It turns out that the reasons not to become involved with someone who is already in a relationship go beyond the ethical. Of course, many people would argue that ethical objections should be plenty when it comes to being the person someone cheats with. However, those to whom the ethical argument is not fully convincing should consider the scientific evidence, which says that relationships that begin with “mate poaching” rarely prosper.
Studies conducted in 2014 by the University of Denver and the University of South Alabama both found that individuals who began their relationships with their current partners before ending their previous relationships were much more likely to be unfaithful again. The South Alabama study also found evidence of other kinds of relationship dysfunction between couples whose relationships began as outside-relationship affairs.
Study Showing Wandering Eyes And Cheating Are Chronic Behaviors
The Denver study was conducted by graduate student Kayla Knopp, who presented her findings at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association. Knopp’s study of 484 adults between the ages of 18 and 35 found that people who cheat in one relationship are three-and-a-half times more likely to cheat in their next relationship.
Affairs also had lasting results for the cheated-on: Knopp found that those whose partner cheated in their previous relationship were 10 times more likely to be suspicious of their next partner than people who had never been cheated on.
Psychological and physical aggression in a previous relationship was also a strong predictor of future aggression; those who exhibited this behavior toward a partner were three times more likely to do so again.
The South Alabama study was conducted by social psychologist Joshua D. Foster. Foster’s study, which was published in the Journal of Research in Personality, found that partners who are “poached” from a previous relationship are less invested, less committed and less satisfied in their new relationship. These individuals were more likely to pay attention to new romantic possibilities and to view romantic alternatives positively. It also found, as the Denver study did, that these people were more likely to be unfaithful to their new partners.
Additional Problem Traits Of Cheaters
The research from South Alabama also uncovered other problematic personality traits that are common among people who have strayed in relationships. They tend to be comparatively narcissistic, careless, irresponsible, socially passive and easily-led as well as often unkind to other people.
Comfort For The Cheated-On, Caution For The Cheating-With
It can be heartbreaking to be cheated on in a relationship or have your partner leave you for someone else, so it can certainly be satisfying to know that their new relationship is unlikely to go anywhere. But this information should not just serve as a comfort for those who have been the victim of infidelity.
It should also encourage people who are pursuing romantic relationships with someone else’s partner to proceed with caution. While you may have started out as the beneficiary of someone’s straying behavior, the odds are reasonably high that you will end up as the victim of a wandering eye in the future. The axiom that says “once a cheater, always a cheater” appears to have much more than a grain of truth.
The lesson seems to be that it would be wise to avoid someone who is actively exploring the options outside of a current romantic relationship. It also suggests that pursuing a prospect who is already in a relationship is a bad idea, because even if you are successful at “poaching” that person, your newly poached partner may be all too willing to be poached again by someone else.
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