Here’s Why Serial Cheaters Keep On Cheating, According To Science

Turns out "once a cheater, always a cheater" is true.
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Turns out "once a cheater, always a cheater" is true.
(Photo: Getty)

(Photo: Getty)

You know what sucks more than being cheated on? Being cheated on twice, or three times. Or four. Ad infinitum.

And guess what? If your girlfriend cheats on you once, odds are she’ll cheat on you again, and again, and again, because according to a new study, the more times a person cheats and subsequently lies about it, the less guilty they feel about it, so the more likely they are to do it again, over and over. Well, I guess the saying “once a cheater, always a cheater” is pretty credible after all.

The study, which was published in the scientific journal Nature Neuroscience, found that each time a person lies, they feel less and less culpable. So basically, the more times a person cheats, the better they feel about cheating, so they do it again.

The researchers found that this “adaptation to dishonesty” happens because the amygdala, which is the emotion center of your brain, gives a weaker negative response each time you’re dishonest. It’s kind of like gaining immunity to the guilt you feel when you tell a big fat lie. After a while, you literally don’t feel bad about it.

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To illustrate, imagine this scenario: When Cinderella cheats on Prince Charming for the first time and lies to his face about where she’s been, she feels kinda bad about it, assuming she’s not a sociopath. But the second time she does it, she still feels a little guilty, but not as much. 

Fast forward to the tenth time she hooks up with Prince Charming's best friend, and Cinderella doesn't give a single damn. She doesn’t feel bad about hoeing around behind her boyfriend's back. Cinderella is kind of a bitch.

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“The idea would be the first time we commit adultery we feel bad about it. But the next time we feel less bad and so on, with the result that we can commit adultery to a greater extent,” co-author of the study, Neil Garrett, told Elite Daily.

“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."

“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. Another possibility is that they never felt bad about cheating to begin with, so they didn’t need adaptation to occur, they were comfortable with it from the get-go.”

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What Garrett is basically saying is that serial cheaters are either sociopaths who don't feel guilt or remorse about sleeping around, or they've simply cheated so much that their brains have adapted to their sinful, adulterous ways, and they don't care anymore.

Either way, cheating is bad, and I sincerely hope that you never fall victim to a serial cheater. Amen.