November 18, 2014

Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater?

love affair

Is it true—once a cheat, always a cheat?

Is it possible to tell if he will cheat again?

This is something that has crossed my mind during my present relationship. Even though, he has never actually cheated in our relationship.

He did, however, have an affair in the last few years. When he was married and they have children together.

I am aware that it’s now his past. He received his karma, has his regrets and understands how much it messed his life up.

Still though, it caused me to question if he is capable of staying faithful to me.

The American Psychological Association in Washington D.C. carried out a recent study and found that once someone cheats once, they are three and a half times more likely to do it again. The study also revealed that 30% of the subjects they questioned admitted to cheating.

So, will it happen again?

This guy is my dream man. He has all the qualities I’ve ever wanted in a partner. He balances me perfectly. He has high morals, standards and ethics and I struggle to understand that this same man was capable of such destruction.

What went through his mind?

Why did he think that it was ok to break the sacred vows they made together? Why did he choose to cause such irreparable damage? How was he capable of telling so many lies and creating such a huge web of deceit?

I know that I can’t really judge (however tempting it is to do so). I have no idea what really went on and, realistically, it is none of my business.

However, this is a guy I want to trust, the one with whom I am building a future. I want to grow old with him and I don’t want to be afraid that when there are pressures he will go looking for someone else to take the weight away.

So, I considered a few things.

1. It was out of character for him.

He admits that this was the first time he had been unfaithful and he had never been tempted to stray before then.

When he talks about that period of life, it is as though he is talking about someone he does not recognise. He acted in ways that do not reflect his nature and he knows that his behaviour was not credible.

2. He was deeply unhappy in his relationship.

Although he explains that this was the case, it is still not an excuse for being unfaithful.

There are other options: working on the relationship or there is a door to walk though at any time.

He admits he thought his infidelity would be an easy way out. A way of creating a no return within his relationship.

3. He is remorseful.

He has accepted the mistakes he made, the bad decisions and the pain that resulted. He gave explanations and apologies to those he hurt and understands completely the aftermath of his actions.

4. He communicates well.

If he has a problem, he talks to me, no holds barred. And vice versa.

We have created a safe space that we can openly discuss things that bother us in and out of our relationship. We communicate the good and the bad, openly and honestly.

5. His self-esteem is high.

It took him a long time to build his esteem back up after his affair.

He lost friendships, family members and his character took a pounding.

Over the last few years he has taken time out, focused on repairing bridges and also worked on himself. He has a positive self-image and focuses on being a role model for his children, despite what they have previously witnessed.

He understands his abilities and limitations and trusts himself to make decisions based on what is right for him and for those surrounding him.

After working so hard to build his self-esteem back up, he is aware that cheating again, would just tear it all apart.

Something he says he will never gamble on.

6. He learned from his mistakes.

When my partner talks about his past, he discusses the lessons he learned, how different he was back then, how it changed him and how he would do things differently now.

He experienced deep emotional turmoil and he did the inner work necessary so that he was able to move on.

7. He values and respects our relationship.

This relationship meets both of our needs.

He values that trust and respect are at the top of my priorities. He has the same requirements.

We are open and honest about what we want to achieve both together and separately. Walking along an individual, but similar, path means we both have the space to be ourselves, but we are also building a firm foundation for our future together.

8. He is conscious of his words and actions.

My partner often admits that he used to live life on autopilot, he never felt fully in control of his actions and this would cause him to trip on various obstacles.

Now, he is mindful, conscious and fully aware of how everything he does affects those around him. He is thoughtful, considerate and thinks carefully before making decisions.

9. He is accountable.

In life, I watch him as he fully accepts his part in whatever happens on our journey.

He takes joy in the good and he holds his hands up to the bad. He is capable of expressing his love and also of admitting faults.

Quickly and without faltering, he does whatever is needed to work towards keeping our life stable. He reveals his vulnerability and strength on a daily basis. He readily accepts the consequences of his words and actions and takes responsibility for any outcome.

So, will he cheat again?

There are no guarantees. We can never get fully into the head of another person, so will never understand what causes them to falter and lose self-control.

Love is always a risk and to feel it fully we must surrender.

I make no excuses for his behaviour. I understand that he made mistakes and he grew from them. We are all human and we each have some skeletons in our past.

Learning to trust and accept without judgement is not always easy. But, it will strengthen our character.

There is no manual, or right or wrong way to forgive, accept and trust. The dynamics are different for everyone.

But do I trust him? Completely.



American Psychological Society, Annual Convention (August 7-10, 2014).


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Author: Alex Myles

Apprentice Editor: Brandie Smith/Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: Wikipedia Commons 

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