Although the age old saying asserts that “cheaters never prosper”, unfortunately, in the dating world, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Quite the contrary, in fact, in this age, it seems that the cheaters are the ones who are actually the most successful. Unfortunately, we are living in an age in which many people place appearances over reality. Therefore, there may be an array of reasons why someone who doesn’t truly want a committed relationship, would lead you to believe so. Most of us have been there: you meet someone, think they’re awesome, get to know them, fall in love, only to find out that they were getting to know others on the same level (or maybe even a deeper level) as they have been getting to know you, and they may even already be in a relationship. Bummer. And unfortunately, there is no reset button for the heart; once you feel something for someone, you just have to allow the emotions to run their course.
On the flip side, although people may not be very forthcoming about their secret cheating ways, there are a number of signs and traits that serve as red flags in regards to dealing with potential cheaters. Therefore, although there may not be a way to completely stay away from cheaters, you can learn enough to easily spot those who fit the bill. Do you feel like the person you’re with may be hiding something, or that you are especially prone to attracting cheaters? The following is an overview of 15 common traits of cheaters.
15. They’re Highly Attractive
Although this trait is not commonly mentioned on the pages of psychological publications, being physically attractive is one of the top ways cheaters maintain an endless stream of victims. Whether you want to admit it or not, most of us are likely to either look the other way or forgive a cheater when we’re too busy drooling to be upset. Moreover, studies have shown that women, in particular, are more likely to cheat based solely on the element of attraction; up to 44% of women actually cited this as their reason for infidelity. This is not to say that it is right or acceptable for anyone to cheat, however, the world’s most valued cheaters are typically highly attractive and despite the terrible feelings associated with being cheated on, just being allowed to behold their sheer magnificence, is enough to make most take the risk. Take, for example, the entertainment realm. There are a number of womanizers (and manizers?) in the public eye. For instance, Kris Jenner (and a few of her daughters) have a notoriously scandalous past as far as relationships and fidelity are concerned. Yet and still, there seems to be no shortage in terms of the number of potential love interests for any of them. Meanwhile, there are quite a few faithful entertainers who haven’t been in a serious relationship in years.
14. They Have Narcissistic Tendencies
For those who aren’t yet familiar, the concept of ‘narcissism’ refers to a disorder which is fuelled by an inflated sense of self-importance. It shouldn’t be difficult to imagine how such a thing would play into the notion of cheating. On the whole, those who either suffer from narcissistic personality disorder or simply have narcissistic tendencies think of themselves as highly important and have a serious lack of empathy. This means, while most of us regularly consider the feelings of our loved ones as well as those around us, the narcissist will often neglect your emotions altogether; his/hers are all that matters. Therefore, while others may refrain from cheating because they value their partner or because they don’t want to hurt their feelings, a narcissist will be too busy thinking of the reasons why they should cheat, to ever consider the reasons they shouldn’t. Moreover, one of the top reasons many people avoid cheating is due to the subsequent guilt most experience. In the case of the narcissist, they are bereft of this guilt.
13. Add Sociopathic Tendencies To The Mix
In keeping with that notion, another common trait possessed by cheaters is being sociopathic. For those unfamiliar with the term, being a sociopath is a concept used to describe a person with a disorder that is marked by extremely antisocial behaviors as well as a general lack of conscience. While not all cheaters are sociopaths, on the whole, those who possess sociopathic traits are more prone to cheating. This is largely due to the fact that those with sociopathic tendencies have an innate disdain for rules and regulations and tend to be perpetual line-crossers. Operating under the assumption that most people are callous and self-interested, sociopathic cheaters believe that we live in a cold world in which no one is loyal to anyone. Therefore, their cheating is always justified as they often rationalize that if they hadn’t done it to you, you would have eventually cheated on them (or commit some equally egregious deed) anyhow.
12. They’re Overly Flirtatious
In addition to that, another tell-tale sign that you’re dating a cheater is that they are excessively flirtatious. Indeed, although not all flirts are cheaters, most cheaters tend to display overly flirtatious behavior at some point. This is largely due to internal issues such as jealousy, insecurity, and the need for attention. The act of flirting with others gives them some form of validation within the relationship. In fact, many overly flirtatious cheaters tend to flirt right in front of their partners while writing it off as harmless fun. In fact, those who do such things while in a relationship often also have sociopathic or narcissistic tendencies and have no regard for your feelings. Moreover, although they may lead you to believe that the flirting is harmless, what they are typically doing is hiding their cheating tendencies right in plain sight. In other words, if you accept your partner’s overly flirtatious ways, to them, this is likened to giving consent. Don’t expect their behavior to somehow improve when you are not around. It will likely be far worse.
11. Adrenaline Junkies & Thrill Seekers
Another common trait of cheaters is thrill-seeking behaviors. Although there are clearly people who enjoy getting their dose of adrenaline while in a committed relationship, the thrill-seeking tendencies are associated with the traits of recklessness in that those who seek thrills enjoy being in dangerous situations. Therefore, pretending to be in a committed relationship while secretly hooking up with others may be their normal pattern rather than a one-time-thing or slip-up of some sort. If so, this person likely gets caught in compromising situations regularly, and although they may pretend to care or to attempt to change, they are really just playing a game of cat and mouse that involves cheating, getting caught, and making up. If the person you are dating is routinely caught in questionable situations, they are likely doing this on purpose and by taking the time to participate by getting upset and eventually forgiving them, you are giving them exactly what they want and the behavior will simply continue.
10. They Idolize A Cheating Lifestyle
Although this trait often goes undetected, by paying closer attention to your partner, the reasons behind their cheating tendencies may become much clearer. For instance, those who are prone to cheating often idolize people and situations that promote cheating. For instance, if your girlfriend just loves Keeping Up with the Kardashians, she may be attracted to much more than the corny jokes and trendy clothes. Given that most of the women on the show never seem to be without a love interest, and that some of those relationships appeared to have overlapped on occasion (just sayin’) some young (and older) women look to the Kardashians as examples of how to conduct romantic relationships. This is not to say that the Kardashians are poster girls for infidelity, rather, that the overall vibe of the show is not one that promotes stable relationships with longevity. Therefore, rather than feeling the need to stay faithful and work things out when they are upset, they may take a page from the Kylie school of breakups and just go hang out with another dude.
9. They’re Insecure
Although it may seem contradictory to the nature of the cheaters themselves, many cheaters have become the way they are due to insecurity. Often carrying heavy, lifelong emotional scars from their past, many cheaters have internalized pain that they can’t help but spread to their partners. This means, despite the fact that your partner may be attractive and/or possess an array of traits that others find appealing, their insecurities may cause them to act out simply because they feel they do not deserve you and that you will eventually leave them anyhow. Therefore, out of fear of being lonely and/or abandoned they tend to accept attention and entertain advances from those outside of their relationship. A highly contradictory trait, while it would seem like those with insecurity issues would work that much harder to keep their relationships, oftentimes they simply opt to carry on with outside relationships in order to fill the void and ensure that they never feel alone or inadequate.
8. They’re Highly Deceptive
In addition to that, obviously, many cheaters have issues with telling the truth. This is clearly not a stretch as the very act of cheating is innately deceptive. Moreover, given that they also tend to possess narcissistic and sociopathic traits, among other things, this makes it that much easier for them to cheat on their partner without feeling guilty. This is a huge advantage for serial cheaters in that, while the average person might feel bad after they have cheated on someone, and remember this feeling in the future in order to deter the behavior, a cheater can cheat on someone and look them in the eye like nothing happened. Being bereft of those shameful feelings is what makes it possible for someone to cheat on a consistent basis. If you are unclear whether this pertains to your partner, a good way to figure this is out is based on how often you catch them lying to others and if they ever seem to feel guilty about such things. If not, it is likely that they don’t feel bad about deceiving you either.
7. They’re Excessively Needy
Moreover, cheaters are also excessively needy. They may need your time, money, attention, energy, affection, or any combination of those. Given their insecure nature, they often act out to receive attention. For instance, some cheaters with insecurity issues may exaggerate an illness in order to get you to take care of them or demand that you buy them something to “prove” you truly love them. Sadly, no matter how much you do for this person they will never be satisfied and when you find out they cheated on you, they will simply blame you for not doing enough and move on. The problem with these types is that they seek validation through the eyes and praises of others. Therefore, when you are not validating their existence, they begin to feel slighted and will often seek out this validation from others. This does not necessarily mean they will cheat on you because you didn’t compliment their new haircut. However, if their neighbor happens to compliment their hair on a day in which you were too busy to notice, that new do may be a lot messier the next time you see them…
6. They Have A Questionable Moral Compass
Obviously, those who are serial cheaters tend to have a questionable moral compass. Although monogamy is certainly not the ‘be all and end all’ of the relationship realm, cheating is never the best option. Cheating, by definition, involves deceiving one or both of your love interests, solely in the interest of pleasing yourself. While not all cheaters tend to engage in reckless behavior, many cheaters tend to also enjoy some form of negativity in their lives in general. For instance, a closet cheater (and otherwise decent person) may often engage in gossiping and talking trash about others. They may pretend to “hate drama” or to not want to be involved in it, yet you have likely noticed, and may have even asked them why they refuse to disassociate themselves with the source of the drama. The answer is simple, they love it! Similarly, you may notice that they seem to be bereft of empathy and remorse when these actions lead to negative consequences for others.
5. They’re Drama Royalty
In keeping with that notion, cheaters are the drama kings and queens of the world. Not to get super psychoanalytical, however, as humans, we tend to normalize and repeat the types of relationships we witness as children. For instance, if you grew up in a home in which your mother and father were always arguing, you may not be happy in a relationship that doesn’t include regular screaming matches. In the case of the cheating drama lovers, they are often convinced that stable relationships are boring and go out of their way to create drama just to keep themselves from getting bored and the relationship from growing stale. This means, by getting mad and playing along, you are essentially giving this person foreplay as they are pining for those intense emotions to ensure that you truly care. Once they have gotten you upset, they have no issue with being the ‘bigger person’ and making up with you as this is the very reason they started the argument to begin with.
4. They Have An Addictive Personality
You might as well face it, many serial cheaters have highly addictive personalities. This is for a number of reasons. On the one hand, those who have addictive personalities in general, are also prone to becoming hooked on sex as the intense feelings associated with it can be likened to some sort of drug induced high. Therefore, no matter how much sex they are getting from their partners, they will always go out looking for more, and hopefully better, than what you are giving them. On the flip side, using drugs and/or alcohol on a regular basis also tends to lower our inhibitions which may make us more likely to cheat. In fact, the club scene is notoriously the realm in which many choose to go to find romantic hookups of all kinds. Therefore, if your partner is always going out and getting wasted, there is a good chance that this is the time that they are also choosing to cheat in an attempt to simply “blame it on the alcohol”.
3. They’re Secretly Miserable
To delve a bit deeper, many cheaters are secretly miserable people. This is due to the fact that they are either unhappy with themselves, the relationship or both. And given that they also likely possess some of the other aforementioned cheater traits (i.e. insecurity, neediness, an addictive personality, and more) they are not likely to simply move on because they are unhappy with the relationship. Rather, they tend to search for any and every one who can make them feel better about themselves, if only momentarily. This means that by simply making them smile, a co-worker or neighbor may get lucky simply because your mate was feeling inadequate at the time. The line of thinking in these types may not be rational, but it is often predictable. They enter relationships in an attempt to escape their lives, which, of course, never works. Instead of realizing that they need to take some time to themselves, they simply blame the partner for not meeting their needs and often cheat on them as a result of this.
2. They’re Highly Opportunistic
In addition to that, cheaters are often highly opportunistic people. This means, while many of us enter relationships with the intent of finding our soul mate, or at least, someone to put up with us for all eternity, the opportunistic cheater enters relationships based on what others can do for them. This type of cheater will make you feel vital to their life when they are getting what they need from you, but once they no longer need you, or they simply come across a better option, they will leave you in the dust. For instance, you may be taking excellent care of your spouse and giving them exactly what they asked you for, and they may still cheat on you with someone who has more money or resources than you. Moreover, this also means that they may be skilled at knowing when they can “get away with” cheating. For instance, an opportunistic cheater might use the death of a relative or the loss of income as an excuse to step outside of the relationship.
1. They Fear Being Alone Above All
Lastly, one of the top most common traits of cheaters is the fear of being alone above all else. Yet another contradictory trait, while it would make sense that cheaters would be faithful and on their best behavior in order to maintain their relationships, unfortunately, the opposite is often true. Rather than going out of their way to remain faithful, they often jump right into infidelity as they believe the relationship won’t last anyhow and want to have someone already lined up to take your place when it’s over. Another reason this happens, is they like to have someone to confide in and to comfort them when their relationship is on the rocks. Overall, these types are running from their own inner turmoil and the thought of being left to deal with it, even for a short time, is often too much to bear. Therefore, rather than putting their all into their relationships, they tend to develop a pattern of spreading themselves too thin as a means of ensuring that they are never left alone for long. The irony is, this is the very reason why their significant others end up leaving them alone.