We have all heard the saying “once a cheater, always a cheater.” The phrase has been repeated for many decades; now people think it’s the truth. There are definitely habitual or serial cheaters out there who jump from person to person, but that is not applicable to every person or relationship. More often, there are people who cheat, feel deeply apologetic for their actions, and then get to work correcting their behavior.
So is “once a cheater, always a cheater” true? Not always, and we are going to discuss why in this article.
Is It True: Once A Cheater, Always A Cheater?
There is no denying how tempting it is to say a clear yes or no to answer this question. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t that easy. Whether considering anecdotes or science, the truth is that it depends on the person in question. Serial cheaters—those who cheat as if it were a hobby—undoubtedly exist. In fact, science has named what these habitual cheaters do “serial infidelity.”
Studies have found that when someone cheats in the past, they are certainly more likely to cheat again in subsequent relationships. Then there are the people with a high amount of relational self-awareness or the practice of understanding where you stand in an intimate relationship. They look at their infidelity as an opportunity for growth. These individuals are far less likely to cheat on you a second time.
The fact of the matter is that people and situations differ. You never really know for sure.
How Can You Tell If Someone Will Cheat Again?
If your partner or spouse decides to disclose that they have cheated in a past relationship (or you hear it from someone else), consider that a red flag. Do not assume that means the same result is going to happen and bow out. If your partner is blaming their ex for what happened, or they do not seem too remorseful about cheating, that tells you a bit more.
You can tell a lot about someone and their willingness to cheat by how much responsibility they take for their actions. No matter how you cast the light, infidelity is wrong. Even if the previous relationship was terrible, there is little justification for cheating.
Someone who is bound to cheat on you is going to say that it was the other individual’s fault.
What about the person expresses regret and is authentic when disclosing their unfaithfulness? That is better. When someone articulates that they made a mistake, it proves that they understand what they personally did wrong. They are not blaming anyone. They know how much pain they caused another person, and so they commit to never making the same mistake twice.
How To Recover From Infidelity & Ensure It Never Happens Again
While “once a cheater, always a cheater” is not always true, there are some things you can do to ensure that your spouse is never tempted to cheat again. Infidelity introduces a lot of chaos into your life, so it is important to commit to healing together. So long as you are both engaged in this journey—and your partner promises to invest time into healing themselves—you can move beyond their betrayal.
Here are some tips to prevent another bout of cheating:
- Attend couples therapy. Working with a therapist can help you move beyond the trauma and process the situation. Therapists are non-judgmental and give you both a safe place to openly express yourself. You will work together with the therapist to overcome relationship challenges that may have led to your partner cheating.
- Communicate. There is a good chance that communication between you two had not been the best prior to the affair. By building better communication skills now, you can be more honest with one another. Be sure to express how badly the cheating affected you.
- Build a growth mindset. By adopting the mentality of a survivor, you can press onward, even when things look bleak. Shift your focus away from what they did to you; think about how you can heal yourself.
- Become more self-aware. Relational self-awareness is important because you will be more aware of how your own actions affect your partner. You will also come to understand what changes need to be made in your relationship to avoid future mishaps.
- Develop healthy boundaries. Setting boundaries prevent obligations and ensure that your relationship remains healthy and loving.
Build A Better Relationship With Couples Academy
Is “once a cheater, always a cheater” true? It depends on the person. Some people are far more likely to turn around and cheat again. Furthermore, if your relationship is low commitment and you do not trust one another, it makes it easier for you or your partner to cheat. It is important, to be honest with one another. You should also consider attending couples therapy at Couples Academy. Our counselors can point you and your partner in the right direction, facilitating the conversations that help you both heal after infidelity. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our services.