Generally speaking, dating a guy who’s cheated in a past relationship — maybe even more than once — probably isn’t the brightest idea. Sure, he may say that he’s changed, but in all likelihood, that’s total BS. Still, you might decide that this guy is worth the risk, take a leap of faith and hope for the best. It might just work out, but as someone who’s been with a former cheater myself, believe me when I tell you that you need to keep the following things in mind:
No, cheating once doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll do it again. Let me make one thing clear — cheating doesn’t necessarily make someone a cheater for life. If the guy you’re interested in cheated, don’t automatically label him until you now the full story. Everyone makes mistakes and while this one sucks, it might be unfair to judge him on his past. If you think he’s genuinely sorry for what he did, he may be worthy of a second chance. Then again, he might not — it’s a risk you have to figure out whether or not you’re willing to take.
No excuse is good enough. Listen to the way he talks about his screw-up. In my experience, guys who cheat are quick to make excuses. “I wasn’t happy in the relationship.” “We were drifting apart.” “We should’ve never been together.” Blah blah blah. He isn’t taking full responsibility for his actions, and that’s because he hasn’t learned from them. If you’re going to date someone who’s cheated, you need to make sure it’s someone who’s learned from that experience and knows better than to ever do it again.
No matter what he says, it wasn’t his ex’s fault. Don’t blame his ex by saying she “made him cheat” — she didn’t! He’s the only one to blame for his actions, and you need to make sure he knows that. If he thinks you’re fine with his cheating past, he may be more inclined to think he can get away with it again. You can’t excuse what he did by blaming his ex. At the end of the day, he decided to sleep with someone else before ending his relationship. That’s never okay!
He’s a good liar. How many times did he cheat on his ex and with how many people? If he’s a real cheater, he won’t tell you the truth — that’s why it’s important to distinguish just exactly what kind of guy he really is. If his stories don’t add up and you keep catching him in lies, he’s most likely a pathological liar (and he’s got bigger issues than his cheating tendencies). Don’t entertain a guy who’s not straight up with you — if something feels off, it is!
Your instincts are all you have. Deciding whether or not to date someone who’s cheated before can be hard. All I can say is, you have to follow your instincts! I dated someone who cheated in a past relationship because of how honest and open he was about it. He never hid behind excuses or false reasoning — he regretted what he did and that was clear. If your gut is telling you he’s sincere, maybe you should trust it and give him a chance!
“Cheating” might not mean sex. Sleeping with someone who’s not your boyfriend/girlfriend seems to be a pretty universal definition of cheating (unless you’re swingers or something), but there may be things you classify as cheating that your partner doesn’t. For example, some guys think it’s perfectly fine to playfully touch another girl’s arm — oh, hell no! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my boyfriend “harmlessly” flirting with anyone else. Before you start a relationship, make sure your definition of cheating is the same.
Pay attention to what he says. How do you know he cheated? Did he straight up tell you or did you find out through a third party? If he owns up to his past mistake and tries to explain himself, I’d listen. If he doesn’t and you find out about his affair from someone else, he’s not worth entertaining. People cheat, but if they don’t take responsibility for it, they probably don’t regret it (and they’ll probably do it again). Pay attention to how he validates his cheating before you make any decisions.
Expect some jealousy. I constantly questioned the guy I dated. I needed to know where he was and who he was with at all times. The fact that he’d cheated on his last girlfriend made me suspicious of him — I couldn’t help but think that if he cheated on her, he could easily do the same to me. In the beginning of the relationship, I was cautious and jealous — it took a while to get really comfortable. If you date a guy who’s cheated, be prepared for the jealousy that may come with it.
Your friends may not like him. My friends knew my boyfriend cheated in his past relationship and they judged him because of it. Honestly, I don’t blame them — if the situation was reversed, I’d be pissed off too! It took a while, but eventually they came around. Dating a guy with a controversial past may bring a lot of not-so positive commentary. It sucks, but it’s almost inevitable.
Trust is earned, not given. Trust should be earned, not just given. My boyfriend cheated on his ex-girlfriend — I’m not an idiot, I knew not to trust him automatically. He had to gain my trust and he knew that! Every day he worked to prove himself, and eventually, he showed me that I could trust him. Not every guy who cheats is a douchebag who’ll do it again. Some definitely are, but not all. It’s figuring out which is which that’s the tough part.