When There Is No Remorse

It’s very typical for a betrayed spouse to feel as though their spouse is not remorseful at all for what they’ve done.  Unfortunately, some just aren’t on the front end. They will justify it and to turn the knife in their spouse, they will only blame their betrayed spouse for their affair.

In fact, some are just sorry they got caught.

Their private life has been exposed, their secret love affair has been put on stage for all to see, and they feel like all they wanted was to be happy. It’s a sad commentary on the selfishness and utter blindness we unfaithful spouses walk in for weeks, months and yes, unfortunately years.

I’d caution any betrayed spouse to have accurate expectations when it comes to remorse, grief or sorrow at what their spouse has done. Remember, if their affair has been any sort of extended period of time, they have been living a double life. They have justified their affair to themselves time after time, day after day, sexual encounter after sexual encounter. They have built up a wall between them and the truth, and very seldom does that wall come down in an instant. If it appears to come crashing down, I would still be cautious about believing they truly have absorbed the enormity and accurate reality of what they have done to you and quite honestly to themselves.

More times than not, remorse usually comes through a process and by revelation and understanding over time. It usually does not come in an instant.  There is usually a timeline to them absorbing the reality and severity of their choices. To think they will comprehend how they have violated the marriage covenant, jeopardized their family, possibly their employment and reputation, in a few counseling sessions is ambitious at best.

It’s not uncommon for an unfaithful to communicate initial remorse, although usually not genuine, simply to get the betrayed spouse to be satisfied, move on and not keep rehashing the event.

The most beneficial approach is on the unfaithful side is to communicate a feeling of “Let’s take all the time you need to heal. I want to make sure you are healed and whole, and I’m healed and whole and however long it takes, and whatever it costs, I’m in.” 

Remorse will not come over time alone.

Remorse will not come by simply reading a book or two or ten.  

Remorse will not come haphazardly.

From personal experience, as well as through helping several people walk down this road, remorse is no easy task. It will take a strategy and will require expert help to get your spouse (or yourself) to truly come to grips with what they have done. It is more than possible and it is a vital necessity. How you and how your spouse arrive at this point, is crucial and will not be accomplished by any shortcut of time, financial commitment or convenience.  Though it has been several years since my colossal moral failure, I would say that for roughly 5 years I gained more and more insight into my dysfunction, which allowed space for more and more humility, compassion and remorse. Yes, five years. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t safe for those five years, but there was a progression to realizing what I had done and who I had become.  I pray it’s shorter for you and your spouse, but remember, the power is in the process you walk through to recovery.

But it’s worth every bit of it! 

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Betrayer's point of view

Samual, thank you for your words. They give a little insight and give me some hope.

I would like to ask "would you do it again if given the opportunity?" (if your wife would never find out, for the rush, for the excitement and new feeling, to escape the boredom)

Answer to Your Question

Diymom, Thank you for your post/question. I’d have to say I’d never do it again, and to stay in reference JUST to your question, is I’d never do it again for the pain it would create inside myself. True, it would be gut wrenching to my wife Samantha, but in this scenario, you’ve asked if I would do it again knowing my wife wouldn’t find out. I simply wouldn’t do it for the pain I’ve caused myself and the time it’s taken to forgive myself and heal. Also, once I did it, I’d want it again and again, and that rush would never be satisfied again. I’d be going back to the pain and hurt I’ve left years ago. That rush is an illusion which is based upon adrenaline by doing what I shouldn’t be doing and it’s fueled by the secrecy of it, the shame of it, the hidden nature of it, and the overall desire to get my needs met outside of my marriage. I don’t want to ever go back to the person I was, and I’ve made a commitment to my wife to not live a double life ever again. In this scenario, it’s not just for my wife and my marriage, it’s for me and my own health and my own wholeness (integrity) as a person. Does that help?

My husband has been in a 2

My husband has been in a 2 year long emotional affair and refuses to cut off contact (permanently) with his AP because he doesn't believe (he has a relative he's confiding in who is supporting him on this) that what happened was truly an affair. We are in counseling, and our counselor has told him point blank that is is an affair and that the only true path to fix this problem is to cut ties. I'm trying to be patient. How long do you think is too long to wait?

hi cristy

hi there. thanks for the q. i'm not sure how long you should wait, as you'll need to really think through it a bit. I would encourage you to not wait long at all, as if he thinks he can continue to do what he wants to do without consequences, I don't think he is going to stop. does that make sense? you'll probably need to ask yourself if you're enabling the affair by turning a blind eye to it. i'd consider really standing your ground and communicating to him that if he's going to continue this behavior, that there will be consequences. try these articles and let's see what you think: https://www.affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founder/healing-infidelity-alone as well as this one should he not want to get help at all: https://www.affairrecovery.com/survivors/samuel/they-get-say-no-life-going-change you'll also want to read this one on getting your mate to cooperate: https://www.affairrecovery.com/dealing-infidelity-how-get-your-mate-cooperate-without-being-controlling people typically change/stop behaviors/bottom out at the threat of 1. loss 2. consequences 3. or pain and if there are none of those, i'm not sure he's going to stop.


Thank you, I will read those

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