Guess What? Cheaters Never Change

It would seem pretty obvious, but a new study has found, once a cheater, always a cheater.

According to, this study showed that people who had sex outside their relationships once were 3.7 times more likely to report sexual infidelity again in their next relationships. Victims of infidelity in the past were also more likely to report being cheated on again.

Now, that's depressing!

The study examined 484 unmarried 18-to-34-year-olds who were in at least two relationships during the time of the study.

Researchers also found patterns within physically or psychologically aggressive relationships.

“Respondents who reported being aggressive in relationships were three times more likely to be aggressive in their next relationship – regardless of how aggressive their partner is,” says University of Denver psychology graduate student Kayla Knopp, who led the study.

“We were surprised to see that it wasn’t something you could blame on the couple’s relationship, that they were just in an unhealthy mutual conflict style. Mutuality isn’t the important component; it’s the behavior on its own," she adds.

 Victims of aggression in previous relationships were five times more likely to report being victims again in their next relationship.

We like to think we can learn from our mistakes, Knopp says, but this study shows it’s hard to do. More research is needed to develop interventions to help couples learn from past experiences and make better relationship choices, she says.

“In the meantime,” she says, “couples can help avoid these patterns in their own lives by talking to one another about their relationship histories, and deciding which behaviors they do – and don’t – want to bring with them into the future.”

I've never been a cheater but I've been a cheatee, at least once (if you don't count extreme flirting, that is).  I lived on the edge a couple of times, hooking up with a man I met at a conference when I had a steady boyfriend.  He asked me to spend Thanksgiving with him when I was supposed to be with my boyfriend's family.  I admit I had to think really hard about it.  I really liked him and we were a much better fit than me and my current boyfriend.  But I said no, and never saw him agai.

And then, guess what?  I broke up with the boyfriend!


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