I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “Once a cheater, always a cheater” at least once in your life. Whilst most of us automatically think of cheating in a romantic context, it can also refer to cheating in many different ways.
The claim that cheaters will never change might sound extreme, but when you read about this discovery, it will actually make a lot of sense. And don’t worry, it only refers to a certain type of cheater…
Have you ever cheated on a test? Or perhaps, more innocently, copied a friend’s homework at school? The severity of the crime doesn’t matter, according to science, it’s all the same.
What’s more, is that a study in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour revealed that if someone has cheated on a partner in the past, shockingly, they are three times more likely to do it again in the future.
Most people have cheated at least once in their lives. However, what makes a true cheater – and one who is likely to do it again in the future – is how they felt afterwards. So there’s no need to condemn yourself just yet.
This is what science have proven…
If you cheat and feel overwhelmed by guilt afterwards, it’s unlikely you’ll do it again. However, if you’re able to brush it under the carpet and forget about it, well, the prognosis isn’t good.
The science behind “once a cheater, always a cheater” comes from a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
This biological flaw was proven to exist by asking 343 volunteers to fill in a questionnaire about things they’ve done in their lives and whether or not they perceived them as ethical or unethical.
They were then asked to play a game where they had to cheat in order to win money.
The volunteers had to repeat this process two weeks later, only this time the questions they had to answer were about the game they’d played two weeks before and their meal from that same evening.
This study revealed that whilst 43% of people admitted cheating in the game, what they remembered about their meals from that same evening was a lot more vivid than what they remembered about how they cheated.
However, this study isn’t the only evidence that cheating is a biological flaw about selective memory.
Those who cheat romantically do it for a number of reasons. Dr Duana Welch, author of Love Factually, a science-based dating advice book, revealed about the biological reasons behind female cheating:
“The first reason is conscious: women are aware that they’re lonely, and loneliness does make women more vulnerable to involvement with someone else who makes them feel heard and loved.
“The second reason is totally non-conscious, where they choose the best-looking man around: women don’t consciously say to themselves, ‘Wow, look, that guy is better looking than the others and therefore has a better immune system to pass along to kids—I’ll have an affair with him.'”
What do you think about cheaters? Can they ever change? Personally, I’m of the opinion that it’s all about remorse. If a person is guilty enough afterwards, they’re less likely to do it again in future.
However, there’s a big difference between cheating at a game and cheating on a partner. Here’s a video showing a guy who used a drone in order to catch his wife of 18 years cheating. As you can see from his reaction, being cheated on hurts a lot…