Why do I feel so guilty? I did nothing wrong!

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Well, lately I’ve been feeling really guilty…like I’ve cheated on my boyfriend. One of the things I feel guilty about is smiling at this one particular person. I was in a club and this guy smiled at me, so I smiled back… But, I didn’t approach him, or want to approach him. But, later I found out that my boyfriend didn’t want me to be there. The other thing I feel bad for is playfully, not in a flirting way, pushing another guys leg because he said something silly. I had no interest in this guy. If he would’ve tried anything on me, I know for a fact that I would have turned him down… and I even have told my boyfriend about this but I still feel bad about it. I have been under alot of stress about other things lately.. I’m thinking maybe that could have something to do with it. But, why do I feel so guilty? I don’t understand…. I don’t think thats considered being disloyal..

A: You certainly aren’t being disloyal and you really have nothing to feel guilty about. None the less, feelings are usually about something. Without knowing more, I can only make a couple of guesses. See if either of these make sense to you. You say you’ve been under a lot of stress lately. Is it possible that this “guilt” is helping you avoid dealing with other things? Maybe you need to do something to directly deal with whatever is stressing you. Or – maybe you are feeling more tied down by your relationship than you want to admit. You’re only 18. Maybe you want the freedom to be single for awhile but your boyfriend is such a great guy that you can’t bring yourself to think about it. That’s a tough one. It’s hard to leave a relationship when the other person hasn’t done anything wrong. But it’s less hurtful to have a honest talk about it instead of picking meaningless fights.
I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 May 2007

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2007). Why do I feel so guilty? I did nothing wrong!. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/05/20/why-do-i-feel-so-guilty-i-did-nothing-wrong/