“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

Everyone has heard the saying, “once a cheater, always a cheater,” but is that really true? Tabloid coverage of repeat cheaters like Blake Shelton and Ben Affleck definitely add to this perception. How worried should you be about infidelity in your relationship if your partner cheated in previous relationships? Let’s take a look at the stats and find out.

New Information on Repeat Cheating
In 2017, a five-year study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Denver released their findings, providing new information on repeat cheating. The study included people aged 18-35 who had two long-term serious relationships over a period of five years and were unmarried at the time the study began. The team discovered that 45% of the participants who cheated during their first relationship went on to also cheat during their second relationship. For comparison, among participants who did not cheat during their first relationship, only 18% cheated during their second relationship.

Overall, the team concluded that people who are unfaithful in one relationship are over three times (or 300%) more likely to be unfaithful in their next relationship than someone who has never cheated.

Why do Cheaters Repeat?
A separate recent study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience in December 2016 might have some answers. This study discovered that our brains adapt to dishonest behavior, including infidelity. The emotion center of the brain (called the amygdala) is responsible for processing feelings and emotions, including reactions to our own behaviors. When we engage in dishonest behaviors, such as cheating, the negative feelings we experience from it decrease more and more each time the behavior is repeated. So, the first time a person cheats, they might feel guilt and remorse for their infidelity. However, each additional time they cheat, those feelings of guilt and remorse are reduced a little more and a little more, basically desensitizing them from feeling bad about their infidelity over time.

While these recent studies offer more insight on the prevalence of repeat cheaters and some biological factors involved, that doesn’t excuse a cheater from responsibility for their actions. Infidelity is a deeply hurtful breach of trust and no statistics or studies take away the pain of a person who has been cheated on. If you suspect your partner might be cheating, Bulldog PI can help you find the truth.