It is often easier for you and others to use catch phrases like, ‘Once a cheater, always a cheater” or “If they did it before, they will only do it again” in dealing with cheaters. Cheating is a symptom. It is a symptom that something is either wrong with the cheater or wrong in the marriage relationship or both. If your response to the cheater is the same as it has always been, then ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’ may apply. It is easier to blame the cheater than say “Once a cuckold, always a cuckold” or “Once cheated on, always cheated on”, which also describe what is assumed to be going on. The reality is “If you keep doing what your have always done, you will keep getting what you have always got”. If what you are doing is condoning the cheating, then yes, you will have more of it to deal with.
In terms of whether or not your cheater will do it again, consider if you have made any changes. If you are the same person you were before the cheating, and you deal with the cheater in the same patterns as before, the risk for it happening again is high. If you have made changes to you and the relationship, if you have changed the way you and the cheater interact, then you have done what you can. If the cheater cheats at that point, in most cases, the problem lies with them. Cheaters often like to blame their spouse for the cheating. It is often easier to blame, than to make changes. It is hard to say, “Honey, we need to change the way we deal with each other, the way we treat each other and the way we talk to each other” and then follow through with action. It steps on toes and takes people out of their comfort zone. Rather than focus on weather they will cheat again, you may need to consider, “What did you learn from the cheating and how have you changed your marriage and yourself based on what you learned?”
The relationship can be rebuilt, although it will likely need some major overhauls. You may need to change how you fight, how you talk about your needs, how you listen to the cheater, how to listen without judging, how to express anger without attacking, how to avoid being distracted when talking to your spouse, how to set boundaries with extended family or some other issues. Those actions will bring real changes rather than the two of you playing the “share and stare” game.
Nothing in this Work is intended to replace common sense, legal, medical or other professional advice. If your situation warrants it, please seek competent professional counsel.