It is unlikely that you have ever considered that guilt has any benefits, especially concerning affairs. Guilt and affairs go together like a hand in a glove. Although some cheaters perform various mental and moral gymnastics to avoid guilt and blame everything and everyone for their actions, eventually they end up having to do business with guilt. Some cheaters avoid guilt by plunging deeper and deeper into their passions, yet even they end up having to come face to face with the guilt.
Guilt is one of the pressures that motivates people to change. Since it is not pleasant, they try to find ways around it. They try to make mental excuses for their actions, yet they know deep down inside that the affair is wrong. Drugs and alcohol can mask the guilt for a while, but eventually, even they loose their effectiveness.
A big mistake that couples often make is removing the guilt too soon. Since guilt often drives people to action, when it is removed too soon, the parties involved loose their motivation to change. Some cheaters may need to wallow in their guilt before the pressure builds up that is needed to make changes. Taking away the guilt too soon is like taking cookies out of the oven before they are done. When guilt is removed too soon, it also leads the person to assume that “all is well” when it really is not.
In dealing with the cheating, think before you forgive too soon. Guilt can lead them to repentance, but an incomplete repentance amounts to no repentance. In such cases, they regret getting caught rather than regret what they have done.
I address the topic of forgiveness in more detail in my e-book, “Survive Your Partner’s Affair”. The book includes the stages of forgiveness and what is required at each stage. Although you may think it is a one-time event, it is not. Find out what is needed to forgive along with when to forgive.
Jeffrey D. Murrah
Nothing in this Work is intended to replace common sense, legal, medical or other professional advice. If your situation warrants it, please seek competent professional counsel.