Let’s be honest. Relationships take work. A lot of work. And people do change and grow over time. But there is truth to be said about the type of person you marry. The old adage goes, “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” Ask anyone that’s been in the same situation and you’ll find those words to be true. Which brings me to the most difficult question anyone can ask. Can someone who is caught cheating once ever stop cheating?

To understand why someone cheats in the first place, one must look at the relationship they are currently in. When a couple first gets married they are in what is called the “honeymoon phase” and can’t get enough of each other. It’s just pure uncensored infatuation and it’s okay because they are in love and they’re newlyweds. But when that infatuation ends a lot of couples fall into the mundane routine of everyday life.

The wild passionate attraction to one another is gone. The love transitions to “compassionate” love. And if there are problems within the relationship, the couple begins to lose respect for one another. For example, the wife complains all the time because her husband won’t spend more time with her and her husband in turn is annoyed by her complaining as if she’s ungrateful for all he feels he contributes to the relationship, especially financially.

Yet if neither of them admit to what’s really bothering them, anger and resentment begin to set in. At that point the couple should seek marital therapy otherwise they will begin to grow apart.

Once a spouse realizes they feel they have grown differently from their partner they begin to see that person in a different light. They see more imperfections and annoyances. Similar to living with a roommate, the curious spouse begins to wonder what his or her life might be like with someone else.

This is especially true if they have a co-worker they have lots in common with. Then they are more apt to begin what’s called an emotional affair. An emotional affair is risky because it could turn into a full-blown affair. And if the cheating spouse is caught, then the trust in the relationship is gone forever even if amends can be made.

Some people love the thrill of cheating because it’s a secret and once their cover is blown the affair is over. Others are merely curious as they begin to start something new with someone else, silently hoping to be more than just “the other person”.

Some people might even think that monogamy is a fairytale ideal; that affairs won’t go away. In some cases with certain individuals this might hold true, but for say the good housewife that just discovered she married a sociopath and has suffered years of emotional abuse who may in turn be too frightened to leave but really wants out…an emotional affair is enticing. Who wouldn’t want to be treated with love and respect? Who doesn’t want to feel loved and wanted? Everyone deserves to feel this way.

The biggest concern about monogamous relationships is that they are becoming on the verge of extinction. With divorce steadily climbing it’s easier than ever to throw in the towel on the current relationship and start over with someone new. Technology has made the world a much smaller place. Many younger couples aren’t even getting married. Weddings themselves are becoming less common.

Certain people that do cheat only do it once and realize that they honestly made a mistake and they fight to repair the damage they’ve caused. Others feel committed to be with their spouse because they are married to them, but seek affairs because they are unhappy with who they are married to (so they disrespect their spouse behind his or her back by putting down their husband or wife and secretly spend time with their significant other).

It really comes down to the type of person that cheats and how severe the cheating was. Were they abused in their marriage? What made them feel so unhappy that they would seek out a new best friend to spend the majority of their time with? How far did the cheating behavior go? Was it just a kiss and a few secret emails or was it a late night after work with a poor excuse as to why they arrived home late?

In the end, the truth is that affairs will always exist but it’s up to the married couple to put the proper work into their relationship before it gets to that critical point in order to prevent an affair from happening.

And while it’s true to say that some people are cheaters and that’s how they love to live life, most people are not that way. In the majority of cases most marriages (as well as relationships if couples are unmarried) can be saved even if a spouse has been unfaithful. Trust will never fully recover but if there is love and a willingness to want to be together an injured marriage doesn’t have to end in divorce.

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