The REAL Reason Why Cheaters Come Back (And Why You Can’t Let Them!)

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Heartbreak

There are few things that can damage your self-esteem more than finding out that a person you loved, a person you were in a committed relationship with, has cheated on you. It throws your entire world into chaos, and you might be thinking during your heartbreak, "do cheaters come back?" or "do cheaters miss their ex?"

You would think that, in that situation, the person who got caught cheating would regard their bridge back to you to be burned to a crisp, exploded, napalmed. How can anyone ever imagine facing the person they hurt in that situation again?

And yet… they do. They come back.

Infidelity not only forces you to question the very nature of your romance — was anything real? — but it also turns your brain against itself. It makes you forget that you’re the victim and makes you ask yourself questions like, “Was I really so horrible that he or she had to sneak around to find any joy in life?”

All of this self-doubt gets even more confusing when the inevitable happens … the cheater tries to come back to you.

It makes no sense why cheaters come back. They spent days, months, sometimes, years, sneaking around behind your back. By all accounts, they weren’t getting what they needed from your relationship AND they proved that they didn’t respect the relationship (or YOU) in the slightest.

RELATED: Why Do People Cheat? 5 Excuses People Give For Infidelity (That Are Total Lies)

Why do cheaters come back?

The answer lies in the very nature of their infidelity in the first place.

Cheaters almost always come back. It all stems from the fact that your sneaky little partner didn’t have the courage to just say, “Hey, I’m not happy. And I want to sleep with that other, better person, so we’re done here.” (That would hurt like hell, but at least it would be honest.)

Your cheater wanted everything both ways. They wanted the thrill of the chase, the high of doing something taboo, they wanted secret, freaky, undercover sex… and they yet still wanted to come home to you at night.

Cheaters choose to cheat rather than break up with you because they’re hardwired to crave security as much as sex. 

They’re hedging their bets. They don’t trust their little side piece, but they do trust you. They see you as a home base, as a constant, as something true. If they thought the “other person” was worth investing in emotionally, they’d probably break up with you. But, most times, they don’t.

Do cheaters regret leaving?

Cheaters only regret leaving because they knew you were security for them. You provide to exist side-by-side with their secret, selfish “cheater” persona.

That’s why, when cheaters are found out, more often than not, they beg to stay. And why, after you kick them to the curb — even if they angrily departed on their own, once they were discovered — they almost always come crawling back to you at some point.

Sometimes, it’s overt. (They plead, they promise, they say they’ve changed.) And, sometimes, it’s not. (They text you out of the blue, they sent you a Facebook message, they keep showing up at places you frequent.)

Which makes you think that they want you back, but don’t get fooled.

RELATED: 8 Things Chronic Cheaters Have In Common

Why do guys cheat and come back?

When a man cheats and wants you back, they don’t actually want you back. They want their security blanket back. 

You gave them a good thing. You gave them the ability to experiment, flirt around, try things sexually. That's why cheaters cheat again and again because they create a habit that's hard to break and are able to continue if you don't notice their cheating.

They knew they could trust you, despite your problems. Maybe you fought or they stopped being attracted to you. Or maybe you were just never that happy together. You just clung to each other for convenience.

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But whatever you had felt safe to them. It was reliable. And they’re just too cowardly scared to explore their sexual options again without having you locked in as their safety net.

That's why they come back.

Do you really love someone if you cheat on them?

You cannot love someone and care for them if you cheat on them. Period. It’s not because they realized what they had. It’s not because they know they made the biggest mistake of their lives. It’s not because they love you.

It’s because you gave them a solid foundation to try out infidelity and see how they liked it.

And, sadly, way too many of them like it, and they want to find their way back to that sweet set-up again. Where they get someone believing in them at home, while they try their luck with something new.

Don’t let yourself fall for it. When they come back, keep that door closed. Don’t allow yourself to be their anchor to the world of respectability.

Find someone who will love and trust you and who wants to experiment and explore with you, and don’t let anyone ever treat you like you’re not enough for them.

RELATED: 10 Signs He Regrets Cheating On You (And Still Loves You)

Tom Burns is a husband, a dad, and a veteran of the educational publishing industry, living just outside of Detroit Rock City. After years of obsessing about what his daughter was reading, he founded Building-a-Library, a website devoted to helping parents find the right books for their kids.