Once a Cheater Always a Cheater: The Truth of Their Past

once a cheater always a cheater

You may think if they cheat once, they’ll do it again. But is that really true? Here’s the truth behind their infidelity-filled past.

There was a time I never would have considered dating someone who cheated. I was disgusted by the very idea of it. But as time went on and I started seeing different people with different pasts, I realized you can’t put a label on someone without knowing the whole story.

Yes, cheating is a horrible betrayal, and it should make any person a tad bit wary of starting a relationship with someone who has done it in their past. However, it should never be the sole reason you dismiss them completely from your life.

If they cheat once, won’t they do it again?

The common belief held by most people is that a person will cheat again if they’ve done it before. That’s where the saying, “Once a cheater, always a cheater,” originates. But is this really true? I myself have a hard time believing every person who has been unfaithful will ALWAYS do so forever.

For that reason, I’ve put together a list for you on why the phrase, “Once a cheater, always a cheater,” should be put to rest for good and how you can deal with dating someone who was unfaithful in their past.

#1 There could be more to the story. Although cheating isn’t acceptable under any circumstances, there are some cases that make a little more sense. Maybe their last partner was abusive and they didn’t feel they could leave them.

You never know the details of their last relationship, and it’s not fair to base your feelings for them off of something they did in the past. Maybe they only cheated once and then left. You never know!

#2 If they told you, they won’t do it. Generally speaking, if you found out about their unfaithful past from them, you really don’t have a whole lot to worry about. They’re being open and honest with you and not hiding anything.

They’re fully aware telling you this detail about themselves may cause you to look at them differently and even leave them, so they are really trying to air out the past in order to move forward. Let them.

Besides, who would tell you they’ve cheated if they plan to cheat? It’s like calling the cops before robbing a bank. It doesn’t make sense! [Read: You only cheated once – Should you tell them?]

#3 If you trust them, then TRUST them. If your gut is telling you that you can trust them, then listen to it. Even if you know about their last relationship mishap, if you feel like you can trust them to not cheat again, then don’t label them as, “Once a cheater, always a cheater.”

#4 They were immature at the time. Think about when they cheated. It could’ve been when they were in high school or early college. Most people at this time are too immature to be serious about anyone, leading them to make bad decisions.

If it’s been a really long time and they haven’t been unfaithful since, you can assume their immaturity at the time is what caused the cheating, and you don’t have to worry about that anymore. [Read: Why do men cheat? 3 real reasons and 27 silly excuses]

#5 They were insecure for some reason. I know it sounds silly; insecurity leading to someone scoring another person. But when people feel insecure-for whatever reason-they cheat because it makes them feel a lot better.

If you make them feel secure in themselves and you love them for them, they’re not going to need to seek approval from others. Maybe their past partner made them feel inadequate and it lead to being unfaithful.

#6 They didn’t have real feelings for them. This kind of goes along with being too immature. If they didn’t have real feelings for someone, then the remorse isn’t present enough to make them rethink their infidelity.

If they’ve developed real feelings for you and things are serious, they’re not going to skip out on you and hook up with the next hot person that walks in the door.

#7 They’ve learned their lesson. Most likely, they’ve learned by now cheating is wrong and won’t do it again. For the majority of people, cheating leads to a LOT of guilt and nobody wants to feel guilty all the time.

Dealing with a previous cheater

If you know the person you’re seeing slipped up and cheated on their past partner, your insecurities might be running a little high and your trust running a little low. Here are some of the best ways to deal with dating a previous cheater.

#1 Set boundaries. Come right out and tell them cheating is a HUGE no-no in your book and if they do it, you’re gone. End of story. Set those standards and leave them there. They will respect someone who is set in their ways and follows through with what they say.

#2 Communicate often. If you’re feeling like they’re being a little shady and your trust is wilting because of it, you need to tell them. More than likely, they’ll reassure you everything is all right, and they’ll probably be more communicative about what they’ve been up to.

#3 Don’t judge them on their past. I know it’s really hard, but try to forget about their past. Everyone should have a clean slate when it comes to a new relationship and you should give them that. You wouldn’t give up on them now because they once had a mullet, would you?

#4 Ask for details. If you want to know more about their cheating incident, just ask for some details. Tell them it would make you feel better knowing the details surrounding the incident so you can really understand what happened. If they’re honest, they’ll be willing to share.

#5 Trust them. Have trust  your new lover is going to treat you the right way. Trust them to be honest with you and don’t use their past as a way for them to lose your trust.

They’re with you now and not the person they cheated on. Everything is different, so trust they’ll be there for you and only you.

[Read: The real reason behind why people in happy relationships end up cheating]

None of these are excuses to cheat on anyone, but they do offer some insight as to why they might have done it and why they won’t do it again. Just remember, your new beau should not automatically fall under the “Once a cheater, always a cheater” stereotype.

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Bella Pope
Bella Pope
Bella is a lifestyle writer, cheese enthusiast (Wisconsin native over here) and fantasy adventure author-in-progress who enjoys all things love, dog, p...

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3 thoughts on “Once a Cheater Always a Cheater: The Truth of Their Past”

  1. Dame says:

    Hmm, coming out of lurking to respond here. In short, no, “once a cheater always a cheater” does not always hold up. I cheated once. I had been dating the guy, my ex, for over 2.5 years at that time. I was a college freshman in an LDR with someone I’d dated since junior year high school, and I knew our relationship wasn’t what it used to be (for many reasons that I won’t get into) but I was too big of an immature baby to break it off the right way early on. Then I met my current partner my sophomore year. We hit it off as “friends” and I knew we liked each other, but I was still in so much denial and was too afraid to break up with my boyfriend of almost three years. I ended up cheating (making out, not having sex, if that makes any difference), and a few days later I confessed to my now ex and we ended it. I truly do regret cheating. Not because I wanted to stay with my ex, but because if I could start over I would end it the right way. Though me and my ex weren’t going to last forever, he is a good guy and I regret putting him through that. Of course he was devastated. On my end, I felt terrible. I couldn’t eat for three days afterward because I felt so guilty for hurting him, and I felt like a terrible person. I’m not telling you this to try to gain sympathy, I’m just telling the simple truth. Eventually, after about two years, he forgave me and we are friends again, though more of just facebook friends because we don’t hang out. And the guy I cheated on him with? Still my current partner. We’ve been together over three years now and are engaged. I really would never cheat again. I’m not a “cheater,” so to speak. I am a person who cheated once and I learned my lesson… would not do again. I’ve matured a lot since then. I think my ex thought I got off easy for doing such a terrible thing, and I don’t blame him, but karma did bite me in the ass. Ironically, I was REALLY insecure in my new relationship for a long time because of my own actions. My ex boyfriend trusted me and I betrayed that, so what’s to stop my new boyfriend from cheating on me even though I have no reason to believe he will? I was an insecure wreck for a very long time after that and it really messed with my mental health and stability. I’m sure there are people out there who are chronic cheaters, but it’s important to realize that not everyone who has cheated in the past is that type of person. I know one other person who was in a similar situation to me. She was in an LDR and ended up cheating, and then ended up marrying the guy she cheated with. She wasn’t a conniving, terrible person. She was a good person who made a mistake.

  2. Fduck says:

    I had never cheated before on anyone, and then I made a horrible mistake and cheated on my husband. I lost everything when I cheated. I lost friends, family, the chance to see my kids every single day, my self respect, my self esteem, my home–my world. I lost everything and through it all I loved (and still love) my ex-husband over 10 years later. I was medicated for depression and spent the better part of the next 2 years in anguish. I cried more than I can ever say. And no, I wasn’t crying because I got caught. I was crying because of what I did and what I had become. I hurt amazing people and they deserved so much better than me. I can assure you I will never cheat again and will terminate any relationship that isn’t working before starting another. It was not and will never be worth it. I have hated myself ever since and do not think I will ever come to terms with what I have done. The worst thing that has happened to me is that a few of the friends I have have cheated on their spouses and they come to me to talk about it because “you know what it’s like and you understand.” No. No I don’t. I don’t understand why I did what I did, and I certainly don’t understand why you are doing it now. I will NEVER condone it and will try desperately to get you to stop. I will tell you my story of pain and betrayal and I will remind you that I still live with it each and every day. Some people cheat and move on, other people let that guilt consume them day in and day out. I am the latter. My life ended 10 years ago. The life I live now is a shadow. In case you are curious about my “demographics”, I am very well educated (I am saying “educated” not necessarily “smart”), come from a home where my parents were married until my father died, and was raised middle-upper class. My husband and I were regular church-goers. There is no “type” that cheats, I daresay. No one thought I could/would do it. If you had asked me before it happened to me, I would have said I wasn’t capable of it. I am not justifying my affair or my behavior, I am just providing another perspective. Once a cheater, always a cheater may apply to someone in their hearts–I was once a cheater and even though I will never cheat again, I will always be a cheater to me. I will live every day with that.

  3. let her down says:

    My four past significant relationships, I found myself in unexpectantly, explained to them I’m not big on monogamous and if they’re not okay with that they shouldn’t date me, they’d insist they wanted to be with me, then act heart broken when I acted exactly how I told them I would but still insist they didn’t want to end things. Two of the four even were the first of us to experiment with someone else, and I was fully supportive, but still they whined when I took my turn (one even cried to his mom, the other cried to my mom). The other two were virgins and I tried to encourage them to get some experience and such but no luck. Still, each of them I had to finally say enough was enough they wanted from me what I couldn’t give and I broke up with them. And each one would probably tell you I cheated on them even though I told them from the start and encouraged them to leave if they had issues with that (and two will ignore the fact that they had sex with someone else months before I ever did). I’ve been with a guy about four years now that is on the same wave length as I am. Closest classification is swingers, except we are both lazy or busy. We’ve had a couple threesomes and I’ve made out with a few guys. When we visit strip clubs I love telling girls how to grind on him. He finds it amusing when at bars guys do shots out of my cleavage. Etc. And I have zero desire to stray from him. I’ve had a lot of offers and people that wanted me, but I’m happy with him. Even knowing he’d be completely okay with me hooking up with people, I don’t have a big desire to. Making out and kissing and fooling around are physically fun events, but if you don’t understand that its only that, I don’t want to deal with the drama no matter how good of a kisser you might be.

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