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True or False: Once a Cheater Always a Cheater?
Of course everyone knows that leopards don’t change their spots. That would be biologically impossible. However, the cliché was developed to examine whether or not someone who is known for a certain behavior can ever have the capacity to change. In this case, we are talking about cheaters.
There is probably not a more painful experience to have, then to find out that someone you love and trust is cheating on you. You may feel, betrayed, violated, and misused. How could they do that you!
Maybe you confront them, and they promise to break off the illicit relationship and never do it again. You love them, and you want to believe them, but can you trust them? If they have offended once, are they likely to do so again? How can you know if you are just setting yourself up for additional heartache?
Leopards Don’t Choose Their Spots, but Cheaters Do.
No one is born a cheater. Asking a leopard to change their spots would be unfair. You have to accept a leopard for the way they are. Want to love a leopard? Learn to love their spots.
Cheaters however, were not born that way. Cheating is a learned behavior and one that exposes a fundamental flaw in an individual’s character. Cheaters cheat because they have learned that they can get what they want by doing so. The only reason a person will become a serial cheater is because they lack the willpower or moral courage to face their error and effect real change in their lives. Don’t let anyone tell you that they “have” to cheat. They don’t. They choose to, and therefore they could change.
Cheating Does Not Have to Be the End.
Relationships that experience infidelity do not have to end. There are several factors that determine whether or not it is a relationship worth saving. Here are some things to look for when trying to determine whether to attempt salvaging your relationship.
- Are there signs of genuine repentance on the part of the offender? Someone who is genuinely sorry for their actions will not make excuses, or pass the blame. They will accept the responsibility for the decisions they have made.
- Is this the first offense or part of a pattern? Sometimes people make horrible mistakes for which they are truly sorry, and are committed to making things right. Other times, people seem to find apologies easy, but continue to offend. If someone who claims to love you can’t seem to be faithful, then it might be time to sever the relationship. However, if it is the first offense, then you might be able to salvage the relationship with some counseling and guidance.
- Are you willing to take the risk on it happening again? Okay, while it is true that “once a cheater always a cheater” is not a guarantee of it happening again; it is something worth being aware of. Very few people are able to truly face up to character flaws that lead to things like cheating. In many cases, the behavior stems from habits that have been developed from an early age. Changing habits of a lifetime is not easy, and not very common. You have to decide whether or not you are willing to risk being hurt by this person again. While every relationship has some risk, staying in a relationship with someone who has been unfaithful includes an elevated risk, and therefore may not be something you are equipped to deal with.
Separate Behavior From Identity.
Is someone who cheats a cheater? Should a person’s identity be defined by one action to the exclusion of all other actions? What I am saying is that if someone cheats one time, they should not necessarily be defined or labeled as a cheater. After all, I certainly hope that I can rise above being labeled by my failures.
However, if the behavior becomes consistent, then I am choosing that as my identity. Take a good look at the person you are with. If they have chosen the identity of a cheater through consistent and repeated bad behavior, then it is generally better to cut your losses, and save yourself from future pain.
There is no reason to stay with someone who doesn’t respect you enough to honor their commitments. There are good people out there, who are willing to be in a committed relationship.
Have you ever been, or are you now in a relationship with someone who has cheated on you? Why did you choose to stay, and how has that affected your relationship. What advice would you offer to those who may be feeling the fresh pain of a recent infidelity? Please take a moment and leave a comment. Your experiences can be extremely valuable to those who are walking this path right now.