Can Cheaters Change?

Is cheating an inherent personality trait or a controllable behavioral one? Can a guy — or gal — who strays learn to be a house cat?
By: David Zinczenko

We’d all like to think that people can make changes, learn to compromise, and make their relationship stronger. Unromantic men can learn to buy a card every once in a while; women who nag can learn to stop themselves at least a few times they see toothpaste in the sink, or whatever it is. But those are small changes.

The big changes — the changes that can make or break a relationship — are the ones most of us are really concerned about. And perhaps the biggest question of all — when you consider that 25 percent of men admit to cheating in relationships and about 15 percent of women do — is this: Can cheaters change? Is cheating an inherent personality trait or a controllable behavioral one?

Can a guy — or gal — who strays learn to be a house cat?

For these purposes, we’ll consider cheating full-on sexual contact — not only sex, but also its close relatives. (I fully know that 60 percent of men say that even having drinks with an old flame is cheating, 50 percent of men say visiting strip clubs is cheating, and virtually all women say emotional betrayal is worse than physical betrayal. So I know cheating is complicated, but here, we’ll go with the traditional “Where did my underwear go?” definition.)

The average woman says that the No. 1 reason for divorce is infidelity — so that indicates to me that for women, their answer is no, cheaters can’t change (or if they do, they don’t believe he deserves a second chance).

After I give you my take, I’d love to hear your thoughts about this very question, because I think your perception of this issue may very well depend, in some major way, on whether you’ve been burned — or have done the burning.

Can Cheaters Change? Not a Chance!: Once someone crosses the line in the relationship (again, that line being different things to different people, but for argument’s sake, we’re talking here about the horizontal hora), it’s like a seal being broken on a pill bottle.

Though some of it may depend on whether it was a drunken fling or an ongoing stealth hookup with someone at work, the fact is that once that trust is compromised, the offender will have a hard time resetting the relationship to its startup condition. Even if the victim accepts the offender back into the relationship, the offender will be likely to stray again — because he knows he’s already gotten away with it once.

The bigger picture, really, is the fact that he (we’ll assume the cheater is a he; sorry, guys) cheated for a reason — that something in his current relationship — for example, one study showed that couples with infidelity issues showed greater dishonesty, arguments about trust, narcissism, and time spent apart — made him explore other options. And that’s ultimately what makes him prone to do it again. But…

Can Cheaters Change? Absolutely!
Just because someone has cheated in one relationship doesn’t mean that he’s always a cheater in his next relationships — for the very same reason.

In the relationship where he cheated, he was willing to gamble it away. So if he enters a committed relationship where he feels there’s much more to lose, there’s a less likely chance he’ll want to risk it.

Does that mean he won’t, or that he couldn’t succumb to the temptations of the tight-topped bartender? Of course not. Cheating certainly can make some relationships impossible to continue, but some infidels can indeed change — that is, if he hopes to make other relationships even remotely possible.

Can’t we all (both men AND women) just get along?

Dis caught my interest bcos lately cheating has become a huge issue in relationships….


22 comments on “Can Cheaters Change?

  1. I agree whole heartedly. If a man cheats in a relationship something made him go astray, but there are exceptions to every rule. however, i do know of people who argue ALL men cheat and i refuse to believe that. esp. when it comes to Niaja men. But that’s another topic all in itself. as for when a past “cheater” enters a new relationship if he or she geniunely cares that past will i believe change. In life we must be somewhat optimistic when it comes to relationships, and not judge a person on their past. Great Blog. First Time reader….Aghogho

  2. lol…hmmm i will hold my comment here as I am usually the one to cheat first….

  3. @soulboutique: thanks for stopping by, feel free to visit more often:)@afrobabe:really??(giggle)u can still make a comment o(for real)

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. people cheat for many reasons. the minute u step into it u may never be able to come out. most just play around the ‘edges’, its still as dangerous. how long do u plan to play wit fire without getting hurt… na the sermon wey we go dey preach to ourselves be dat.how u dey!

  6. @Isi: abi oooooo…i dey fine mami..how u and how da family?

  7. Ok, why does afro cheat? could be a variety of reasons…one…boredom,two: guy is too mushy…three: he is not mushy enough…four: he is too broke ass….five: he is too rich….get the pic yet?No reasons

  8. liked your post.but when it comes to cheating i’m totally at a loss…i personally think if you have all what you want in a relationship and you aren’t bored,you wouldn’t cheat..but then again those reasons can be cancelled out with greed and ADHD so i cant really say..when/if you do find an answer or theory to this topic,do blog about it.

  9. @afrobabe:hmmmmmmmm(am thinking)@little miss me:some could be dissatisfaction, falling out of love with d partner, etc etc…anyway if and wen I find such answers, I WILL publish dem

  10. i’ve been in and out of here a couple of times and there is no easy answer to write. variety being the spice of life…?

  11. @jinta:hahahahahahaha i hear u…so been in and out of wer? d cheated or d cheater(thinking)?variety eh?? ok ooooo(lol)

  12. Good god afro babe! yeah true love changes all.

  13. Different strokes for different folks. People do things for different reasons. I talked to a guy friend of mind and the topic was cheating. He said “Men can cheat anytime. They can do it without thinking.” HE then said ” Women don’t just cheat, they think about it before they do it. They must have admired the person, lust with him in their minds before cheating.”It’s true that dogs go back to their vomit. This cheating issue is complicated. All I can say is if there’s more to gain than to lose, the dog ought to be given another chance. If not, let it go.

  14. I tink de can!! Sometimes !! Now dat i really tink about it, i dont know for certain. Let me ponder on dis.

  15. @nikkisab:ponder well oo…and lemme have ur conclusion(lol)

  16. @olamild:hmmmmmmmmmmm..

  17. Why do people cheat…. basically, They like sex way too much that they just wanna fuck others…why do i cheat… i just wanna fuck everyone… i see it as a challenge, but thank GOD, i am now a new person…no more cheating…basically, some people cannot control themselves… they are easily turned on and they want it right there and then….omo, the issue of cheating is not just something you can talk about, it is diverese and theres alot in it…wo… cheating can never stop….

  18. @anu boy: u sure sey u don change? u’re right cheating is diverse but i want to believe der’s a way it can be greatly reduced if not totally eradicated…good to see u again bro:)

  19. @ anonymous gal …lmao…just being honest love….

  20. Yes I do do think they can change, afterall change is the most constant thing in life! But I do admit it would be a herculean task…dropping bad habits usually are! People cheat for a variety of reasons…they’ve lost interest, they want to try other people out or they just wanna cheat! It’s a long process but I think they can change if they want to!

  21. cheating , some people do it for no reason at all…

  22. @afrobabe: gatchya chic@nyemoni: u’re so right..it’s major tough ditching a bad habit but with determination it can be dropped…@ms emmotions: lol…guess dats y dose kind of pple never stop(lol)

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