If a person has cheated in the past, are they destined to cheat again?
Genes May Cause a Predisposition to Cheat
According to SUNY doctoral fellow Justin Garcia, for some, the urge to cheat may be part of one’s DNA, the DRD4 gene to be exact.
“What seems to be important is that individuals with a particular variant of the gene need more dopamine (feel- good neurotransmitter) to get a rush. They need more stimuli, more excitement to really feel satiated,” explained Garcia.
While for some, a variation in the sensation-seeking gene may mean alcohol or gambling, Garcia says others look to get that same rush from cheating. Garcia studied the sexual and relationship history of nearly 200 college students, along with samples of their DNA.
“What we found was a strong relationship between a particular gene and people’s likelihood of engaging in these types of behavior, suggesting a certain biological motivation for why we might do it,” Garcia said.
Thrill Seeking Behavior
Is your significant other obsessed with getting a thrill out of dangerous situations? Does he/she feel energized after a wild fight? Do they like to play when the stakes are at their highest? Do they often lie for no particular reason other than the rush of trying to explain themselves and insert self-doubt into your psyche?
According to the research, they may have a genetic predisposition for thrill-seeking behavior, including the urge to cheat and the thrill of getting away with it.
To determine if he/she is destined to cheat again, one should look at the reasons behind the infidelity. If you hear excuses like “he/she meant nothing to me,” “it just happened,” or “the opportunity presented itself,” chances are you can predict the likelihood of the perpetrator cheating again based on his/her insatiable thrill-seeking needs. If you’re dealing with someone who also has psychological problems, such as impulse control, it’s probable they fall into the thrill-seeking category.
I believe there is a myriad of other reasons why people cheat: a loveless relationship, incompatibility, lack of respect for the significant other, apathy, low self worth, feeling misunderstood, lack of communication, etc. Some of these reasons, through intense counseling, re-commitment and time are great starting points to again build trust. After positive change, he/she may NEVER cheat again, but the trust will never go back to the way it was. Only time and a heavy dose of honestly will scab open wounds.
Thrill-seekers and those with serious impulse controls and psychological issues make me less confident that they won’t re-offend their spouse.
Full discloser: I’ve cheated before. My reason was solely on the lack of communication between my S.O. and I. It was my one and only dalliance with cheating and I regret it wholeheartedly. I learned that my then-S.O. had cheated on me numerous times, however his reason fell under an “opportunistic” variant. He was an alcoholic, didn’t know when he had enough and made poor decisions based on impulse and the need for a thrill. He has since been in several relationships- all ending with cheating. I’ve been in several relationships, none of which I cheated.
So no, not everyone is destined to cheat again. But as science proves, if your partner (who has previously cheated) has a penchant for a dangerous or thrilling lifestyle, a need for constant, external stimuli, or poor impulse control, brace yourself. Determine if your sanity can handle the late nights and explanations before continuing the relationship. If something is really OFF, go with your gut- it probably is.
If he/she cheats a second time, be brave, be strong. Just walk away. You’re too good for that form of abuse.