The Only 3 Signs Someone Is Truly Sorry For Cheating

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Woman Sitting on Floor Reading a Book with a Man Behind Her

Now that you’re aware of your partner’s affair, it’s likely that they’ve told you over and over again how sorry they are for cheating.

But how can you be sure?

This is a highly emotional time for both of you.

The whole situation may have you feeling very unsure of your feelings and wondering what to do next. Of course, you’ll likely have the advice and support of close friends and family, a therapist or counselor, or even an attorney.

But there are some things only you need to think about and decide. And one of those things is whether or not your partner is really sorry for their infidelity.

Here are some signs to look for to know if it's time to forgive a cheater or not.

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These are the only 3 signs someone is truly sorry for cheating:

1. Your partner no longer communicates with the other person

Someone who regrets their affair and wants to make amends with their partner will have no problem cutting off all contact with the other person. That means no phone calls, no lunches, and no cups of coffee — in public or private.

And it definitely means no "accidental" meet-ups at the grocery store, gas station, or anywhere else around town. That relationship must be severed, completely and concretely.

Look for signs that your partner has totally cut that person out of his or her life. This includes getting rid of any notes, gifts, photos, or other mementos. Every evidence of that person needs to be gone.

Imagine that Jean cheated on John with Tom. When John finds out, he’s understandably devastated. After he realizes that Jean is still texting Tom, he’s forced to wonder how serious Jean really is about trying to mend their marriage.

Meanwhile, Tom’s wife, Sally, feels the same way when he comes home from the post office and casually mentions that he bumped into Jean. This kind of contact — no matter how casual or supposedly "innocent" — just looks bad and for the partner who’s been hurt, this opens the wounds all over again.

How sorry can someone be if they, in reality, are still doing the things that got them into trouble in the first place? They might not be sleeping together anymore but that emotional connection is still there.

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2. Your partner is willing to adapt to your needs

You’re the wronged party here. Naturally, it’s an emotional time. You may feel angry, sad, humiliated, or even numb, and these emotions can cycle through quickly. Many people dealing with a partner’s infidelity describe intense feelings unlike any they’ve ever felt before.

And your partner should be supportive of what you’re going through, in whatever way you need to process this experience. If you want to re-hash the affair and talk about every encounter, your partner should be willing to do so.

If you feel that therapy is the only way you’re going to work through this, they should be offering to go with you if that’s what you want. Your partner, if they are really sorry, will be doing everything possible to ensure your security and comfort going forward.

When Sally found out about Tom’s affair with Jean, she spent days locked in their bedroom crying. She sent Tom away and he went. When she called him asking for details about the infidelity, he provided facts.

When she insisted that she didn't want to talk about it, Tom let it drop. When Sally called him, screaming and crying, he listened patiently. He understood that his role right now was to meet her emotional needs, as much as he possibly could.

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3. Your partner shows how trustworthy they are

An affair destroys trust. Your partner should be working as hard as possible to earn it back. That means being home on time, every time. It means picking up the phone within three rings when you call, every time.

Rebuilding trust is not a slow or easy process.

The fact that your partner is willing to do what it takes could be a very good sign for the future of your relationship.

Now that John is aware of Jean’s affair with Tom, she takes extra special care to be where she is supposed to be and when she is supposed to be there. When John calls the office at lunchtime, Jean is at her desk, eating a homemade lunch.

When she’s at the grocery store and he calls her cell phone, she picks up immediately. Jean goes out of her way to ensure that John has no reason to doubt her word. It’s the only way to help John establish trust in her again, and show him that she is really sorry for her actions.

Your partner might do all of the "right" things to show you how sorry they are for being unfaithful. They might have willingly and totally cut off all contact with the person they cheated with.

Your partner might be doing everything they can to support you emotionally, whether you want to vent, cry, rage, or even just talk. And by letting you know where they’re going, who they’re with, and when they’ll be back, your partner may be working to re-establish trust.

These are all positive signs. It’s possible for the two of you to get back on the road to rebuilding your relationship. But remember that you’re the only one who can decide if your partner’s actions are truly meaningful or if they’re just going through the motions.

It’s not an easy situation. Taking your time and making an informed decision about your future is the first step toward happiness someday, no matter what that vision of happiness looks like for you.

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C. Mellie Smith is a relationship and infidelity expert who uses her expertise to offer programs and tools to help other couples dealing with infidelity.