So you’ve been chumped and you’re trying to decide if your cheater is truly sorry. Is it real remorse? Or is it genuine imitation Naugahyde remorse (GINR)? You know, sort of looks like the real thing, but upon closer inspection is a cheap fake. Here’s a handy check list to help you distinguish.
1. Humility. Cheating is about entitlement. Being truly sorry is about humility. That means the cheater doesn’t go first in anything for a loooong time. Their grievances about the marriage, for instance. Their “healing.” (Grieving the affair partner? Give me a fucking break.) Remorse is the cheater recognizing their place on the food chain — which is grovel level for as long as the chump needs it. That means a chump’s grief is not met with dismissive anger. That means there are no false equivalencies. (Well, you suck too!) True remorse is a deep awareness that infidelity broke a sacred trust, and you are not owed reconciliation.
2. Initiative. Real remorse books its own shrink appointments. Real remorse does the homework. Real remorse does not need to be cajoled, wheedled, or dragged by its ear. Real remorse buys the books and reads the books. GINR waits for you to do it, and then finds a very good reason to be too busy.
3. Honesty. You can’t cheat on someone without lying to them. Real remorse spits out the truth. All of the truth, and it doesn’t editorialize and say things like “she really needed me” or “he was just a friend.” Real remorse answers the same questions over and over and over again and gives truthful, consistent answers. (None of which is “I don’t know.”) If real remorse doesn’t know, real remorse does whatever it can to find out. Real remorse doesn’t balk at a polygraph. GINR thinks polygraphs are expensive and unreliable. Real remorse will do whatever it must to give you peace of mind even if real remorse thinks it’s pointless.
4. Patience. Real remorse understands that repairing a relationship after infidelity is a long haul with dubious prospects. GINR wants to you to “get over it” already because hey, it said it was sorry.
5. Ownership. See Humility. Real remorse wears the shame. Real remorse takes responsibility for the fallout. Real remorse is okay if you tell people, because you need the support. GINR wants you to protect its image. GINR blame shifts and says “we all brought issues to this marriage that led me to cheat.” GINR minimizes and obfuscates.
6. Recompense. Real remorse understands that reconciliation is a risky investment. GINR wants you to assume all that risk and how dare you ask for any assurances, because don’t you trust me? Real remorse puts its money where its mouth is with a post-nup with an infidelity clause. A completely useless document if the cheater never cheats again, which of course, only the cheater has control over. Real remorse pays your legal bill. Real remorse compensates you and your children for every dime spent on the affair(s). Real remorse recognizes that there are financial and time losses as real as the emotional ones. Time and heartbreak cannot be recompensed. Money can. Real remorse says, it’s the least I can do.