You might have read that title and thought “duh”.
After all, most people will be able to bring forth some kind of anecdotal evidence proving the oft-used phrase “once a cheater, always a cheater”.
However, a new study published in the Archives Of Sexual Behaviour has concluded that conventional wisdom is correct.
The study, from the University Of Denver’s psychology department, studied 484 participants in heterosexual relationships.
The study followed the participants over two relationships.
The participants had to reveal to when they’d been unfaithful to their partners. In addition, researchers asked the participants’ partners to report when they felt suspicious about cheating.
Those who cheated in one relationship were three times more likely to cheat in their second relationship.
Interestingly, those who knew that they’d been cheated on before were more likely to get cheated on again.
That could mean that people choose to form relationships with the same types of people they’ve dated before, warts and all.
The study also seems to prove that suspicion is a difficult thing to get over. Those who’d been suspicious of their first partner cheating on them were four times more suspicious than those who didn’t suspect infidelity.
One compelling detail of the study is that the researchers found these findings held regardless of gender or marital status.
Men and women were just as likely to be two-time cheaters as one another. And marriage does nothing to improve your chances of staying faithful.
Why do people always end up cheating time after time?
The answer might lie in a totally separate study from Princeton Neuroscience Institute.
In that study, participants had to help a partner guess how many coins were in a jar.
The partner saw only a blurry picture, while the participant got the full image. The partner’s overestimation resulted in the participant receiving a cash prize.
The study found that the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for emotion, lit up when lying. But the more times the lies were told, the less active it became.
Neil Garrett co-author of the study and his team found that our brains basically get used to lying, making it easier to keep cheating.
Elite Daily spoke to Garrett who summarised the findings of his study:
What our study and others suggest is a powerful factor that prevents us from cheating is our emotional reaction to it, how bad we feel essentially, and the process of adaptation reduces this reaction, thereby allowing us to cheat more. With serial cheaters, it could be the case that they initially felt bad about cheating, but have cheated so much they’ve adapted to their ways and simply don’t feel bad about cheating any more.
Essentially, the more you lie, the less you feel bad about lying. This enables a person to keep lying.
Overall, if you find yourself being cheated on time after time, you might want to think about who you’re dating.
And if you know your partner has cheated before meeting you, you should probably be a little more cautious before letting yourself fall head over heels for them!