He’s Not Sorry…..She Won’t Get Over It

While the situations are not always that HE is unfaithful, I’ve used the title to illustrate the point that in many cases, one spouse won’t show any remorse and another spouse won’t stop talking about it. While some blog posts I write are an attempt to help you move forward, even incrementally, other blog posts are to help illustrate more about what may be going on in the particular situation you’re facing.

It’s about every day I hear a betrayed spouse say, “He isn’t showing any remorse at all. It’s like he’s just swallowed up in justification or resentment and he’s not showing any sadness over what he’s done whatsoever.” If I interview the unfaithful spouse, more than likely they will say to me “she just won’t stop talking about it. It’s all they want to talk about. Why can’t she move forward, why can’t she just stop talking about it all the time? I’m tired of talking about it.”

While I want to keep this short and to the point without splitting hairs, the cold hard truth is this: until the unfaithful gets the right help they need, they will never probably show empathy and true remorse. They may be sorry they were caught and that the affair was exposed, but it won’t usually be genuine at all if the affair was for any length of time. It’s a progressive timeline of their recovery. As they get healthier and as they go deeper into their guided journey of sobriety, they will show more and more remorse and true empathy, over time. Where many betrayed spouses blow it is expecting their spouse to show empathy or remorse without getting any qualified help. Why would they? In their mind they had an affair for a reason. (While we know it was their own selfishness and that they wanted their needs met, they are not there yet). One can reason that in their own mind they felt justified in their affair. It’s not true, and it’s part of the greater dysfunction, but to expect them to wake up overnight is not only ambitious, it’s unrealistic.

As the betrayed is able to receive the care and help they need, it is then they will begin to not want to talk about it every day and not want to fixate on infidelity or the affair partner. They will also begin to own some things of their own struggles. Most betrayed spouses understand they were not perfect in the marriage.  No one is. They just decided not to have an affair despite the many imperfections of their mate. But if you the unfaithful, expect your betrayed spouse to get over it and not talk about it and own their own struggles without prolonged expert help, you’re kidding yourself. As they are able to see you the unfaithful, own your own selfishness and then show empathy and true remorse for your non-justified infidelity or addiction, it is then you will begin to eventually see your spouse ‘move on.’

They will never move on if you’re not showing long term true empathy, and much more, if humility and remorse does not become a part of your new life you find.

As you the unfaithful want to move on to new life and the next chapter of your marriage, your betrayed spouse wants to also move forward. But, if they are feeling unsafe, or if you don’t get it and aren’t showing any true, sustained remorse over the person you became and your actions, how can you expect them to move forward with any sense of hope or confidence in you or the marriage? They put confidence in you before and look where it got them? Perhaps their timeline to healing will need to be a bit longer than you think.

I will tell you, from personal experience, as well as helping countless others heal, without a true remorse and humility on your part (the unfaithful), stop expecting the betrayed to move on and stop fixating. If you the betrayed expect your spouse to snap out of it, I’m sorry, it just doesn’t work that way. I wish it did. Remember, they didn’t become this way overnight and they won’t be fixed overnight either. There is a better way, but it will require an investment of very deliberate proportions. 

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Thank you!

I think this is such a helpful and to the point blog post that you should consider incorporating it into the conclusion of the boot camp! This is one of those funny things that seems so obvious once you have read it, but that almost no one gets up-front. Thank you Samuel. Your blogs are amazing and when I am struggling with this stuff, I often try to think of how you would discuss it.

Shame and sorrow are not the same thing

I would add for the unfaithful that shame and sorrow are not the same thing. Shame is still focusing on you. Telling your spouse how ashamed your are when they are expressing sorrow over the loss of the marriage they thought they had or sorrow over loosing the person that they thought they married does not help. Your shame is not the same as our sorrow. We (the betrayed) have a deep sorrow and need to grieve over what we lost. We need you to know that our grief is not the same as your feelings of shame. We were in the same marriage. Most of the time your complaints over what you where not getting from the marriage are the same things that we were not getting either, but regardless of the condition of the marriage before discovery we still have to grieve the loss. We (the betrayed) have been deceived by you and are on HIGH alert for anything that seems untruthful and most can spot the difference between true remorse for your actions and sorrow for the things that you lost compared to you being shameful.

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