Your partner cheated on you, which is just about the biggest betrayal of trust there is.
But he probably regrets it. At least, in an ideal world he does.
So, should you forgive him?
Well, this depends entirely on you.
Relationships can get back on track after infidelity, especially if you see the signs he regrets cheating on you—they are listed below.
If your partner is truly sorry about what happened, you might want to consider giving him a second chance. It’s not true that cheaters always cheat again, especially if they truly regret what they did.
However, you’re the only one who gets to decide whether your partner deserves a second shot or not. If he does, you will probably notice these signs:
Speak to a certified relationship counselor because they are best-placed to help you figure out whether he truly regrets cheating and what you want to do about your relationship. You may want to try speaking to someone via RelationshipHero.com for practical advice that is tailored to your exact circumstances. All from a service that has helped over 100,000 people with their relationship challenges.
1. He admits to cheating and apologizes.
He’s not denying what he did and admits that it was wrong. More importantly, he is ready to take full responsibility for what happened instead of blaming it on anything or anyone else.
He gives you a sincere apology and begs you to forgive him. He doesn’t try to justify his actions, and his remorseful apology includes plans to make up for what he did.
Maybe he sent you a lot of apologies and apologized in person or even begged for your forgiveness too. If so, you should definitely consider at least hearing him out and giving him the benefit of the doubt. However, you know best whether his apologies are sincere and whether he usually sticks to his promises.
Usually, people find it difficult to make an apology, especially a sincere one. If, instead, your partner is used to saying that he’s sorry and then repeating his mistakes, you should be cautious about accepting his apology. Yes, people change, but not drastically, and not overnight, at least when it comes to positive change.
2. He tries to make up for it.
If he has truly repented, you’ll probably notice him going the extra mile for you after the affair. He will try to make sure that all your needs are met and put more effort into making you happy than he ever did before.
This might annoy you at first if you see it as a result of him cheating, but don’t think of it that way. It is the result of his remorse, not his mistake, and he’s trying to make up for what he did.
He knows that he lost your trust and that it will take effort to earn it again. He’s also quite aware of how his actions made you feel, and he carries a lot of guilt for cheating on you and breaking your heart. So, he goes the extra mile for you to increase your comfort in the hopes that you can begin to heal and forgive him.
3. He ends the affair right away.
If his infidelity was more than a one-time thing, he demonstrates that the affair is truly over by ending it right away.
He won’t keep in touch with the person he cheated with and will cut all ties with them instantly. It might require extra effort to avoid seeing them, but he will not meet with them, even if it requires canceling a club membership or switching jobs.
A lot of men will be prepared to apologize for the affair, but not a lot of them will entirely end that relationship as soon as they repent for what they did. So, if your man is willing and ready to let his lover loose, he is genuinely keen on keeping you around.
It’s easy to stop cheating on someone, but ending all contact with the person you cheated with isn’t so simple. Most people will still indulge in some sort of emotional affair even if they don’t “technically” cheat. If he is willing to give this up, then you clearly mean a lot to him, and he wants to make things right.
4. He is willing to try couples counseling.
When a couple can’t resolve a problem on their own, it’s always a good idea to include a third party, especially if it’s a professional who’s trained to help you. Maybe you suggested couples counseling, or even he did, but either way, he is willing to give it a go.
This is a great sign for your relationship, especially if he suggested it. You can work on your other problems besides the affair as well. A relationship counselor can help you discover what led to the affair and how you can heal from it. They can also assist with other things, such as improving your communication skills.
It will probably be difficult to discuss the affair and talk things out. But if you try couples counseling, a professional can guide you through it and make it easier for both of you to talk about what happened. Their guidance will also help you to communicate better in private, not just during sessions. This will make it possible to get back together and build a foundation for a healthy relationship once again.
5. He would do anything to keep you.
It’s not just that he’ll try to make up for what he did; he is willing to do anything to keep you. Your wish is his command as long as it means that you’ll stay together.
When people feel bad about cheating, they fear losing their partner. Of course, your partner is aware that his cheating may end your relationship. He knows that you can choose not to forgive him, and this is killing him.
So, he’s willing to do anything to make you stay. He might suddenly start making grand gestures, the kind he never did before. Make sure to point out that he should work on making you happy, regardless of the affair.
6. He admits that he had other affairs, even before you.
People who cheat have sometimes done it before. Maybe he’s cheated on you more than once, or he’s been unfaithful in previous relationships.
If your partner is a serial cheater, does it mean he’ll do it again? Maybe, but it all depends on the individual. Look for other signs he regrets having the affair. If there are many of them, maybe he really wants to change this time.
But if your partner is a serial cheater, it is likely that it will happen again. What if you want to stay in the relationship with him? Encourage him to talk to a relationship counselor about this pattern of behavior. If he wants to stop cheating, they might be able to find the root of the issue together.
7. He starts keeping his promises.
It’s easy to promise that things are going to be different from now on, but will they be? Sure, he will probably promise never to do it again, but will he stick to his promise?
Consider whether he usually keeps his promises when it comes to changes in behavior. If he is keeping all his promises, like he never has before, then this shows that he’s really trying to change this time.
If he is keeping his promises only as of recently—because of the affair—remind him that this behavior needs to persist indefinitely. He must stick to his word even after you forgive him, not just when he’s feeling guilty about what he did.
Even after he earns your trust back, he can’t break it again—remind him of that.
8. He wants to earn your trust back.
One of the reasons why he’ll start keeping his promises is because he wants to earn your trust back, and he’ll do other things to achieve this as well. He’ll make plans with you and stick to them, and he will take you out and buy you gifts.
He knows that he must fight for you, and he is ready to deserve your forgiveness, not just expect it from you. This is a great sign that he’s willing to fight for your relationship and work on it, so you should consider giving him a chance.
Naturally, you might not be ready to do that right away. So, see how long he’s willing to behave differently. Changing for a short time is a good sign, but if he changes back right after he gets your forgiveness, suggest counseling. Quick changes usually don’t last; it’s the gradual small habit changes that can turn into a new pattern.
9. He is patiently waiting for your forgiveness.
He won’t rush you into taking him back if he’s aware of what he did. Instead, he will patiently wait and give you time to think about it and process your feelings. He will do anything he can to earn your forgiveness, but he won’t pressure you into healing from this.
Consider whether you can truly forgive him for what he did and remind yourself that revenge cheating won’t work. Focus on his good qualities and everything that you had before the affair happened. Is it worth it?
Maybe you want to forgive your partner for cheating, but you’ll just find it too hard to really forgive even after you’ve said it. If this happens, suggest counseling or try talking to a professional by yourself. They can help you understand your feelings better so you can move on from the affair. A counselor can also help you move forward with your relationship if that is what you want.
10. He opens up to you more than ever.
During the affair, he was probably secretive with you. It’s not just that he cheated on you by being with someone else, he probably also betrayed your trust by lying to you and being dishonest about his whereabouts.
Now, everything will be the opposite. He will be more honest with you than ever before and he’ll open up about how he feels inside. He’ll always let you know where he is and who he is with, and it will be the truth. He might also include you more in other aspects of his life and in what he does during his alone time.
This is a great sign, and it’s likely to last if you react to it nicely. If you let him confide in you, this could turn into a habit—not only will he stop cheating on you but he’ll likely stop lying to you as well. In addition, he will share more about his emotions and himself. If he is really sorry, this outcome is possible. So, consider giving him a chance.
11. He doesn’t blame you.
One important part of all this is that he doesn’t blame you for the affair. He doesn’t even blame his mistress. Instead, he’s perfectly ready to take responsibility for his actions, as mentioned above. He makes it clear that you’re in no way responsible for what happened and that it’s his mistake only.
A lot of people will blame their partner for the affair to try to justify what happened. If he doesn’t do that, it’s a good sign that means he has repented.
Don’t blame yourself for what happened either. You did not push him into doing it by something you said or did, and it’s not about the way you look or behave. Even if there are things you could work on, this is best discussed with a counselor. The decision to cheat was purely his.
12. He puts effort into getting a second chance.
Even if you choose not to forgive him, he will put effort into getting a second chance from you. He will respect your decision, but at the same time, he’ll show willingness to fight for you and win you back.
If he is persistent in convincing you to give him a second chance AND you see some of the other signs, suggest couples counseling. Even though you are going to see changes in his behavior after the affair, these are probably not the long-term changes that you need for your relationship to work.
He is now probably willing to change more than ever. So, use this opportunity to actually make a difference in your relationship with the help of a professional. Also, suggest counseling as a way to heal from the infidelity.
13. He promises to be entirely faithful from now on.
Naturally, he will promise never to do it again as part of his apology, but can you trust him? For a certain amount of time, certainly, but is this something he’ll stick to for good?
No one can really promise you that he won’t cheat again, except him. While there are circumstances that can lead to cheating, it all comes down to a decision to cheat, which only he can make or resist making.
Consider whether he cheated in the past with you and in his past relationships. If he’s a serial cheater, suggest therapy to try to help him really change his patterns this time. Some people are more prone to cheating, especially if they’ve done it before. A therapist can help your partner discover why they’ve cheated and how they can stop the behavior going forward.
14. He tries to improve your confidence.
Your partner will start flattering you more and giving you compliments, gifts, and endless amounts of attention and affection. He will understand how this whole episode has hurt your confidence, so he’ll make efforts to boost back up.
He’ll call you beautiful, buy you new clothes, and take you to fancy restaurants. He will probably become more supportive and interested in other areas of your life and your personality.
The point is, he will do everything it takes to make you feel good about yourself and confident in your skin.
15. Others have noticed that he regrets it.
Other people you know will also notice that your partner seems truly sorry for what he did. They will notice the change in his behavior and how he is willing to do anything to keep you. They will probably tell you this and even encourage you to get back together with him if they think he’s good for you.
Even if other people don’t encourage your relationship, they will notice the difference in him and admit it if they see that he repented. Maybe he’ll try to reach you through your friends and family or he’ll begin to treat them better too.
Most importantly, he will show you that you didn’t deserve this and that he’s afraid of losing you now. If he is showing all the signs listed above, consider trying to find a way to let it go and give him another chance.
However, if you don’t see the signs that your partner regrets the affair, it is more likely that he’ll do it again.
Insist that he does the things on this list if he wants you back. This especially applies to keeping his promises and ending the affair right away.
If he’s okay with doing that, it’s more likely that you’ll find a way to make it work somehow. However, if he doesn’t regret cheating on you and isn’t willing to make some changes, you should end the relationship.
Give yourself some time to think before deciding anything, but if you are with someone who is likely to cheat again, consider how much it hurt the first time. Is giving him a second chance worth the possibility of experiencing those feelings again?
The decision is yours, but it’s always wise to get some advice. Talk to a relationship counselor about how to heal from cheating, whether you decide to stay in the relationship or end it. They can make the process easier for you and help you decide what you really want.
Until then, your partner will get a chance to repent, and you might see the signs listed in this article. If he’s showing any, suggest counseling as a way of getting back on track and facing this issue. If you can’t communicate about this properly, it will certainly help to have a third party involved.
Talk to someone who can be objective and guide you through this, no matter what you decide.
And, yes, relationship counseling has been mentioned several times throughout this article, but not without good reason. To rescue your relationship after infidelity takes a lot of work, and that work is easier if you have a professional there to guide the whole process. So, yeah, make sure you get that third party help one way or another.
Relationship Hero is a website where you can connect with a certified relationship counselor via phone, video, or instant message.
While you can try to work through this situation yourself or as a couple, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can fix. And if it is affecting your relationship and/or your mental well-being, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.
Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service Relationship Hero provide and the process of getting started.