You may be familiar with the phrase “once a cheater, always a cheater.” But there could be some science to back up the idiom, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Denver conducted an experiment, which was published in Archives of Sexual Behavior, to determine predictors of relationship infidelity.
To do so, they surveyed 484 people who had been in at least two relationships over a five-year period. The questionnaire focused on the individuals’ sexual involvement and whether or not they had sexual relations with people other than their partners. It even asked if they’d suspected their partner of cheating.
After analyzing the data, they found that those who stepped out were three times more likely to do it again compared to those who stayed faithful. Those who knew of their partner’s infidelity were two times more likely to have their next partner two-time them as well.
Even the suspicious participants were at risk. Those who simply thought their mate were unfaithful were four times more likely to be suspicious of their next mate.
"The takeaway for us is that we all need to pay attention to our romantic pasts in order to make better choices for our future (or current) relationships," Kayla Knopp, lead author, told Refinery29.
Despite the results, scientists did note their sample size was small. Therefore, more research should be conducted on a larger group to involve a variety of couples such as those in open relationships.