Once a cheater, always a cheater?

I've been wondering, if someone cheats, do you think that they're always going to be a cheater? Is it really "once a cheat, always a cheat." or can they change?

  • ...always a cheat.
    Vote A
  • ...not always a cheat.
    Vote B
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OK, first off, you people DO know I wasn't asking about myself, right? You DO know that I was not coming here and asking "Will my cheating Boyfriend change?" don't you? This was an "in general" kind of question. To the best of my knowledge, I have never had someone cheat on me.


Most Helpful Guy

  • I find this question comes up a lot on this site. I've given pretty much the same response each time.

    Cheaters rarely change. Though I think they're more likely to change if they got dumped hard, and seriously f***ed hard for doing it, but even then I am of the opinion that it's selfish behavior , and won't likely change.

    I'll just repeat what I've said in the past.

    My experience is that while people can change, on average, they usually won't. In general. Not just cheaters. Most people don't change unless they really want to, or unless something big happened. Even then, it's generally unlikely, and the change typically happens quite slowly. With cheaters? Hell no. Cheaters are generally selfish by nature. They don't change. Especially if you forgive them.

    See, here's how I see it. If you forgive a cheater (for whatever reason), well then, then you have essentially just told some part of their brain that it's OK. I'm not saying in a literal sense. (Although, that could happen, too) I'm saying you forgive (and keep/take back) a cheater, then the cheater now knows that there is forgiveness. You have just told them that no matter what, there is a chance they can come back from this. This guarantees that it will happen again.

    However, I feel a swift kick to the curb sends a powerful message, and guarantees it won't happen again, to YOU. It might even get through that they screwed up. Doubtful. This is still betting against the spread, but it's more likely that the cheater who lost someone is going to change than a cheater who was forgiven for irreparably damaging the trust and very foundation of a relationship. Would you not agree?

    Now, you folks might read this and think that I am cold, cynical or unforgiving. Maybe, maybe not. I can tell you that I speak from experience. First and second hand. I have been cheated on loads of times by so very many of my girlfriends. I learned from that. I also learned from watching others. Friends who have been cheated on. Friends who have cheated. I've watched, and experienced it and I've seen, heard and read the stories from all over. (GirlsAskGuys included) I took note of the patterns.

    Sure, forgive all you like, but only after you've dumped their cheating asses. Forgive, but don't forget. It's important to be smart about it. There's a slim chance they can change. Personally, I think you have a slightly better chance of winning the powerball, twice, in a row.


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What Guys Said 49

  • IMO, cheating is either a huge one-time mistake, or it's something that will never stop, and you can tell the difference by the way someone reacts: if they are *genuinely* REPENTANT about their cheating, are aware of the pain they caused, and work very hard to earn trust afterward, then they'll probably not cheat again.

    If not, then they're just selfish, and no matter what they say, they'll have no problem justifying their decision to cheat again the next time an opportunity presents itself.

  • Humans fall into patterns. And more importantly, humans never change. So yes, if someone cheats on you once, they will cheat again. And if they cheat on you, they will cheat on someone else. Being able to cheat or be unfaithful to someone is not about what is right or wrong in that person's mind. It is about a moral stance that they have justified in their mind.

    If she leaves another guy for you, then she will leave you for another guy. I only made the mistake once and have since seen it hundreds of times.

    I know what you're thinking, but BatDoc, humans can change. And I say to you, no they can't. Humans can't change, they can only create scenarios which do not provide them with opportunities to repeat their patterns. I provide alcoholics as a prime example. Recovered alcoholics don't drink, not even a little bit. The reason is because they know if they start, they will fall back into their destructive patterns. Therefore, they create an environment that does not involve alcohol. They try to avoid bars or social situations where there is drinking. So you can't change a cheater, you can only create a scenario where they have no opportunity to cheat.

  • The short answer is no. The fact that a person cheated once will have NOTHING TO DO with the possibility that he might cheat again. Maybe he will, maybe he won't. It doesn't matter that he has done it before.

    People cheat because they don't really care about the other person or the relationship that they are currently in. They are either unhappy about something, or they don't have respect for the person they're with. This is why they end up cheating. Some people will actively go out and cheat, while others might just get caught up in a situation. They happen for different reasons, but they don't always happen.

    Let's say a guy is unhappy with his current girlfriend. One of his hot friends makes a move on him and he doesn't really feel like saying no BECAUSE HE IS UNHAPPY WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND. So he ends up cheating on her. THIS WOULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED IF HE WAS HAPPY WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND. It doesn't matter if he cheated before. Guys who have cheated before, but who ARE happy with their girlfriends, and respect them, ultimately won't cheat on them.

    • if he was unhappy ad had respect, he'd discus it, or break up, no one is forcing him to be in that relationship.

      cheating is a problem because its disrespectful. a person willing to cheat is willing to be disrespectful. even if they never cheat again, they still have it within them to be disrespectful.

      a person who cheats is untrustworthy for reasons of character. not specifics of immediate behavior.

    • Agreed with Toulouse. if you read "Not Just Friends" by Shirley Glass, you will see that even generally problem-free relationships can lead to cheating one on side because the person is entitled and disrespectful.

    • I agree with TimeAndTimeAgain, that sometimes what he says can happen. But I also agree with Toulouse, that there are also (majority) people like that, who in most circumstances have it in them to cheat again.

  • Everyone is capable of redemption.

    We just have to study their inclinations and their environment.

    A nice guy who works in a finance office with a bunch of jackals who take him to pickup bars and cheat on their spouses all the time in front of him may make it easier for him to slip and fail.

    A dog who goes to work in a church or charity or something, and ends up around uptight religious types may cheat anyway, out of spite. Just kidding. He may clean up his act. You never can tell with real dogs - the guys who cheated on everyone they ever dated. He may meet his Elanor, and keep his nose clean. See the movie "Gone in 60 Seconds." Or just Google Elanor and look at the Bullit Mustangs.

    Oh, sh*t, who cares? Elanor means the one that got away, or the one he's just irredeemably obsessed with.

    Some of us have slipped once or twice when relationships were really bad. Or we were really mixed up. We then go on to stay monogamous, because the guilt of those fails is enough to keep us clean.

    With women, I think it's similar, but with the caveat that women cheat for revenge much more often than guys do. So if it's worked for her in the past, and she uses it to be able to go back to her man and put up with whatever made her stray in the first place, she's going to continue that behavior with whatever guy she dates.

    I think.

    Who knows.

    • I've recently been studying more of the nature of fallibility, even maladaptive behavior, as a function of environment.

      If the person is in a permissive environment they have more of a probability of cheating, so I answered like I did.

      I feel the most important aspect of the person's integrity is going to come from their character, though. So I'd put a lot more weight on whether or not they've cheated before.

      Then study their rationale for claiming they're not going to cheat anymore.

  • 1. I believe in reforms, evolution etc so I voted 'B' :D

    2. Cheating as we refer to is generally referred to in relationships where we have sex i.e. stayin relationships, marriages etc

    3. There are so many faces to this that it's almost impossible to summarize it into one nutshell or answer

    4. If you have asked this question cause you believe that 'once a cheater will always be a cheater' I'm not surprised :)

    5. However, since we are referring to cheating as described in point 2 above, for me if my woman slept with another man or woman or otherwise it'd never bother me

    6. What will bother me is malacious intentions - THAT is what I term 'cheating' i.e. using ones trust to create material &/or physical harm

    7. The woman I very much love wooed me all the time till I didn't submit. She made so many statements and promises till I didn't. She probably did that cause it was more of a ego cause loads of people found her very attractive while I didn't have the time to pay attention to her. OK both of us are very attractive people. But again one fine day she dumped me lol - technically someone would call that cheating, but I don't. I never checked her messages or phone book or mails ever though I knew she had many relationships before me and also kept in touch with quite a few of them.

    8. Cheating can happen for reasons such as:

    8.1. Compulsive nature - unlikely to change

    8.2. Circumstantial - can / willing to change

    8.3. Players - will never change

    8.4. Clinical situation (can also connect to point 8.1.)

    9. Based on the above we can state that there's no thumb rule that 'once a cheater will always be a cheater'

    10. However, historically and that is how nature's made it men do tend to look beyond their relationship borders more in terms of physical intimacy than women cause also that men view sex and sexuality much more differently than women :)

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What Girls Said 42

  • Yes.

    I am extremely suspicious by nature so I would never EVER trust them again

    • Even if they believe that, why do you care?You're anonymous

    • I was mainly saying that to the many people answering as if I was asking about my own life. Because I was looking for an "in general" response. Like as in I was asking "in general do you think cheaters change?" or something similar. Not "should I take back my cheating boyfriend" or "Why did he cheat on me?" or anything like that. That's not a problem, and that wasn't what I asked.

    • Understood.

  • Well, from what I know, my boyfriend has cheated before in other relationships, but hasn't cheated on me, and looking at our relationship now, I doubt he will in the future. Therefore, I do believe that those that have cheated can change. Not all change, but a few do. At the beginning of my current relationship, I made sure that I made my boyfriend know where I stood on the topic of cheating, I let him know that I thought it was unforgivable, and the actions I would take if he cheated. I'm pretty sure he took me seriously, I'm still in a happy relationship of two years (and still going).

    Now, if I was ever in a relationship in which my significant other has cheated on me, then of course it would only be natural for my trust in him to be tarnished, therefore making it hard for me to believe that he wouldn't cheat again, but at the end, it is still possible for a cheater to break out of his old habits! just make sure (if you are in such a situation) that you limit the amount of times you forgive him. Good luck.

  • People can and do change, but not everyone is going to. I would say that this depends on the person, on their character, and on what they want. Some people are going to remain cheaters once they have cheated, while others will truly regret what they did, learn from it, and never cheat again.

  • When I was single, I used to say that all the time. Foolish of me I got into a relationship about a month before I was to leave for college 3 years ago. He was going to Florida and I stayed in NY. I didn't really know him like that. We just had mutual friends and both played tennis at a high level. So even though I didn't know him I wanted that perfect tennis relationship. But then he left for school and I moved on campus with no intention of getting into a relationship or being in one. To be completely honest I forgot I was in a relationship. We hardly spoke on the phone or texted and I was having the time of my life my freshman year. But then comes my current boyfriend. He was my best friend at that school and still is. Technically I didn't "cheat". The most that happened was he would sleep in my bed..no cuddling. no touching. Just 2 awkward dead looking bodies in my bed. I felt like I did the right thing by calling it off before it got real but my friends and my boyfriend say I did cheat. Would I do that again? NO! I was stupid enough to get into a relationship with a stranger anyways. So long story short do I believe that once a cheater, always a cheater? NOPE! Some people just have to find that special person.

  • Even if they change, can the trust ever be rebuilt? I believe once a cheater always a cheater if for no other reason that they have cheated the relationship of its trust and it can never be the same. My opinion, don't stick around to find out the answer to the question.

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