Newest Member: Loyalandbetrayed

Just Found Out :
Do cheaters really change?

Topic is Sleeping.

 Bibi (original poster New Member #79066) posted at 10:51 PM on Saturday, July 3rd, 2021

My husband of 7 years has been a flirt, each time I confronted him about it, I always told him that his actions were affecting me and our marriage but he still got back into it after a while. The last episode of flirt got me soo mad and I decided to ask him if he’s ever cheated, he lied and said it was one, on further probation he said it’s 4 women. I asked how many times he said once with each of them, I have now found out that he has sex with each of them more than once, one of which he had sex with her 3-4 times every month for about 3 years! He would never have told me about his secret life and would have continued too. A man I sooo much loved and trusted!

I am crushed beyond words! The pain is ripping me apart. How do I ever recover from this, my heart bleeds. The lies, the double life, he wanted me to make him happy and that I did with everything in me yet this!

He has repeatedly apologised and keeps saying that he has always loved me despite his actions. How do you love someone and inflict pain on them, knowing they’ll be badly hurt, still go ahead to hurt them and say you never stopped loving them?

He’s swearing he’s going to be a brand new man and the whole nine yards. He’s been begging.

Is there really anything left to save in our marriage?

I am painfully exhausted, with low moods, terrible mood swings, outburst of crying, zero appetite and I have hardly slept.

Just tell me I’ll get through this.

Would he really change?

Do I just leave with my two kids and save myself a lifetime of distrust and pending pain????

posts: 1   ·   registered: Jul. 3rd, 2021   ·   location: UK
id 8672246

BlueRaspberry ( Member #76065) posted at 11:38 PM on Saturday, July 3rd, 2021


Your husband is NOT a flirt. He is a serial cheater with deep seated character flaws and a broken moral compass. Now that he has been exposed, the chance that he will "become a new man" and never cheat again is virtually zero. He would need to start IC with an infidelity expert and dig very deep for YEARS to overcome his character flaws. Most people don't have the drive/desire to make that happen. More likely is he'll try to get you to rugsweep this issue and continue in a more covert fashion.

Your reaction is totally normal. You've been betrayed in an awful way by someone you loved and trusted. You should go to an IC yourself to deal with this trauma. You should also consult with a few lawyers to understand what a divorce might mean with respect to finances and child custody. Also, get tested for STDs ASAP and do NOT have sex with your husband until he is tested and you see the results - even then I would caution you to avoid any hysterical bonding. You don't need to decide to reconcile or divorce immediately - take care of yourself first.

[This message edited by BlueRaspberry at 5:44 PM, July 3rd (Saturday)]

posts: 216   ·   registered: Dec. 29th, 2020
id 8672257

Justsomeguy ( Member #65583) posted at 12:02 AM on Sunday, July 4th, 2021

This is a question that comes up again and again on SI, and I've really struggled with this. After 4-5 years in this, my short answer is no. People don't change. In western culture, we tell people that they can be anything they want to be. That is utter bullshit. I, for instance, cannot be a fighter pilot. I have a lazy eye. Nature has excluded me from that dream, not matter how hard I work. I think we tell kids thus to placate or medicate them to the harsh realities of life. No Billy, not everyone gets to be an astronaut. That isnt to say one does not gave options,but some have fewer while others have more. It is the essence of the genetic lottery.

Psychologists say that character is solidified somewhere at age 10, if I can remember correctly. Then there is biology, which, unfortunately one cannot fight. So, the core of who we are is written in stone. That does not mean one cannot change the expression of these traits, but the core remains. I liken it to an actor who memorizes lines for so long, that they seem to become the character, but underneath it all, they are an actor playing a part...sometimes an idiot fretting an hour upon a stage.

I think there are rare instances where real change occurs, but I often wonder if the cheater has rediscovered their core character after having abandoned it? A sort of prodigal son moment, if you will. Through the half century I've been around, I have discovered that people will almost always disappoint you. If an asshole realizes that they are an asshole, and tries to avoid acting like an asshole, are they any less of an asshole? Or are they playing the part of a decent person?

They tell waywards to find their ways... this must scare the shit out of them because it presupposes that they look within their very core. I bet that they often recoil at what they see, especially if their cheating is just another indicator of a larger pattern.

They say that 70% of cheaters will cheat again. Historically, we have aphorisms like "once a cheater, always a cheater" and "a leopard can't change its spots". These are aphorisms for a reason. Thousands of years of collective human experience has proven them to be generally true.

So, can a person change? Probably not, but on rare occasions, maybe. It's all about risk.

[This message edited by Justsomeguy at 10:26 AM, July 4th (Sunday)]

Me:53STBXWW:51DD#1: false confession of EA Dec. 2016. False R for a year.DD#2: confessed to year long PA Dec. 2 2017 (was about to be outed)Called it off.Denied having an affair in court papers.

posts: 1110   ·   registered: Jul. 25th, 2018   ·   location: Canada
id 8672261

Sofarsogood ( Member #71991) posted at 12:53 AM on Sunday, July 4th, 2021

So sorry you find yourself in this painful place. Please make use of the healing library located on this site, and make sure you're taking care of yourself. Nobody can answer your question until you decide what you think you deserve in your relationship. Vows are made in a marriage, and over 7 years, your wayward husband has dishonored and disrespected you over and over. Please get checked out for stds, and maybe look in to counseling for you individually. You didn't mention your age or if children are involved which are factors to consider. There is something missing in your husband's character and you have to be honest with yourself about him being able to change. He has to prove he is remorseful and willing to do the hard work to continue your relationship. Please don't sell yourself short, you deserve better.

posts: 272   ·   registered: Nov. 2nd, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8672266

Sofarsogood ( Member #71991) posted at 1:07 AM on Sunday, July 4th, 2021

Just read the original post again. I see you have children. My FWH was also a notorious flirt. I finally got to the point that I realized I didn't deserve this level of disrespect. I told him early on in our relationship that if he was going to continue that behavior, he was going to do it alone because I just didn't care anymore. That was about 40 years ago and we will be married 43 years this fall. Please realize your worth, and be honest with yourself about whether you WH is willing and capable of change. Wishing the best outcome for you and your children.

posts: 272   ·   registered: Nov. 2nd, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8672267

thatbpguy ( Member #58540) posted at 1:17 AM on Sunday, July 4th, 2021

To me, it's similar to an addiction. As an example, ask an alcoholic who's been dry for 15 years who they are, and they say they're an alcoholic. Why? It's who they are and the propensity to drink always stays even if they don't, in fact, fall off the wagon. Cheaters always have that propensity to cheat. It's in their DNA. Of course, there's always the 5% who may actually change, but in general we are who we are.

ME: BHHer: WWDDay 1, R; DDay 2, R; DDay 3, I leftDivorcedRemarried to a wonderful woman

"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind." C.S. Lewis

As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly...

posts: 4449   ·   registered: May. 2nd, 2017   ·   location: Vancouver, WA
id 8672268

fareast ( Member #61555) posted at 3:49 AM on Sunday, July 4th, 2021

Sorry you are here. Right now the most important thing is t9 take care of you. Read in the healing library. Get tested for STD’s. Seek help with an IC if necessary. See an attorney to learn your rights. Right now you are dealing with emotional trauma as life as you know it has imploded. Eat healthy, stay away from alcohol, exercise. You will get through this.

Right now your WH is just offering words. He is sounding desperate to save his M. But you can’t trust his words. Cheaters do lie and minimize. Watch his actions. He has to take all of your anger and pain without defensiveness. He should complete a written timeline.

You are asking the wrong question in my view: can he change? The real question is: even if your WH is sincerely remorseful and does everything he can to win back your trust, do you want to be married to him knowing that he betrayed you? In other words: is his betrayal a dealbreaker for you. As you heal and become stronger you will have a better perspective on this question. Take care of you.

Never bother with things in your rearview mirror. Your best days are on the road in front of you.

posts: 2794   ·   registered: Nov. 24th, 2017
id 8672275

The1stWife ( Member #58832) posted at 12:37 PM on Sunday, July 4th, 2021

My H was very flirty but there was no sexual affair involved.

And yes he changed after 25 years of marriage. He doesn’t behave that way any longer. He realized the disrespect he showed me and he made serious changes.

8 years ago today was dday. We survived snd are happily reconciled. But only because of the changes he made. If he didn’t make those changes we woukd but he together.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 10517   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8672298

steadychevy ( Member #42608) posted at 1:28 PM on Sunday, July 4th, 2021

I think people can change. There are examples of that here on SI. I think, however, it's a very small proportion that do.

Character is set at a very young age as explained by Justsomeguy. Genetics and environment play a large role. Once the brain is wired in a certain way it takes a lot of very hard work and introspection to deal with it.

Then there's the scenario that Justsomeguy posted. Did they change or did they learn to act differently. Are they still an asshole just acting differently?

They've been actors all along and they're quite good at it. Your WH lied and acted all the while he's been a serial cheater. Will he change or will it be a new act? What are the odds? In my opinion they are not very good.

BH(me)70; XWW 64; M 42 yrs
LTA-09/02-06/06? OM - COW
"dates" w/3 lovers post engagement;ONS w/stranger post commitment, lies, lies, lies
Separated 23/09/2017; D 16/03/2020

posts: 4658   ·   registered: Feb. 27th, 2014   ·   location: Canada
id 8672307

steadychevy ( Member #42608) posted at 1:46 PM on Sunday, July 4th, 2021

I should have added that I'm so sorry you find the need to look for information about adultery. I believe it's very good that you've found SI - the best club no one ever wanted to join. We have all experienced what you are experiencing now. There is a huge amount of unwanted wisdom here. We all want you to get out of adultery and to avoid all the mistakes we made.

There is nothing you did or did not do that caused your WH to be a serial cheater. That is in him entirely. It is 100% his doing. Not yours and not the marriage and not the kids.

I suggest IC (individual counselling) for you. Do not go to MC (marriage counselling). Marriage is the patient in MC. Your marriage isn't the problem. He is. He needs to go for counselling if he truly wants to change.

About 70% of the people betrayed by adultery suffer from PTSD. If you go for counselling find one with training in trauma and PTSD. I suffered from PTSD and my 3rd counsellor was trained in EMDR and other trauma counselling methods. If you don't find your counsellor a good fit you can fire them.

Again, I'm so sorry. Healing is said to take 2 to 5 years and that starts after you are out of adultery and it doesn't matter if you divorce or reconcile.

There are some books I would recommend you find and read. The first one is "How To Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair" by Linda J. McDonald. It's directed at the cheater but you will find what a remorseful cheater who is committed to changing looks and acts like. Apparently, this book can be downloaded at a very low price. It is short and to the point. I bought a hard copy. I also bought one and gave it to my IC.

The second is "Cheating in a Nutshell" by Wayne and Tamara Mitchell. It is also short and an easy read.

My very best wishes to you to get through this shit show.

BH(me)70; XWW 64; M 42 yrs
LTA-09/02-06/06? OM - COW
"dates" w/3 lovers post engagement;ONS w/stranger post commitment, lies, lies, lies
Separated 23/09/2017; D 16/03/2020

posts: 4658   ·   registered: Feb. 27th, 2014   ·   location: Canada
id 8672309

sisoon ( Guide #31240) posted at 3:29 PM on Sunday, July 4th, 2021

Yes, absolutely, have faith in yourself to heal from this trauma. You can survive and thrive.

A lot of our character is created when we're children, based on our interpretation of what happened to us and what we see happen around us. The problem is that kids don't have the experience, knowledge, or synthesizing skills that mature adults have.

People change if they replace their childhood conclusions about the world with adult perceptions. That's easily said, but it takes a lot of hard work to do. So WSes can change, if they do the work. That usually requires the help of a good IC.

Watch what your H does. Actions are more important than words. You describe a WS who doesn't want to lose you. What you need, IMO, is a WS who realizes they're hurting themselves by their behavior and decides to change from betrayer to good partner.

Here's some reading I recommend: - if this resonates with you, I suggest printing it off and giving the printout to your H as 'something you found on the web.' My reco: DO NOT tell your H about SI until you're sure he's on board for R. - serjr threads for newbies

Tactical Primer:

Boundaries and Consequences 101:

Setting Healthy Boundaries:

Before You Say Reconcile:

The Simplified 180:

20/20 Hindsight: What I Wish I'd Done:

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 25995   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8672327

Justsomeguy ( Member #65583) posted at 4:22 PM on Sunday, July 4th, 2021

I'd like to add one thing to my comments about cheaters and change. I think the really important question is not if cheaters can change, but how much do we as BS'S, change? And can we mitigate or manage this change?

Infidelity has caused the scales of romantic idealism to fall from my eyes. I now see people and the world in all of its reality, rather than the comfortable fantasy I had grown up in.this does not mean life must be bad now, only that I can finally live an authentic life for a change. I'm not justcpluggong quarters into a video game and hoping for the best, I understand the code and the patterns.

The single greatest thing that will come out of this horrible situation is, quite seriously, you. You will emerge stronger, developed skills and abilities that lay dormant inside you for years, possible extinguished by the very partner you are trying to keep. In a sense, it's a form of Stockholm syndrome where were feel comfortable with the source of our pain.

I have changed a great deal after infidelity, some of it not great. But i have also grown in ways i never expected. As much as it hurt, u could never go back to my WW again. In all practical, I've outgrown her. You may very well outgrow your WH as you move through this and conclude that he is just not enough for you, that he has been weighed in the balance and found wanting.

Me:53STBXWW:51DD#1: false confession of EA Dec. 2016. False R for a year.DD#2: confessed to year long PA Dec. 2 2017 (was about to be outed)Called it off.Denied having an affair in court papers.

posts: 1110   ·   registered: Jul. 25th, 2018   ·   location: Canada
id 8672339

keptmyword ( Member #35526) posted at 5:26 PM on Sunday, July 4th, 2021

he wanted me to make him happy and that I did with everything in me

It was never your responsibility to “make him happy”.

If you let him make his happiness be your burden then he will also make his unhappiness your burden and your fault when he is unhappy.

His “happiness” is his responsibility and his “unhappiness” is his own problem to figure out.

Anyone who “is a flirt” should not be married or in any serious relationship.

Flirting is putting out signals that you are interested in someone romantically and sexually and seeing if the interest is returned.

It is not just a friendly characteristic.

To me, any woman who makes the claim “I’m a flirt!” is an infidelity time-bomb waiting to go off - same thing for men.

Do people like this change?

In my experience the answer is a pretty firm no.

I’m eight years divorced and my XWW is the same exact validation-seeking, people-pleasing, narcissistic, blame shifting, needy child that she has always been.

The only thing that might change them is old age and finally realizing that living a life trying to get people to validate you has been utterly meaningless, weak-minded, and futile.

It has nothing to do with you.

Filed for and proceeded with divorce.

posts: 1132   ·   registered: May. 4th, 2012
id 8672349
Topic is Sleeping.
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