Is It True That a Cheater Never Changes Its Spots?


We’ve all heard the old phrase, “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” Is it true?

And how can you tell if the man you’re dating could be a serial cheater?

The subject of infidelity makes a lot of us twitchy. If you’ve even been betrayed, you know how it feels to have your trust shattered like a broken mirror. You want to be able to spot a cheater and avoid him like the plague. You deserve happiness in your romantic relationships, not the kind of disappointment and heartbreak that comes when your partner destroys your relationship.

Although some cheaters don’t change their spots, some do. A study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior surveyed single people and found those who cheated in one relationship were three and a half times more likely to cheat again. Notably, most people said they had cheated once but never cheated again. Since the results were self-reports, their accuracy might be questionable, since people aren’t always comfortable admitting they cheated.

People who cheat tend to have issues with relationships, maturity, and empathy. Sometimes, cheating is a symptom of a more significant problem, like drug abuse, mental health disorders, or something even more sinister. In extreme cases, frequent offenders may have a serious form of sexual compulsiveness. The symptoms of this disorder are engaging in risky sexual practices, having multiple sex partners, or having sex while high or drunk. You don’t want to be in a relationship with someone who engages in these practices. They can give you an STI, for one thing. And they’ll break your heart.

Although there are effective treatments and therapies for the core reasons for cheating, they require that the cheater wants to change and is willing to work hard to make it happen. So, just because you want a cheating partner to get help and change, that doesn’t necessarily mean he will be willing to do the difficult work needed to make that happen. If he does get treatment, it can take a long time to see significant results and improvement.

So, you have good reason to be concerned if you’re involved with someone who’s cheating on you or has cheated on their partners in the past. Only you can decide if the relationship is worth it. But if you want to continue, be prepared for a bumpy ride. Rather than “forgive and forget,” it’s best to address your unhappiness with the situation head-on. If he’s not willing to get help, that probably spells trouble, so be sure you get help for yourself too because dealing with this incredibly difficult situation requires a lot of emotional support.

The best course of action for dealing with a cheater might be to avoid them in the first place. But how can you tell if a guy is bad news in the faithfulness department?

1-  Take your time.

The best tool to help you determine if a guy is going to cheat on you is time. It’s simple, boring, and might not seem very sexy, but it works. When you are slow to get involved, you have the time to find out more about him and figure out what kind of problems he’s had in his past relationships.

At some point, the topic is bound to come up organically. That’s a better scenario for getting him to open up and be honest as opposed to you forcing the issue and asking a question that puts him on the spot. Maybe you’ll watch a movie about cheating or hear about a cheater in the news. Pay attention to his body language and whether he’s making good eye contact. Do you get the vibe that he’s being honest, or does he look kind of nervous?

Protect your heart. Let him prove to you that he’s worthy of opening your heart to him.

2-  Be honest with yourself.

When you meet a new man who seems perfect for you, you may tend to overlook some little signs that show a few cracks in his perfection.

If he’s checking out other women on your date, if he doesn’t seem to be very into you, or if his last relationship sounds like it was full of tension and conflict, pay attention. These are red flags.

He may not spell out for you in plain English that he cheated in his last relationship, but you may be able to pick up some clues of negative interactions and communication problems. Don’t assume everything will be different with you.

Be on the lookout for any possible signs that something is amiss. Does he lie to you? Does he put his phone face down when you’re around? Does he have good friends who cheat?

3-  Don’t overlook your history. 

Are you attracted to cheaters? The above-mentioned study also found that people whose partner cheated in their first relationship were twice as likely to report cheating in their next relationship. They were four times as likely to suspect their next partners of cheating.

Many women can be attracted to cheaters if they feel lonely and are in a hurry to get into a relationship. They may tend to overlook any warning signs, or just rush in so quickly that they don’t have time to find any. It’s also possible that if you have any fears of commitment, you may unconsciously choose a partner who can’t fully commit. If you’re scared of commitment, he’s a safe choice because he can’t commit.

If you have been with more than one cheating man, you may want to consider consulting a therapist or coach to explore why you choose the wrong men for you.

Bottom Line:

If he’s cheated once, there’s a greater chance he’ll cheat again. But it doesn’t mean he’ll always cheat again.

If you want to avoid getting burned by a cheater, take the time you need to get to know him before getting involved. Be honest with yourself about any warning signs and explore any reason you may have for getting involved with one.

Have you been involved with a cheater? Any ideas of how you might have known in the early stages? How will you keep from making a similar mistake again? Leave us a comment below.

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