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Once a cheater, always a cheater?

Updated on February 24, 2009


I read a hub that said;

“First of all, if your man is cheating, the last thing you want is to keep him around. Cheating is a pattern of behavior that won't stop no matter how many promises he makes or how many changes you make to keep his attention. If he has cheated on you, it's time to move on. Cheaters cheat... and cheat... and cheat.” (

I’ve been cheated on. It was devastating--like being kicked in the gut and thrown into the gutter. I hardly functioned as a human during the day the first weeks after I found out. At night I was up all night watching old pictures, crying. The affair creates such heartache and pain that I did not wanted it to happen again. Definitely never again. But it was not the affair which made me feel the way I did. I felt torn, but I didn’t want to be with him anymore. Not because I thought he might cheat again if I stayed with him, just because all the lies he told me when I asked him. That’s why my trust was gone. I don’t believe that a cheater is always a cheater. It doesn’t always have to be that way.


Cheating seems to be very common, even partners who describe themselves as "happy" with their relationship have affairs. But Many people who are in relationships that have decent chemistry and benefits for both partners can actually work through the crisis of affairs. Not only that, they can become closer and put an end to cheating once and for all. This means that, "Once a cheater, always a cheater" is just not true. People can always change if they really want to, cheaters included.  Forgiveness and a new coming together are possible. Whether or not a cheater can change is completely up to the person itself. Some people cope with down times in their relationships by seeking outside excitement. If cheating is a coping mechanism it will require therapy to address and overcome and some cheaters are just immature and grow out of the cheating urge.


There are people who learn and grow from the painful emotional hurricane and the loss of closeness in the relationship that are the aftermaths of cheating. How can you tell if you are dealing with a “once a cheater always a cheater”?

 Here are five signs that indicate your cheater is not a chronic case and that the relationship still has hope:

 1. Your partner is truly remorseful and  regrets having cheated. Look for heartfelt apologies that ring true when you hear them.

2. Your partner cuts off contact with his or her lover.

3. The cheater shows a renewed appreciation and devotion towards you.

4. You wind up having deep, open and honest conversations with each other about your relationship, what was missing in it and where you'd like to take it in the future.

5. Your partner wants to enter psychotherapy or counseling either individually or with you to understand his/her own dynamics and to make your relationship better and more intimate.

 If the cheater shows these signs and the relationship is good for you in many ways and you can handle with  it, consider taking your partner back.

And just how do you know if the cheating is going on again? Here are some common signs:

• he/she's working late a lot

• he/she's  suddenly taking trips you can't go on

• he/she's got new hobbies that don't include you

• mysterious phone calls with hang-ups

• credit card bills for unexplained hotel stays or gift-type items

• less sex or the sex is different than before

• he/she's more distant, angry or picky


If somebody cheats on one partner it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will cheat on the next but unless they address the reasons why they cheated in the past there is a good chance it will happen again in a new relationship.

If you want to take a risk on a former cheater sit down and really talk about what happened in the past and look at the situation with unbiased eyes, and if you decide to go ahead with the relationship leave the cheating issue in the past. People do change but when their past bad behavior is used against them it is never good, you must give your relationship a clean slate if it is going to succeed. When it comes to entering into a relationship with an admitted cheater all you can do is examine the facts and trust your instincts and ask yourself if you want to take the risk.

Should you tell the truth when you’re cheating?



The only time the cheater should come clean about having cheated is if their partner asks about it. This could happen for a variety of reasons; the partner may have heard about the cheaters tryst through the rumor mill, feels like he or she is lied to, or just has read a hub about cheating and the signs of cheating somewhere on hubpages and it may be a hypothetical question he or she wants answered.

Whatever prompts the question the cheater absolutely must be truthful in the answer. Especially when the cheater doesn’t want out of the relationship with  the partner and doesn’t want to cheat again. Trust has been betrayed and the only way to start the healing process is immediately begin telling the truth. Tell your partner  the truth but keep the details to yourself. The partner doesn’t ever need a detailed mental movie of you cheating. All the partner needs to know is that it made you miss and appreciate what you had hope the partner can find it in his or her heart to forgive.




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    • profile image


      19 months ago

      Hi Lazur,

      I agree with a lot of what you are saying but you are wrong here:

      "The partner doesn’t ever need a detailed mental movie of you cheating. All the partner needs to know is that it made you miss and appreciate what you had hope the partner can find it in his or her heart to forgive."

      It is up to the partner on the level of detail and believe me it can make a huge difference. Cheating does not mean the same to everyone.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Once a cheater always a cheater relates to those that don't want to give up the person that they cheated with.

    • profile image 

      5 years ago

      Once a cheater, always a cheater is like saying "once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic,". All it takes is the temptation of that one drink, or that one slip up, and they are hooked by the feeling. The key is for the cheater to be mindful of the fact that they have that "weakness" and their mindfullness is what will save them from giving into temptation.

      The wonderful thing about women is that we know when the man is truly sorry, or weather he is only sorry that he got caught. The best gift that a cheating man can give to his woman( or visa versa) IF he/she sincerelywants to repair the damage is, when they keep on bringing it up , instead of saying something STUPID and insensitive like" how many times are you going to bring that up!?" Say something like " I know how you feel babe because I beat myself up just as much as you are beating me up with is my phone code my face book password AND the keys to my entire life!!!" AND you are free to answer my phone anytime you want!!!

      If he or she is not doing that, then its not a real relationship and you are only hanging on because of your lack of self worth.

      You sould FEEL his/her apology and he/she should be doing whatever it takes to make their wrongs right. if they are not..then that should tell you that it is time to move on.

      If you stay with a cheater long enough, it's only a matter of time before you join that club and even if its is just an emotional affair, an affair is an affair. So it may be best to dump a serial cheater if you desire to keep your own character in check.

      Cheating has VERY painful reprocussions that can easy make you vulnerable to becoming one yourself if the right attention comes along ESPECIALLY if you are with a seral cheater.

      cheaters can never meet your spiritual, or emotional needs because they are too busy trying to meet their own in distructive ways.

      cheaters are also liars because they have to lie to cover their tracks.

      AND if you are with someone who is already in a relationship and you choose to be with them anyway...then you got what you deserve.

      I have been cheated on AND I have also cheated and I can tell you that once a cheater does not imply always being a cheater IF you are willing to own up to your mistake AND deal with your own issues.

      We are all imperfect, and we are only fooling ourselves if we believe that we can NEVER make such mistakes but the key is to look for someone who is willing to deal with their own issues and admit their own mistakes.

      Cheating can be forgiven IF you have a quality person who made a mistake. Not all cheaters are dogs. There are good men and women who make mistakes who will fess up and who will do everything in their power to make amends.

      If they get caught and they still swear that YOU must be the one who is going crazy,then follow your intuition and when you find the proof that you were right all along, then don't ever let go of that intuition because it has built in education and wisdom.

      Those who would rather watch you go crazy worrying and wondering and suspecting rather than admitting the truth should NEVER be trusted without alot of very hard work on their part.

      Sometimes we worry about cheaters without even realizing that we are the ones who are often cheeating ourselves out of what we truly deserve.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      i'm married for 10 years, last year made 10yrs and with in that year he was chaeting for 5 fives and now have a young baby. It's hurting me like hell our last child is 15yrs old

    • profile image

      Henderson Claude 

      7 years ago

      The fact is, most relationships are based on the shared fiction that the other person is all each of them needs. In order to have a "committed" relationship, this lie has to be perpetuated. Given the opportunity--the right circumstances--the nature of the lie is revealed, partners cheat, and relationships come unglued. They turn out to have been fragile in the first place, houses made of cards. Better to be honest with yourself and your partner and admit that the occasional tryst is just what you want and need, and try to manage the rocky road ahead openly and in true communication. Or continue to live a lie, from one relationship to another.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      you are my virtual remedy. thank you.

    • Lazur profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Netherlands

      It seems a lot has happened in your relationship, but i think the question you should ask yourself is not if you should believe him but do you want to believe him. The question should be Do you want him back and will you have no doubts that he loves you and only you, instead of does he want to come back because he loves you. And I'm just curious.. does your partner lie about more things or just about the women he talks to on the internet?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Ok I have been married for 3 years and we have a 2 year old Son, When I first got with him, I was told by him, He never got sex or they never really did anything, He said he could not take it , so he started looking online at girls and doing the FB and Myspace pages to talkto women. Well he did cheat on her and then she took him back, Later that year he left her for me, But I was unware of this until after one year when I found out I was having his Son. He told me everything. We we have been marrried over three years and I caught him online chatting with other women making planns to meet her and so on , exchaging number and emails, Then I find out I have Cancer, Well It took a toll on me, I had cervical cancer, so I had a few surgieries and I could not have sex, He completely turned and 2 days after I had my 2nd surgery and up and left cause I caught him red heanded. One week by and he said he want to come back to me, Because he made a mistake. He physical did not cheat on me, It was all internet , emails and chatts, never face to face. So in my sitituation, does that mean he will always be a cheater or he did this out of emotional anger because he could not have sex with me because of the cancer and now he felt guilty and wanted to change, So should I believe him? Does he really want to come back beccause he loves me, Or it a lie?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i know we could never be just friends because we were never just friends. i just wish he hadn't dragged me along all this time if he was not over her ..

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      thanks for the support and the insight!

      i found out yesterday he had been texting his ex nonstop the day we broke up and the day before.

      i still really love him a lot .. but if he wants to be with someone like that they deserve each other and it's his choice. i know she will more than likely do the same thing to him again and will eventually leave him!

    • Lazur profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Netherlands

      hello Ladylove,

      I can't give you an answer because I don't know what was or is on your ex his mind. Even if I tried, there will be another question, and another. You're hurt, and when you're hurt after a breakup you didn't see coming, there are a lot of questions going trough your mind on which you would like an answer, hoping that it will make it easier for you.

      But it won't, believe me. It happened to me 8 mounths ago, and I'm still not having all the answers to make it easier.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      also why do you think he wanted to get back with her so soon?

      we were together for almost 2 years and had a really good relationship and hardly fought .. when we did we both apoligized and got over it pretty quick.

      he had been trying to get her back the day we broke up

      what would make him want to do that so soon?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      thanks for the advise :)

      i don't think she has changed, she's had about 6 or more boyfriends just since me and my ex had been together.

      i found out today that he had been texting her nonstop the day he broke up with me and the day before.

      im not over it, but im trying to

      if he wants her back after all the things she has done to him then they deserve each other right?

    • Lazur profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Netherlands

      I’m back Lady love,

      Translating my thoughts just take a little time in between work and home.

      It’s like you say, you haven’t been cheated on. You broke up and your ex boyfriend is the one now you are worried about because he’s stepping into a relationship with a cheater.

      You’ll probably feel hurt and pain because of the break up and don’t understand why he made this decision.

      You have to know that it’s HIS choice to step into this relationship with his ex. He knows her and he knows the consequences of being with her and loving her, but still he’s making this choice. You can’t change that. You can only change how you’ll feel about it. Talking him out of it will probably not give the result you’re hoping for, but maybe you both can talk and share your concerns .

      Love makes us act in the strangest ways. Now he’s going his way for what he’s feeling like love. Why? He probably can’t answer this in a way you want to hear it, but still…

      And maybe, just maybe, his ex has changed. If that’s so, he or they could be happy together. If not, it’s his choice and to be blunt, not your problem anymore. Only your pain, getting over this relationship like it was, is your problem. If he doesn’t hurt you anymore than he already did, let him go and maybe you’ll be able to be a friend for him instead of a partner?

      Maybe there are more people to give you some advice or feedback.

      Hope I translated it well and you’ll understand.

    • profile image


      8 years ago


    • Lazur profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Netherlands

      I'll try to answer this later on, so you will be hearing from me ladylove.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i don't know if this belongs here but im gonna try it anyways! i want some advice/feedback as to what i should do.

      i havnt been cheated on (at least i hope not) but my situation involves it.

      two and a half weeks ago my boyfriend of almost two years broke up with me, we had been living together for just over a year. he said he wasn't happy anymore, that he had been in a relationship for most of his life (him and his ex had been together for 4ish years) and he wanted time to himself.

      i was fine with all this and thought that in time he would realize what we had and we would get back together. im not saying that this still wont happen, but i have my doubts.

      he always told me how much he loved me, couldn't wait for us to have a great life together and always said i was his future wife (even said it two days before he broke it off)

      we had a wonderful relationship, yes we fought at times and had our differences, but i can say i was truly happy and he is/was my first true love.

      i went over the other day to move out all my things and found out that he was trying/wanting to get back with his ex. they dated for 4 years, but during that time she cheated on him (not sure how many times, more than once) left him for other guys and when that didn't work out, he always took her back. he even has bad credit and owes money because of her (long story) she didn't even graduate highschool and not sure if she has a job (i know this doesn't mean a whole lot,but they will never have a good life together)

      i don't understand why he wants her back. i thought maybe it was just a phase he was going through and was confused when we broke up, but i found out today that she has also broken up with her current boyfriend.

      since me and my ex had been together she has had numerous boyfriends. when they were together she left him one time and even moved to a different city with a guy. im not sure if they are getting back together, but he wants her back and she broke up with her bf.

      if anyone could give me some .. advice/feedback? as to why he wants her back after all the stuff she has done to him? thanks

    • Lazur profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Netherlands

      I don't believe that everyone is cheating, but I do think taht everyone can change.... if they want to themselves;)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      everyone cheats and everyone changes

    • profile image

      Gone With the Wind Scarlett 

      9 years ago

      Check out Gone With the Wind to see an example in fiction of what cheating does to a relationship.

    • Lazur profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Netherlands

      Thank you all for commenting. Cheating is a subject on which we all have a lot to say about I think:) Like Rdreiger said, we all have our own experiences.

      Blondepoet, from my own experience I can say , yes there are men who are able to continue cheating without saying a word. Honesty is a long way from home then.And indeed if someone cheats all the time, they should not be in a relationship and give false expectations to the other.

    • blondepoet profile image


      9 years ago from australia

      Great story.I agree with Trish, I would want to know,I mean if he is able to cheat in the first place then continue on with you without a word,mmm, I just don't know.Yes I agree with the other comments also on some people arent meant to be with just one person.

      For all the people in relationships that want to cheat all the time,you need to be a single guy or chick,in all fairness.

    • rdgeiger profile image


      9 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Ok, first of all I would just like to say that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE has their own experiences and opinions when it comes to cheating. My humble opinion is this:

      If a drug addict can get help and get clean, or an alcoholic go to AA and stay sober, then I believe a cheater can quit cheating. However, and here is the tricky part people, it really depends on the individual. If a person doesn't want to change, then no matter what, they are never going to change. The first step is always admitting you have a problem. I beleive Goldentoad is correct in saying some people aren't meant to be with just one person......however, he should have also said that those people should never give the false hope of an actual relationship to anyone. They should remain single, and let anyone they are with know from the start that they are not wanting a real relationship.(See how I said belief is that you SHOULD NOT get into a relationship if you are not meant to be with just one person.) Cheating sucks and so does lying....however...we ALL deal with that demon on an everyday basis....not just some of us.

    • MamaDragonfly2677 profile image


      9 years ago from New York

      Lazur- I have been cheated on, and for some reason, I KNEW I was being cheated on, but couldn't prove it... I asked him, and he denied it, over and over again, until I became the "paranoid -freak" and investigated, and caught him in the act... I was heart broken as we had two beautiful babies together, and I thought I loved him. (I was young) After him, I was cheated on by another man... who ALSO lied about the how could I expect an honest answer from the next, if it were to happen? I truly believe that if everything is good in a relationship, and the man (or woman) TRULY does love the other, then they won't cheat to begin with. In my own personal opinion, I could never stay with a man who cheated on me... I tried, and I couldn't deal with it... I accepted that we were not in love, and even though I was very badly hurt, I dealt with it in my own way, and went on with my life, with my babies without the men. I am married now, and my husband works out of town from Monday to Friday, so I only see him on weekends. (Can you believe I actually deal with this?) WELL- I found if I stop trusting, then there is no sense in trying... If he is going to cheat, then so-be-it... there is nothing I can do about it. But I have had my share of experiences, and none of them would have benefited if I would have stayed... I agree with you on most of this, but this just goes to show how individuals differ, right?

    • Dink96 profile image


      9 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      Very insightful post. It's easy to pass judgment on others, but the judge looks at the world with different eyes when in those situations you describe. Your story also brought back a memory of a man I dated years ago (a legendary Lothario in his circles) who said to me, "My reputation precedes me...." HA! I still laugh at that today.

    • superhuman profile image


      9 years ago

      I know how you feel, have been there and I am still hurting, my ex cheated on me when I was pregnant and also one of the main reason why I gave birth to our son prematurely that causes him to be blind and deaf. surely there are reasons for his actions which i don't know what??? but how will you react if the third party knows the situation too? Sometimes people cheat only to escape from responsibilites or the realities of life..The intensity of emotions differs on how the cheaters severely damage the relationship or perhaps the character of its victim.. Worst if there are innocent people involve like my son. who suffered the consequences of infidelity.. Still as you were saying that evryone can change. Though my ex is not saying sorry for what he has done or regret what he was doing.. he abandon us already and live a single life going out on a bar and still going out with this woman..but as the saying goes everything change except the word change

    • roastedpinebark profile image


      9 years ago from Iowa

      I had mixed thoughts about cheaters always being cheaters before I read this but now I see the steps that can create a healthy relationship from a damaged one. I especially loved the point that everyone can change. Thank you for an insightful hub!

    • Lazur profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Netherlands

      Thanks everyone for commenting

      @trish; I was just wondering if when the cheater would tell without being asked that he or she at that time is being selfisch and they could inflict more harm to the partner because they could care less about what someone else feelsand just want to get it of their chest. If they don't want to cheat again, I guess they better be silent. If they cheat over and over again, they shouldn.t talk about the chaeting itself, but about breaking up maybe.

      @terence, I think the signs are just there and you don't have to look for them. Indeed you don't want to be a cop so you have to ask yourself if you're partner is cheating if you can handle it to stay together and trust again.

      @goldentoad, You have a good point here. But i think when the cheater is just being 'natural' their should be a good communication about it between him or her and their partner, so the partner can ask himself or herself if they can handle this kind of relationship, knowing cheating is just being 'natural' and the 'natural'cheater has to know if he or she just harms a partner by being in a relationship.

      ( I hope translated my thoughts well:))

    • goldentoad profile image


      9 years ago from Free and running....

      what if the cheater is being natural, I've have always agrued that it may not be natural for many individuals to be with just one person for the rest of their lives and there are physical forms of cheating as well as mental and emotional, can we blame society for establishing such strict guidelines that we impose emotional harm for a physical and natural act?

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 

      9 years ago from United States

      Thank you for this compassionate treatment of a very emotionally charged subject.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Lazur, thanks for your thoughts on this subject which is, as you say a gut wrench.

      You suggest that after a betrayal, with a reconciliation and forgiveness, that we should be

      looking for the signs of further infidelities; less sex, different sex, late working and


      We must ask ourselves if we really want to play the role of "fidelity cop" in our own

      marriage, or relationship, and in our own home. I tried this and turned my "badge" in.

      When the betrayal is revealed, ask yourself was the lie you caught your partner in, the

      first lie, or just the last one that you know he or she told you.

      Integrity comes from within, I don't steal because I am honest, not because I might get

      caught. I tell the truth because "I" would know, not because of the threat of dscovery.

      The flip side of being skillful at lying is that the ability to know what the truth really is

      disappears, and all the heartache caused is what is left.

      At a "gut" level of awareness, we do know when we are being lied to.

      Sometimes we deny this for our own reasons, whether out of fear, or of being alone,

      if we move on, and in doing so the damage to our intuitive powers is great thereafter,

      we must learn to trust ourselves to "know" again all over again.

      Partners are not just cheating on only one person, they are cheating mothers, fathers,

      sons, daughters, friends, They are cheating on everyone who has trusted them.

      Last. but not least, they are cheating on themselves.

    • trish1048 profile image


      9 years ago

      Hi Lazur,

      I disagree where you say the only time a cheater should come clean about having cheated is if the partner asks about it.  To me, it implies, ok, I cheated, and as long as nobody questions me, I can continue.  That's like someone saying, ok, it's been 5 years since I killed someone, so it must be safe to go kill again.  Or, any similar scenario where someone feels the need to deceive.

      In my opinion, a cheater, liar or any deceitful person needs to find his/her integrity, and come clean to whomever they deceived, without being asked.  First and foremost, anyone who feels the need to do something out of the ordinary needs to have a serious talk with themselves and question why they are having those kinds of thoughts.  Empathy.  A lot of people don't have it, so for those, questioning themselves would be a moot point.  It wouldn't matter to them the harm they are inflicting, or intending to inflict on another, because they could care less about what someone else feels.

      There are no guarantees someone wouldn't end up with a cheater/liar.  I've met many, and the lessons were long and hard.  I've come to realize that now I will always question.  If the answers don't ring true, ask more questions.  This too is not an absolute guarantee (some people are genius when it comes to lying), but the chances are much better if you learn to not take everything you hear as gospel.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • Lazur profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Netherlands

      Thank you Tensteps,

      The way we handle with the the cheating of a partner or a relationship in general is certainly different for everyone. That's what makes it complex I think.:) I could write much more about it, especially how I handle it now in my current relationship.(and maybe I will;)) We all can learn from each others experiences, so if everyone wants to mention their own expreriences it's fine with me:)

    • Tensteps profile image


      9 years ago

      As I began this write this comment, I was struck by the complexity of the subject matter. I originally had so much to say but, to be honest, became stuck for a place to start.  We could all offer a viewpoint, I suppose, but they would all be tempered by their own personal experiences. 

      For me, I believe all relationships are basically the same, yet ironically are massively different from the inside.

      I enjoyed your hub. It's a personal, yet objective and knowledgeable opinion on what is an emotive and provocative subject.

      Very Well done.


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