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Do Men Regret Cheating?
The meaning of regret in rhetoric and that of its practical application
by cheating men, appear to be distinct entities. The victim’s
freedom is regarded as the sole conduit of forgiveness for such
an act as infidelity, and hope is afforded the truly penitent man,
purely on this basis.
The Meaning of Regret
To regret is to feel sorry about something, and to think about
it with a sense of loss, but this word is also used as a polite
expression of sorrow when making an apology or delivering a piece
of bad news.
Due to the immense hurt endured, it is clear that a victim of
infidelity would not appreciate merely a polite expression of any
kind, but this is possibly tempered by the notion that it is possible
for a man who can behave so abominably, to not only feel a sense
of loss, but to acknowledge the senseless damage inflicted on his
Is it merely getting caught that he regrets?
The brutal reality of the unfaithful man’s ruminations is
given airing in the following poem by Robert Browning:
One more devils-triumph and sorrow for angels,
One wrong more to man, one more insult to God!
Never glad confident mourning again!
All’s over, then; does truth sound bitter
As one at first believes?
When a man has lost his mistress, in Browning’s view, it
is clear that he experiences a sudden jolt back to reality. The
reality of what he has done, and the moral judgment he imposes on
himself. This self reporting of infidelity, although it may well
be involuntary and due to the fact of being caught in the act, describes
the inner journey of the man accepting his actions and then accepting
that he was deluded into thinking his happiness lay elsewhere. He
has lost his mistress, and with this reality check, his illusion
Still, the journey has not yet arrived at regret, as up till this
point, he merely longs for the bliss of his illusion, which he can
have no more.
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While 80% of couples regret getting divorced after infidelity
has marred their marriage , often when cheating men are confessing
their misdeeds, they quite naturally, prefer to avoid details. This
is a recipe for disaster, as mistrust is yet rampant in the damaged
relationship and true remorse and regret, would willingly acknowledge,
that from the victim’s perspective, her partner’s intentions
seemed fixed on betrayal .
Authentic regret, gives the victim partner the freedom to decide
and clarify her own feelings. It accepts that forgiveness is her
choice to impart, and due to the profound breach of trust, it may
well be withheld, at her discretion.
When men lie out of regret, it usually indicates that they are
truly sorry, and is probably just after they realize that they had
far too much to lose. Often it is the case that they genuinely believe
it will not happen again.
One cheating male celebrity on occasion expressed ‘sincere
regret for his actions’, but on another occasion in regard
to the same act of infidelity, said ‘there’s no regret.
You can’t regret. I mean I’ve felt regret but I’ve
also refused to allow regret to sow a seed and live in me because
I don’t believe it…’
His critics insist that in order to learn and move on, regret
needs to be experienced.
The above clearly demonstrates some of the turmoil a man caught
cheating may be suffering, and although somewhat frustrating to
the onlooker, it appears to indicate that a man certainly is capable
of regret after infidelity, the precise clarification of which however,
may be a process completed in the fullness of time.
Macquarie Dictionary, Macquarie Library Pty Ltd, Macquarie University,
http://encarta.msn.com © 1997-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All
Browning, Robert (1812-1889) British Poet The Lost Mistress, 1845