Once a cheater, always a cheater? Not necessarily. Here’s a surprising reason to stay with a boyfriend or husband who cheated on you once, plus tips on how to know if he’ll cheat again. The answer will surprise you! Marriage coach Mort Fertel says spouses who cheat are less likely to cheat again. So, you shouldn’t necessarily leave your boyfriend or husband if you caught him having an affair.
“My boyfriend cheated on me, and said he wouldn’t do it again,” says Cordelia on 9 Ways to Know if Your Husband is Lying About Cheating. “But he wouldn’t go to counseling with me and he wouldn’t read any self-help books about relationships. So I broke up with him. A week later he was in a relationship with another girl and he cheated on her a month later. I knew he’d cheat on me again, and I was right.”
If your boyfriend or husband cheated on you, he probably also promised that he’ll never cheat again. But promises aren’t enough, are they? While he was making the promise not to cheat, he probably meant he’d never cheat on you again. But, when he finds himself in a situation where he’s actually tempted to cheat on you again, he may fall into his old pattern. “The flesh is willing, but the spirit is weak” is one of those Bible sayings that applies to all aspects of life…including relationships. So, how do you know if you can trust your boyfriend not to cheat on you again?
It’s not enough that he says “I’m sorry I cheated on you.” Your boyfriend or husband has to actively work towards winning your trust back and rebuilding your relationship. If a he’s willing to work hard on the marriage, he isn’t likely to cheat again.
Here’s what marriage coach Mort Fertel says: “At this point in a husband’s life, given all he’s been through and learned, what are the chances that he’ll cheat again? If this woman gave him another chance, what’s the likelihood that he’d make the same mistake that almost caused him to lose his family years before? In my opinion, it’s dramatically less than 50%. In fact, I think it’s slim to none.”
According to Mort, men who cheated in a relationship may be more trustworthy than guys who never cheated. Do you agree with his statement? Below, he shares why he believes his theory is true.
Will He Cheat Again? The Surprising Answer
“My wife cheated on me, apologized 100 times, stopped her affair, and is committed to being a new woman,” says Ben on Is Your Wife Having an Affair? 5 Signs of Cheating in Marriage. “Her whole demeanor has changed, and she’s even considering getting a new job because she cheated with a guy she works with. He works in a different department, but they see each other randomly. I see that my wife has changed but I can’t seem to trust her. But wouldn’t I be better off divorcing her and starting fresh with someone new? We don’t have kids and have only been married two years.”
An affair is the worst betrayal in a marriage or relationship. It hurts on so many levels. And, it hurts different people for different reasons. For example, I grew up without a dad or brother. I never learned that men were trustworthy; I always assumed men are cheaters and family-abandoners. So I grew up thinking that if my husband or boyfriend cheated, I wouldn’t be surprised.
That was before I got married and spent 12 years building a happy, healthy marriage! Now I know that not all men cheat…and some husbands who cheat regret it. They can be trusted not to cheat again. So, it doesn’t make sense to break up with a boyfriend or divorce your husband (or wife) because of cheating.
A good sign he won’t cheat again
If you’ve been burned by a betrayal your first instinct might be to run away. Instead of fleeing, take time to work through your thoughts and emotions about cheating in relationships. Talk to someone you trust – such as a counselor or pastor – about the wisest way to move forward.
And, consider marriage coach Mort Fertel’s perspective on cheating in a relationship:
“Most spouses who cope with infidelity (and other emotional hardships) believe that they’ll be safer in a relationship with someone who never cheated or hurt them,” he says. “I completely understand this feeling…but the opposite might be true. If a spouse who cheated is genuinely remorseful and really wants to save the marriage, then he won’t cheat again. He will want to reconnect with his wife and rebuild their relationship.”
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Mort adds that he’s seen seen many people transform themselves after getting the “I want a divorce” wake up call from their spouses. “Unless the cheating husband is a pathological liar or an addict, he’s less likely to cheat on his wife again,” he says, “especially compared to someone whose track record is clean.”
In other words, once a spouse learns their lesson about how destructive an affair is to a marriage, they’re less likely to make the same mistake than someone who never cheated.
How to decide if you should give him another chance
Weigh all your options – using your head, not your heart. Here are a few things to think about:
- Talk to your husband or boyfriend. Is he willing to rebuild your relationship? Is he genuinely sorry he cheated…or is he just sorry he got caught?
- Pay close attention to what your boyfriend or husband is saying to you…and to others
- Pay even closer attention to what he does. Has his behavior changed? What is he doing differently?
- Take time to grieve the end of your relationship as it was. Regardless of what happens next, you and he have moved to a new stage of life
- Talk to a marriage counselor as a couple, and as individuals
- Take time to learn why he cheated in the first place
- Spend time with God. Listen for His still small voice, His wisdom and guidance
- Consider the effect of divorce on your children and family
Above all, be honest with yourself and others. Often, we avoid facing the truth about our lives, relationships, and selves because it’s painful. We know the truth but we refuse to face it because it hurts.
The question is: how do you heal after finding out that your husband cheated on you? How do you forgive? How do you get to the point where you’re able to give your husband another chance? Read How to Trust Your Husband After He Betrayed You for tips and ideas.
Help Getting Over Cheating in a Relationship
In Torn Asunder: Recovering From an Extramarital Affair, Dave Carder offers wisdom and insight into why cheating happens in relationships – and how to know if you can trust your boyfriend or husband not to cheat on you again.
In Torn Asunder, this pastor and counselor sorts through the factors that contribute to infidelity. He also maps out a recovery process for both partners. With compassion and wisdom rooted in the Bible, Carder offers insight for the victims of adultery, the spouses who cheated, and anyone seeking to understand why affairs happen in relationships.
This book also answers questions such as:
- Why did this happen?
- We didn’t actually sleep together, so is it still an affair?
- Can I trust my boyfriend or husband again?
- Should I reveal a secret affair?
- What if my spouse doesn’t want me back?
- What do we tell the kids?
Don’t lose hope! Your relationship isn’t necessarily over because of an affair. And, remember that your husband or boyfriend’s choice to cheat on you isn’t a reflection of you. His choice is a reflection of who he is and how he feels. Take time to rebuild your confidence and self-esteem. Spend time in God’s presence, seeking His love, compassion, and guidance. Learn who Jesus is, and how He can give you freedom and healing.
How do you feel? Your thoughts and comments are welcome below. You may find it helpful to express your emotions and share your thoughts. Tell me how to know if he’ll cheat again! Writing can bring clarity and insight, and help you see discover things you hadn’t thought of before.
Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.