What Do You Say To Apologize For Cheating When “Sorry” Is Not Enough

What Do You Say To Apologize For Cheating When “Sorry” Is Not Enough

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Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in Affair Recovery, Betrayal Trauma, and Surviving Infidelity. The owner of Relationship experts private practice and host of Relationships Uncomplicated Podcast
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Does “I’m sorry” matter when it comes to infidelity? Of course. Yet, to apologize for cheating is just to begin your affair recovery journey. The goal is to offer magic words that will fix things between you. The aim is to reveal your desire to honor your partner’s experience and to be available for all of it. No matter how difficult. How you express remorse is vital, being “sorry” is simply one element of regaining the trust that was broken.

A woman gazes ahead, distancing herself from a blurred man figure behind her, depicting the aftermath of infidelity. Unsure how to apologize for cheating, we help couples nationwide, including California, Ohio, New York, Florida, and Colorado in the USA, as well as in Canada, the UK, and Australia. Book a consultation with us today!

To illustrate, when couples struggling with the aftermath of an affair come to me, I’m interested in a couple of key things:

  1. Is there remorse present?
  2. Has the unfaithful partner expressed it?

As this discussion develops, this same pattern of interaction tends to happen between partners:

The betrayed partner will say something like, “They show no proper remorse!” or “I expected them to show me they were sorry differently.”

The unfaithful partner is usually shocked or taken aback at this point, responding with something like, “I have said sorry again and again! How often will it take for you to forgive me?”

If you are experiencing conversations like this one, you aren’t alone. When hurting couples believe that remorse after cheating can be condensed into one phrase like “I’m sorry,” more hurt and misunderstanding are inevitable. 

Understand that “I’m sorry” is not a quick fix. It doesn’t build trust or shine a light on an unfaithful partner’s willingness to do what it takes to be there for their betrayed partner. Fortunately, there are some important strategies for turning things around and communicating authentic remorse.


While saying sorry over and over isn’t likely to win your partner’s heart again, all is not lost. In fact, the road to post-affair recovery may not be as difficult as you think. A vital part of navigating remorse is understanding how the affair has changed your perceptions of each other and what your relationship means to you both.

Recognize Your Post-Affair Rift 

It is no surprise to you that infidelity has divided you. The united outlook you once shared regarding your connection no longer exists. Thus, it stands to reason that you now have different viewpoints regarding remorse as well. To reconnect, consider that the way remorse should look, sound, and feel is simply not the same for you as they are for your partner. 

Early in affair recovery, most unfaithful partners are in a better frame of mind than their partners. Betrayal is affecting the hurt partner profoundly. Their emotions swing from hope to despair; from low self-esteem to inner strength. Yet, all in all, they need the remorse to start healing and moving forward. 

Why do they need remorse? Properly expressed remorse helps make sense of the upside-down world they feel their relationship has become. It’s important to remember that forgiveness happens in increments. Trust is regained in small steps. Often, when true remorse happens enough times, hurt partners start to feel that real hope and reconnection can happen.

Apologize For Healing By Embracing Your Power to Heal

Though you and your partner are both in crisis, as the unfaithful partner, you can begin restoring your partner and your relationship. For the most part, your partner is likely trying to manage all of the heartbreaking information surrounding the affair. Information that you have already come to terms with. So, with that in mind, it falls to you to find ways to effectively express remorse. 

How do you do that? Good question.


There are two components for effective remorse: quantity and quality.

Quantity: How to be remorseful enough

The amount of times you need to apologize for cheating is not a number of times at all. Apologize “as needed.” An unfaithful partner should be sensitive, observant, and responsive.

Is your partner very sad? Are they very angry? Notice what’s going on with them and pay attention to how they are experiencing your relationship. Your mindful attention is vital. It’s okay to ask what’s wrong. It’s crucial to express your remorse genuinely. 

Also, be sure not to overdo apologies and create doubt about your authenticity. That said, try to show remorse independent of your partner’s negative feelings as well. This shows that you are thinking about how sorry you are internally and not just as a means to get them to “get over it” and forgive you.

A man with his fist in front of his mouth, contemplating how to express remorse and apologize for cheating to his spouse. Relationship Experts Online supports couples in their journey to heal after infidelity in Ohio, California, North Carolina, New York, Texas, Florida, and Colorado in the United States, as well as in Canada, Australia, the UK, and globally.

Quality: How to show that you are appropriately remorseful

When it comes to communicating that you are “really sorry”, there are some important things to remember:

  • Remorse and your body language, facial expression, and tone should be in harmony.  Don’t risk a setback. Anything dismissive will not convey that you “mean it” when you say you are remorseful.
  • Remorse and withdrawal do not work together. With everything that you have, you must turn toward your partner physically and emotionally. Staying engaged is admittedly difficult when you are faced with your infidelity and the pain it has caused. 
  • Remorse and defensiveness are not good partners either. Asking “How long do I have to keep apologizing?” Or saying, “You just like to be sad!” will not draw your partner to you. Instead, take responsibility. Listen and acknowledge your partner’s devastation and hurt openly and compassionately. Even if you feel like they should be past the affair, don’t communicate that verbally or physically. Stay close and engaged. 

Regardless of how long they’ve been upset- two months or two decades- don’t risk doing more relationship harm by invalidating or minimizing their experience. Real remorse plays the long game. Your relationship will be better for your patience.


Our Remorse Blueprint is a short course offered online for you. Examples of how you can apologize for cheating. With this support, apologies can be considered, worded, and expressed if you feel stuck or discouraged. The blueprint was developed to help you do several things:

  1. Determine if you’ve expressed remorse after cheating helpfully.
  2. Understand the six elements of effective remorse.
  3. Create and share your remorse effectively (using the blueprint as a guide).
  4. Express yourself genuinely and repeatedly via the course ideas and the blueprint.

Help your partner feel whole again. Honor your partner now. Make sure they feel understood, believed, and appreciated. Let them know what, why, and how when you convey that you are “sorry”. This is where the hope and closeness you long for lies. Forgiveness is possible with sincerity and patience.


Our affair recovery team of therapists at Relationship Experts is ready and waiting to hear from you.  Let us help you show remorse right away and change your future together. Our practice is loaded with programs, support, and many user-friendly resources for you. Please check out our online options anytime. 

Our well-regarded infidelity recovery coaching program is a helpful way to begin healing.

Follow these three easy tips to get started now:

  1. Schedule your free 45-minute consultation.
  2. Discuss details regarding our Affair Recovery Programs with a program specialist.
  3. Let’s begin your recovery soon!


Our team at Relationship Experts provides affair recovery services assembled to help you heal and thrive. Our private practice, founded in the USA, is based in Miami, FL. However, our services are available everywhere. Reach out to us virtually in the US, Canada, or the United Kingdom. Please read about our resources, programs, and information on our blog page.


I’m Idit, your blog writer & podcast host.

practice owner relationship expert PODCASTER
blog writer

I am the owner of the highly respected Relationship Experts private practice based in Miami, Florida and focused on affair recovery. In over a decade and together with my team, we help couples with surviving infidelity and healing from betrayal trauma

A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in Affair-Recovery and Infidelity Counseling in The United States and worldwide.

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