We’ve all heard the saying, “once a cheater, always a cheater.” Is that really the case? While there are serial cheaters who have no interest in changing their ways, the old saying is not necessarily true for most people. Cheating is not an excusable offense, of course – but if two people are willing to work through the challenge, it’s possible to move past it. It’s also possible for someone who has cheated to refrain from it in the future with a little self-improvement.
Here are a few scenarios where it’s possible to work through infidelity:
Attitudes Towards Being In a Relationship Can Change
Sometimes, cheating occurs when someone isn’t emotionally invested in a relationship. Maybe they are still figuring out if monogamy is right for them, have a lackluster attitude toward commitment, or aren’t happy with their partner. Instead of breaking off the relationship, they cheat, forcing their partner to end it. While that’s never okay, it doesn’t mean the same behavior will continue down the road. After all, the culprit could simply be immaturity – they aren’t ready for a serious commitment.
If you’re currently with someone who cheated in the past because of these reasons, it doesn’t mean they will cheat again. Attitudes toward relationships can change over time, and just because they weren’t invested in past relationships doesn’t mean they aren’t fully invested in you!
You/Your Partner Are Willing to Put In the Work
Once a cheater isn’t always a cheater if the effort is there to make things right! Infidelity doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker if both you and your partner work on restoring trust. The cheater will have to understand what, if anything, drove them to infidelity in the first place, and address that need/insecurity/lack of commitment in a meaningful way. Successfully working through infidelity will require patience and open communication, so be honest with each other about what you need.
Differing Levels of Infidelity
Not all cheating is physical – emotional infidelity is just as devastating to a relationship. This occurs when a partner invests more emotional energy in someone outside of the relationship (often a close friend) than they do in their partner. Emotional infidelity can often lead to sexual infidelity, but even if it does not, it breaks the trust in a relationship in a similar way as physically cheating on someone.
People often find that recovering from emotional infidelity is more difficult than recovering from physical infidelity, because the connection is stronger and more long term. (As opposed to a one-time lapse in judgement.) Whether you’re dealing with emotional or physical infidelity, the length and frequency of the affair plays a big role in being able to move forward.
Reason for Cheating Goes Away
While cheating is never the answer, it is often justified by the cheater when needs are not being met inside the relationship – typically, sexual needs. Some believe they need a sexual outlet outside of a relationship or marriage if they are not feeling satisfied with their partner. By being open and honest about your sexual needs with each other, it takes away temptation and reduces the chance of infidelity occurring (or reocurring).
So, is “once a cheater, always a cheater” true? In short – not really. It does, however, depend on your situation and relationship. If you and your partner are willing to work through infidelity, it’s definitely possible – you know what’s best for you and your happiness, and that’s what’s most important!