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Is It True That Once A Cheater Always A Cheater?

I was recently interviewed by a reporter from New York Post following the breakup news of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. The title of the article was, “If once a cheater always a cheater?”. I think the reporter wanted to believe that that is true. However, I do not necessarily think so.

The idea that she had was that Brad Pitt cheated on Jennifer Aniston, and it is only logical that he would eventually cheat on Angelina.

First of all, I think this couple does not make a rule on the subject. Their lives are in a different category with the various circumstances than most people I come in contact with professionally and personally.

If I believed this, my work with couples who come in the crisis of an affair would be senseless. I think cheating is a complicated business, and all affairs are not created equal. Also, I know couples where one or both people cheated on their partner(s) with each other, proceeded to leave those partners and have had long lasting relationships without cheating. This happens all the time.

It is possible to be married to a wonderful person, meet someone else and feel that you belong to that other person. Many times these types of situations don’t work out, but many times they do.

Unless the cheating happens due to compulsive sexual behaviors, otherwise known as sexual addiction, some complicated emotions and longings lead people to cheat on their partner.  Many times if these feelings and longings are understood and fulfilled, there is no reason for cheating.

What about the idea that you cannot build your happiness and relationship on someone else’s pain? While I think that the cheating partner and his or her new love will feel bad and guilty, again this does not necessarily lead to ruining a new relationship. It depends on many different things and cannot be generalized.