The Seven Emotional Trials the Cheater Will Face

From: Dr. Frank Gunzburg

Once the affair is out in the open, there are seven emotions that you will undoubtedly grapple with. What follows is a brief discussion of each of them.

Emotional Trial #1: Guilt

If you have been cheating on your partner, it is likely you have been struggling with guilt for some time. For most people who engage in affairs, the sense of guilt begins well before the injured partner learns about the affair. It may be that you have been coping with guilt since you initially had thoughts of taking that first step over the line of propriety.

Guilt comes up for the cheater for a number of reasons. If you have established a set of rules for yourself about being faithful to your partner and your relationship, then having an affair is bound to make you feel guilty. The most obvious is that you are betraying the trust of another person whom you care about very deeply. This in itself generates a great deal of guilt.

Emotional Trial #2: Shame

Shame goes hand-in-hand with guilt; however, they are distinct in a number of ways. While guilt is a way that your unconscious helps you judge your own actions against your personal beliefs about right and wrong, shame is predicated on expectations that we have about our social environment. Shame is the disgrace you feel in front of others – people in your real life, people from your past (in your imagination), or imagined “others” – when you have engaged in an act that is seen as unacceptable. There are many things to feel ashamed about when you have cheated on your partner.

Emotional Trial #3: Fear

If you feel afraid of losing the person you love and the life you’ve worked so hard to build, there is no wonder as to why. This, also, is a natural feeling for someone who has committed infidelity. This is a well-founded, rational fear. However, I hope that with the help of this book and your commitment and follow-through to do the hard work required that your fear will prove to be one that is unwarranted.

Emotional Trial #4: Anger

Anger is as natural a feeling for the cheater as it is for the injured.

You are likely angry with yourself for having gotten involved in an affair to begin with. What’s more, you may be angry at yourself for having the emotional responses to the affair that you do. You may feel like you don’t deserve to have these feelings, and this gets turned into anger.

Emotional Trial #5: Hopelessness

You are probably worried that your relationship is damaged beyond repair. If you are trying to rebuild your relationship and you feel like it is damaged beyond repair, you are likely to feel hopeless.

When you experience hopelessness, take heart. Look for the small improvements that you see day-by-day in the relationship. Use the program in this book, and move forward to a better-than-ever relationship. If you don’t, you won’t ever get there. Small steps add up to large improvements.

Emotional Trial #6: Condemned

You could reach a place where you feel as though you can never be forgiven. This worry often extends beyond the need for forgiveness from your partner. Some people feel as though they can’t be forgiven long after their partner has already forgiven them.

Be compassionate with yourself. You are human after all. If you don’t, your relationship will feel the brunt of it.

Emotional Trial #7: Loneliness

Being the cheater in a relationship that you are trying to repair can be a very lonely place to be. At this point your partner might not be engaged in your relationship in an emotionally supportive way. As such, it is likely that you are feeling pretty emotionally disconnected from your partner right now. That kind of emotional isolation can be hard to cope with, particularly when you are maintaining the secret of your affair.

Be mindful of whom you choose to talk to. Make sure that they will be able to listen to you compassionately without holding long-term grudges against your partner.

Dr. Frank Gunzburg is a licensed counselor in Maryland and has been specializing is helping couples restore their marriage for over 30 years

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