt them. It has no positive outcome.

  1. To confess or not confess, the answer lies in your comfort. If the guilt is killing you from inside, you must come clean. Confess your act, but try to ease the pain for your partner as much as possible. You must deal with this matter delicately and with sensitivity.
  2. It’s natural to be a little daunted by the possibility. It might all come down to how you approach it. If you’re serious about making this relationship work, although you cheated, you’ll have to approach things with tremendous caution and respect.
  3. There is no better moment for this discussion than now. Waiting till after Christmas, their birthday, your anniversary, or whenever it is you think you’ll be kind to your partner.

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Some try to eliminate boredom or relieve stress, while others want to show themselves that they are still desirable. Some others try to excuse themselves by saying they cheated on their partner to get out of a bad relationship. Accepting responsibility entails taking responsibility for one’s conduct.

Your remorse is also a guarantee that you will not cheat again. Cheating is when your inner conscience tells you you’re doing something wrong. There is a lot of debate over whether you should confess to your spouse or not. It is a tricky subject that requires a great deal of care. You’ll have to handle things with respect if you’re serious about making this relationship work even though you strayed.

At United We Care, our therapists and mental health professionals can guide you through the process of dealing with the guilt that extramarital affairs bring along. Don’t worry; you are safe with us.

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[1] J. Wróblewska-Skrzek, “Infidelity in Relation to Sex and Gender:

The Perspective of Sociobiology Versus the Perspective of Sociology of Emotions,” Sexuality & Culture,

vol. 25, no. 5, pp. 1885–1894, Apr. 2021, doi: 10.1007/s12119-021-09845-6.[Online].

Available: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12119-021-09845-6. [Accessed: Jul. 23, 2022]

[2] Carmen Gabriela Lișman and Andrei Corneliu Holman,

“Cheating under the Circumstances in Marital Relationships: The Development and Examination of the…,”

ResearchGate, Oct. 15, 2021. [Online]. Available: researchgate.net [Accessed: Jul. 23, 2022]


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