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How to Show Remorse After Cheating & Why Saying I’m Sorry Doesn’t Cut it in Affair Recovery

Idit Sharoni

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I'm a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist based in Miami, a relationship podcast host, and an educator. I help couples transform their patterns of communication and heal after infidelity. 


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“I said I was sorry!”

Tense and exhausted by the fallout of your unfaithfulness, you repeat your apologies. You’re likely anxious, upset, and ready to start recovering from an affair so you may finally move on.

Yet, the wounds of your partner remain open. the betrayal and all its consequences remain unaddressed. At the moment, forgiveness seems to remain out of reach.

How come you can’t get past this? Why doesn’t “I’m sorry” work, no matter how much you say you are?

Why Talk About Remorse Expression?

It’s important that couples discuss post affair remorse and effective expression when recovering from an affair. As much as you may want to recover your marriage, you are likely very far apart from what “sorry” looks like.

As the unfaithful partner, you are the one in possession of the full picture. Therefore, you are the more stable party.

Your partner is likely reeling from the changes in relationship perception. Or, the realities of your relationship with someone else. For them, apologies may be hard to accept. Your actions may feel hurtful and humiliating. They may seem intentionally damaging to who they believed you were as a couple. Even if that’s not what you intended.
Thus, you may feel frustrated and hopeless. It may seem that recovering from an affair is impossible since your attempts to apologize will always fall on deaf ears.

A woman rests her hands on her conflicted partner's shoulder as they bow their head. This could symbolize the conflicting emotions when recovering from an affair. Idit Sharoni is an affair recovery expert that offers counseling for recovering from infidelity in Florida. Contact her today for affair recovery support in Florida and worldwide.

Still, don’t give up! Get help! Seek support from an affair recovery expert. Communicating remorse doesn’t need professional affair counseling to be most productive. Let me help you understand how to express remorse that is more likely to be accepted by your partner.
As an affair recovery therapist, one of the first things I look for is whether actual remorse exists. This involves how the unfaithful partner expressed it, and how it plays out in the couple’s affair recovery attempt.
If I ask, ”Is he/she really sorry?” Many hurt partners will say, “No, he/she never expressed remorse. At least not the proper way.”
This usually, garners total shock or disbelief from the unfaithful partner: “ Why are you saying this? That’s not true! How many times did I say I’m sorry? How many more times do I have to say it for forgiveness?”
That’s a good question.
The answer? Remorse is about showing, not telling how you feel.

“I’m Sorry” Never Healed Anyone…It’s Simply Step One

A close up of a keyboard with crumpled up post-its that say "Sorry". One is left untouched and reads "I'm Sorry". This could represent the many tries it takes when learning how to apologize for cheating. Idit Sharoni offers support for couples recovering from an affair. Contact an affair recovery expert for support with recovering from infidelity in Florida.

In a nutshell, recovering from an affair demands sufficient, actionable, and expressive remorse to be effective.

You’ve admitted cheating. The affair a level of deceit and engagement with another person that severely damaged your relationship. Thus, making you a stranger to your spouse on many levels.

Recovering From an Affair Takes More Than Just “Sorry”

“Sorry” doesn’t begin to cover the effort it took to betray them. Your partner needs you to live out your apology. True remorse will need as much effort or more. To know and believe you again, your partner needs to hear, see, feel, how sorry you are.
Of course, it may be that you’re completely overwhelmed by the consequences of your choices. You may feel your partner isn’t fairly hearing your regret. That may be true. But, it falls to you to understand the crisis you’ve created in your relationship. Recovering from an affair hinges on your ability to provide remorse that shows lasting commitment and dedication to your spouse.

Apologies only acknowledge that you’re willing to start the work. That’s it.

To recover from your affair, truth and trust repair are what matter now. Your partner needs to see you embrace the next phase of recovery. They need to see you are ready for the hard questions and hard work it will take to get back to each other again.
Are you ready?
It’s tough, but you are not alone. There is a clear path to an effective demonstration of remorse.

So, What is the Right Way to Express Remorse Now?

First, it may encourage you to know that there is a formula for making your commitment to recovery clear to your spouse. Second, I’ve also provided a Blueprint of an Effective Remorse of actual things you can say to help your partner understand your remorse. Let’s begin with the first point:

Two Components of Effective Remorse:

1. Quantity of Remorseful Expression –

  • Apologize as needed. Your ability to provide reassurance depends on your sensitivity to your partner’s need for it… not your need to be forgiven or ideas about how long forgiveness should take.
  • Try to keep apologies appropriate given your situation. Again, respond with the long game in mind. Moderation is key. Your entire relationship needn’t center on your apologies. Think “not too much and not too little.”
  • Try not to clam up when your partner is emotional or resistant. It’s better to apologize more than less.
  • Try to be less reactionary and more responsive and sensitive. Remember, you are trying to communicate your dedication to recovering from an affair. Your remorse is a thoughtful response to the consequences of your mistakes. Not a reaction to your partner’s anger or sadness. Do your best to keep your expressions of remorse separate from your spouse’s feelings and thoughts.

2. Quality of Remorseful Expression

  • Accept that “I’m sorry” doesn’t cut it.
  • Avoid brief, closed statements of apology. Communication without depth or engagement will not do now. Your partner’s world has been rocked. They need to hear from you. Your expressions of remorse have to be substantive. You need to explain WHAT you’re sorry for and WHY.
  • Nonverbals matter immensely. They communicate respect and sincerity. Keep your tone open, never dismissive. Consciously use facial expressions that convey an apologetic message. Willingly engage. Appearing to be withdrawn sends a contradictory message of disinterest.
  • Take responsibility vs. being defensive. This no time for manipulation. Don’t play coy or innocent, it undermines trust. Avoid accusing or blaming your partner, it creates resentment.
  • Listen and acknowledge your partner’s experience. Work hard at validating what they’ve gone through and how they feel. Avoid minimizing any part of your partner’s pain, upset, or response.

Now. What does all this look like on a practical level? If “I’m sorry” doesn’t cut it, what should you say and how should you say it?

Consider My Blueprint for Effective Remorse When Recovering From An Affair

To further help show your remorse in a way that your partner is more likely to accept, I created the online course:Remorse Blueprint”. This online mini-course details how to effectively express remorse and offer genuine forgiveness. This course can help you start the process of recovering from an affair.
It guides you through all the specific components of an effective remorse expression. And, it provides a detailed blueprint with examples of how you might word it.
You might find that it is great to understand what remorse expression is and should include. Yet, it is also super helpful to see an example of it word by word.

Remorse Blueprint E-Course by Idit Sharoni, LMFT | Affair Recovery Expert

The Remorse Blueprint is an instant online course for you to access at any time.


It is designed to help you do the following:

  1. Identify whether you are expressing remorse in a helpful way.
  2. Understand the 6 parts of an effective remorse expression.
  3. Craft and express your remorse effectively (using a downloadable blueprint for direction).
  4. Make remorseful expressions sincerely and as often as necessary by using the ideas in the course and blueprint.

When all is said and done, don’t you want your partner to feel safe with you again? Do what it takes to ensure his or her feelings are known, validated, and respected. Communicating what you are sorry for and why allows for hope and warmth to return. Thus forgiveness will become more possible.

Begin Infidelity Recovery With Idit Sharoni and her Team of Relationship Experts

Idit Sharoni, LMFT relationship expert presenting her podcast and blog Relationships UncomplicatedI do hope this information is helpful and encourages you to take steps toward recovering from an affair and creating a healthier relationship. For more support and information, please consider learning about my Infidelity Recovery Program or contact me for a consultation soon. My Miami FL-based counseling practice would love to help your relationship thrive no matter where you are in the country. To start recovering from an affair, follow these steps:

  1. Schedule a free consultation
  2. Meet with our infidelity recovery expert therapist for a 45-minute initial consultation
  3. Start healing and rebuilding trust with our affair recovery coaching program

Other Services Offered at Relationship Experts

Infidelity Recovery isn’t the only service offered in our Miami FL-based counseling practice. Other mental health services our relationship counselors provide include couples therapy and marriage counseling, communication counseling, and online therapy. For more useful relationship information, please visit my podcast!


A man rests his fist against his forehead as he hangs his head in remorse. This could represent the guilt felt when recovering from an affair. Contacting an affair recovery expert can help you in learning how to apologize for cheating. Learn more!

I'm Idit Sharoni, your podcast host.

I'm an expert on relationships and infidelity recovery. I'm a licensed marriage & family therapist, a podcast host, and the founder of Relationship Experts  - a Couples Therapy & Coaching private practice.

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