Should you date a former cheater?

Today’s post in on the bedeviled subject of cheating.  Cheating happens, more often than we think.  Should you date a former cheater?  It’s a complicated question that depends on a few factors such as how long ago the person cheated, what the circumstances were, exactly how you define cheating, and so on.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that someone who’s never cheated will remain faithful. But keep in mind that it may be more likely for a person who has cheated before to cheat again. That’s not an ironclad rule, but it holds up often enough. And regardless of what the circumstances were in the person’s earlier relationship, you will always know that the deception took place. That knowledge may be tough to keep out of your mind…and out of your relationship.

If, however, you decide to consider dating someone who has a history of cheating, then at the very least make sure that you ask these important questions.  Does the person accept responsibility for their actions?  This is a great place to start. If the person you are interested in has made mistakes in past relationships and admits to them, and also acknowledge and addressed in a meaningful way.

Has the person learned and grown from the experience?  This question focuses not only on accepting responsibility but also on overall maturation. In order to trust this new person in your life and enter into a romantic relationship with them, you need to feel confident that this person has taken steps toward relational maturity. Accepting responsibility for what happened before is certainly part of this. But in addition, the person also needs to be able to explain to you how they will be different in your relationship, and what changes they have made to be loyal and remain true as you two build something new together.

Has the person experienced some kind of transformation?  Have you become convinced that this person has experienced some sort of genuine transformation—perhaps as a result of a spiritual awakening, a significant life event, or some sort of therapy? If so, then you might be more open to the possibility of a relationship. Again, you need to see convincing evidence that the person is sincere when they tell you about this transformation, but assuming that you do see that evidence, you might decide to lower your guard a bit and ultimately trust that person.

In essence it comes down to trust, whether you can trust a former cheater to treat you differently.

How about you?  Are you a former cheater in a great relationship or are you happily dating a former cheater?  Do you even know?  Food for thought.  Weigh in!


2 thoughts on “Should you date a former cheater?

  1. JB says:

    In a word… no.

  2. Christine says:

    You are listing a lot of different options as questions at the beginning of the paragraph but there is a very obvious question that is missing: Are you willing to accept that the person might cheat on you? As you said, cheating is a lot more common that most people are willing to admit. Does it mean that it has to destroy relationships every time? Maybe not. Can one be happy in a relationship when unfaithfulness is possible/probable? Maybe… That is certainly the first question I would be asking myself if I was considering a relationship with a known cheater.

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