Cheaters never win. Apparently, they never quit, either. According to new findings presented at the American Psychological Association annual convention, too many old adages about cheaters hold true: University of Denver graduate researcher Kayla Knopp found that people who cheat on their partners once are approximately three-and-a-half times more likely to cheat again in their next relationships.
Knopp polled 484 unmarried participants between the ages of 18 and 34 and found that the “once a cheater, always a cheater” cliché doesn’t just apply to the people doing the cheating. Those who were cheated on in one relationship were also more likely to be cheated on again. But cheating wasn’t the only repetitive behavior Knopp found, according to the APA:
The past also seems to predict the future when it comes to physical and psychological aggression in relationships: Respondents who reported lots of yelling, shouting, pushing and shoving in one relationship were three times more likely to engage in the same behaviors in their next relationship — even after controlling for their partners’ aggression in both relationships. And people who reported being the victims of aggression in a previous relationship were five times more likely to report being victims again in their next relationship.
The findings strongly suggest that people do stick to a “type” in romance, which can often have dangerous repercussions for those who consistently find themselves picking aggressive partners or dating cheaters. As Knopp points out, many people are likely to think they’ve learned to avoid past relationship mistakes, but in reality they need clinical intervention to avoid repeated disasters. After all, bad habits are hard to break.