If your partner has cheated before, you’re likely to be feeling a bit confused and nervous about what the future holds for your relationship.
This is totally normal and it’s okay to feel this way.
But it’s also a good idea to think about the possibility of them cheating again.
While it’s important not to overthink everything and work yourself up, there are a few things you can look out for.
Here are 10 signs to watch for if you think your partner may cheat again.
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1. How did you find out about the first time they cheated?
Without getting stressed out by thinking over every tiny detail, it’s worth casting your mind back to how you found out about their past infidelity.
Did they confess to you or did you have to confront them about it after finding it out on your own?
The way they handled that will tell you a lot about how things will move forward.
Of course, this isn’t definitive for every relationship, but think about what it says about how they feel about you.
It may be that they told you straight away after a drunken mistake. It may be that you found out after a few months of them seeing their ex.
Think about how much respect this shows they have for you (the cheating aside, of course) and how much they considered your feelings.
If they took accountability and owned up, it shows that they feel guilty and want to make things right with you.
That’s a good sign that they’ll put the time and effort into reassuring you and showing how much they love you.
If they didn’t come clean, it suggests that they’re not taking it seriously and don’t value you highly. It doesn’t mean they’re going to cheat again, but it may mean they’re more likely to.
2. They lie and are secretive.
Have you noticed that your partner is still lying? Not necessarily about the cheating incident, but in general.
Lying is a habit that is very easy to get into and very hard to get out of for some people.
If your partner is lying to you, even about trivial things, it’s not a great sign.
It makes it hard to trust them, especially if they’re lying about important things as time goes on.
It may not seem like much at the time, but they’ll start to realize they can keep getting away with lying.
If you’ve already forgiven them for cheating, they may find lying a good way to keep pushing the boundaries and see how far they can push it.
This may mean that your partner is more likely to cheat again.
They may have started to be more secretive, too, spending more time with friends and not telling you who, or not telling you they’re going to be later than planned.
Maybe they hide their phone from you or leave it on flight mode when you’re together.
Without wishing to put you on edge or make you question everything your partner does, these could be signs that things aren’t quite as they seem.
If your partner has cheated before and is acting suspiciously now, it may be that they’re doing it again.
3. They blame their infidelity on you.
If, as time goes on, your partner starts blaming you for them cheating, it’s a warning sign.
There are ways to try to explain cheating, but blaming your partner is not one of them.
If they start trying to make you feel guilty or acting as though it’s you who’s done wrong, you need to think long and hard about whether or not this relationship is right for you.
Being cheated on is horrific, and your partner should be doing everything they can to make you feel comfortable and confident with them.
Blaming you or implying that you are at fault is not fair. It suggests that they haven’t taken responsibility for their actions, which, sadly, does hint that they may do it again.
4. This is not the first time they’ve cheated.
One of the most obvious behavioral traits that implies your partner will cheat again is whether or not they have cheated multiple times in the past.
This may or may not have been with you; it could be something they did in a previous relationship.
Perhaps your own relationship even started when they cheated on their ex with you.
Yes, people can change, but it’s also important to acknowledge patterns.
It may be that your partner has cheated in past relationships when things have started to get serious, in which case they may have commitment issues.
It may be that they cheat when they’re out with certain friends who condone that kind of behavior, or that they’ve cheated in the past when something has happened – like losing a job or falling out with a family member.
It’s worth noting that not everybody who has cheated in the past will cheat again! Some people do just make a horrific decision once and will never do it again.
But, if your partner has a track record of cheating, you may want to have an open conversation about it with them to see where you get to.
Their cheating can make you incredibly anxious and may not be the relationship you want – if you’re always on edge or worrying about them doing it again, they need to know.
This way, they can find ways to make you more comfortable – or they’ll show their true colors and you’ll realize that you’re better off without them.
5. They’re not making the effort to put things right.
How are they making you feel secure in the relationship?
What are they doing to make you comfortable and confident that this won’t happen again?
What do you need from them to feel safe and loved?
These are all questions you need to be asking yourself.
If they have cheated, there are ways to move on in the relationship and stay together.
But this will require them gaining back your trust and making sure you feel valued and appreciated.
You need to know that this will not happen again and that you will not be taken for a fool if you choose to stay with them.
That means they need to start making some effort.
They should be making more of an effort to spend time with you, to show that, despite their indiscretion, they chose to stay with you. They choose to stay with you every day.
We’re not suggesting that you demand they give up their friends and social life, or that they shower you with gifts, but they need to find ways to make you feel comfortable, even if that is just having open conversations with you.
If they’re not making an effort to make it up to you, why are you still with them?
Consider what you’re getting from this relationship – someone has betrayed your trust and hurt you, and doesn’t have the time to make you feel valued and to apologize to you?
No. Move on.
6. It was more than a one-time thing.
Think about what the circumstances of their cheating were. This will give you a clue as to whether or not they will cheat again.
Maybe it was a one-night stand or a drunken kiss.
Alcohol is no excuse, but we do know that it can alter your behavior and make you do things you wouldn’t normally do.
It doesn’t ease the pain of the betrayal, but if your partner cheated while drunk on a night out and has been very apologetic and desperate to make you feel secure, they probably won’t do it again.
For some people, the pain of seeing someone you love upset because of your actions is enough to stop them ever doing anything again.
Maybe it was just a one-time slip up. It may indicate that there are still some issues in your relationship you need to resolve, but it’s not a habit or a pattern and they are unlikely to cheat again.
Maybe it was an affair or someone close to home. A lot of us could forgive a drunken kiss with a stranger, but sleeping with a friend or having a continued affair? That’s a whole other kettle of fish.
The mindset behind an actual affair, or crossing the line with a friend, is very different to that of someone who got a bit too drunk and liked the attention of a stranger.
If your partner continually cheated on you, it suggests a huge lack of respect. It also suggests that there were some feelings involved, which may not have gone away even though they’ve admitted to the affair or you’ve found out another way.
If they have developed feelings for another person, they are likely to cheat again with that same person.
You need to figure out if you are happy to take a risk – and if you can forgive your partner for being involved in what is essentially an entire relationship behind your back.
7. They avoid alone-time.
A common trait of people who cheat is the avoidance of being alone.
People who struggle to enjoy their own company are always looking for attention from other people.
They may also be seeking validation and affection. This is often what leads them to cheat in the first place.
They may say that it was because they “missed you so much” and were feeling lonely when someone else made a move on them.
Someone who respects you can miss you but still honor the relationship by staying faithful.
If your partner cheated in the past because they felt lonely or had too much time alone and needed some ‘company,’ and they still avoid being alone now, it may be a sign that they will cheat again.
Of course, it may be that they avoid alone time for other reasons and won’t ever do anything like this again, but it’s worth noting that people who avoid being alone may make rash decisions in order to gain some attention or affection.
8. There’s a lack of communication between you.
This links to the section on lying and secrecy, but it’s a whole point in its own right and needs a deeper explanation.
This isn’t just about someone lying; it’s about a general lack of communication.
If your partner has cheated in the past and you have chosen to stay together, you need open and honest communication going forwards.
This isn’t so that you can interrogate them and ask them to explain everything they do or tell you exactly who will be there on a night out.
It’s so that you can both find ways to move on and feel comfortable and confident in the relationship.
If, therefore, there’s a lack of communication or a lot of miscommunication (“Oh, sorry I thought I told you I was going to be home late”), you need to ask yourself why this is.
Is it because they feel guilty about their past behavior and are trying to play it safe by keeping details to a minimum?
Some people don’t want their partners to limit their social life so will start lying about who they are spending time with or where they’re going (or saying that it’s just ‘the guys’ when they know there will be female friends out). Some will do it out of guilt.
Some partners will really cut back on communicating and it could be a sign they will cheat again.
If they are avoiding open conversations and dodging questions, you need to consider how you feel about everything and go from there.
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9. The intimacy has gone from your relationship.
Sometimes, people cheat because they’re not getting the levels of intimacy from their partner that they want.
They want affection, sex, attention – and they’re not getting it. This can lead to them looking elsewhere for it or drunkenly sleeping with someone else because it’s nice to feel attractive and desired.
Equally, a sign that your partner may be cheating is a lack of intimacy in your own relationship with them.
They may find it hard to be intimate with you when they know that they’re cheating and betraying your trust.
Some couples can get caught in a cycle – there’s no intimacy, so one of them cheats, then there’s even less intimacy because of the guilt, then they crave intimacy again but can’t get it from their partner so cheat again.
This is something that needs addressing – and it does not mean that you need to force yourself to give them more attention or sex or affection!
If you feel that way, there is a bigger issue in your relationship that needs addressing.
It just means you need to figure out what is driving both of your behaviors, and you need to consider whether this is behavior that suggests they are cheating or if it’s because they feel guilty about cheating in the past.
10. Your gut is telling you.
Now, it can be hard to tell if that slightly ‘off’ feeling is our anxiety or our gut.
When someone says “listen to what your body tells you,” it can be hard to know whether your body is telling you that something is wrong or if your anxiety is telling your body that you’re feeling stressed about what to listen out for and you’re therefore just getting a horrible feeling in general!
So, how are you meant to ‘know’?
You know your partner and you know that they have cheated before. You know how you’ve felt with them when things have been good and you can probably remember the pain of knowing that they cheated on you.
Try to see the relationship for what it is now – are they acting strangely or are you projecting your fear onto them?
They may be picking up on your odd vibes and acting oddly in return.
The calmer and more objective you can be, the more you’ll be able to see them for what they really are – either someone committed to making this work or someone who is likely to cheat again.
Ultimately, we can never know what will happen in our relationships.
Some last forever. Some people cheat and then become the most dedicated partners known to man.
Some people cheat and cheat and cheat, and their partners put up with it.
Some people come out as gay after 50 years married to a woman.
We have no idea how things will go, so all we can do is act on what we have in front of us.
If you feel that your partner is not giving you the respect you deserve and is acting oddly, listen to that.
You may never know if they will cheat again, and you never know if you may cheat on a partner, but you can do your best with what you have at this time.
You need to decide if you are happy most of the time or if you feel like you’re second-guessing everything and are on edge too much of the time.
Do what feels right and remember that no decision is absolute – you can change your mind tomorrow, or in a month, or a year.
Equally, your partner may change and your entire relationship may change. Take it day by day and put yourself first.
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