Exploring the demographics of cheating in America, the General Social Survey notes that it is men who are more likely to cheat than women. Once a woman has faced a betrayal by the person she loves the most, the foremost question on her mind will always be – will he cheat again? If he was once a cheater, would he always be a repeater?
To dive deep into the matter, we had a conversation with life coach and counselor Joie Bose, who specializes in counseling people dealing with abusive marriages, breakups and extramarital affairs. We were curious, “Why does a person feel the urge to cheat in a relationship?”
Joie believes, “People usually don’t plan on cheating in advance. In the first stage, it happens in the spur of the moment. Then, the feeling of a new relationship gives a thrill. It fulfills what is absent in the existing relationship. However, there are certain circumstances that prevent one from breaking up with their partner. That’s the point when cheating begins.”
Unfortunately, men (and women) frequently do the unthinkable, and in the process, end up dealing with heartbreak, shock, guilt, bitterness in relationships, and myriad other emotions. The most crippling impacts of cheating in a relationship are the lingering trust issues. Let’s talk about whether once a cheater is always a cheater.
Related Reading: 9 Reasons Cheating Husbands Stay Married
Will He Cheat Again? What Statistics Say
Being cheated on can be devastating but guess what? You are not the only one. From the morality perspective, cheating is obviously a strict no-no, but all over the world, infidelity appears to be a norm rather than the exception. The serial cheater statistics are indeed appalling:
- 40% of unmarried relationships and 25% of marriages see at least one incident of infidelity, according to studies
- According to another study, 70% of all Americans indulge in some kind of an affair sometime in their married life
- Nearly one-fifth of people under 30 had a sexual relationship with someone other than their partner, as per research
- As per another study, people most commonly (53.3%) reported cheating with close friends, neighbors, or acquaintances
Related Reading: What Is Revenge Cheating? 7 Things To Know
So, if you look at the marriages around you, a cheating spouse is not something that would shock you anymore. But is there any way to find out they are going to cheat again? Here are some interesting statistics that will help you in answering, “Will he cheat again if I take him back?”:
- One 2016 study found that among people who had cheated in former relationships, 30% cheated on their current partners
- Another study found that those who were unfaithful in one relationship had three times the odds of being unfaithful in the next
- Research says 45% of those who reported cheating on their partner in the first relationship reported also doing so in the second
But reading the stats about people who cheated multiple times just isn’t enough. After all, how can you spot the warning signs that he cheated multiple times? If you do think your partner has the proclivity to cheat on you again, then we have got your back. Let’s explore the factors that contribute to serial cheating and ways to identify the clear signs that he will cheat again.
Related Reading: Fixing A Toxic Relationship – 21 Ways To Heal TOGETHER
Common Traits Of A Serial Cheater
Joie happens to think one of the most common traits of a serial cheater is dissatisfaction and unhappiness. She says, “If there is a reason to feel unhappy in the present relationship and if that state of unhappiness continues to grow, the probability of cheating becomes more and more.”
1. Zero accountability
Serial cheaters are always under the impression that cheating tendencies are something they are afflicted with. They’ve got no control over it and they simply can’t help it. In fact, you’d be surprised by the shocking things cheaters say when confronted. The fault lies anywhere and everywhere except with them.
2. Blame games
All serial cheaters are skilled at the art of gaslighting in relationships. They manipulate under the guise of love and leave their partners feeling inadequate or responsible for the cheating. A serial cheater would peg their infidelity on their partner. Statements like “You were never home for me” or “You did not satisfy my physical needs” are quite commonly heard. Of course, this is very twisted and toxic.
3. “It’s not that big a deal!”
Of all the signs of a serial cheater, this one is the worst. They downplay the gravity of the situation by trying to normalize cheating. They think this is common and such things happen every now and then. Needless to say, this infuriating perspective causes their partners to go through a lot of pain. They are unable to grasp why a cheating person shows no remorse.
Did any of these signs resonate with what you’re experiencing in your relationship? Is your partner exhibiting them too? You already know the statistics on cheaters cheating again. But if you want to get further clarity on whether your man will cheat again, go through the 11 signs you need to be alert for.
11 Signs He Will Cheat Again
When Summer had been cheated on by Joe, she was completely devastated. It took her a good six months to completely forgive him but this did not make her careless with her heart again. If anything, it taught her to be more vigilant and alert so as to not get hurt again. She started noticing a year later that he had grown distant again and was spending far too many late hours at the office – the very initial signs he will cheat again.
Summer was not going to just stand back and watch him execute the same old tricks to make her a fool again. She confronted him. She knew the importance of forgiveness in relationships but enough was enough. This was the final chance and he had blown it. So, Summer decided that walking away was probably the best for her.
If you have gone through something similar before and are trying to work on your relationship, it does not hurt to keep an eye out. Just be subtle and not overly suspicious. Because if he is making genuine amends to fix the relationship, your reactions might chase him away.
Before we get into the signs he will cheat again, let’s once go through the most important indications that Joie stresses so much: “Notice if he is secretive about his whereabouts recently or if his actions and words are not matching anymore. Is he being extra loving and attentive? Do you think he is spending way too much time in the washroom? Is he overly protective about his phone privacy all of a sudden? And finally, if he is not honest about his spending habits, it’s time to be alarmed.”
Related Reading: Cheating In A Long-Distance Relationship – 18 Subtle Signs
1. He has cheated in his past relationships
It is often said that a partner’s past behavior shouldn’t bother us and it’s only the present that matters. But if he has cheated on his previous partners and then you too, then there is a deeper pattern at work here. Like an evil attraction to this disgraceful habit, he may fall back into the same loop. If a man cheats more than once, your partner is a compulsive liar.
2. He doesn’t communicate well
Maybe he is truly sorry for what he did but are you convinced that it’s over? It is easier to trust men who communicate their needs and deeds openly. Some men prefer to keep their feelings bottled up, perhaps for the fear of hurting you or because they have something to hide. Sorry, that’s not a good excuse.
There goes one of the signs he will cheat in the future. If he wants to make a new beginning, he should be honest and be able to convince you that he regrets cheating on you. Otherwise, the issues will continue to fester. Both he and you should spell out your relationship expectations during the reconciliation process.
3. Keeping secrets is one of the signs he will cheat again
Regina Solomon (name changed) suffered due to her husband’s secret affair for years. They somehow reconciled after a huge fight but things have not been the same again. “What irks me most is his tendency to keep things from me. I just find it difficult to trust him when he is evasive,” she says.
One of the signs of a cheating husband is that you catch him lying about the little things, on a routinely basis. Here are some signs that someone is more likely to cheat:
- He is obsessed with password-protecting his devices
- His phone is always kept face down
- He goes to a corner to pick up some calls/Does not pick up calls when you are around
- He gets defensive and angrily says, “How dare you look at my email?”
- He hides his WhatsApp texts (or DMs on social media accounts) from you
- He carries his devices around like a limb, lest you chance upon something he doesn’t want you to
Related Reading: How To Deal With A Lying Husband?
4. The ‘other woman’ is still a part of the equation
Even if an affair is over, its shadow looms large for a period. Only time can heal the pain but how can it ever stop if your husband continues to meet the other woman on the sly? If he continues to keep in touch with his affair partner for any reason (maybe they are colleagues or have some ties that can’t be broken), it shows a certain insensitivity on his part. And, hence one of the signs he will cheat again. You need to figure out how to make the other woman go away.
It most certainly won’t assuage your doubt regarding the all-important question – will my husband cheat again? “If you forgive your partner for his infidelity, his cutting off ties with the other woman is non-negotiable,” says Maansi Harish, a Mumbai-based counselor, adding, “You should never compromise on your self-respect.”
Joie also says, “If the other woman/man remains, then it just becomes awkward and the probability of them cheating again increases. They share a comfort zone and an equation that fulfilled them in the first place, remember? This is an unhappy and uncomfortable situation. The cheated will always be suspicious.”
5. He is not ready to go the extra mile
How to regain trust after cheating? Psychologist Nandita Rambhia says, “After committing a huge mistake, it is important to acknowledge that there has been damage. This can be a sensitive topic but it must be addressed. A lot of empathy is needed, from the person who has caused emotional damage, to acknowledge that he/she has been responsible for the distress of the other partner. It is important to give space and have a lot of patience and perseverance.”
So, when a man is embarrassed about his indiscretion, he should do everything he can to win your trust and make you feel loved. He should do whatever it takes to make you feel secure. Think about it. Is your man putting in that effort? Is he making you feel valued and respected? If the answer is ‘No’, it is one of the definite signs he will cheat again.
6. His body language is deceptive
Forensic clinical psychologist Shincy Nair Amin says, “Researchers have concluded that men who stray cannot keep a poker face and can be predicted by a decent degree of accuracy but interestingly women who cheat are pretty much impossible to read.” You can take this quick quiz to tell if he is lying about cheating:
- Do you notice hesitation in his speech? Yes/No
- Does he blink rapidly or sweat while trying to come up with a believable story to cover his tracks? Yes/No
- Have you observed him exaggerating a simple story? Yes/No
- Do you often find him avoiding eye contact while talking to you? Yes/No
- Does he around the bush trying to lie about their whereabouts? Yes/No
- Do you find him restless or fidgety when he talks to you? Yes/No
If you have answered in the affirmative to any three of the above questions, chances are that you have cheating spouse evidence. Paying close attention to his body language (like their voice suddenly cracking or becoming high-pitched) is one tip on how to tell if your partner is lying about cheating.
7. He is ‘extra-friendly’ with other women
If you constantly find him flirting with his female friends (even after you’ve told him how uncomfortable it makes you feel), then he is not putting in the required effort to make this relationship work. This behavior is one of the signs he disrespects you. It is also one of the signs of someone who is more likely to cheat.
“I hate it when my husband tries to act fresh with a woman. His dire need for external validation is embarrassing but he calls it harmless flirting. Can that be considered cheating?” asks Bela Biel, a housewife. Maansi says this is where boundaries come into the picture. “If he is indulging in behavior that you don’t approve of, again and again, it’s a sign he won’t stop,” she adds.
Related Reading: 15 Signs Your Spouse Takes You For Granted
8. He plays the victim card
Despite your fragile state of mind, observe his attitude and words when you confront him about his cheating. Responsibility in relationships is all about showing accountability. Maybe, you made some mistakes too but if he blames you and you ONLY and is not willing to acknowledge the role that he played, he is going to cheat again and justify it in the exact same way.
Joie says, “In such cases, the person needs professional counseling to help him come out of this denial. He will try to shift the blame and play the victim card. So, you have to remove all chances of him becoming the victim. Accountability comes spontaneously. It cannot be forced on someone.” Every relationship has its ups and downs but it is rarely one person’s fault.
9. He gaslights you
Does he call you a ‘crazy woman’ every time you express your insecurity? Calling you too sensitive/paranoid is a classic method for blame-shifting. Cheaters tend to such gaslighting techniques to make you doubt your own reality and trivialize your feelings. So, if he’s not offering you the required assurance/manipulating you instead, the honest answer to “Will he cheat again if I take him back” is ‘Yes’.
10. The catalysts that fueled the cheating incident have not been fixed
In Joie’s perspective, “Once a cheater, always a cheater” is not necessarily true. She adds, “Cheating is a mere outcome of unfavorable circumstances. If the circumstances change eventually, then it won’t lead to cheating any further. But if the catalysts that led to cheating in the first place remain the same, the act of cheating can be repeated.” As she points out, a person looking for emotional support can be one of the types of cheaters.
Maybe he cheated because you were emotionally unavailable. Or maybe because he was never able to express his unmet needs in an open, honest, and transparent manner. If these issues are still present, then he might end up finding his escape in infidelity again, instead of fixing things in a healthy way. So, you need to hold your end of their bargain and make efforts too. A healthy relationship requires team work.
Related Reading: How To Catch A Cheating Partner – 9 Tricks To Help You
11. He was raised in a dysfunctional family
Maybe, he witnessed one or both his parents cheating multiple times while growing up. Or maybe he was raised in an environment wherein hiding the truth was the norm. His dishonesty has a lot to do with his childhood trauma. One of the signs he will cheat again is the lack of a genuine attempt to fix those deeper wounds.
- If your partner cheated in his past relationships too, it’s a major red flag
- Gaslighting is one of the common traits of serial cheaters
- Deceptive body language/secretive nature are other warning signs
- It’s a good sign if he is going the extra mile to make you feel loved
- You don’t need a relationship hero, you just need someone who is guilty and sorry enough
- For a happy relationship, even you will have to do things the right way
- Always trust your gut feeling and seek professional help
Finally, the period immediately after the cheating truth hits is going to be a rough patch for a couple. It can determine the future course of the relationship. Hence, a couple needs to traverse with care. But as always, both should have a common aim – to rebuild trust even though we understand that you are scared he will cheat again. But it is time to move forward and ensure that what happened before, will not occur again.
On how to overcome the horrible feeling of being betrayed and how to connect with a cheating man who has hurt you, Nandita advises, “Sometimes, infidelity by a married man triggers issues that the couple is unable to resolve on their own. In such cases, it helps to seek guidance from someone more experienced, mature, and non-judgmental. It can be a family member, friend, or professional counselor.” If you’re looking for support, our counselors from Bonobology’s panel are just a click away.
People cheat for various reasons. It could be incompatibility, attraction to someone else, and dissatisfaction with the current relationship, or because the person is a compulsive liar and cheater.
It can get difficult to forgive his past behavior but if he is genuinely regretful and is willing to put in the effort to rebuild trust, and is keen to not let you go, you may give him another chance. But if a man cheats more than once, then there are deeper patterns at work.
Coping with betrayal is very tough. You have to take the next step – either leave the relationship or give your partner a second chance weighing in several factors ranging from his tendency to hurt you to whether there is a likelihood that he will cheat again.
If he is repentant and vows never to stray again, if he shows signs of remorse and you are convinced that it was a genuine mistake, then you may consider taking him back again. No matter what other people say, always listen to your gut feeling; it will never lead you astray.