Guilt is commonly used to depict the state of owning up to some action, for instance a crime, and acknowledging that its effects could have affected some people in a negative way. It describes the conflict of emotional feelings that a person will have after realizing a wrong action. However, accepting guilt doesn’t necessarily mean remorsefulness…Remorse comes from a real awareness of taking full responsibility for acting in a harmful way towards some person or people…One of the key differences between guilt and remorse is that while guilt tends to lead to self destructive tendencies, remorse leads to constructive action.
Perhaps this scenario is in some way a familiar one to you…
You and your unfaithful spouse are several weeks or months out from D-day. Your spouse has maintained no contact with his/her affair partner and is being quite transparent. Your spouse spends almost every moment with you when he/she is not at work. You have a lot of fun together and your sex life has dramatically improved from when it was previously.
So with all of this said, most would think that everything is going great, right?
Well perhaps it is except for one huge thing… Your spouse has not shown any remorse for his/her affair. He/she hasn’t shed a single tear for the pain that was thrust upon you. Your spouse says that he/she feels guilty, but that’s not enough for you.
You on the other hand, still think about the affair every day. The pain has eased some, but the things your spouse told you about the affair and his/her affair partner still haunt you.
You may feel that if he/she can’t show remorse then you can’t move forward. But he/she won’t talk about it. Rather, he/she minimizes things by saying that it was a mistake that snowballed into this huge mess and that he/she is sorry. That’s it.
If you try to talk about it, you hear something like: “Are you going to always hold this over my head and be bitter about it?” There are no reassurances and all your spouse wants to do is move forward and forget about the past.
You even realize that you can’t make him feel remorse or show remorse, but if he can’t you will always think that the OP was better for him/her than you are. It will seem as though all those things your spouse said about the OP were true…and that you could never live up to what the OP meant to him/her.
No remorse from your spouse is leading to indifference for you. Your spouse continues on as though nothing happened. Your spouse feels like you are dwelling on the past instead of the wonderful future that we could have.
Getting the wayward spouse to show remorse is causing you to feel stuck. You feel like if I don’t get remorse and he/she continues to sweep things under the rug, then your marriage is doomed.
What do you do?
If this happened to you, what did you do and/or how did you cope?
Please respond to one another in the comment section below.
Linda & Doug