5 Reasons To Stay Away From Someone Who Has Cheated Before

Photo: Jacob Lund
man and woman sitting on a motorcycle on a jungle-like neighborhood road

There are so many reasons to stay away from someone who has cheated before.

I am sure that the person you have met seems amazing, and they might even be so, but if they have cheated before consider that a huge red flag that should not be ignored.

Of course, not everyone who has in the past, will cheat again. 

Knowing why you should stay away from someone who has cheated before, will help you determine if you want to take the risk with this new relationship or walk away before you get hurt!

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Here are five reasons to stay away from someone that has cheated in the past. 

1. They might struggle with commitment.

Someone who has cheated before might be afraid of commitment.

Perhaps they have been hurt before. Perhaps their parents set a bad example. Perhaps they aren’t sure of themselves in the world and struggle in relationships. Perhaps they have trust issues.

Whatever the reason, many people who cheat have issues that make it very hard for them to commit to someone. As a result, once they start getting close to someone, they get scared and so they cheat. They cheat to push their person away before they need to commit to them.

I have a client who has cheated on every boyfriend she ever had. She wants to be in a relationship, but she just doesn’t know how to be in a healthy one. When someone gets too close and makes her feel vulnerable, she cheats. Once she cheats, she can leave the relationship and not have to put her happiness at risk.

I believe she does this because she has abandonment issues from her dad leaving when she a child. She truly believes that any man she loves will leave her. Instead of breaking up with them, she cheats so that they will break up with her.

Ironically, this pattern ultimately makes her feel more abandoned. Even though she strayed, ultimately those men do leave her. She is left in this cycle of pain that she can’t break.

She is working with me to let go of those patterns, but she is someone who I would caution anyone about getting into a relationship with. She would agree with me there, at least for the time being while she does her work.

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2. Cheating is a coping mechanism.

They say once a cheater, always a cheater.

I don’t necessarily think that is always true. Someone that has cheated before might see the destruction that an affair can cause to all parties, and they might be resolved to never cheat again.

For some people, cheating is an escape from their life. Much like alcohol, cheaters use cheating as a coping mechanism for their unhappiness. Once they start, they can’t stop. They get addicted to the way that they feel when they are in the highs of an affair. 

I have a friend who doesn’t mean to be a cheater, but that's just what he does. He meets someone, gets involved with them, is happy, but then life gets in the way. Due to his struggles, he defaults to cheating as a coping mechanism.

If you are with someone who has cheated before, especially if it’s more than once, just know that cheating might be a coping mechanism for them, and not a healthy one at that!

RELATED: Why Cheating Can Actually *Help* Your Marriage

3. They might have left over issues with their ex.

I have a client whose husband left her after having an affair.

He left her, moved in with this person and ultimately got married. They have been together now eight years and, try as they might, she and her husband just don’t get along.

She still has a lot of anger about how things went down. Their marriage wasn't happy, but she was hoping that they could work on things. If they couldn’t fix things, they could agree to get divorced and life would go on.

It didn’t work that way, however. He betrayed her and embarrassed her to the world with his affair. He still struggles with the guilt of what he did.

As a result, he is always angry with her. He won't take responsibility for his behavior and it’s much easier to blame her, because she was a bad wife, she ignored him etc. So, because of the affair, my client and her ex still have a contentious relationship, one that definitely interferes with both of their new relationships.

This, I believe, is a huge reason to stay away from someone who has cheated before – to make sure that your relationship isn’t influence by negative outside energy that is the result of the infidelity.

RELATED: Why Emotional Cheating Hurts More For Women Than Physical Cheating

4. They might have impulse control issues.

Another reason to stay away from someone who has cheated before is because they might have impulse control issues.

Many people say that having an affair is a choice. And, yes, I agree with this. For some people, however, it is harder to resist having an affair because they struggle with impulse control.

They might be the kind of person who drinks too much, who can’t not eat ice cream, who spends hours glued to Netflix instead of getting their work done. They do want to do things differently but, because they struggle to control their behaviors, they just can’t.

People who cheat are often people who easily give into their destructive impulses.  Even if they aren’t having an affair, someone who can’t control their drinking can seriously impact a relationship. Someone who can’t control their eating will damage their health. And someone who can’t stop watching TV could lose their job.

So, it’s not just resisting the impulse to cheat. Someone who has cheated before could very likely go down some other avenue with their impulses that could cause havoc in your relationship.

RELATED: People With These 7 Personality Traits Are Most Likely To Cheat On You

5. They may never earn your trust.

One of the most important reasons to stay away from someone who you know has cheated before is it might be hard to ever trust them. Being in a relationship with someone you can’t trust will only lead to pain and self-doubt.

I have a client who got involved with someone who cheated. She told herself that he was such a good guy and that he would never do that again. As the relationship went on, she started to suspect that he might be doing so. She didn’t address it directly but instead snooped around for signs or proof that he might be doing so.

As time went on, she started feeling worse and worse about herself. She told herself that if he was cheating, he must have found someone better than her. That she wasn’t good enough.

Ironically, he wasn’t cheating but, because he had cheated before, when he started to pull away a bit, she went right down the to the dark side, believing since he had cheated before, he would cheat again. And down she went, into darkness and despair.

Because she didn’t trust him, she started to doubt herself. Ultimately the relationship ended and she was devastated.

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There are so many reasons to stay away from someone who has cheated.

Again, not everyone who has cheated cheats again but we want to be very careful before we go down the path of being with someone who waves a red flag like that one.

People who cheat might have problems with commitment and they might have impulse control issues. They might be a serial cheater who just can’t stop. They might have issues with their ex, which could interfere with the health of their relationship. And, without trust, your relationship is doomed to fail.

If you are going to take the risk and date someone who has cheated, I would encourage you to keep the lines of communication open. If you have any concerns, tell them. Ask them to be honest with you.

If you can talk about the past infidelity and address any signs that it might be happening again, you can stop it in its tracks before it causes more damage than it already has!

You can do this!

RELATED: How To Cope With Trauma From Past Infidelity In Your Healthy Relationships

Mitzi Bockmann is a certified life and relationship coach with over 10 years of experience. She helps people live the life of their dreams to in turn restore their love life and relationships.

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.