Most of the time when someone has had an affair, you hear the phrase, “I don’t even know why it happened. I feel so guilty.” Many people stumble into cheating on their spouse because something was missing from their marriage. Yet, once that need is met, the guilt plagues them. But what happens when you don’t feel guilt for what you did or continue to do? Should guilt come standard with having an affair?
Let’s talk about it.
What Is An Affair?
An affair is an act of betrayal or infidelity within a relationship. Each relationship has a different idea of what infidelity could be. That said, entering into a relationship such as marriage is a social contract between two people. Within that contract are boundaries and vows that should not be broken. An affair, be it sexual or emotional, is a breach in the trust between you and your spouse, and it can be highly damaging to the overall stability of your marriage.
What It Means When You Feel Guilty About Having An Affair
Guilt is a sense of sadness or remorse over a past action that is most often experienced when you think you have done something wrong. That wrong could be someone or in the sense of breaking the law. This is why many individuals who have had an affair wind up feeling guilty. Not only did they go beyond the marriage and become physically or emotionally invested in another person, they also hurt their loved ones.
Of course, not everyone feels guilt the same way or at the same time.
Some women and men will feel guilt during the entire course of the affair. Others only feel shame and regret when their infidelity is discovered and the illusion destroyed.
However, it is hard to pinpoint what is going to make someone feel guilty, because your upbringing and sense of morality is involved. Yet, one common theme between all those men and women who feel guilty is this: They love their husband or wife, and they want, with all their heart, for the marriage to be okay. At the time, though, they didn’t have the tools to express that, so they turned to an affair instead.
What It Means When You Don’t Feel Guilty About The Affair
If you are questioning whether you should feel guilty, there is a good chance you won’t feel guilt or remorse until later. Maybe you will never feel that. Perhaps the affair you are having (or had) has filled a void inside that your marriage could not reach.
Affairs happen for a number of reasons, such as a lack of emotional availability from your spouse, revenge, anger, loneliness, or unmet sexual needs. In marriages when both individuals are closed off to one another and unable to communicate, it may be difficult to hold onto feelings of love. Such environments are, sadly, a recipe for betrayal.
In this case, it is best to analyze why you are having the affair. Did you and your partner have an argument? Did they cheat and you decided to do the same? Are they withholding sex or uninterested in your advances? Does your partner work long hours and is too tired when they get home to do much but sleep?
Perhaps you sought out the affair because you wanted excitement and to feel wanted again. That rush of adrenaline and satisfaction that comes from being desired by another may make you question why you didn’t have an affair sooner.
You Will Have To Make A Choice
Not feeling guilt does not necessarily mean that your marriage is over, but it does mean that you are going to have to make a choice. Whether you feel guilty does not diminish the hurt that your partner is going to feel when they find out. If you have children, how will this affair affect them when it comes to light? And yes, affairs all eventually come to an end, one way or another.
So are you going to risk destroying your marriage to chase excitement? Or are you going to come clean and try to fix the problems in your relationship?
The first step to making this choice is to get some help. Visit a therapist and talk to them about what you are feeling. Should you decide to save your marriage, attend couples counseling as well. Uncovering the issues in your marriage that have prevented you from feeling guilt could be the very thing that saves your connection.
Guilt from having an affair is common, but there are some instances where you may not feel guilty at all. Examining the state of your marriage and the reasons for the affair could help you uncover the reason. Speaking to a therapist can also help you sort through your emotions.
Couples Academy has services for every stage of your marriage. Whether you are recovering from infidelity or want to strengthen your connection, Couples Academy has the resources you need for a successful marriage. Give us a call today to learn more about our services.