We’ve all heard the cliché about infidelity – “Once a cheater, always a cheater.”
There are many of us who have been affected by a cheating significant other. According to a survey conducted by the University of Chicago, 21% of married men and about 15% of married women have cheated on their partners. But does the old saying really ring true all the time?
Cheaters That Change
When we assume that a person who cheats will never change, we considerably underestimate an individual’s ability to make a change. Often, this perspective comes from those who never felt the substantial guilt associated with making a huge mistake by having an affair or a one-night stand. Cheaters affected by this remorse and shame regret their actions and wish there was any way to take back their actions and the hurt they have inflicted on their significant other.
The pain of infidelity can become an important motivator for change. For example, a person arrested and charged with a DUI understands the dangers of drinking and driving, but don’t realize the extent of their actions until they spend the night in jail, pay fines, or lose their license.
However, before a cheater can change, they must work through their issues that drove them off the path of faithfulness. If a person guilty of cheating can take responsibility for their actions – after plenty of individual and couples therapy – they can change for the better. Acknowledging what caused their relationship to break down and understanding the factors that drove him or her to cheat is the best starting point toward repair and restored faith.
But if recovery is going to occur, the betrayed spouse must be willing to forgive the other. If both partners approach the issue with an open mind, it is possible for a couple to heal and move on toward a better, brighter future.
Cheaters That Don’t Change
On the other hand, there are certain characteristics that indicate a person isn’t likely to change.
Cheating spouses who blame their partners for their temptations for infidelity – “you weren’t giving me the attention I deserve at home,” or “I didn’t plan for this to happen, it just happened.” – will not change unless they take complete ownership of their actions and behavior. If they blame their spouse for their lack of insight, they will probably cheat again.
Another indication is the lack of remorse a cheater feels about their actions. If they are in a hurry for their significant other to “get over it already,” it’s a tell-tale sign that serial cheating is occurring.