Do cheaters always cheat? The likelihood of a partner repeating infidelity depends on 7 factors. So, once a cheater, always a cheater? You may have heard the phrase “Once a cheater, always a cheater”… but research shows that this isn’t always the case. While individual studies suggest that two-thirds of cheaters become repeaters (serial cheaters), it’s important to note that the likelihood of a partner repeating infidelity depends on seven factors. These factors include maturity, influence, personality, acceptance of fault, regret, neglect, and the final outcome. Let’s look at each of these in detail.
Age is a big factor in cheating. In fact, it could be said that infidelity is partial to immaturity. A study consisting of 145 students (average age 23) found that nearly 70 percent had thought about cheating on a current partner, while 41 percent had completed the deed. Fast forward to age 27, and 54 percent reported being tempted, with 39 percent going through with the act. The magic age when men and women begin to settle towards a 25 percent infidelity rate is after 30. When young couples are pushed, they often try to avoid commitment by cheating, but this is often outgrown with maturity.
While not a big causal factor, studies show that there is some correlation between the types of friends a couple has and their likelihood of cheating. According to these studies, 77 percent of cheaters have close friends who are also engaging in some form of unfaithfulness to their spouse/partner. If you want a partner to stay faithful, it’s best to offer them the influence of other happy couples. You may not be able to choose your partner’s friends, but you can choose the couples you spend the most time with.
The avoidance-detachment personality describes a partner who is constantly pulling away, looking for ways to distance themselves from the relationship. This can occur when people are young and unprepared to settle down, but it can also be a sign of someone who is constantly afraid of intimacy and commitment. According to studies, when one avoidance-detachment personality exists in a relationship, infidelity is usually not far away. Cheating is one of their favorite ways to create a wedge between their relationships. If you find yourself in one of these situations, your chances aren’t good, unless your partner admits their problem and seeks help.
Acceptance of Fault
People often estimate the likelihood of an affair by the amount of charisma/attractiveness one partner either has or doesn’t have. Interestingly, 88 percent of all affairs occur with someone who is not any more attractive, charismatic, or sexy than the cheater’s current partner. Furthermore, most psychologists confirm that the reasons people cheat usually have more to do with how the cheater feels about themselves, than how they feel about their partner. In other words, it’s more them than you, so don’t let them tell you otherwise.
As many as 70 percent of affairs end with the cheater feeling sick with regret. In these cases, the cheater may be transformed (relationship rekindled) if the victim is able to bring themselves to forgive. Cheaters who are less likely to repeat show sincere remorse for their actions. Instead of excuses like “It’s your fault,” “It was an accident” or “It meant nothing,” they take full responsibility and express the need to prevent it from happening again. They’ll open up about their feelings, attend counseling, and do whatever it takes to regain your trust. In cases like these, it’s possible for a partnership to actually emerge stronger than it was before.
According to surveys, nearly 50 percent of cheaters cheat because they feel neglected by their current partner. This can either mean a lack of emotional or physical (sexual) support. In relationships where both partners feel loved and satisfied, the chances of infidelity decrease. Keep in mind that out of the remaining 50 percent, a good portion of these cheaters actually report being “happy,” so this is more of a preventative measure than a guarantee.
Some researchers believe that another indicator of a serial cheater is the severity of the penalty with which it was received. Cheaters are less likely to fall off the wagon (so to speak) when they’ve had to work through hardships, including guilt, embarrassment, having their life put under a microscope, and attending counseling. Cheaters who get away without punishment will likely continue to cheat simply because they can. Cheating has become an unhealthy dynamic in their relationships. One that has gone on too long to be easily stopped. This is one reason why it’s important to act at the first sign of trouble and make it clear that such actions are unacceptable.
In summary, to avoid repeat cheaters, look at how each of these factors plays a role in your relationship, and then weigh your love with what that little voice inside your head is telling you. You should eventually forgive your partner for your own good, but don’t be so quick to give them a second chance until they’ve earned it.