Will Your Partner Cheat? If They Cheated Before, It's Likely

Sad girl is holding heart symbol by her finger
Cheating is habit-forming, according to science. (Image: andrej_k/iStock/GettyImages)

We’ve all heard the old adage “once a cheater, always a cheater,” but how accurate is it? According to a recently published study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, it’s very likely to be true. Uh-oh.

Researchers from the University of Denver looked at surveys from 484 men and women ages 18 to 35 who answered questions about their love lives over a period of five years. At the beginning of the study none of them were married. But, obviously, some of their relationship statuses changed over time, and all of them were involved in at least two different relationships during the course of the study.

What the researchers discovered was that nearly half of those surveyed — a whopping 44 percent — admitted to having “sexual relations” with another individual outside of their current relationship at least once. Additionally, 45 percent of the people who cheated during their first relationship also did so in their second.

Also, 30 percent of participants copped to knowing that one or more of their partners had cheated on them, and 18 percent suspected they had been cheated on.

Here’s what we can learn from the results: Cheating can be predictable. Cheaters were 3.4 times more likely to repeat their behavior. What’s more, people who didn’t cheat in their first relationship were only 18 percent likely to cheat in their second.

And it doesn’t stop with serial cheaters. The study found there are basically serial victims and serial suspecting partners as well. So, basically, most people are a type — either a person who cheats or a person who gets cheated on — and that role is likely played out over and over again in relationships.

Why is it so easy to cheat the second time around? Neil Garrett, who co-authored a study linking dishonesty and the brain published last year in the journal Nature Neuroscience, recently told Elite Daily that people are more likely to become repeat cheaters because their brains are desensitized.

“What our study and others suggest is a powerful factor that prevents us from cheating is our emotional reaction to it — how bad we feel, essentially — and the process of adaptation reduces this reaction, thereby allowing us to cheat more,” he said. “With serial cheaters, it could be the case that they initially felt bad about cheating, but have cheated so much they’ve adapted to their ways and simply don’t feel bad about cheating anymore.”

The other alternative, according to Garrett, is that cheaters never felt bad to begin with, which is equally troubling.

Here’s the deal: If you are in a relationship with a former cheater, remember that not everyone is the same and people do change. Having said that, if you do suspect your significant other is cheating on you, here are the top 10 signs to look for.

What Do YOU Think?

Have you ever cheated or been cheated on? Do you think cheating (or being cheated on) is habitual? Do you think it’s a good idea to get into a relationship with someone who cheated on their past partners?

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