It’s not unusual to be really wary of someone who has cheated in the past: whether they cheated on you or you know that they have previously cheated on someone else.
There’s a saying “leopards don’t change their spots” and another one “once a cheater, always a cheater” that people often use when talking about someone with a dodgy arsed track record when it comes to fidelity.
And a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour backs this up.
The study found that 30 per cent of people who had been unfaithful in past relationships admitted they had also cheated on their present partners. This compared with 13 per cent who said they were cheating on their current partners but had never been unfaithful in previous relationships.
According to study co-author and clinical psychologist Frank Dattilio, from Allentown in Pennsylvania, something called the “threshold effect” comes in to play.
This means that if you cheat once, you might not see being unfaithful as being a huge deal in the future.
That being said, 70 per cent of those who had strayed with previous partners said they were faithful in their current relationships, which means there is hope that some cheaters aren’t always cheaters.
Dattilio advises that if you want to know whether a previous cheater is reliable now, you should talk to them about infidelity (if it happened in your current relationship or their previous one) and see how they react.
If they avoid the subject and are acting like it’s no big deal, then you have cause for concern, according to Dattilio. This is a sign that they don’t consider fidelity to be a priority. But if they come clean and admit that the cheating was a terrible mistake, then you can be assured they take the matter as seriously as you do.