Once A Cheater, Always A Cheater? (Should You Forgive A Cheater?)

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Here's what you need to know about cheating:


The saying goes “Once A Cheater, Always A Cheater”. But does it always hold true? Will a cheater always cheat? And should you forgive your boyfriend for cheating and try to salvage the relationship? The answers may surprise you…

Hi, I’m Amy North, relationship and love coach. Infidelity is, and always has been, one of the biggest obstacles to a happy and healthy relationship. But can it be overcome? In this video I’m going to cover how and when to move on from infidelity.

First off, let’s look at the data. Repeated studies show that even among married couples, cheating is relatively common: about 22% of men and 13% of women cheat. According to recent studies, even spouses who describe themselves as "happy" with their marriage have affairs. This does not make cheating okay but it’s important to understand that if you’ve been cheated on, you’re not alone. Many women have been subjected to cheating in a relationship and have managed to move on with or without their partner.

But what about the cheaters? A study of serial infidelity by the archives of sexual behaviour profiled 484 people through multiple relationships. The study found tha those who reported cheating--defined here as sex outside of their relationship--in the first relationship on record were three times more likely to report cheating in their next relationship when compared to those who did not report cheating in the first relationship.

While many do reoffend, this is not to say that most cheaters are repeat offenders. There are many factors that affect the likelihood of repeated cheating. And unfortunately not a lot of research has been done on this subject. So the truth is “Once A Cheater, Always A Cheater” is still up for debate.

This means that there’s no way to be certain that your partner will not cheat again. But here are some insights from relationship experts about how to move forward if you’ve been cheated on.

Genuine remorse is a sign of change

If you’re trying to decide if you can trust your partner again, you need to look for genuine remorse for cheating. This goes beyond just an apology. They need to show you that they regret their actions and are taking steps to change their behaviour. This means taking responsibility for what happened. They have to admit what they did, work to understand how it hurt you and express remorse for their actions. They need to have a plan to avoid cheating going forward and make an effort to fix the underlying problem that led to their cheating.

Intention is important

You have to both have a desire to make this work or it’s all for nothing. So remorse needs to be backed up by repeated actions that show both desire and evidence of change. It’s easy to express remorse but it’s another thing to follow through on that remorse to make a change. This looks different in different relationships but couples or individual counselling is HIGHLY recommended.

Circumstances matter

The specific circumstances of the cheating determine its severity and likelihood of being repeated.




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