Do Cheaters Ever Realize What They’ve Lost? 15 Harsh Realities Cheaters Must Face When It’s Over

Let's be real—cheating devastates relationships. 

When those rose-colored glasses come off, cheaters are often plagued with regret once they comprehend the gravity of their actions. 

They often realize they destroyed something precious. 

They have to come to terms with the pain they caused. 

While cheaters may appear fine on the surface, underneath, they are frequently tormented by sorrow and remorse. 

Let’s explore whether cheaters truly grasp their loss and the many harsh realities these disloyal partners must confront when it's all said and done.

How Do Cheaters Feel After a Breakup?

When cheaters get dumped as a result of their infidelity, it can be a major shock to the system.

After all, they're usually so wrapped up in the excitement of their affair they don't see it coming. So, how do cheaters feel post-breakup?

  • At first, they may feel a huge sense of relief – no more sneaking around! But then reality sets in.
  • They often experience massive guilt and regret over how much they've hurt their partner. It starts to dawn on them just how much they've broken the other person's trust and destroyed the relationship.
  • Cheaters frequently feel ashamed when family and friends find out. Judgment from loved ones can be rough.
  • Some cheaters plunge into a depression when it sinks in that they've lost their primary relationship and source of emotional support.
  • Many cheaters feel very alone after losing their partner. They realize they've sabotaged the future they once envisioned together.

The rollercoaster of emotions can be intense for disloyal partners post-breakup.

While cheaters created this mess, when it all comes crashing down, the impact is still devastating.

Do Cheaters Ever Realize What They’ve Lost? 15 Harsh Realities Cheaters Must Face

When the affair fog lifts, cheaters are often struck by the magnitude of their self-inflicted losses.

While they're reveling in the thrill of cheating, they rarely consider the harsh truths that await on the other side.

Here are 15 bitter pills unfaithful partners must swallow once everything blows up.

1. They've lost their partner's trust, probably forever.

Trust is so fragile. Once broken, it's nearly impossible to fully restore. Cheaters often don't realize that by cheating, they've shattered the implicit trust that's essential to an intimate relationship. 

two women and one man talking outdoors Do Cheaters Ever Realize What They’ve Lost

Their partner will likely always wonder if they're telling the truth going forward. The constant suspicion and lack of faith in them will take a major emotional toll emotionally.

2. Their reputation is tarnished. 

Word travels fast. Once close friends and family find out about the cheating, cheaters can't expect to have sterling reputations anymore. 

They'll become known as “the one who cheated,” which leads to awkward interactions and gossip. Their position as a loyal, honest partner is now diminished.  

3. Their integrity is questionable now.

Cheaters often delude themselves that the infidelity doesn't reflect their character. But truthfully, it raises serious doubts about their integrity. If they could lie and betray their partner, what else are they capable of? Their word means much less after such egregious disloyalty.

4. Their family is torn apart.

Especially if there are kids involved, cheating can tear families apart at the seams. Holidays and special occasions will never be the same. The cheater disrupted the family unit and stability. 

Managing two separate households is complicated and can be detrimental to children.

5. The financial fallout can be enormous.

From legal fees to dividing assets to maintaining two residences, the monetary costs of splitting up due to infidelity can be staggering. 

Cheaters usually don't think about just how financially draining the consequences will be when they're sneaking around. However, the financial burdens after being caught can be severe.

6. They lose their best friend.

Cheaters often don't fully appreciate their partner's role as their closest confidant and friend until it's gone. When the relationship ends because of the affair, they lose the person they shared everything with and trusted most in the world. 

There's a gaping hole where their best friend used to be. Replacing that intimate friendship that was years in the making can seem impossible. 

7. Their mental health may suffer.

Cheating can take a major toll mentally and emotionally. Feelings of guilt, shame, regret, embarrassment, and self-loathing are common. Cheaters may suffer from depression and anxiety once the dust settles. 

Losing their relationship can erode self-esteem as the consequences sink in. And being viewed negatively by family and friends further damages the psyche.

8. They have to co-parent with their ex. 

If there are children involved, cheaters must find a way to peacefully co-parent with the person they deeply betrayed. 

couple sitting back to back Do Cheaters Ever Realize What They’ve Lost

Setting aside hurt feelings to cooperate with an ex for the kids’ sake is easier said than done, especially with broken trust. The constant contact with an ex because of the kids serves as a reminder of how much was lost.  

9. The excitement and rush are gone.

Part of the cheating allure is the excitement of the secret relationship. Sneaking around brings a rush. Once exposed, all of that thrill is gone. There's no more fun, escapism, or buzz. 

Cheaters are left with the harsh truth that they nuked their relationship for a cheap thrill that seems pathetic in hindsight.

10. They've lost the life they envisioned.

Infidelity often ends relationships for good. Cheaters don't think about the fact that when they cheat, they destroy the future life they envisioned with their partner. 

All the plans, dreams, and hopes they had as a couple – whether it's marriage, kids, traveling together, or buying a home – often evaporate when the relationship ends over cheating.

11. The affair partner may dump them.

Cheaters often delude themselves that the affair partner is their soulmate and that they'll ride off into the sunset together. 

But the cold, hard truth is that affair relationships rarely last very long. Without the thrill of sneaking around, the cheater gets dumped by the person they sacrificed everything for or the relationship just fizzles out.

12. They lose mutual friends in the breakup.

After cheating ends a relationship, friends often feel forced to choose sides. More often than not, the friends sympathize with the betrayed partner. 

The cheater finds themselves losing the majority of their couple friends and even some longtime friends. Rebuilding a social circle post-divorce can be difficult and lonely.

13. Their self-image takes a hit.

No one likes to think of themselves as “a cheater.” Cheaters have to grapple with the fact that they are now someone who was unfaithful. The shame and disappointment in themselves for violating their values can be soul-crushing. They sacrificed their character for an affair, which feels disgraceful.  

14. They'll have trust issues in future relationships.

Once burned, twice shy. After going through infidelity, cheaters often struggle to open up and trust in their next relationships. 

The guilt and shame of having betrayed someone make it hard to have faith in a new partner. Worries about karma or getting cheated on themselves plague them as they try to move forward.

15. The guilt can eat away at them.

Even if no one else knows about the cheating, the cheater knows. The guilt over betraying their partner's trust and breaking vows often haunts them. 

They have to live with the inner voice and demons reminding them of their choices and behavior. The guilt may slowly erode their spirits and morale. It's a heavy burden.

When Do Cheaters Realize They've Made a Mistake?

Cheaters are often on cloud nine when they're caught up in the affair.

couple sitting back to back Do Cheaters Ever Realize What They’ve Lost

But there are a few key moments when they start to realize, “Uh oh, I've made a huge mistake here.”

  • When their spouse finds out. Being confronted with the devastating pain they've caused is often a wake-up call. Seeing their partner's anguish makes it click that this wasn't just a harmless dalliance.
  • When the affair partner demands more. A cheater's affair partner may start pressuring them to leave their marriage. This may open their eyes to the fact that this isn't true love; it's just an unrealistic fling.
  • When they see how the affair has impacted their kids. Noticing their children are struggling with the family's upheaval – whether it's depression, lashing out, or poor grades – can make it dawn on cheaters that this affair isn't victimless.
  • When close friends and family find out. Being judged and looked at differently by the people closest to them often makes cheaters feel ashamed about their decisions.
  • When their finances take a major hit post-divorce. The financial implications of separating due to infidelity are frequently severe. Alimony, child support, lawyers – the costs make them realize this affair is costing them big time.
  • When their ex is in a new relationship. Seeing their former spouse happily moving on without them hammers home that this affair permanently cost them their family and primary relationship.

No matter how exhilarating it seems at first, cheating often leads to agonizing consequences when cheaters' eyes are finally opened. But by then, it's too late. The damage is already done.

Do Cheaters Miss Their Ex?

While cheaters may have felt stifled or taken their partner for granted before cheating, once the relationship is over, they often long for their ex. Losing the person who was their closest confidante leaves a painful void. Cheaters realize they squandered someone truly special. 

They miss the comfort and intimacy they used to share with their ex. Simple things like having dinner together or cuddling while watching TV become glaring reminders of what was lost. 

Cheaters never imagined how gutting it would be to have that loving companionship gone forever. The gnawing sense of loss is a difficult pill to swallow.

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Why Do Cheaters Get Angry When Caught?

It's common for cheaters to respond with intense anger when busted by their partner. Why the rage when they're the ones at fault? There are several reasons cheaters see red when caught:

  • Deflection. Anger allows cheaters to turn the tables and deflect blame instead of owning up to wrongdoing.
  • Fear. Lashing out from fear of consequences helps cheaters regain a sense of control in the midst of feeling exposed and vulnerable.
  • Minimizing. Downplaying the affair's severity by getting angry makes it easier for cheaters to justify, rationalize, and convince themselves it wasn't so bad.
  • Ego. Anger shields cheaters from feeling ashamed or facing what the affair says about their character. It inflates their fragile ego.
  • Shock. Rage is often the initial reaction to being caught off guard. The sudden jolt of going from secretly cheating to being exposed provokes volatility.

While anger may be the gut reaction to getting caught, it usually gives way to more vulnerable emotions like remorse once cheaters have some time to reflect. But initial anger allows cheaters to deflect scrutiny in the moment.

Final Thoughts

While cheaters relish the escapism of affairs, reality hits hard once everything crumbles. From permanently shattered trust to losing their closest companion, cheaters are often haunted by regret once the full impact of their actions sets in. Infidelity's aftershocks reveal harsh truths cheaters can't escape.