Depression & Cheating

Depression After Cheating on Someone

There’s a strong correlation between cheating and emotional distress. Although most Hollywood movies have made cheating look cool, cheaters go through a lot of depression after infidelity.

Depression and Cheating

It is quite difficult to overcome depression after cheating on someone. Nearly everyone will be preoccupied with feeling uncomfortable about the cheated-on partner. On the other hand, the cheater will be consumed by guilt and have no clue how to cope with the incessant sentiments of guilt, regret, and shame.

But how does cheating affect the cheater? Can depression lead to cheating? What leads to depression after affair? This post aims to address those questions.

A man depressed after an affair

Hollywood makes cheating look simpler than it is. Whether or not the cheater is discovered, it causes a lot of problems. Clinical depression, also known as major depressive disorder, is characterized by pervasive sadness and a loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities. Sometimes PTSD syndrome may occur in such cases. Including extreme anxiety, obsession, and emotional distress. Ultimately, the level of disaster that can be experienced depends on each specific situation and how they internalize and manage infidelity.

Your capacity to function at home or in public may decrease due to depression and cheating on your spouse, which may lead to various physical and emotional disorders brought on by cheating.

How Does Cheating Affect a Woman

The mental and emotional toll of cheating on a woman is highly contextual, depending on her beliefs and values. If her cheating represents a flagrant disregard for these values, the effect of cheating in relationship might be dealt with in a number of ways:

The Effects of Cheating on Women's Depression
  • It damages her self-esteem

Especially if the fire in your relationship has cooled, she may feel unappealing to you, which may be a new development or something she has always suffered with. The majority of women derive their self-assurance from their partners. In addition to damaging her sense of self-worth, her infidelity could create a large rift in the family.

  • Cheating gets less difficult

Cheating is at the top of the list of negative practices. However, she may be able to overcome her cheating ways with some counseling. Nevertheless, it tends to destroy the shame in women who have gone through depression and remorse in silence, making them more likely to cheat in the future.

  • To escape, she may turn to alcohol or other harmful substances

While not all cheating women engage in drug addiction, it is true that under the influence of alcohol or other hard substances, the guilt and remorse associated with cheating fade away (at least for a while).

When the effect wears off, the entire guilt returns to her, and she may resort to hard narcotics to escape depression after cheating on someone.

Keep in mind that if a wife or girlfriend cheats repeatedly, it may take a lot of expert help to get her back on the right track.

How Does Being Cheated on Affect a Man

Life after being cheated on can be very traumatizing. However, men react differently to the pain of betrayal. Among the many effects of infidelity on men, the following are particularly common:

The effect of adultery on male depression
  • It causes self-doubt in him

After being cheated on, every husband or partner questions his masculinity and worth. Some guys may have never imagined they might lose track of concepts like “self-esteem”, “self-value” and narcissism

Erin Johnston LCSW

Low self-esteem can also make you suspicious of others. You may think that a friend wants something from you or will not like you if they really get to know you. To keep them in your life, you may avoid talking about issues until it escalates into anger, causing you to push your loved ones away.” according to Erin Johnston, LCSW, a former writer for Verywell Mind. However, the story evolves as one of them cheats on the other.

Worse, it makes him question whether or not he truly deserves her love. The realization makes him question his intelligence and discernment since he should have been able to see through the deception.

Most men are convinced that their girlfriend’s infidelity was their fault and that they must change their behavior or looks before their ex can accept them again.

  • They change on the inside

There is a bright side to cheating on a man. Men suffering from depression have a greater drive to improve themselves and achieve their goals. It makes them more self-aware, which in turn motivates them to improve.

This is especially true after a breakup when men often feel helpless and believe they must become better versions of themselves to get their ex back.

  • They have a hard time trusting women again

Prideful guys have a one-size-fits-all approach to life. Because of this, some men attribute infidelity to “a woman issue” rather than their shortcomings.

Men who believe “all women are the same” are more likely to be cautious while attempting new relationships. They lack commitment and are always skeptical of their partner’s activities.

Stages of Grief After Infidelity

There are a variety of stages of guilt after cheating in a relationship, including:

Stage 1: Denial

The affected partner has a hard time making sense of the trauma of infidelity. The betrayed partner goes through a phase of “something is awry, and everything will be set right,” during which they try to downplay their feelings of betrayal.

Stage 2: Anger

Anger arises when the devastated spouse finally accepts the fact and stops trying to deny it. Their puzzle begins to take shape. Anger at the betrayal, pain at being abandoned, and sadness at the emotional investment in the relationship are all present.

Anger is felt not just toward the liaison who crossed appropriate boundaries but also toward oneself for allowing the cheating to occur.

Stage 3: Depression

The loss of a valued friend or loved one hit home here. When one partner cheats, it destroys everything their injured other once believed.

When one spouse is injured, the other often feels trapped by overwhelming rage, despair, and uncertainty. As a result, people can begin answering the myriad questions that plague their 


These questions get to the heart of the problems at hand, which often results in the surfacing of strong emotions. It is a challenging situation that can feel hazy.

Stage 4: Acceptance

One reaches acceptance after fully understanding the incident’s significance and its aftermath. This is not a final chapter with a clean ending but a transitional period after a major shift.

The heartbroken partner may still have unresolved questions but will be willing to settle for the conclusions they reach.

Stage 5: Long-Term Psychological Effects of Infidelity 

The effects of betrayal on the brain are often long-lasting. Chronic stress, anxiety, and depression are just some mental health issues that can develop due to loss and subsequent changes in the brain and behavior. One of the most common conditions caused by the reasons mentioned above are BPD and bipolar syndrome.

Time and therapy have helped some people get over infidelity. To move on this demands active work on both spouses to focus on the fundamental reason for the infidelity. Not every couple should try to work through their issues, but those that do can find a resolution.

5 Relationship Experts’ Tips for Coping with Depression After an Affair

Relationship Experts' Tips

Even as a cheater, growing past the incident can be a very tough nut to crack, but it is not impossible. Here are some experts’ tips for coping with depression after an affair:

Figure Out the Cause of the Problem

Recognizing that idealistic ideals are ineffective in the real world will help you examine the situation more objectively. To better comprehend your conduct, examining why you cheated on a loved one can be helpful. This will serve as a reminder that you are, in fact, human and susceptible to error. In the aftermath of infidelity, it’s normal to feel guilty. Just make sure that your guilt doesn’t get the better of you.

Develop Realistic Thoughts About the Situation

Once you’ve identified the issue’s root, it’s time to adopt a pragmatic perspective. After cheating on someone, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed by guilt. It’s possible to factor in societal norms when making decisions. The truth is, though, that every action has a justification.

Give Yourself Permission to Feel

Recognizing and accepting your emotions is crucial to overcoming depression after cheating.

Understanding that setbacks are inevitable is crucial. The only way out of the pit of despair one experiences after cheating on a partner is to forgive oneself because no one is flawless. It is impossible to forgive oneself unless one lets go of all self-hatred and embraces self-love.

Read Books or Seek Help

To develop oneself, learning is essential. The holes in your heart are easily filled by reading books. You need to get over your issues and educate yourself on what the experts have to say regarding post-cheating behaviors.

Focus on the Future, Not the Past

The past is the past, and there’s no changing it. You may have damaged your relationship by betraying your partner’s confidence. No good will come to you or them if you wallow in your own guilt about cheating. Dealing with depression after cheating can be difficult, but it can be overcome by shifting your focus from the incident.

You’ll be able to get over the guilt you feel for betraying the one you love. Try to understand what was going on in your head that made you want to cheat on your partner. Think about it and figure out how to improve your future interactions with others. Recognize this as an opportunity to grow and examine your own standards for romantic partnerships.

Can Cheating Cause Mental Illness?

Yes, cheating can lead to mental issues. It can profoundly influence one’s mental health because of the stigma, guilt, remorse, and agony that accompany it.

While this emotion is often downplayed, it can substantially alter one’s psychological condition, which may cause noticeable shifts in behavior and even in one’s interactions with others.

Healing from Infidelity and Depression

Sometimes, the suggestion to “let things go” after an affair from well-meaning friends and family is not the best option.

heal your relationship from depression together

It is always good to allow yourself to feel the pain of loss and despair following the end of an affair. To begin healing, it is essential to acknowledge these emotions of emptiness and focus on moving past them. To get them off your chest and make headway in moving on from the affair.

FAQ About Depression and Infidelity

Here are the most common questions and answers related to depression after cheating on someone.

Can guilt of cheating cause depression?

Yes, depression after cheating on someone can occur. Surviving depression after cheating in a relationship is devastating because it negatively affects our mental health, increasing anxiety, despair, and other misery.

How to deal with depression when your spouse cheats on you?

When your spouse cheats on you, the best way to deal with depression is to quickly turn off all questions that might affect your self-esteem and work on accepting the new reality. Talk to a professional if need be.

How cheating affects the brain?

After experiencing infidelity, one’s brain may develop numbness to dishonesty, making one more likely to engage in it in the future. Additionally, poor decision-making directly results from the brain’s damaged capacity for accurate information processing, which cheating can exacerbate.

How does being cheated affect future relationships?

The quality of present relationships and sex urges can be lower and higher among people who have experienced infidelity. People who have been cheated on are said to be more likely to cheat themselves in the future.

How to move on after infidelity?

Although the sadness and anguish can be overwhelming, it is best to work it out with your partner. Still, it’s vital to discover strategies to help yourself accept that life isn’t perfect and there’s nothing you could have done to prevent the incident.

Author Holly Smith

Holly Smith

Author/Relationship Coach

The first thing you need to do is to understand that depression is a very common reaction to cheating. It is not your fault.