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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

The 5 Types of Apologies Cheaters Use

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They’re been caught cheating. Or, they decided to come clean about the affair. Some of the first words out of their mouth are,

I’m sorry.

You want desperately to believe those words, to believe that they feel true remorse for the pain they have caused you. Yet, past event shave also proven to you that they will lie.

As you suspect, there may be more to their apology than meets the eye.

Here are five types of apologies that cheaters may use:

 

1 – I’m sorry that I got caught.

They are not sorry they did it, they are simply sorry that they have been found out. Often this sort of apology presents with irritation and comes off as insincere. Instead of making changes to end the affair and reinvest in the marriage, they instead double down on their efforts to hide their indiscretions. They may blame you for snooping, their friends for being busybodies or the affair partner for not being careful.

 

2 – I’m saying sorry to try to smooth things over.

Nobody likes others to be upset with them or disappointed in them. This is even true for cheaters. So they apologize, not because they are truly sorry, but because they don’t like having this discord at home. They hope that they can placate with their verbal amends so that you will no longer respond with anger, rejection or sadness towards them. Pay attention to what surrounds the apology. Are they using gifts or physical touch in an attempt to calm or distract you? Also, a sign of this sort of apology is that it is only expressed when your emotions are running high.

 

3 – I’m sorry that you’re upset.

This one has some empathy to it. They see that you’re in pain and they don’t like to see you hurting. The problem here is that there is a disconnect between their actions and your feelings and they are failing to take responsibility for their part in causing you pain. This sort of apology usually presents with other selfish patterns of behavior. Even though they don’t like to see you hurt or inconvenienced, their own desires always take precedence.

 

4 – I’m saying sorry in an ongoing attempt to manipulate the situation.

When this type of apology is used, it comes with the expectation of a particular outcome. They are saying they are sorry with the caveat that you are no longer allowed to bring up their transgressions or that you will not threaten to leave. Look out for guilt trips and gaslighting as they try to turn this around to be about you.

 

5 – I am truly sorry for what I have done.

When people are truly sorry, their language will reflect that. Instead of speaking in third person or generalizations (“When the affair happened”), they use “I” statements to demonstrate ownership (“When I crossed the line into an affair”). They take responsibility for their actions and refrain from blaming you, the affair partner, or outside factors, even while accepting that other variables may have had an influence on their decisions. Another sign of a genuine apology is that they are taking the initiative and not expecting you to help them regulate their own emotional responses.

True remorse is expressed with no strings attached. They say it and then give you the space to do with it what you choose.

Finally, an authentic apology always comes with changed behavior. Because without that, it is simply another empty promise.

And if you didn’t get an apology, this post is for you.

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