What Is The Psychology Or The Thought Process Of A Husband Who Claims Not To Feel Guilty About Cheating? Is He A Narcissist?

By: Katie Lersch: I wish I could tell you that all of the wives that I hear from have remorseful husbands who are willing to go to counseling to heal from the affair. That would be ideal. And honestly, that’s what most wives are hoping for.

Unfortunately, the reality is that I hear from a lot of wives who have husbands who either do not appear to feel any remorse or who are openly claiming that they feel not only no remorse, but also justification.

Almost unanimously, it is hard for wives to understand this. I find it much more rare to hear from women who cheat and do not feel guilty. Although women will often offer excuses like: “but the other man understood and appreciated me,” they are less likely to just flat out deny that their behavior was wrong.

And that is why women are often baffled at how to deal with a man who is not showing remorse. They do not understand this thought process. I think that part of this is because, as caregivers, women just naturally feel more empathy. Even if a woman understands why she cheated, she often still recognizes that she has hurt someone else and she feels badly about this.

So when a wife is faced with a husband who is claiming to feel no guilt, she can find this very hard to grasp. She wonders if she is dealing with a narcissist or someone with no conscience at all. She might say: “I honestly, waited a month before I confronted my husband about his cheating. I thought that I was going to get this awful, dramatic response where either he was overcome with anger or overcome with sadness. I honestly waited until I could not take it anymore and then I blurted out: ‘I know that you’ve been cheating on me.’ My husband didn’t miss a beat and immediately said. ‘I don’t deny it. I have been cheating. But I also have my reasons. You know our marriage wasn’t great and so you can’t really blame me. I accept that you will do whatever you need to do.’ He never offered to try to make this better. He never apologized. He just matter-of-factly explained things to me and then acted as if he could care less how I responded. There have been times when I have broken down and said something like: ‘and you’re telling me that you don’t feel bad about this?’ and then he will mutter things like all men cheat eventually and he had his reasons. I am starting to think that my husband is a narcissist. Because why else would he feel no empathy and remorse?”

First of all, I have to tell you that what you are dealing with is not rare. But it may also not be genuine. Many men will PRETEND that they do not feel guilt and remorse when in fact they are TRYING not to pretend guilt or they are POSTURING as if they do not feel guilt as part of a strategy in order to get you to back down.

Yes, by definition, narcissist are focused only on themselves. They are self centered. They do not care about the needs and feelings of others. And they think that the rules do not apply to them. If your husband were genuinely feeling all of these things, then that would not be encouraging, I admit. But you also probably would have seen this behavior long before this.

But often, men are trying to make you believe a lack of feelings that they truly don’t posses. Frankly, many men who cheat have been able to do so because they have found a way to shut down their feelings and their conscience. If they hadn’t been able to do that, then they would have a hard time cheating without being overcome by so much guilt that they would get no payback at all from the affair.

So they become experts at turning off those feelings of guilt and shame. And then you come along and seemingly insist that they overcome with these very feelings that they have been trying so desperately to push down.

When you see it from this angle, it makes sense that they are not going to be overjoyed about showing you their guilt. Instead, they are either going to deny its existence or they are going to act in a way that discourages you from discussing it.  Because believe me, they do not want to discuss it.  They do not want to feel it.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling the remorse, at least deep down. But they sure are trying to suppress it. Or they are trying to not let you see it.

So how can you get the remorse flowing? Sometimes you just have to be patient. Often, he will eventually realize that this posturing and this denial of the truth aren’t really gaining him anything. Sometimes, you can speed up this process by having someone who he respects tell him as much.

I know that you may be tempted to try to convince him of this yourself, but know that he is much less likely to listen to what you have to say because he knows that you have a very strong interest in him having remorse. He knows that you are deeply invested and focused on your own needs and wants. In short, he knows that you are not and can not be objective.

But, if say, a counselor or even a friend or author that he respected said the same thing without having any vested interest, he may be more inclined to listen. Often, the remorse does come in time when there is enough time for him to not need to be as defensive. Or when things are not so immediate that he feels the need to posture.

Although my husband showed a lot of guilt in the beginning, he backed off on this when he began to see the consequences.  My trying to push the guilt on him did no good.  He was convinced much more by third parties than from me. You can read more on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com

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