After being caught cheating, the victim feels betrayed or disappointed, but some cheaters may feel guilty if they are committed to the relationship.
They think they have let their partner down.
While society cares about the emotional downcast of a betrayed partner, a cheating partner may have to deal with depression after cheating on someone.
There is a social expectation that everyone in a committed love affair should stay faithful. As a result, cheating may lead to regret, shame, guilt, extreme anxiety, and cumulate into depression.
Depression can affect a cheater’s mental health, especially if they fail to seek help quickly. They might lose interest in all pleasurable activities.
They may function less at work and appear less in public places.
A cheater may not easily identify they are depressed until it gets worse. Depression can lead to mental imbalance and stay permanent if not dealt with quickly.
Before delving into the easy way a cheater can deal with depression, it is necessary to look into some signs that show a cheater is depressed.
Signs of depression after cheating
1. Persistent feelings of guilt
Cheating often leads to a profound sense of guilt, anxiety, and shame as cheaters grapple with the realization that they have betrayed their partner’s trust.
As a result, they feel they’ve done something wrong. Thus, they get consumed with negative feelings of guilt, sadness, and displeasure.
Because of these negative feelings, the brain will release less dopamine. A happy hormone that triggers humans to feel pleasure and happiness.
Cheaters might experience decreased feelings of happiness and unconsciously get depressed.
2. Low self-esteem
Depression starts with feeling worthless and leads to low self-esteem. A depressed cheater will find it hard to maintain the relationship further or venture into a new one.
Even if their partner is willing to forgive them, they will not be the person they used to be when things were right.
Also, this low self-esteem may lead to social withdrawal from loved ones, which can also decline their confidence in public. They may avoid taking on new challenges or halt their goal.
Because of the feeling of low self-worth and confidence, they may depend on the opinion and acceptance of others for validation.
3. Substance abuse
Some cheaters may use drugs as a coping mechanism at this time of their displeasure.
They may get used to hard drugs and alcohol as an escape route to overcome negative feelings.
This can lead to addiction and worsen their mental health.
Some cheaters may avoid confronting their emotions by seeking alternatives like engaging in excessive work.
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4. Physical symptom
It’s a sign of depression when a physically attractive cheater now cares less about their body.
The emotional distress can manifest in how they look. They may look unkempt and fatigued.
Besides, their health may deteriorate because of lack of sleep or not eating healthy food. They may complain of illness like stomach ache, severe body pain, or headache.
5. Changes in orderly ways of doing things
A cheater battling with depression will change their manner of doing things. They will find it hard to concentrate on desired tasks.
They will be more forgetful and find it unusually harder to make decisions.
Also, because of the emotional turmoil, cheaters may lose interest in fun activities that used to give them joy.
They may experience a change in appetite. They may notice that they eat more or less than usual. Their sleeping patterns may also be affected.
Some may struggle to fall or stay asleep, while others may oversleep to escape the guilt feelings.
Also, their social life may decline because a depressed person always likes staying alone.
6. Frequent sadness and anger
The emotional weight of the actions of a cheater may lead to feelings of sadness.
Depression can also manifest irritability in them and heighten their anger. They will get easily frustrated or agitated on less trivial issues.
This is due to the inner turmoil they’re battling.
7. Suicidal thoughts
A cheater with a thought of suicide or self-harm is definitely going through depression.
This is because they think they’ve let many people down, especially if they preach against infidelity.
This is a severe case that needs urgent intervention.
How to deal with depression after cheating on someone
1. Acknowledge your feelings and take responsibility
Cheaters should develop realistic thoughts about their actions when they feel emotions like shame, regret, and guilt at a time.
To avoid the pain that comes with these feelings, they may bottle them up by seeking escape from drugs or alcohol. It is best to allow yourself to feel these emotions.
Only time would heal, and not by escaping reality. However, be aware of when to seek for help when these emotions make you depressed and begin to endanger your true self.
Also, be responsible for your wrongs. Don’t blame your partner or friends for cheating.
As you’re going through regret, acknowledge your partner’s pain and the hurt you’ve caused them.
If you are having excuses for your wrongs, you may find it difficult to think of a realistic solution.
2. Forgive yourself
Until you stop blaming yourself and attaching weight to what happened, you may not easily escape the shackles of depression.
Forgiving yourself means you are no longer punishing yourself for the consequences of your actions.
It means you aim to improve rather than grunting on the lost past. The best way to stop thinking about the past is to stop being angry at your past.
3. Understand why you cheated
As an adult, admit you’ve made a mistake like everyone else. You are prone to errors. Learn from it.
After infidelity, it is normal to feel guilty, but do not allow it to get the best of you. Understand why it happens, and examine the immediate and remote causes.
It will aid your moving-on process and prevent recurrences.
Cheating can occur due to constant issues you are having with your partner. Maybe you feel you are not getting enough emotional support from them.
You may feel you are not appreciated enough in the relationship. You feel unfulfilled, bored, unsupported, and lonely in the relationship.
Also, cheaters do cheat due to low self-esteem. They feel it is a way to enhance their self-confidence and make themselves feel better.
Lastly, some cheaters cheat solely because they want revenge, while some cheat because of addiction.
While going through depression, recall your mind to any of the above that led you into such a lustful lifestyle.
Identifying the reason is the beginning to the end of your problem. Rather than remaining sober, you should start addressing the root cause.
4. Talk to someone you trust
Even though you think everyone now judges you, You might still have one close pal who won’t judge you and is ready to support you.
Be open to such a trusted person. Depression thrives in solitary.
If you isolate yourself for long, you will get more depressed, and it can worsen over time. Talking to a close friend can help you process your emotions better.
Such a person may deploy relevant coping mechanisms to aid your quick recovery from depression.
In essence, connecting to a close friend or family is the best way of getting comfort and support.
5. Avoid self-harm behavior
When cheaters are depressed, they are likely to seek escape from the pain. The pullback may be in the form of excessive usage of drugs.
It may also be by inflicting physical pain on themselves to deflect their brain from thinking about their action.
All this self-harm will not make the real pain go away but rather aggravate it. Do away from all forms of substance abuse; it is only a matter of time before you become addicted.
6. Be more concerned about the future
When dealing with depression after cheating on someone, you must understand that your mistakes in the past can’t be erased.
When your mind is focused on your future goal, the bad past of betraying your partner will gradually erode your mind.
However, it would help to make yourself happier and improve your mood before you can think of working on a brighter future.
Recognize that the depressing time is an opportunity to reflect on your mistakes and examine your standard for growth.
If your partner left you because you cheated, do not rush into another relationship unprepared. Instead, work more on yourself and your career, also network more in your field.
This will aid you from isolation and slowly reintegrate you into being a happy person.
7. Work on your looks
Depressing people can be easily identified by how unkempt they usually look. They look rough and lose weight due to sleepless nights, unhealthy eating, and alcohol abuse.
You must improve your sleep, eat healthy, and exercise regularly to increase your energy level.
Start by doing a light workout, such as walking, jogging, or Yoga. You can also try out swimming in a local pool.
You may get exhausted from lifting weights at a gym or running on an indoor track; ensure you stay hydrated by drinking enough water.
Also, if your partner has not broken up with you, engage more in sexual intimacy. Sex will make you get closer to your partner and rebound.
It will also make you release happy chemicals from the brain that will enhance your mood.
If you are consistent with these routines, you will get less tired, and the depression will fade out gradually.
8. Rebuild Trust
Rebuilding trust after you’ve cheated can be difficult. But it is possible with consistent effort. You can start by being transparent in your actions.
This includes being truthful always and avoid being secretive. Always be open about your activities.
Constant communication is another key way of rebuilding trust. Ensure you communicate openly to your partner about your feelings and concerns.
In every communication, recognize your mistakes and your actions to avoid their reoccurrence.
Also, be more open to those who are your family and friends. In your words, they will notice you are now a changed person.
9. Set boundaries
Suppose differences between your partner triggered the cheating; now, you must agree on what is and what is not acceptable moving on.
You must agree on how best to respect each other’s feelings and desires.
Setting boundaries also means you should set limits with people who might have been involved in your cheating moves that led to your depression.
People who are not supportive or trigger negative feelings while with you should be avoided at the time.
10. Seek professional help
Depression can easily endanger your physical or mental health within a short time. You must consult a therapist before your situation worsens.
They will provide important strategies to help you manage your emotions and cope with the post-cheating trauma.
A session with a therapist will also help to rebuild a happy relationship.