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Once a cheater....

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Ephimera posted 4/28/2019 23:04 PM

This topic often comes up.

I personally believe that people can change if they really want to and are willing to work for it. Once a cheater does not mean they will always cheat.

However, I do believe that after witnessing the incredible pain their A causes, if a WS cheats again, they definitely do not love their BS. That level of cruelty and disregard for the BS's pain can only come from complete indifference.

If that is your WS, run!

happyfromnowon posted 4/28/2019 23:12 PM

I always believed people could change given their level of self awareness and incentive. I am trying to remain faithful that my husband is changing into an honest and self aware man, and that our children and I are the incentive. . If I found out that he had more than the one affair that I know of, or if he ever cheated again, I would have no faith in his capability to change ever again.

Phoenix1 posted 4/28/2019 23:39 PM

Couple of things...

First, you are assuming they hold the same definition of love. In my case, I firmly believe Xhole's definition of love is not anywhere close to mine. So according to my definition, he never truly loved me to begin with. I'm sure he thought he did (proclaimed it even after D), but only according to his own twisted version.

Second, throw in a personality disorder and you might as well throw logic, reason, and rational thought right out the window.

Dispirited posted 4/29/2019 01:17 AM

Once a cheater and without remorse, then there is a good chance it will happen again.I always wondered "how" a cheater and their person in question would NOT think they could do the same.

IMO, idiots to think that once in pairs, then the other would be either inquisitive or quite simply wondering if the asshole will do it again with me.

and ultimately, you do such things, then your SO would entertain a possibility. Again....when people show you who they are...believe them.

cocoplus5nuts posted 4/29/2019 07:25 AM

I've been thinking about this, too. Once a cheater, that will always be a part of that person's history. But, if they stop cheating, find true remorse, and do the work needed to fix themselves, they are not still or always a cheater.

I think people can change if they really want to. Those people have to be able to see themselves for who they really are.

ThisIsSoLonely posted 4/29/2019 07:34 AM

First, you are assuming they hold the same definition of love. In my case, I firmly believe Xhole's definition of love is not anywhere close to mine. So according to my definition, he never truly loved me to begin with. I'm sure he thought he did (proclaimed it even after D), but only according to his own twisted version.

Second, throw in a personality disorder and you might as well throw logic, reason, and rational thought right out the window.

I think this is the same for my WH. I think he is seeing himself for who he really is, and yeah, the personality disorder (or riding the spectrum really close to one) makes them have their own internal struggle, so the A and being an asshole in general is their way of avoiding themselves. While brings me to this:

I think people can change if they really want to. Those people have to be able to see themselves for who they really are.

And who really wants to see themselves as a lying POS? My WH has a LOT of issues - more and more of them come to light every day, and I think there is a distinct possibility that he does have a PD, in which case I'm told there is little you can do but save yourself.

CaptainRogers posted 4/29/2019 08:21 AM

...the possibility exists for it to happen again.

How small or large the possibility, though, is up to the WS. By building better coping skills, the WS can distance themselves from the destructive behaviors.

However, as I look at and have learned more about my wife's AP (through mutual friends), I also see the opposite side of that. Once a cheater, always a cheater because the patterns and behaviors are not changed. He cheated on his XW twice, on one XGF (with my wife) and will likely cheat on his current GF.

From the outside looking in, he will most likely continue that pattern (because he is a lying, narcissistic womanizer who cares about nothing/no one other than what he wants) until someone puts a bullet through his skull (which I had to address in therapy so I wouldn't).

Ultimately, it's about changing the destructive patterns of behavior AND developing new, healthy patterns. When the new patterns are not developed, those old habits will come roaring back.

Noname2016 posted 4/29/2019 10:49 AM

ďAlways a cheaterĒ - proven in my case. But I honestly still do not believe it. I think humans are very strong and have the capability to change if they want. But I think it takes tremendous courage and hard work to really make a change. Probably I think this is why I do think a larger proportion of WS do not have it in them to do the hard work and actually change 😔

DIFM posted 4/29/2019 12:20 PM

I personally believe that people can change if they really want to and are willing to work for it.

I think a fair number agree with you. I do. However I think the old saying of once a cheater always a cheater is founded is some reasonably solid evidence that, although it is possible to change if enough effort and work is applied, that many cheaters do not apply that effort and often follow a lather, rinse, repeat path.

Changing out of a wayward mindset with committed actions is possible. Unfortunately we see over and over how the possibility is rarely fully embraced by liars and cheaters.

So, maybe the real issue is not one of possibility, rather a matter of odds and how much pain is a BS willing to endure to test those odds.

[This message edited by DIFM at 12:22 PM, April 29th (Monday)]

barcher144 posted 4/29/2019 12:24 PM

I do believe that after witnessing the incredible pain their A causes, if a WS cheats again, they definitely do not love their BS.

I disagree with this but very politely.

In my mind, being a cheater is a lot like being an alcoholic or drug addict. In many cases, the drug addict goes back to get their fix even though their loved have said "I'll leave" if they do.

hikingout posted 4/29/2019 12:41 PM

I do believe that after witnessing the incredible pain their A causes, if a WS cheats again, they definitely do not love their BS.

I disagree with this but very politely.
In my mind, being a cheater is a lot like being an alcoholic or drug addict. In many cases, the drug addict goes back to get their fix even though their loved have said "I'll leave" if they do.

This is interesting because I agree with both of you.

I agree with Barcher in the way that cheating really doesn't have anything to do with the BS, that it's a result of bad character and skills.

BUT, I agree with the other statement because I do not think that it's possible to love one's spouse while they are cheating on you. And, if you did it before and do it again it means that the way that the person cheating understands love is still not corrected.

I also think that it takes a kind of specific type of person to cheat after having their spouse know about a prior infidelity. I could not for one moment forget the pain I inflicted and what we have gone through as a couple. I have a hard time understanding how that happens.

[This message edited by hikingout at 12:41 PM, April 29th (Monday)]

crazyblindsided posted 4/29/2019 13:35 PM

That is my WS... witnessed my pain, fear, mental health decline... all for MOW.

Now I am at indifference.

GoldenR posted 4/29/2019 15:42 PM

To add to this, if a WS, after getting busted expressed the desire to stay with their BS, yet they break NC for any reason (even if it's toget their fucking closure that they all seem to insist they need) , then i consider them a multi-time cheater. I see that as not cheating on me once, but twice. And that makes me think that #3, 4, etc, are likely to happen.

DevastatedDee posted 4/29/2019 22:20 PM

In my mind, being a cheater is a lot like being an alcoholic or drug addict. In many cases, the drug addict goes back to get their fix even though their loved have said "I'll leave" if they do.

Addicts in the throes of addiction do not love. Certainly not in any way other than what that person can do for them.

OwningItNow posted 4/30/2019 01:28 AM

One of the messed up parts of my H's FOO that he adopted growing up is seeing himself through his intentions rather than actual actions. My H's therapist has had to work with him to stop seeing his intentions as reality. If my H hurts someone, his FOO tells him that they should understand he did not intend to hurt them. Therefore, he is a good person.

I believe this FOO was his mental gymnastics which were needed to survive his mother's criticisms. Ok, fine. But as an adult, it has kept him from the reality that you are how you act. And no woman will accept hurtful actions just because your intentions were good. Your mental gymnastics do not lessen my pain, and they won't lessen the pain of any new R down the road. So, you better realize that your actions define you no matter what you tell yourself because this problem is not going away.

Unless my H really learns this lesson, he will continue to be a liar and cheater. No remorse = no work = no learning and growing = again being a cheater at some point. But if you do the work, you can break out of your dysfunctional patterns.

thishurts123 posted 4/30/2019 04:26 AM

In my case, I truly believe in the "once a cheater" theory. My XWH carried on his affair for 2 years after D-day. He swore up and down that whole time it was over. I would find out and he'd rug sweep, lie and do it again - all with the same woman. She was aware that I knew and didn't care. She helped him lie and cheat.

Now XWH says he is striving to show me how he's changing and hopes we get remarried someday - not likely. Why on earth would I ever do that??? It was like being married to and divorcing a 5 year old. I hope he get's his life together but sadly that won't happen. Although he claims it's over with AP, it's not. He's a pathological liar.

Someone who is very self aware and is able to actually feel remorse for how their behavior devastated their BS has shot at redemption. Without remorse and hard work though, I don't think a cheater ever redeems him/herself. It's the thrill that gets them and no BS will ever be safe from the pain of infidelity again.

DIFM posted 4/30/2019 05:44 AM

However, I do believe that after witnessing the incredible pain their A causes, if a WS cheats again, they definitely do not love their BS.

There's that "L word. I think many BS's have said that when a WS betrays, manipulates, rejects, lies, humiliates their spouse, then it is evidence that they definitely do not love their BS. Do we really need two betrayals to prove a love concept or is the concept just a way for the BS to rationalize one more try.

In my world, love is a set of behaviors, because if they are primarily feelings, no one could really ever know for certain who loves who and how deeply.....or not. When you practice betrayals, lies, inflict trauma, manipulations, etc., those are about as unloving as there is. I am not sure it takes a round two of the same behaviors to make a call on what constitutes definitely not love. Love without loving behaviors seems to be a pretty low value commodity. Cheat on me once seems to be a convincing set of "what't love got to do with it" messages.

The posts of BS's over many years seem to suggest that a significant percentage of BS's go through a recalibration of what "love" is, when faced with realizing what they thought it was, was not so reliable of a concept. BS's often are willing to moderate their previous view of what love is and isn't, based on experiences they never imagined they would have to consider.

I think if you cheat twice you show the same lack of love as if you cheated only once. It may just be how many times we as BS's are willing to rationalize what love is before we say enough is enough.

Dragonfly123 posted 4/30/2019 06:23 AM

Iíve changed in many ways so of course I believe cheaters can change.

I think as our understanding of the psychology and brain chemistry behind infidelity and the unfaithful themselves, grows I honestly believe weíll make more headway on moving on from infidelity and not repeating self destructive patterns. I have spoken to retired men who have cheated and are looking back on their lives. They all regret it. They didnít have a scooby doo about counselling, self help, healing etc etc. It just wasnít on their radars to think of it as a flaw they needed to fix. I think that mentality is changing. And as that mentality changes so does the quality of the help and support out there for people.

I believe that the fact that so many previously Ďgoodí people cheat tells me that their moral compass is off. I think that many things can contribute to your moral compass being off, addiction, depression, trauma, bereavement. I think itís possible to find your true north again but that takes work as the from what Iíve read your brain becomes accustomed to lying and your empathy has been dampened when you engage in infidelity.

Thatís my thoughts on it all.

I think those with true cluster b disorders are reasonably rare but youíd struggle to change them.

[This message edited by Dragonfly123 at 7:25 AM, April 30th (Tuesday)]

Rideitout posted 4/30/2019 06:49 AM

I have spoken to older men who have previously cheated and continued to cheat. They all regret it.

I'm surprised to hear that. I know plenty of male cheats, and they rarely regret it; the only ones I know who do regret it are those who got caught, and they regret the fallout, for sure. I'm not sure they regret the A though, I'm really not.

But, taking this outside of personal experience for a moment, I think the the "once a cheater" question can be answered better by looking at the motivation for the A vs the reality of the A. Putting it another way, did the A provide what the cheater was after? Most of the men I know claim to pursue other women for sex (and I believe them, posters here often think there's a "deeper goal", I personally do not) and A's, in almost all cases, provide copious quantities of really high energy/frequent/kinky sex. Basically, what they want from an A is something that they are likely to get, in spades, from an A. This makes them, IMHO (and in my personal circle, it's proven to be true), very likely to reoffend. What they are seeking from an A is actually what they get from an A. And this is dangerous because, cheaters like this who've eaten from the forbidden tree know that the fruit there tastes exquisite. They want what an A has to offer, so it's more likely that they will seek it out again.

Let's look at the other side and examine my W's A for a moment. She wanted "love" and "mutual respect" from an A. She got neither, in fact, she nearly got the opposite of both, the OM was joking about her with friends and dropped her like a leper on d-day to go back to his wife. And, unsurprisingly, comes out after d-day that he's a serial cheat and has several d-days to his credit already. Did she get what she wanted from an A? I'd say "absolutely not", she got a ton of sex and then discarded; neither of which was anything like she "wanted" from anyone, especially not someone she was willing to risk her marriage for. Her expectation of an A (romantic, Gone with the Wind, 2 people madly in love) and the reality (Bangbus) were completely misaligned. And for that reason, I think it's unlikely she'd do it again; the A didn't give her what she was after and I think she now understands that A's aren't about "sweep me off my feet love" they are about BJs in back alleys and sex in the backseat of a car.

One of the easiest ways to predict who will have a problem drinking is by looking at hangovers. People who get really sick when they drink generally don't drink to excess, their expectations (good time Charlie, feel great, have fun) and the reality (puking in a toilet after the 5th drink, out of control behavior, sick for days after) are out of alignment. People who have a drinking problem are very often the people who never get sick, never get hungover and really do have the "good time Charlie" experience when they are drunk. And while it may eventually turn into the "down and out drunk", it doesn't start there for most heavy drinkers. They get what the drug promises from the experience and they enjoy it, and that makes them much more likely to repeat that experience in the future. And for people who are like that with an A, who are out for sex (which an A provides) and who don't get emotionally entangled (which causes the "hangover" from the A) well.. I feel those people are far more likely to reoffend because their expectations are met by the A and they don't have the same "hangover" that someone like my W does from the experience.

Dragonfly123 posted 4/30/2019 07:23 AM

RIO Iím not talking about men currently engaged in affairs. Iím talking about retired men looking back on their lives, time with their children etc. I used to work in pubs and they talked a lot about their regrets and yes I believe them. Iím sorry that it wasnít clear so Iíve amended it.

[This message edited by Dragonfly123 at 7:24 AM, April 30th (Tuesday)]

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