“Once a cheater always a cheater” isn’t just a common saying: according to a recent study, it may be a scientific fact. The research found that people who cheat in their first relationships are far more more likely to cheat in their next ones, when compared to those who have always stayed faithful.
In fact, having sexual relations with someone other than your partner in your first relationship makes you up to three times more likely to cheat on your next partner. People don’t become serial cheaters because they’re bad people; they do so because cheating desensitizes the brain from the negative emotions associated with lying, The Independent reported of the research.
“What our study and others suggest is a powerful factor that prevents us from cheating is our emotional reaction to it, how bad we feel essentially, and the process of adaptation reduces this reaction, thereby allowing us to cheat more,” explained study co-author Neil Garrett, Elite Daily reported. “With serial cheaters, it could be the case that they initially felt bad about cheating, but have cheated so much they’ve adapted to their ways and simply don’t feel bad about cheating any more.”
The study came with even worse news for victims: people who were cheated on in the past were twice as likely to be cheated on in the future. In addition, those who merely suspected that their partners cheated on them in the past were four times more likely to report cheating in future relationships, regardless of whether any cheating had actually occurred.
The study, published online the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, is based on the results of 484 participants in mixed-gender romantic relationships. Considering the harm that cheating may cause both partners, what actually happens in the brain when someone lies, and how does lying become so easy?