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Can a Cheater Change?

"Can a Cheater Change?"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

It's not that I don't provide any emotional support for him. I happen to be extremely supportive, and I shower him with love and attention. I also try to be what he wants at bed. I never tell him about his flaws and always compliment him on his looks, his career and his achievements. Yet still, he cheated on me, emotionally and physically, with a woman at work.

Now he wants me back. He says he is sorry and he made a mistake, a kind of mistake that all men make at some point of their lives and he wants me to forgive him for that. He says he deserves one more chance and he deserves forgiveness. He says he is willing to take therapy, take a changing time and really change.


Can a cheater ever change? Or once a cheater, always a cheater?

Honestly, the process of my finding out about his affair was so painful that I would never want to experience such thing ever again.

Have a dilemma of your own? Post it anonymously on Group Therapy for advice, and check out what else is happening in the TrèsSugar Community.

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Aquadave Aquadave 5 years
Most of the time it's not something missing in the relationship to cause some one to cheat, it's the insecurity of the cheater. That's an excuse to blame the one getting cheated on, and make them feel like it's their fault. I'll stick with 90% once a cheater always a cheater. there is always an exception to the rule and people can change, but not many
a1stbornunicorn a1stbornunicorn 5 years
There must have been something missing in your relationship if he had the desire to cheat. That is not to place any blame on you, it could have been all him. I think you should move on, you don't want to be anyone's second choice. I do think the adage "once a cheater, always a cheater" is unfair, however. People are definitely capable of having long and happy relationships, even if they've cheated on someone in the past. It's usually about something lacking in the relationship.
luckyduckyy luckyduckyy 5 years
Yes, cheaters can change, but it sounds like this cheater won't change anytime soon. You wrote, "He says he is sorry and he made a mistake, a kind of mistake that all men make at some point of their lives and he wants me to forgive him for that. he says he deserves one more chance and he deserves forgiveness. he says he is willing to take therapy, take a changing time and really change." There are red flags all over this! First, he says he's sorry- that he made a "mistake". Umm..How does one mistakenly have an emotional and physical affair with another person? Did he misjudge all the conversations they had, imagined he was doing an okay thing, not crossing any lines in your relationship, and then accidentally had sex with her? He made a CHOICE, not a mistake. THEN, he says all men make that 'mistake'. No, all men do not make that mistake. He can't speak on behalf of all men everywhere, but the fact that I know several who are faithful instantly disproves his outlandish claim. THIRDLY, he says that he 'deserves' another chance, that he 'deserves' forgiveness. Honestly, if you had done the same thing to him, I doubt he'd see things that way. He doesn't deserve anything from you. However, YOU deserve for him to back off and decide for yourself if you want to be with him or not. He can't force it on you. And lastly, he says he's willing to go to therapy and change. If he really wanted you back, he'd be remorseful, crying, angry at himself, sad with himself, and going to therapy FOR HIMSELF (not relationship counseling as some cheap cop-out for trying to lay all the problems in the relationship on you, which- believe me- he'll try to do). He should show that he only wants to be with you, and that he'll do anything to make it up to you. That means transparency- all passwords to everything, open access to his phone, etc- and changing jobs. Writing a no-contact letter to the other woman and then not contacting her ever again. A cheater can change, but only if they want to. It's not like you can force him to truly want to change. However, he won't change, and I don't see why you should give him another chance. He blew it the first time when you were seemingly perfect. What will he do if things actually get rought down the line, if you two ever get back together? What will he do then- cheat on you, leave you, hurt you? Stay far away from him and let him learn his lesson on his own: he can't have his cake and eat it too.
treehugger66 treehugger66 5 years
hey you sound like a lovely person!! please, you DESERVE better, you DESERVE a man that wouldnt dream of hurting you, and you DESERVE not to be riddled with doubts if you get back with this man, believe me thats hell... theres millions of men out there, get back in the saddle and shout NEXT!
Bubbles12 Bubbles12 5 years
What I find interesting is that you say nothing about what you want. What do you want in a man? Is that him? What have you had him do to prove himself worthy again, if anything? Words are super cheap, easy to say and meaningless if they aren't backed by the way he acts. He doesn't get to decide what he deserves when it comes to your heart, you do. Even if it's you deciding you are afraid to try to get what you want and are willing to settle and simply do what he tells you to do -- that was *your* decision. You have a lot of power here. And the ~50% of men who don't cheat wouldn't appreciate being slimed by being included in his club.
henna-red henna-red 5 years
:) I tend to talk a lot, no doubt. I usually just go where my thoughts take me....I tend to vocalize my whole thought process and try to reach a conclusion....or I find my conclusion pretty quickly and then look for what makes me thing that. I guess that learning a process is helpful, and sharing a process is how I've gotten through a lot of healing stuff in my interactions, group support....interesting and helpful. That's why I love this site so much, whether we agree or disagree, we offer what we have, and the posters have something to think about, different voices. You just never know whose particular voice someone will respond to. :)
Quriosity Quriosity 5 years
It's more of the "a kind of mistake that all men make at some point of their lives and he wants me to forgive him for that" and that he claims he "deserves" forgiveness and a second chance that worries me... first of all, he's claiming ALL men do that, which isn't true. It's as if he's saying you being cheated on is bound to happen and because that apparently all men do it so it's not his fault. Also why would he think he deserves forgiveness, a second chance or anything really?? He's the one in the wrong. That isn't a sincere apology nor was it a humble acknowledgement that he did something wrong to hurt you. I'd say, don't fall for it. Walk away with dignity and have some self respect. 
missmaryb missmaryb 5 years
He may or may not cheat again, who knows? My concern is that if you get back together, you will always WONDER if he's cheating. Who needs that? You will have to forever resist the urge to check his phone and email (or you will become one of the many who snoops). You will wonder where he's really going every time he walks out the door alone. You will drive yourself crazy worrying and imagining. And then, if he does do it again, you will be devastated all over again. Why put yourself through that? And I agree with everything Henna and Aquadave said. I think people have certain personality types and they manifest in different ways. This guy probably needs constant change and stimulation, ego stroking etc. And the fact that he said it's a mistake all men make at some point leads me to believe he's made that "mistake" before. My advice would be to tell him thanks but no thanks and find someone who is honest and faithful. Good luck.
1300648 1300648 5 years
cheating isn't a mistake, it's a choice.....move on....
Aquadave Aquadave 5 years
you know Henna, some time we disagree but most of the time you and me see the same thing and statements and agree totally. I normally don't elaborate as much. LOL
henna-red henna-red 5 years
I have to say that, for me, the comment that tells me who he is, the comment that defines him, is that all men cheat at some point in their lives.....he's justifying his actions, and that's a give means he'll probably do it again. He's basically saying it's natural for men to cheat. I think the appropriate question for you is not "can a cheater change," but can this man change? Forget about what others can or can't do....this guy may say he made a mistake, but then he told you he DESERVES another chance and he DESERVES forgiveness. So tell me, why does he deserve another chance, why does he deserve forgiveness? What has he done besides saying hey, I made a mistake but it was a mistake that all guys make? For me, this guy's trying to justify his actions and his sense of entitlement....his sense of I deserve, tell me he is not a good bet for for a continuing relationship. I think all of the above posters have made great points...for me, this guy has shown you who he is, and his words, reported by you, are telling me he actually resents you knowing that he did this, and he resents being put into a position where he has to apologize and work to get back to having his steady thing. If this were me, I'd leave far behind me and never look back. good luck, OP
Aquadave Aquadave 5 years
After a much heated discussion the last couple days, I was going to post asking the same thing along with can a beater change. 95% of the time I'll say NO they can't change. He will not change!!! "He says he is sorry and he made a mistake, a kind of mistake that all men make at some point of their lives" what a crock. Cheaters cheat not all men or all women. I've never cheated and I'm 52. Leave him, Dump him, Get rid of him, don't waste anymore time on him. He'll always use some stupid excuse, "I have urges I can't control" "I was too drunk to know what I was doing" "She forced it on me, what was I to do?"
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 5 years
My personal opinion is that a cheater CAN change, but only in a new relationship. I think we fall into familiar habits with people, but can make new habits with new people. My guess, and it's just a guess based on personal and observed experience, is that he will turn things around for a while, and then fall back into his old ways. Here are the questions to ask yourself: is it just cheating? does he lie about other things? if so, why does he lie (what is the root cause)? is this the first time he's ever cheated on anyone? what circumstances surrounded the cheating? do you think you could ever trust him again? how long would it take? Good luck in whatever you decide to do.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 5 years
I don't know if a cheater can change or what, I think it all depends on the person. I know that I can't be with someone who cheats on me...but I don't know what you think/want. But you need to trust your feeling, yourself too. In your post, you're not ready to risk another betrayal of trust with this man right now. So trust in your own feeling/instinct now. If you guys do get together, you will have trust issue, so you need to get professional help, talking with family/friends are good and dandy, but I think you need outside pov that can work for you guys, he probably has to learn to be more open and accept that you will have suspicions the first few years of togetherness or even longer than that (hence couples therapy will work awesome). Good luck to you. :)
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