5 Ways To Stop Ruminating Over The Guilt Of Cheating On Your Partner

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How To Forgive Yourself & Stop The Rumination Of Guilt For Your Affair, Infidelity, Or Cheating
Love, Self

Have you recently had an affair? Or, perhaps, you're in the middle having an affair right now? 

Maybe you're struggling with surviving and figuring out how to deal with your guilt and the rumination that comes with it. 

I have had many clients who have had affairs. While from the outside, infidelity might seem sexy and exciting. But, on the inside, they’re scary, overwhelming, and fraught with guilt. And sometimes, being unfaithful leaves you wondering how to forgive yourself. 

RELATED: Why Cheating Is Bad For Your Health

That’s not to say the sex isn’t good but the guilt that comes with being a cheating spouse can sometimes be more than you can bear.

Fortunately, you can learn how to let go of the guilt you're struggling with so you can stop ruminating and give yourself a mental break. 

Here are 5 ways to learn how to forgive yourself, and let go of guilt when you're cheating, having an affair, or being unfaithful to your partner. 

1. Accept that you are human

One thing that we all forget about is that we are only human.

We are raised to think that we are special and different, that we can handle things that other people can’t. And while, to some extent, this might be true — because everybody is different — the truth of the matter is that we are all only human and we make mistakes.

If they only end up becoming remorseful about it later on, why do people cheat?

People who have affairs are people who are often not happy with their lives. More likely than not, people who have affairs are struggling both in their personal lives and in their relationships. They don’t feel good about themselves or they are struggling to find happiness with their partner.

It’s a horrible, horrible place to be in. If you are in that place, cut yourself some slack. You are only human. You are going to make mistakes. Forgiving yourself is key.

You are a person in the world, one trying to manage the insecurity and unhappiness in your life in a way that allows you to survive. Some people drink too much, some people eat too much, and some people drive their cars too fast and some people have affairs.

You are not alone in the world. Plenty of other people are having affairs right now and feeling the same sort of guilt you are. So, let yourself off the hook. Know that you are a good person but that you have made a bad choice.

We all make bad choices sometimes and none of us should be forever condemned for it.

2. Recognize that it’s not all your fault

I know you think that cheating is all your fault. You are the one who met someone else, developed a connection with that person, and perhaps embarked down the road to a sexual relationship. Yes, you did that.

But you didn’t do it in a void. People who have affairs are often people who are deeply unhappy in their relationship. And they aren’t the only person in that kind of relationship.

Relationships are comprised of two people and two people are responsible when relationships start to suffer. Perhaps your husband works all the time and you are lonely. Or perhaps your wife has become detached and refuses to talk to you. You feel like you’ve tried to fix things but you haven’t had much success.

Most people don’t intend to have affairs. They just happen. And they happen when people are vulnerable.

All of my clients who have had affairs are people who were in relationships that weren't working and they weren't working because the two people in the relationship were not willing — or able — to repair it. It's then that infidelity is more likely to happen.

Yesterday, I was talking to a client of mine who carries a tremendous amount of guilt about an affair he had and I asked him to think about why he betrayed his partner. What was going on in his relationship that gave him the space to have an affair?

He responded by saying, "Nothing. My wife is perfect and the affair was all my fault." I pushed back and we dug a little deeper and we realized that she repeatedly did things that made him feel insecure about himself, which led him to move towards someone who thought he was amazing.

So, please try to understand that your affair is not all your fault. Understanding that will help you manage the guilt that you are struggling with and learn how to forgive yourself. 

RELATED: 5 Men Reveal How They Felt After Cheating On Their Wives

3. Get some help

For many people who have cheated, the prospect of reaching out to get some professional help is unthinkable.

People who have had affairs are wracked with guilt and self-loathing and to admit what they have done just seems more then they can bear.

I can promise you that therapists, psychologists, and life coaches have seen it all and will absolutely not judge you if you disclose that you’re having an affair. They will look at you with understanding and will be able to help you do the work that needs to be done to help you manage your guilt.

Another source of excellent help are others who have also survived infidelity. Only people who have experienced infidelity can really understand what it’s all about. Having someone who has been through it can help you understand and manage your emotions in a way that will help you let it go.

Find a support group for people who have survived infidelity that involves their own. The sharing could change your life. Please, reach out today. Don’t go through this alone.

4. Stop fooling around

The key piece of surviving the guilt of infidelity is to stop being unfaithful.

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You can use all the techniques that I have described above and they will help you manage your guilt but they won’t help you let it go completely.

The only way to stop truly feeling guilty about having an affair is to stop having one.

I know, I know. That’s way easier said than done. But, it is possible and doing so is the best thing that you can do to stop that guilt cold in its tracks.

5. Rebuild your relationship

Rebuilding your relationship after having cheating might seem like an impossible thing to do, and it just might be, but if you can do it successfully, you have the best chance of surviving the guilt of infidelity.

Think about when you are doing a project and you make a big mistake and everything goes wrong but in the end the project is successful. It’s the same thing with a marriage that has been rocked by infidelity.

The rocking doesn’t have to cause the ship to sink. If you can manage the rock and keep the relationship afloat and moving forward then all’s well that ends well.

Imagine how good it would feel to be back in your relationship, safe, solid, and happy.

Right now, surviving the guilt of infidelity might seem impossible but it doesn’t have to be.

For days, weeks, months, or perhaps longer, you have been ruminating over the guilt of what you are doing but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Recognize that you are only human, know that it’s not all your fault, get yourself some help, end your affair, and work to rebuild your relationship.

If you can do these things then you will survive the guilt of your transgression and might even end up in a better relationship as a result. How great would that be?

Get started now. You can do it!

RELATED: 5 Things To Do When You Feel Guilty & Depressed After Having An Affair

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live. Contact her for help or send her an email.

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.