Why A Cheater Will Cheat Again?

September 14, 2023 |
Updated On: September 14, 2023
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In the intricate dance of love and relationships, we often find ourselves swaying through the challenging topography of betrayal and forgiveness. Healing wounds of betrayal, rebuilding love and trust, and granting second chances in love are profound journeys that many embark upon. However, the question that looms over these endeavors is a perplexing one: Why a cheater will cheat again?

In the rollercoaster of love, trust is the golden ticket. But once it’s been shredded by cheating in relationships, can you ever truly paste it back together? Do some people possess an innate propensity for deceit, or are there complex psychological factors at play?

Join us on a journey through the tangled web of human emotions, desires, and impulses as we attempt to decode the enigma of infidelity. In this blog, with the help of insights from psychologist Nandita Rambhia (MSc, Psychology), who specializes in CBT, REBT, and couple’s counseling; we’ll dive into the psyche of cheaters, exploring the reasons behind their actions and the odds of history repeating itself.

Is It True “Once A Cheater Always A Cheater?

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “Once a cheater, always a cheater,” thrown around in discussions about infidelity. It’s a catchy phrase that suggests that if someone has cheated in their previous relationship, they’re destined to repeat their unfaithful behavior in their subsequent relationships. But is this age-old axiom a universal truth, or is it an oversimplified view of a much more complex issue? Can a cheater be faithful? Are there any clear signs he will cheat again? How to survive infidelity in a relationship? These are some of the questions we’ll address while discussing betrayal in romantic relationships and how to cope with a partner’s infidelity.

As we delve into the intricacies of infidelity, we’ll soon realize that this question doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer. Human behavior is a puzzle with countless pieces, and infidelity is just one of them. People change, circumstances evolve, and relationships take unpredictable turns, sometimes leading to multiple affairs and relationships that come from cheating.

Related Reading: Do Cheaters Suffer? 8 Ways Infidelity Takes A Bigger Toll On The Culprit

Are Cheaters Likely To Cheat Again?

In a world where betrayal in romantic relationships is a common occurrence, this is a question that keeps relationship experts and couples alike tossing and turning at night: Are cheaters truly prone to repeat their unfaithful ways? Let us try and understand this question better through the lens of statistics and data exploring the likelihood of future infidelity and intent to cheat.

  • The Statistics: Studies have shown that the likelihood of a cheater cheating again is influenced by various factors. According to research conducted by the Journal of Marriage and Family, around 25% of people who cheat in one relationship will cheat in their next one. This suggests that, while there’s a significant chance of recurrence, it’s far from guaranteed. Although the reformed cheaters statistics are quite alarming, it would be quite counterproductive to jump to conclusions, especially when overcoming infidelity in a marriage is hanging in the balance.
  • Personality Traits: Psychologists have delved into the personalities of cheaters. Research from the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin suggests that individuals with certain personality traits, such as narcissism or a propensity for thrill-seeking, are more likely to repeat their cheating behavior
  • Relationship Dynamics: The Journal of Sex Research has explored the dynamics of relationships post-infidelity. Surprisingly, some couples actually report improved relationships after a cheating incident, with a renewed focus on communication and commitment

Related Reading: How To Regain Trust After Cheating: 12 Ways According To An Expert

So, what’s the verdict? Well, it’s clear that the “once a cheater, always a cheater” adage is an oversimplification of a complex issue but isn’t necessarily true, leaving us to ponder if trusting a partner after infidelity is a possibility. As Nandita points out, “The likelihood of the repetition of past infidelity varies greatly from person to person, depending on their individual traits and relationship circumstances.”

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7 Reasons For Serial Infidelity

Welcome to the heart of the matter, where we uncover the intriguing psychology behind serial infidelity. While some individuals might cheat once and never again, others find themselves trapped in a cycle of repeated betrayal. What drives these serial cheaters to break hearts and trust repeatedly?

Nandita says, “Serial cheaters, in general, have a lack of self-control, and are selfish. You’d feel like you’re dating a narcissist. They also thrive on the art of deception and getting away with it.” That being said, let’s explore seven compelling reasons that shed light on this perplexing behavior.

1. Thrill-Seeking Personality

Serial infidelity can be driven by a thrill-seeking personality. Some individuals are wired to crave novelty and excitement in their lives, and for them, the act of cheating provides an intense rush of adrenaline. The idea of sneaking around, maintaining multiple secret relationships, and constantly testing the boundaries of their primary partnership becomes an exhilarating game. This thrill becomes addictive, and the cheater may find it difficult to resist the lure of new conquests.

2. Lack of emotional fulfillment

Serial infidelity often arises from a deep emotional void within the cheater’s primary relationship. They may feel disconnected, unfulfilled, or emotionally neglected, and seek solace, intimacy, or emotional connection outside their partnership. The act of cheating can provide a temporary emotional respite, making the cheater feel desired, valued, and understood by their extramarital partner. This emotional fulfillment, albeit temporary, becomes a coping mechanism for the dissatisfaction within their current relationship.

Related Reading: Romantic Manipulation – 15 Things Disguised As Love

3. Commitment issues

Commitment phobia can be a significant factor in serial infidelity. Some individuals fear the idea of long-term committed relationships and the responsibilities that come with them. The prospect of settling down with one person for the rest of their life can trigger anxiety and restlessness, making it challenging for them to stay faithful. This fear of commitment can lead to a cycle of infidelity while leaving the current partner questioning if their unfaithful partner could ever transform from a cheating commitment-phobe to a reformed cheater (if any such thing even exists).

4. Insecurity and validation

Serial infidelity can be driven by deep-seated insecurities and a constant need for validation. Some individuals lack self-esteem and believe that they are not worthy of love or attention. Cheating becomes a way to boost their low self esteem temporarily. By engaging in multiple relationships, they can garner external validation and affirmation of their desirability. The attention and affection they receive from multiple sexual partners act as a salve for their fragile self-image.

5. Escaping relationship problems

Instead of confronting and addressing issues within their primary relationship, some serial cheaters use infidelity as a means of escape. Relationship problems, such as communication issues, unresolved conflicts, or unsatisfied sexual needs, can drive them to seek solace in the arms of others. The excitement of a new relationship distracts them from the difficulties they face at home, providing temporary relief. However, this escape mechanism only perpetuates the cycle of infidelity.

6. Opportunity and availability

Opportunity and availability play a significant role in serial infidelity. If a person frequently encounters situations where they can engage in extramarital affairs with little risk of discovery, the temptation becomes difficult to resist. Factors such as a permissive social circle, a workplace conducive to illicit relationships, or easy access to potential partners can create an environment where cheating is more likely to occur. When opportunities present themselves frequently, serial cheaters may rationalize their promiscuous sexual behavior, believing that it’s too convenient to pass up.

Reated Reading: 25 Gaslighting Phrases In Relationships That Are HARD to CALL OUT

7. Lack of consequences

The absence of significant consequences for their actions can encourage serial infidelity. If a cheater faces minimal accountability or experiences forgiveness and understanding from their primary partner, they may continue their behavior without a sense of remorse or guilt. When there are no tangible repercussions for their actions, the serial cheater stops caring if the primary Relationship remains healthy or not. This lack of accountability can embolden them to continue cheating, leaving their primary partner to wonder if trust can be rebuilt after cheating or if constant cheating is an inevitability.

Understanding these reasons behind serial infidelity provides insight into the complex motivations that drive individuals to engage in a chronic pattern of betrayal. It’s important to remember that each case is unique, and multiple factors may interact to perpetuate this behavior.

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What To Do If Your Partner Cheats Again

Infidelity and marriage/relationships can sometimes collide, leaving behind a trail of hurt and betrayal. Yet, amidst the turmoil, some choose the path of staying with a reformed cheater, believing in the possibility of redemption and renewal. Rebuilding a broken trust, overcoming betrayal in love, and restoring trust in a relationship become the guiding stars in their tumultuous journey.

For others, it is just too much to handle and they decide to say enough is enough and walk away. Healing from a partner’s betrayal once is heart-wrenching, but facing the same painful reality a second time can be an even more devastating blow. It’s a situation that can leave you feeling bewildered, hurt, and betrayed all over again, making it hard to trust a partner after infidelity.

Related Reading: 11 Things That Happen In Relationships Without Trust

Trusting again after cheating is like winning a massive battle, but when trust is broken, you not only develop an acute fright of trusting others, but you find it very hard to trust yourself. While the emotions that come with infidelity can be overwhelming, it’s essential to remember that coping with a partner’s infidelity is fundamentally important for your well-being and that you have choices and actions you can take to navigate this difficult situation. Trying and rekindling love after cheating, just walking away, and opting to get into an Open relationship are a few examples.

Let’s explore practical steps and considerations for dealing with the heartache of a partner cheating again and surviving infidelity as suggested by Nandita.

  • Take time to understand your emotions and whether you want to continue the relationship
  • Initiate an honest conversation with your partner about their actions and your feelings, including what you think needs to be done if overcoming hurt and betrayal is something you both would like to move forward to
  • Clearly define general and emotional boundaries and expectations for rebuilding trust after infidelity
  • Prioritize self-care to maintain emotional well-being
  • Reflect on whether the relationship is worth salvaging. Whether it is worth rebuilding or should you focus on starting anew and healing a wounded relationship with yourself
  • Trust your intuition and make decisions that prioritize your happiness
  • Understand the potential consequences of staying or leaving. Each choice comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities, be it relationship recovery after cheating, or leaving the cheater once and for all
  • Lean on friends and family for emotional support, as you don’t have to wander through the complexities of the infidelity recovery stories alone
  • Develop a plan for moving forward, whether together or separately. Multiple paths can lead to healing and personal growth
  • Consider couples therapy or counseling with a relationship expert to address underlying attachment issues, heal wounds of betrayal, and gain insight into the psychology of serial cheaters

Related Reading: 11 Warning Signs Of Lack Of Emotional Connection In Relationships

Can People Change After Cheating?

Facing infidelity can be heart-wrenching, but is there hope for change? Can a cheater be faithful? The answer? Well, it’s a bit of a seesaw. On one hand, you’re dealing with trust issues after cheating, while on the other you might desperately want your relationship to work as it once used to, desperately hoping for signs of a remorseful cheater.

Nandita says, “I would like to believe that each person has the capacity and capability to change if they really want to.” Some cheaters really dive into self-reflection, seeking therapy or counseling, and genuinely wanting to change. They work hard, learn from their mistakes, and become more empathetic and self-aware. You can call these the signs of a reformed cheater if you will. But here’s the reality check: change isn’t a guarantee. It’s not a quick fix, and some may slip up again despite their best intentions.

Related Reading: 23 Signs Of Emotional Invalidation In A Relationship

In sailing through the fiddly waters of infidelity and change, it’s essential to strike a balance between hope and realism. While people can change, it requires dedication, relational self awareness, and ongoing effort. Whatever path you choose, remember that your happiness and well-being should always be the top priority.

Key Pointers

  • Understanding why cheaters cheat again involves exploring the intricacies of human behavior and emotions
  • Various factors including thrill-seeking, emotional voids, commitment issues, insecurity, escapism, opportunity, and consequences, shed light on repeated cheating patterns
  • Practical steps include self-reflection, open communication, setting healthy boundaries, self-care, evaluating the relationship, trusting your instincts, and seeking support
  • People can change after cheating, but it requires effort, self-awareness, and a balance between hope and realism, with your happiness as the priority

In the realm of relationships, few things are as harrowing as confronting the specter of infidelity. It’s a gnawing doubt that can keep you up at night, a nagging question that makes you wonder, “Can trust be rebuilt after cheating?” We’ve ventured deep into this emotional labyrinth to seek answers, and what we’ve uncovered is a tapestry of human complexities.

As you ride this rollercoaster of emotions, remember that relationships are as unique as the individuals in them. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Forgiving a partner’s past mistakes is no easy feat, neither is walking away from a long term relationship. Trust your instincts, prioritize your happiness, and always keep the golden ticket of trust in sight. Whether you choose to rebuild or embark on a new path, your well-being is the compass guiding you through this rugged terrain. In matters of the heart, your happiness should always take center stage.

This article has been updated in Sept, 2023


1. Can serial cheaters change?

Humans can indeed grow and change. Some serial cheaters engage in self-reflection, seeking therapy, and genuinely desiring transformation. They work on changing themselves and rebuilding a broken relationship, learn from past mistakes, and develop empathy and self-awareness. However, the reality is less certain. Change isn’t guaranteed; it takes time, and despite sincere intentions, relapses can occur.

2. Can a one time cheater change?

Yes, a one-time cheater can change. Not everyone who cheats is a serial cheater. People can learn from their mistakes, grow, and become more self-aware. However, the key lies in their genuine desire to change and their commitment to addressing the underlying issues that led to the infidelity. Change is possible but not automatic; it requires effort and introspection.

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