How true is “Once a cheater, always a cheater”? Studies weigh in!

We all remember the messy drama between Khloé Kardashian and Tristan Thompson…he cheated on her 3 times (that we know of) despite the star’s attempt to forgive him.

“Once a cheater, always a cheater”—we have all heard the saying, but is there any smidge of truth to it? 

Yes, there is…

– A larger number of people have been cheated on, rather than doing the cheating.

It’s interesting to learn that more people have been cheated on as opposed to cheating on a significant other!

A survey by YouGov has found this: 63% of Americans claimed they had been cheated on and 33% claimed they were the cheater.

Men are more likely than women to cheat (20% vs. 13%) in marriages, according to data from the General Social Survey.

Being on the receiving end of infidelity is more common—the nature of said infidelity was either physical, emotional, or a combination.

– Will a cheater always cheat? This is what research suggests:

It’s a bit complicated because not *every* person who has cheated in the past will continue cheating in future relationships.

However, research shows that cheaters who reported their affair were 3x more likely to admit to a second affair.

45% of people who cheated in a prior relationship cheated again in their second one, while only 18% of participants who didn’t report cheating before, cheated in the second relationship.

Will a cheater always cheat This is what research suggests

What’s really interesting, though, is how people who have reported being cheated on in the past were 2x more likely to report being cheated on again.

22% of the respondents said they were cheated on by a second partner and 9% of them didn’t report any prior experiences.

As we all suspected, “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” isn’t that far off from the truth.

– Do people stick around for long after being cheated on?

Cheating in a relationship greatly harms the chances of it working in the long run, but how many people actually give the cheater a second chance?

The very same poll by YouGov shows that 54% of US adult citizens did not break up with their cheating partner.

Unless they deeply regret it and are not the cheating type, they will do it again and again for as long as you allow them to disrespect you!

If not, forgiving their mistakes would be the equivalent of binge-watching your favorite, sad TV series hoping for a more positive ending!

– Why do people cheat over and over again? Explaining serial cheaters.

Why do people cheat over and over again Explaining serial cheaters

Let’s get something out of the way: cheating isn’t a mistake but a decision the cheater makes.

Mistakes are unintentional, and affairs are carried out by people who are well aware of what their actions mean.

Some reasons may influence that sort of behavior:

1. The fear of commitment and intimacy.

The fear of intimacy and commitment is the reluctance to get close to someone (because of past relationship experiences or childhood trauma).

If present in a partner, they both stifle the development of a relationship and might be the reason why they cheat regularly.

A cheater might view an affair as an escape from their very real, serious relationship and could even be self-sabotaging their happiness.

2. Lack of love or falling out of love.

If the cheater does not truly love their partner, they might feel more inclined to cheat on them instead of setting them free.

Ultimately, it might come down to a lack of respect as well—some cheaters view themselves to be in a position of power, making them think cheating is their right.

3. Sexual or emotional dissatisfaction.

Cheaters who believe their sexual and emotional needs aren’t being met look for other people who get the job done.

Instead of communicating or breaking up with their s.o., the cheater instead forms multiple affairs throughout the duration of their relationship.

4. High libido.

People with high libido may or may not seek new sexual experiences with people other than their partners.

It’s not a matter of them feeling unsatisfied (their partner might be fulfilling their sexual desires), it’s a matter of giving in to temptations!

5. An attention-seeking personality type.

An attention-seeking personality type

If a person who’s in a committed relationship is the attention-seeking type, their thirst for external validation will push them to cheat.

Adventurers have a harder time controlling their impulses, and as a result, end up doing something that gives them excitement at the moment.

6. Unresolved relationship issues and anger.

Anger is actually one of the most popular reasons for cheating—two people have a fight, don’t work it out, and one of them cheats out of anger.

Whether it is a spur-of-the-moment affair or a much-intended one, some cheaters justify their actions by blaming it on their partner.

7 signs you shouldn’t ignore — will your partner cheat again?

Breaking up isn’t every couple’s response to discovering infidelity (as we already saw, most of them let bygones be bygones).

People stay together with their cheating partner in the hopes of them not repeating it again—how can they be sure, though?

Well, catching the cheater once is enough to make the paranoia linger forever; paranoia aside, these 7 signs suggest that a cheater is ready to do it again:

1. They started behaving the same way they did when they cheated.

They started behaving the same way they did when they cheated

A cheater’s routine consists of patterns; you know how they say history repeats itself?

If your partner has been acting similarly to how they did back then (e.g. pulling away, returning home late, hiding their phone, etc.), they could be cheating again.

Cheating behavior is quite peculiar because of how desperate cheaters are to hide their affairs—closely observe your partner if they trigger your Deja Vu!

2. They’ve already cheated way too many times.

If your partner keeps cheating on you despite promising you they’ll change, take it as a sign they’ll most likely never change.

They’re disrespecting your boundaries continually (which by now I’m sure they’re familiar with), and there comes a time when enough is enough!

Several cheaters feel comfortable betraying their docile partner because they know that, at the end of the day, they’ll forgive them.

3. They have not apologized properly to you.

Which in translation means that they don’t feel sorry for what they did—if they’re not willing to apologize, what makes us think a cheater will change?

  • Your cheating partner may be thinking that they’re not entirely to blame for their actions.

They might be making excuses like, “It’s not my fault we haven’t had sex in a while!”, and the sad part is they believe it.

4. They continue speaking to the people they cheated with.

This is a sign of both their inconsideration and openness to cheating again with the same people.

If a cheater were to truly regret being unfaithful, there wouldn’t be a need to beg them to cut contact with their affair partners.

5. They don’t hold themselves accountable.

And speaking of accountability…they don’t hold themselves accountable

You can always tell a cheater will do it again by their hatred for accountability—they do not take any sort of accountability whatsoever.

  • They stick by the idea of it not being their fault, don’t apologize, and refuse to reflect on what they did.

It’s not easy admitting our faults, but relationships require us to be selfless and step out of our comfort zone!

6. They refuse to improve your relationship.

We can’t help but assume that a relationship in which infidelity took place needs to be worked on by the cheater rather than abandoned.

You might be giving your all in terms of therapy, communication, or even “improving” yourself (as per the cheater’s request), but nothing.

Your s.o. does nothing to help, rather, they overturn all of your attempts and act childish.

7. They continue micro-cheating even though they promised they’d stop.

Micro-cheating is when a person in a relationship does little things to make their partner uncomfortable, such as:

  • Flirting with people;
  • Hiding the fact they’re in a relationship;
  • Giving more time and attention to an acquaintance rather than their partner, etc.

These actions are not enough to label them as “cheating” (by most people), so we categorize it as “micro-cheating”—aka overstepping clear boundaries.

– Can you trust someone again if they cheated once?

Yes, a cheater can and will win back your trust if they play their cards right, i.e. give their 100% in mending your relationship.

  • Communicate.

To make sure you’re both happy in your relationship and neither of you feels the need to stray away, make it a habit to talk about your feelings regularly.

People cheat when they’re angry, sexually frustrated, hurt, or skeptical, and communication might just remedy these feelings—not every time, though.

  • Attend couples therapy.

Being addicted to cheating is a real thing, and it’s a result of factors outside a relationship, such as trauma or a high sex drive.

If your partner loves you and wants to make things work, talk them into trying out couples counseling, specifically infidelity counseling.

Do cheaters regret it?

Some do, and some don’t…that’s life.

If I had to guess, I would say most cheaters don’t feel guilty because they saw and took the opportunity to cheat while knowing the consequences.

But that doesn’t mean every unfaithful person in the world is the same: I, for one, know of a lot of people who cheated while being in a not-so-good state of mind.

They regretted their actions deeply and even went ahead to fix their relationships.

Hope is never lost!

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