Last Updated on August 15, 2023 by Angela Vaz
I’ve been cheated on.
I was married for almost 5 years to a man I had dated for 4 years before tying the knot.
Discovering that he had been having an affair was earth-shattering.
But long before I discovered him cheating, I knew we had lost our spark.
We weren’t talking, the fights had become 10-fold and something just didn’t feel right.
Before that moment, there was zero peace.
But after I discovered him cheating – it all made sense.
Everything fell into place.
I realized then why he had been so indifferent, why he always threatened me with divorce, and why he was so unhappy.
I was definitely broken, but I didn’t let it bring me down.
This incident simply helped me realize how precious life was.
After talking to countless people since then, I realized that most people have been cheated on.
It’s a very popular topic.
My readers on this website more than doubled after I started writing about cheating and affairs.
I write from a lot of personal experience and the reason I choose to do so is because I know what it feels like to be on the receiving end.
As an overthinker with terrible anxiety – I learned how to get back on my feet again and I discovered multiple things about myself.
I want to talk about everything a cheater might feel.
I say “might” because everyone is built differently.
We aren’t taught how to feel (we learn this on our own) and everyone’s perception of relationships is different.
So, I’m going to talk about my experiences personally and also about people whom I know who’ve told me about theirs.
My name is Angela. I have a degree in human relationships and Psychology and in this post, I’ll talk about if cheaters realize what they lost.
I will also link to several other posts on this topic as I’ve answered many questions regarding cheating and affairs. So, be sure to check it out.
This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may make a commission at no extra cost to you if you decide to click on a link and purchase something. Click here to read the full disclaimer.
Why do cheaters cheat in the first place?
Ah, the big question I’ve been asking myself for years and years.
See, the thing is everybody has different reasons for cheating.
Some of them include:
- They feel emotionally disconnected: Relationships are hard work. And sometimes one of both partners feels a huge disconnect in the relationship. We need to work hard to keep at it. But some individuals may cheat to explore their own sexual desires, experience that sense of “newness” or fulfill fantasies they feel they cannot explore with their partner. Now, the motivation isn’t purely physical, some do it just for the feeling of that thrill or excitement. They may just want a different sexual experience.
- They lack self-esteem: This may be the most common reason why people cheat. They require validation, affirmation, and an ego boost. They feel unlovable to the point where they need someone to constantly reaffirm them. So, they go out seeking external validation through attention and admiration from others. This thrill of being desired is what makes them cheat.
- They’re just unhappy: They may feel genuinely unsatisfied or unfulfilled in their current relationship. Maybe they romanticized being in a relationship and once they enter it, the high dies. So, they keep chasing that high by starting new relationships and new affairs. Instead of addressing these issues or trying to find the root cause of their dissatisfaction, they continue to start affairs to escape that dull, constant boring feeling within.
- They are simply curious: Some people have very low impulse control. I explain in my post on whether cheaters love their partners that human attraction is universal. We all feel attracted to other people whether we are committed or not. It’s about not acting on that impulse when we feel that attraction and respecting ourselves and our relationships with our partners. But a lot of people genuinely lack low impulse control.
- They have unresolved childhood trauma: We all have childhood traumas – some more than others. But it is up to us to heal and reflect on our past and learn from it as we grow up. Some people don’t resolve it. This unresolved childhood trauma can manifest in infidelity. And they may use cheating as a coping mechanism to subconsciously recreate past dynamics.
It is so important to understand that everyone has a reason.
We should try to be more understanding of why a person does what they do. And more often than not, their reasons for cheating have nothing to do with us.
It isn’t personal even though that may be a hard fact to swallow.
Did they cheat because of me?
If you’ve been cheated on, please don’t blame yourself.
You cannot hold yourself accountable for someone else’s actions.
Remember, if a person wants to explore their sexuality, start a new relationship, or just be “free, ” they should end their relationship with their partner before they pursue another one.
It’s the decent and right thing to do.
At the end of the day, it’s very important to remember that they are human. They cheated because of a personal issue they were facing and they made the decision to cheat because they are not emotionally equipped to handle all their feelings and thoughts healthily.
They made a poor decision – and it has nothing to do with you.
I’m not saying that your relationship is perfect.
Everyone has kinks they need to sort out in their relationship – it’s normal.
But cheating has no excuse.
In my case, my ex straight-up told me that he was bored. He couldn’t handle marriage and he felt that we were not compatible.
It infuriated me but with time, I was able to understand that yes – we weren’t compatible. We were 2 very different people who had different goals, different values, and different characteristics.
We didn’t want to live the same lifestyle.
I do wish he had ended the relationship and marriage when he started his affair. But I cannot go back and change the past.
I can only accept what has happened and move forward.
I do not regret that relationship because I was able to learn things that I otherwise never would have learned.
My experiences have helped me connect with so many people in toxic relationships. I was able to start a support group for women in my city that just want to talk and almost all of them have troubled relationships.
This pain forced me down a different path – I became more resilient, kind, sympathetic to other women, and stronger.
Do cheaters regret what they did?
It’s very difficult to say.
Again, it depends on the individual.
Many people who cheat do regret their actions but mostly it’s only because they got caught.
They believe they’re misunderstood and they feel that they can’t help themselves when it comes to cheating.
So a few of them do regret their actions especially if they still love their partners but a lot of them don’t.
Some cheaters will tell themselves, “It’s just sex. It doesn’t mean I don’t love my spouse. I’m caring for them, I love them – that’s all that matters.”
And some cheaters may do things out of spite, they may convince themselves with things like:
- “My partner doesn’t care for me anyway.”
- “They deserve this after everything they put me through. What more can I lose?”
- “I deserve to feel love from someone even if it’s not my partner.”
So, in these cases, it’s very difficult to say if they even regret cheating on their partners.
They just feel bad about getting caught.
In some cases, they may feel bad about losing you.
The cheating allowed them to have their cake and eat it too. Now that they’re caught they lose the comfort of being comfortable in a relationship with you – so yes, they do feel grief over losing that.
In some very rare cases, the person who cheats takes the time to understand what pain their actions have caused – and they do regret everything.
When they finally go over to the other side, they realize that the grass wasn’t as green as they’d hoped it to be.
In this case, yes, cheaters do realize what they’ve lost.
They do realize that they’ve made a mistake.
But it’s the choice they made. They made the choice to cheat, to prioritize their needs over their relationship and they made that choice to lie and deceive their partners.
So, it’s going to be a long and difficult journey for them if they ever want to win their partner’s trust back.
What do cheaters feel after being caught?
They can go down different routes:
1. They may feel guilty
A lot of cheaters do feel guilty.
They don’t like losing. They play this game because they want their partners and they want to have their affairs too.
Knowing that the cat is out of the bag changes everything.
They may also realize the pain and betrayal that they have caused their partner and feel genuine remorse for their actions.
So, in some cases, they may feel guilt and regret.
2. They may feel afraid and get anxious
Now they have to face the fear of actually losing their partner, it might cause fear and anxiety.
I’ve spoken to someone who genuinely felt upset when her boyfriend found out about her cheating. She knew that the trust was broken and she understood the severity of her actions.
She was anxious about the future and felt her partner was going to leave her.
3. They may deflect blame and say it’s not their fault
In my case, my ex was furious that I found out about his cheating. He was straight-up angry. He shifted the blame and said he was doing it because there was quite frankly nothing else to do.
He also said that he was in love with the other woman and she too was going to leave her husband for him.
He said if it didn’t work out, he would have stuck to me.
He also claimed that cheating was no big deal and that everybody does it.
Needless to say, I was appalled.
If a person is caught cheating, they may have this defensive reaction to downplay their cheating. They do this to protect their ego and avoid taking responsibility for their actions.
Deep down they may feel guilt or shame but they don’t want to admit it.
4. They may regret the cheating and want forgiveness
In some cases, people who cheat genuinely regret their actions and want to repair the relationship.
They just want to be forgiven – in this case, they’ll express remorse, apologize, and make amends.
They’ll do everything in their power to reconcile and deep down they may be doing all of this only because they’re afraid of losing the relationship they have with their partner.
Do cheaters get their karma?
I don’t believe in karma.
But I do feel they reap what they sow due to their behavioral patterns and thinking – let me explain.
My ex always checked my phone, my laptop and even monitored my conversations with the neighbors.
He did this with his exes too even though nobody had ever cheated on him. This behavior and thinking probably stemmed from the fact that his mom was promiscuous and had multiple affairs as he was growing up.
He had a paranoia that I was going to cheat on him even though I had never displayed that kind of behavior or given him reason to doubt me.
This itself is a huge red flag – if a person is very insecure, it’s best to part ways now than build a relationship with them.
People who cheat have huge trust issues.
They believe that most people are built to cheat.
They are insecure and have low self-esteem, most of the time.
So, there is no peace. They will constantly worry about their partners cheating on them too.
I told my ex when he left me, “I wish you both nothing but happiness, but I don’t see that for you. I feel you both will cheat on one another soon enough.”
I have no idea why I said what I said, but based on their conversations, I knew that both of them did not trust each other.
He constantly feared she would sleep with her husband and she constantly feared that he would fall in love with me again.
The conversations between them weren’t normal. They were over-compensating.
I’ve dated after that and am now in a loving and committed relationship. I have friends who are in loving relationships. And there is usually a high degree of trust there.
We don’t look through our partner’s phones or ask them where they’ve been. When you love someone and trust them, that’s all there is to it.
This is why people who cheat will never find peace, in my opinion.
They will constantly be seeking that high they feel they’ll get when they move on to the next relationship.
They’ll always be seeking that external validation and attention from people they don’t know.
Until they deal with their issues and resolve their childhood trauma, their relationships will never be whole and peaceful.
This is in itself karma.
It’s basically like someone who has bad financial habits winning the lottery – the money is not going to last because they were bad with money, to begin with.
Karma is basically reaping what you show.
How do you make a cheater regret?
You move on with your life.
You find success.
You don’t let them see you cry because you don’t need anyone else to make you happy.
Use this dreadful and painful experience to leave the pain behind and focus on your own beautiful life.
You are your own person. You are whole. You are complete.
I do not believe in revenge, anger, or payback.
I know that their own actions will result in a future that I don’t want to be a part of.
You do not get back at your ex – This kind of thinking will get you nowhere.
You do not get back at the person your ex cheated with either.
I’ve written a post on what to say to the girl who he’s cheated with.
That answer is nothing.
Be kind but at the same time respect your boundaries.
You can forgive and move on but you don’t need to include these people in your life.
I’ve realized that my time and energy are the 2 most precious resources I have.
When I found out my ex was cheating, I left and rebuilt my life from scratch.
I focused on healing, finding peace, and building a career that I could be proud of.
I held on to my parents, my dogs, and my friends and continued to nurture these relationships while building new ones.
I started incorporating healthy habits and I’m more healthy now (I’m 30 years old), than I’ve ever been.
My life became 10X better.
I’m surrounded by love, peace, and creativity.
Life is too short and too fleeting to chase people/things that won’t improve your life.
Let them go.
I know they hurt you. I know they took away a lot of your time, your money, your health.
But you can either dwell in the past or you can cut your losses and move on.
Focus on what you can do better.
Focus on what you can do to drastically improve the quality of your life.
Make a plan.
And now that you know how precious life is, don’t waste a single minute of it pining for a person who doesn’t appreciate you or respect you.
You will find someone better – you just have to focus on becoming the best version of yourself right now.
Here are some posts if you’d like to read more on this subject:
- Can a guy love you and still cheat?
- He keeps cheating on me, what do I do?
- How to Make a Cheating Boyfriend Feel Bad + What I did
- Should I Tell Her He Cheated With Me? What You Need to Know
- What I Did to Get Over the Fear of Being Cheated on
- Should You Take Him Back? If He Cheated on You With His Ex
- Does He Love You if He Cheats on his Girlfriend with You?
- Here’s What to Say to the Girl He’s Cheated With
- What to Do When Your Cheating Ex Wants to be Friends
- Your Wife Cheated and Wants to Reconcile: Here’s What You Do
- I Caught Him Cheating – What I did to Stop Overthinking
- How I got over my cheating ex and found happiness
- No One Compares to Your Ex: Here’s What You Should Do
- 13 Unmistakable Signs He Thinks He Owns You + What to Do
- 13 Undeniable Signs Your Needs Aren’t Being Met + What to Do
- Finding Peace: How to Stop Thinking About Someone Who Hurt You
- 17 Unmistakable Situationship Red Flags that You Should Heed
- I Hate My Ex-Husband So Much – What I did to Stop and Move on
- 7 Reasons Why Your Husband Left You For No Reason – What I Did
- I Thought He Was The One: What I Did After I Lost Him
- How to Rebuild your Life After Losing Everything that Matters
- Will I Ever Find Love Again? You Need to Read this
- 13 Ways to Feel Loved When You Feel Nobody Loves You
- How to afford to live alone