Guilt or the feeling of guilt is our response to the realization that our action was morally wrong and that we are responsible for the consequences of this action.
– Janez Juhant and Bojan Žalec
Have you been badly let down or hurt by a man?
Now you’re wondering what’s next, and you’re probably also wondering if he’s even regretting the way he treated you.
Here’s how to tell for sure.
17 undeniable signs he feels guilty for hurting you (ultimate guide)
1) He says sorry
Talk is cheap, and saying sorry doesn’t mean he means it. I get that, but sorry is a good first step!
How can you tell if it’s a genuine apology or just him looking for attention or a blank check?
The most important things to consider here are:
- Does he tie the apology to a condition such as you getting back together with him? Then it’s a fake apology.
- Does he apologize but add in a bunch of complaints about why it’s still not really his fault? Then it’s a fake apology.
- Does he try to make you feel that he’ll harm himself or his life will be over if you won’t accept his apology? Toxic and it’s not a real apology, especially if he’s serious about harming himself.
2) He means what he says
A real apology is the opposite of the three points I raised above.
In other words:
- His apology is unconditional. He’s truly sorry and doesn’t expect anything from you in return for letting you know that. This includes that he doesn’t even expect that you have to accept his apology.
- He apologizes but leaves out the part about how he was justified or is still the “real” victim here in some strange way.
- He never conditions his own future wellbeing or life on your response to his apology. He says sorry because he is, and he does not try to emotionally blackmail you.
When a guy really means what he says you’ll know it.
This is one of the most undeniable signs he feels guilty for hurting you:
He says sorry and he means it.
Whether that includes tears or not, if he’s staying away from all the tricky victim behavior and gaslighting of point one, then he’s really sorry.
3) He tries to make it up to you
One of the top undeniable signs he feels guilty for hurting you is that he actually tries to make it up to you. He’s not just talk, in other words.
He’s all about actually doing something to pay for what he did and try to repair at least some of the emotional or physical damage.
This includes the caveat I mentioned before:
He does not tie his positive actions to an outcome such as you taking him back.
He messages you to help out or offers a kind shoulder because he cares about you.
And even if you’re dating someone new or have made it clear to him that you and him isn’t going to happen, he’s there for you.
That’s a man who’s truly sorry and not just trying to get a quick shot of forgiveness or intimacy.
4) He cares a lot about how you feel
Another one of the biggest undeniable signs he feels guilty for hurting you is that he cares what you feel.
He’s not doing that thing where he nods while you talk, or leaves your messages on read.
He answers back, makes eye contact, offers a kind word and really wants to know if you’re OK.
When this isn’t the case it’s very upsetting, to say the least.
If he doesn’t seem sorry for hurting you and does nothing to make it up to you, you can’t be blamed for being disappointed.
Anyone would be.
You swear you’ll never love again, much less trust anyone.
And who could blame you?
Albert Einstein famously said that if you do the same thing over and over expecting different results it’s the definition of insanity.
You can’t keep giving a guy more chances when he’s already abused your trust so many times before.
And when he’s not really sorry about hurting you!
But if this is the case, I still want to encourage you to trust one last person before you throw in the towel on life and love…
The truth is, most of us overlook an incredibly important element in our lives:
The relationship we have with ourselves.
I learnt about this from the shaman Rudá Iandê. In his genuine, free video on cultivating healthy relationships, he gives you the tools to plant yourself at the center of your world.
He covers some of the major mistakes most of us make in our relationships, such as codependency habits and unhealthy expectations. Mistakes most of us make without even realizing it.
So why am I recommending Rudá’s life-changing advice?
Well, he uses techniques derived from ancient shamanic teachings, but he puts his own modern-day twist on them. He may be a shaman, but his experiences in love weren’t much different to yours and mine.
Until he found a way to overcome these common issues. And that’s what he wants to share with you.
So if you’re ready to make that change today and cultivate healthy, loving relationships, relationships you know you deserve, check out his simple, genuine advice.
5) He makes you his top priority
Another of the key undeniable signs he feels guilty for hurting you is that he makes you his top priority.
He doesn’t drop a half-hearted apology and then get on with his life.
He makes it crystal clear that he really means it and that you matter a lot to him.
Even if you’re now broken up or taking a break, he emphasizes his authenticity and dedication.
He’s there for you and you’re his top priority.
He’s a shoulder to cry on, a friend when you’re in need and even a source of financial help, driving you to appointments or being your rock when you need it.
6) He never pushes you to forgive him
It’s important to highlight that nobody who truly regrets harming you will push you for forgiveness.
Somebody who genuinely realizes what they did wrong and the impact it made will only want you to hear them out.
They won’t expect forgiveness and even if you give it, they’ll still feel bad and try to be a better person in their future actions.
For example, if this guy cheated on you and has been caught, he’s basically either genuinely sorry or not.
If he’s mainly upset about being caught, he’ll try to weasel his way out of what happened, make excuses or go on the counteroffensive and find ways to blame you for him doing it.
If he’s mainly upset about what he actually did and how it hurt you, he’ll do everything he can to pay attention to how you feel, make it up to you and give you space.
He’ll feel truly awful, and will never push you to forgive him.
7) He’s highly loving and affectionate to you
Whatever your relationship is with this guy, watch how he treats you if he claims to regret hurting you.
A man who truly means it is going to treat you like a queen and pay attention to how you’re doing.
He’ll be there for you whenever you need him, and he will give you time and space alone when you need that too.
His love and affection will be obvious to you, and you’ll be able to tell he’s not just acting.
As for gifts and kind gestures of that sort, they can definitely be a sign he really is sorry about what happened but pay attention to the intention behind them.
If he goes overboard on the presents and perks it can actually be a sign that he’s trying to buy your forgiveness.
8) He doesn’t try to sext or distract you from what he did
One of the things a man will do when he’s just trying to slam through a half-assed apology and play around with you is sext.
He’ll use the sexual chemistry you have to try to derail any serious discussion and distract you from how bad things are.
He’ll use sex as a happy pill, in other words, and as a way to dodge his own responsibility for the problems you’re having.
This might provide a few moments of pleasure or some late night texting sessions that get hot, but I guarantee that in the end you’ll be pissed off that you let him seduce you digitally instead of owning up to how he’s hurt you.
This penitent guy may flirt and let you know he’s still attracted to you.
But he won’t use that as a cudgel to hide from how he’s let you down or hurt you.
9) He tries to become a better person for you
Whether or not you get back together or work through the problems in your relationship, one of the biggest undeniable signs he feels guilty for hurting you is that he tries to become a better person.
His qualities that led to the problems, whether it’s dishonesty, laziness, egotism or anger, are something he tries to work on.
Self-awareness and paying attention to how he impacts others become his new focus.
10) He wants another chance (but he won’t force it)
As I said, a man who is truly sorry for what he did will never force you to take him back.
At the same time, if he still has feelings for you, he’ll do his best to straightforwardly let you know and not play any games.
Of course, that’s only the beginning of the struggles ahead…
We all know the truth:
Relationships are damn hard.
Even when two people are an amazing match, there are so many life situations and problems which can come up.
Is your relationship stuck?
Sometimes you’ve hit a wall and you really don’t know what to do next.
I know that I was always skeptical about getting outside help, until I actually tried it out.
Relationship Hero is the best site I’ve found for love coaches who aren’t just talk.
They have seen it all, and they know all about how to tackle difficult situations like knowing whether an ex is actually sorry for what he did.
Personally, I tried them last year while going through the mother of all crises in my own love life.
They managed to break through the noise and give me real solutions.
My coach was kind, they took the time to really understand my unique situation, and gave genuinely helpful advice.
In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.
11) He’s an emotional mess
This is not a sign that you’re going to like, but it’s still a sign.
One of the undeniable indicators he feels guilty for hurting you is that he’s an emotional mess.
If he’s truly sorry, he’s not going to take that out on you or expect you to fix it. But you will be able to see that he’s definitely not OK.
This can manifest in many ways including:
- He becomes moody and withdrawn with a low energy level
- He apologizes constantly and thinks of himself as an awful person
- He loses confidence in his work or personal projects and begins doubting himself
- He’s confused, “spaced out” and generally seems to be doing very badly in his emotions and thoughts.
If he’s an emotional mess, it’s not on you to forgive him or help “fix” him:
That’s the path to a toxic codependent connection.
But nonetheless, you can be sure it’s a sign that he’s really feeling bad about the ways he let you down or hurt you.
12) He makes amends to your friends
Another one of the undeniable sign he feels guilty for hurting you is that he makes amends to your friends and family.
If he let you down or hurt you in ways which also affected other people, he’ll go out of his way to apologize to them and make up for what he did.
For example, if he lied to them about what he was doing, or involved them in your problems, he’ll want to make up for that.
Maybe he often vented to your best friend about what a bad partner you were and now wants to come clean.
Maybe he borrowed money from your friends and misled you about why and now he wants to not only pay them back but also apologize sincerely for his missteps.
Whatever it is he did to upset or harm your friends, he’s going to apologize to them and seek them out to make amends for what he did.
13) He’s being radically honest about what he did
Another one of the crucial and undeniable signs he feels guilty for hurting you is that he’s radically honest.
He won’t try to hide what he did or downplay it.
Nor will he skirt around it or always try to change the subject when you’re together.
No matter how uncomfortable he is about what happened, he’s going to be honest about it and own up to his shortcomings.
If what he did involves legal consequences or even included a divorce or custody battle, he’ll own up to it.
He won’t use being sorry to try to dodge alimony or child support.
And he won’t back down from the consequences even if there could be a way for him to weasel out of it.
14) He takes on more responsibility
Another one of the undeniable signs he feels guilty for hurting you is that he takes on more responsibility.
He goes the extra mile to help out and be there for you, whether it’s helping out around home or doing you a favor you really need.
As I’ve emphasized, this is never tied to you getting back together with him or forgiving him. It’s something he does because he truly feels awful for what he did.
Even the smoothest player and most cynical guy sometimes treat a woman in ways he regrets.
And when that happens, making it up to you and doing what he can to say sorry will mean the world to him.
Even if he can’t ever “fix” what went wrong, he can do his best to make your life a little bit easier in any way he can.
At least it’s better than nothing…
15) He takes things less personally
When you hurt someone and are very sorry about it, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ready to forgive or hear about how bad you’re feeling.
Think of this example:
When a childhood or teen bully gets in trouble or feels bad about what he or she did and goes to say sorry to their victims, it is not always a smooth process.
Who’s to say the victims should grant forgiveness or even hear this person out?
Just because somebody is ready to say sorry doesn’t mean those they have hurt are ready to hear it.
It also does not mean that the person hearing about your penitence and desire to make it up to them is going to react in a chill way.
A man who’s truly sorry for hurting you is going to know that you might react badly to him staying in the picture.
And he’ll do his best not to take it personally if you curse him out, tell him to f*ck off or respond in ways which are pretty aggressive.
Because he realizes how off base he is and what he did wrong, he won’t expect anything from you.
He’ll know that this is not about him it’s about how he hurt you. And he’ll do his best not to take your anger or sadness personally if it comes back hard against him.
16) He’s not dodging or shifting blame for any consequences
When a guy isn’t really sorry for hurting you, he always tries to hedge his bets.
This can include partly blaming you, complaining that he’s not to blame because of problems he was going through, or saying that you treated him in ways that made whatever went wrong inevitable.
This is gaslighting and a fake apology.
But you also have to watch out for a guy who apologizes and is sorry but then immediately after you accept his apology he thinks he can go back to being a total jerk again.
That actually brings us to our next point.
When a man is really sorry for hurting you and means what he’s saying about treating you better…
17) He avoids hurting you again
It’s very important to realize that as sorry as this guy may be, it all really adds up to nothing if he just goes and hurts you once again.
The ultimate and most important sign that he feels guilty for hurting you is extremely simple:
He doesn’t hurt you again.
Now, granted that we can’t always predict and control what happens in life or the ways we may upset someone.
But at the very least, he refrains from anything in his control that he knows would hurt you in any way.
Is it too late now to say sorry?
It’s never too late for him to say sorry.
The question is whether you’re going to accept his apology and whether you want a second chance.
Don’t let anyone push you into that, and don’t blindly follow your feelings.
Reflect, ruminate and meditate on where you’re at in your life and what’s best for you.
Sometimes a relationship has truly just run its course and is over.
Other times there’s still a spark and an ember you want to rekindle.
As I recommended earlier, the relationship coaches at Relationship Hero can really help you clarify what’s going on.
At the end of the day, believe in yourself, know that you’re worth it and think carefully before you give this guy a second chance.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
I know this from personal experience…
A few months ago, I reached out to Relationship Hero when I was going through a tough patch in my relationship. After being lost in my thoughts for so long, they gave me a unique insight into the dynamics of my relationship and how to get it back on track.
If you haven’t heard of Relationship Hero before, it’s a site where highly trained relationship coaches help people through complicated and difficult love situations.
In just a few minutes you can connect with a certified relationship coach and get tailor-made advice for your situation.
I was blown away by how kind, empathetic, and genuinely helpful my coach was.