10 Common Personality Traits of a Cheater
What causes a man to cheat on the woman he claims to love? Is he just a selfish, self-absorbed jerk? Or, is there "dysfunction" lurking beneath his deceptive ways?
Most research suggests that there is a common set of personality traits that set cheaters apart from their non-philandering counter-parts. The sooner you can recognize these traits, the closer you will be to protecting yourself from their selfish ways.
And now, without further ado, let's begin!
Most often cheaters are narcissists, or at the very least they share many similar qualities with them. For example, they are selfish, greedy and often think only of themselves. A narcissist typically feels a sense of entitlement and will do whatever necessary to feed the "narcissistic supply." Wikipedia defines “narcissistic supply” as
“a concept in some psychoanalytic theories, which describes a type of admiration, interpersonal support or sustenance drawn by an individual from his or her environment (especially from careers, codependents and others). The term is typically used in a negative sense, describing a pathological or excessive need for attention or admiration that does not take into account the feelings, opinions or preferences of other people.”
In short, narcissists are self-absorbed, out for number one and lack empathy, which makes it possible for them to have affairs without feeling guilty
A cheater can look you directly in the eyes and tell a lie without even blinking. They have been known to tell tall tales that are so outrageous that you can’t help but believe them. We tend to believe them because they have perfected the lie, which makes it sound utterly convincing. Their lives are so full of deception that the line between truth and fiction is blurred. Not all liars are cheaters, but you can’t be a cheater and not be a liar, the two go hand in hand.
What goes around comes around—or at least that's what they think! Cheaters constantly question you and frequently accuse you of inappropriate behavior or being flirtatious. The very fact that they are capable of being unfaithful puts them on the defensive and paranoia sets in. If they are doing it, they assume their partner must be doing it also. They are so deep into their life of lies and deception that insecurity sets in and they begin to accuse you of not only cheating, but lying, flirting, etc. The best piece of advice I can give you is to listen carefully to what your partner is saying and remember this word: Projecting! Projecting, projecting, projecting…got it? If they are accusing you of crazy, uncalled for behaviors chances are they are the one committing the crime. Example: “You were late last night, you’re probably screwing around with your co-worker”. Projecting! They really mean, "I am late sometimes because I’m screwing around." If you have tuned into your cheating spouse's behavior, you can pretty much figure out what they are up to just by listening to what their accusations are.
4. Always Needing More
It’s never enough! A common trait among cheaters is their constant need for more; more money, more attention, more recognition, etc. They are never happy or satisfied. They need constant attention and frequent ego boosts. They are always looking for that next hobby or activity to satisfy their needs, yet they are never happy no matter what they have in their lives. You can give and give but they always need more. They need to be the center of attention, they need to feel needed and wanted always. This is often very evident in the next trait.
Cheaters are most often, but not always, huge flirts. They need validation from, and to feel desired by, the opposite sex. They often see any flirtatious exchange, no matter how small, as an invitation for more. Ironically, it's not so much that they have huge egos, as it is that they lack self-esteem. Many times they will flirt in front of you as if it's harmless fun. They think that if we see it with our own eyes that we will believe that it will never happen behind our backs. "Yes, he's a huge flirt, but he always flirts with me there so it's harmless." Flirting is disrespectful under any circumstance and should always be a huge red flag—period!
The saddest part of a cheater's personality is that they often carry emotional scars from their past. Many unfaithful partners were emotionally abused as children, were ignored; or had love and attention withheld. Sometimes, their own role models were in messed up relationships. They are often emotionally dependent on their spouses or partners. The very thing they desire is the thing that causes them to cheat in the first place. Their fear of being alone is so huge that they need a backup plan; they need to know that someone is always available to them. Often you may feel that your spouse's emotionally dependency on you is so high that they would never risk losing you by having an affair. But the catch here is that their insecurity is so strong that they need to seek out extra-marital affairs to ensure that they never feel alone or insignificant.
7. Thrill seeking
Cheaters are sometimes risk takers in other areas of their lives as well. It all boils down to that “rush” they feel when there is something important at stake. It's often the lies and fear of getting caught that fuels their fire. They just can't seem to resist the thrill of the chase and when the opportunity for reciprocation arrives, they can’t seem to resist that either. It’s a win-win with no regard for the people involved.
If your partner has confessed to cheating in past relationships, you need to pay close attention. Often, this indicates the extent of their moral code. They have pretty much confirmed that they have no problem crossing the line and will likely do it again. Please don't buy into the excuses they will give for their previous mistakes. It doesn't matter if "she was a bitch" or if "it was already over." Let's call a spade a spade. It's cheating and extremely disrespectful. Unhappy or not, partners deserve a better ending to their relationship than infidelity. So is "once a cheater, always a cheater" true? Often the answer is, unfortunately, yes! (I do recognize that once in a blue moon someone cheats, and it truly was a huge mistake that they can learn from and grow.)
9. Distorted View of Reality
Cheaters often grew up in families where infidelity occurred, or a parent was disrespected in some other way. I'm not saying that it is genetic, just pointing out that if a person grew up in such a disrespectful environment, then this behavior is all they know or have to model their own behavior after. They are more inclined to believe that cheating is a normal, acceptable behavior.
10. Lack of Respect
The way a man treats his mother and carries himself in her presence can tell you a lot about who he is as a person. If a man shows little respect for his mother, he most likely has little respect for women, in general, making him more likely to cross that line into infidelity. On the contrary, if he holds his mother and women in high regard and sees them as valuable creatures deserving respect, he is less likely to cheat.
These are just some of the most common traits cheaters share. In summary, just be aware of the signs and don't make excuses for poor behavior. Being disrespected by a man is never acceptable, and it is often an indication of bigger problems in a relationship. Cheating, lying, flirting, verbal and emotional abuse are all things that should never be overlooked or tolerated. If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything. Be strong and demand respect from your partner. You don't have to live that way.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.