Signs of Cheating Husband Guilt

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 23, 2020

What is Cheating Husband Guilt?

Between one in four to five Americans have an affair in their lifetime. Among men, 68% feel guilty after having an affair. Even if they haven't confessed the affair, most cheating husbands will feel guilty and express that guilt in their behavior. You may notice subtle changes in their behavior that make you wonder if your spouse is displaying cheating husband guilt.

Men are more likely to feel guilt over sexual affairs than they are over emotional affairs. This may be because men themselves view sexual fidelity as more important than emotional fidelity. 

Signs of Cheating Husband Guilt

There are a number of signs that your husband may be feeling guilt from cheating or after an extramarital affair, including the following.

Secretive Phone or Computer Use

With dating and social media apps now a large part of our lives, many husbands are likely to find their affair partners online.

If your husband used to leave his unlocked phone lying around unattended but now guards it closely, it could be a sign of a guilty conscience. If you used to have your devices synced but he has changed his passwords or deleted his history, that could indicate trouble.

Changes in Sex Drive

If your husband is becoming more attentive to you sexually, it could be because he is cheating. While it's normal to think he would be less interested in you sexually, an increased sex drive could be a sign of guilt.

He may be trying to make up for his affair. If he's suddenly trying new things in the bedroom after years of a stale sex life, he might be bringing home tricks he's picked up elsewhere. 


Cheating husbands may be defensive over the smallest things.  They may seem unusually sensitive or touchy about things that seem harmless to you. If you ask an innocent question about what they had for lunch, they may snap at you and accuse you of being controlling or demanding.

If you find yourself walking on eggshells around your husband, it could be a sign that he feels guilty and is taking it out on you. 

Excessive Justification

In trying to cover their infidelities, men sometimes go too far in trying to be convincing. When you casually mention that they're a little late coming home, they may launch into a 30-minute explanation of where they've been. People with nothing to hide don't feel the need to justify every action. 

How to Deal with Cheating Husband Guilt

None of these signs are definitive proof your husband is cheating on you, but they may be reasons for concern. If you suspect your husband may be cheating on you, you need to talk to someone about it. If you feel uncomfortable talking to your husband, discuss it with a close friend or counselor.

Even if your husband is cheating, it's not necessarily the end of your marriage. In cases where both partners want to work to repair the marriage, therapy can be helpful. Some steps that can help include:


The emotions that go along with infidelity can be intense. Journaling your feelings can help you define and deal with them. It can also be an outlet for understanding yourself and your needs. 

Seek Counseling

Individual counseling will help you process and deal with your emotions surrounding the affair, but you may also need couples' therapy to help you and your husband understand the causes of the affair and how to move forward in your relationship.

While an affair can be devastating, it can be a catalyst to rebuild your marriage stronger than it was before. 

Understand and Heal the Problems in Your Relationship

While the problems in your relationship did not cause the affair, it's important for both of you to focus on building a better marriage that makes both of you happy. It's best if you can keep discussions about your marital issues separate from discussions about the affair. It has to be clear that nothing in the marriage caused the affair. 

Give Yourself Time

Recovering from an affair takes time. You need time to grieve and forgive the betrayal. Learning new communication habits and rebuilding your marriage will take time as well. Don't put pressure on yourself to rush the process. Take as long as you need to heal and reconnect with your husband.  

Show Sources


Counseling Today: "Recovering from the trauma of infidelity."

Kelly Bos Therapy: "7 Signs Your Partner May Have a Guilty Conscience."

Psychology Today: "10 Signs Your Spouse is Cheating."

Evolutionary Psychology: "Sex Differences and Feelings of Guilt Arising from Infidelity."

Psych Central: "An Unrecognized Reason That Married Men Have Affairs."

Newsweek: "I Work with Cheaters. Here are My Top 6 Signs to Spot an Affair."

The Gottman Institute: "Practical, Science-based Steps to Heal From an Affair."

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