If They Cheated On Their Ex, Ask Yourself These 4 Things Before You Start Dating
Sometimes good people do bad things. Mistakes are a totally normal part of being a flawed human being. Now that that's out of the way, if it comes to your attention that someone you're seeing has cheated in a past relationship, you are well within your rights to think twice about dating them. Not because you don't have feelings for them, but because you're allowed to analyze the likelihood of them doing the same to you. If they cheated on their ex, it's logical to wonder if you could be next.
Now of course, relationships can be extremely complicated, and just because someone made a bad decision in the past does not guarantee that they will repeat it. On the other hand, if they have cheated on more than one ex, then it's possible they are working through some deeper issues that are leading them to act impulsively. Again, this doesn't make them a bad person. It just means you're going to have to be honest about whether or not it's something that you, personally, can overlook. If it is, and you are able to keep your more negative feelings about the revelation to yourself and hear them out, then you might be surprised to find that they have put their philandering ways behind them. Either way, consider asking yourself these four questions before diving head-first into a relationship with someone who has a track record of cheating.
1. Did They Tell You On Their Own Or Did You Find Out By Mistake?
IMHO, this is huge. If they decided to be honest and let you know about their not-so-great past decisions, then this is definitely a good sign. This means they're the kind of person who owns up to their actions. The fact that they went out of their way to be honest, when they could have kept their transgressions to themselves, shows that honesty is something they really value. If, however, you end up finding out about their affairs by mistake, then maybe this is something you should carefully consider.
2. Do They Seem Genuinely Remorseful?
Another thing to think about is how they frame the situation. Do they acknowledge that it was their own decision? Or do they talk about it as if it was mostly their partner's fault? If they can accept responsibility and genuinely feel remorseful about hurting their ex, this demonstrates that they've learned something about destructive versus constructive ways to deal with problems within a relationship.
3. Do You Feel Like You Can Still Trust Them?
While it was a brave and transparent decision for them to be upfront about their past, the truth of the matter is that knowing they have cheated before can be a difficult thing to overlook. And the sad truth is that while I do believe in second chances, trust is a delicate thing and you can't control how it's tarnished. It's important to consider how you honestly feel about it versus how you think you should feel about it. Deep down, if they've given you concrete reasons to trust that they have grown and aren't that person anymore, then letting it go might not be the worst thing. But, if you know that this is probably going to cause you to always wonder if they're telling the truth about where they are and who they're with, then that might be an extremely difficult thing to overcome.
4. Did They Learn From The Experience?
More often than not, the hardest life lessons ain't free. We've all made mistakes that we deeply regret. But the key to analyzing whether or not you should continue a relationship with someone who's had infidelity issues in the past is to listen closely to their takeaways. What did the experience teach them? Cheating is a pretty cowardly way of dealing with one's feelings, but it's typically a result of larger problems in the relationship that might not have totally been their fault. So feel free to ask questions to get as much context about their infidelity as possible, as it might not be quite as bad as it seems.
Deciding to look beyond someone's past actions is a very personal decision, and one that should be made once you feel like you have a clear picture of the context and where they're at now. While there's no right or wrong answer, it's important to listen to your gut. Trying to be as compassionate as possible and accepting the fact that everyone makes mistakes is a great place to start, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with deciding to go your separate ways in the name of self preservation.
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