Once a Cheater Always a Cheater?

Hi Aaron,

I wanted to write and ask you a question about cheating partners. My Fiance’ and I have been dating for two years. and have been engaged for six months. He and I actually began dating when he was still with someone. Their relationship was going down the tubes and then we met at a baseball game when we were both out with a bunch of friends. He sat a row in front of me and we started talking. We exchanged numbers and started talking on e-mail, texts, etc.

We went out a couple times and then one of my friends told me he was still with someone. When I confronted him about it, he told me he was breaking it off with her and he did a couple days later. I didn’t mind at the time because our relationship never went too far before he broke up with his ex so I didn’t feel like I was being a mistress or anything. As I look back, though, I realize that if I would have been in her shoes I would have felt cheated on.

Fast forward to today. We are making wedding plans and getting a date set but I am a little apprehensive
setting things in stone knowing how our relationship started. If he cheated on her, what’s to say that he won’t cheat on me, too? So my question is, if they cheated once will they always be a cheater? Do people who have cheated always have the mindset/capability in them to cheat again?

Thanks,

Diana

Hi Diana,

Thanks for writing. And thanks for being a follower. To begin with, let me answer your last question. You asked “Do they always have the mindset/capability in them to cheat again”? Let me just say it here that EVERY person has the capability to cheat – whether they have a history of it or not.

When a relationship gets tough, people find ways to cope. Sometimes that means they join a bicycling club to avoid their spouse, sometimes they find an online lover, and sometimes they start a drug addiction. None of these are good. These are all ways that spouses concentrate time and attention they should be concentrating on their spouse towards someone (or something) else. In other words, these are all forms of cheating in some way or another.

Now, to answer your other question: If they cheated once, does that mean they will probably cheat again? The answer is ‘not necessarily…but maybe’. If they cheated once, it does show a certain mind frame. It shows that when things get tough, instead of finding healthy ways to cope they find someone else. However, people change. Life experiences teach them new things. So when they once might have found someone else when things got tough, they might now want to try something else to help them cope.

If you’re really worried about it, the best thing to do is ask him about it. Ask him why he cheated on his old girlfriend and why he wouldn’t do the same thing to you. If he gives you an answer that he’s a different person than he was back then and he doesn’t want to be that way anymore then that’s a really good sign. It shows that he has realized some things and wants to change that part of him that cheated on his ex-girlfriend. If he tells you that you’re different than his ex-girlfriend and your relationship is different, then that’s different. That shows that he’s not owning that part that cheated on his ex-girlfriend as a method of coping.

Premarital counseling never hurt anybody. In fact, most couples enjoy it. Therapists try to make premarital

counseling fun and enlightening. It also addresses necessary things in a relationship. There are some great online premarital tools to give yourselves a checkup such as the Prepare-Enrich Website and PowerofTwoMarriage.com.

Warm Regards,

Aaron

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