Once someone cheats, should they always be thought of as a cheater? Well, it all depends on the nature of the cheat.
Make parameters clear.
To be completely objective, sometimes the parameters of a relationship are not clear, and it results in someone getting hurt. Think of Ross on “Friends” pleading, “We were on a break!” This doesn’t happen often, and if your potential partner has one of these in their past, then they should probably get a pass. However, make sure the parameters of your own relationship are clear.
Notice the red flags.
The next step on the cheating ladder is when someone cheats while in an exclusive relationship. This is a bit of a red flag, but every situation is unique. What this should tell you, though, is perhaps the person was feeling confined by exclusivity, so you should definitely make sure they want to take the step in your own relationship.
The big, bright neon red flag is reserved for someone who’s cheated in a marriage. Look, we all know the divorce rates. Some marriages just don’t work out. But if there are problems in a marriage, you work through them or you make a decision to part ways. If you want to be in a relationship with a person who cheated in a marriage, you have to be very, very sure they have taken responsibility for their past actions.
“In general, though, cheating is a sign the person is not happy
in the relationship, and for whatever reason, they are
unable to communicate their unhappiness.”
Can you forgive or forget?
If you’ve been cheated on in your own relationship, it’s up to you to determine whether or not they can be forgiven. Just remember forgiving is not the same as forgetting. It can be hard to set aside the sting you felt when you learned you were betrayed. That’s something you’ll have to work on very hard if you want to make a relationship with someone who cheated on you work out in the end.
And for the record, it does not give you a “free pass” to cheat on them whenever you wish. That is an immature and hurtful action to take against someone you supposedly love. To be blunt about it — if this is your solution, you probably shouldn’t be in the relationship.
In general, though, cheating is a sign the person is not happy in the relationship, and for whatever reason, they are unable to communicate their unhappiness. If you can work through this lack of communication, that’s great because it takes hard work, a lot of patience and probably a few tears. Once the lines of communication are open, there’s almost nothing a relationship can’t survive.
If not? Find someone who knows how to talk to you about what’s bothering them.