10 Common Personality Traits of a Cheater
One Thing All Cheaters Have in Common
One thing all cheaters have in common is the propensity to cheat! Are you worried about your partner? If so, what causes a man to cheat on the woman he claims to love? Is the cheating man or woman just a selfish, self-absorbed jerk? Or, is there 'dysfunction' lurking beneath his or her deceptive ways? What are the symptoms of a cheater?
The Serial Cheater Profile
Most research suggests that rather than there being one thing that all cheaters have in common, there is a common set of characteristics, personality traits and behavior patterns that set serial 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 to evaluate the warnings signs of a cheater!
10 Traits of Cheater
- Always Needing More
- Distorted View of Reality
- Lack of Respect
Take the Quiz: How to Spot a Cheaterview quiz statistics
Most often, cheaters are narcissists, or at the very least, they have many similar narcissistic qualities. 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'.
Narcissism Behavior After Getting Caught Cheating
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. Because they do not feel guilty and lack empathy and remorse after cheating, they are often full of excuses and reasons as to why they broke the trust in a relationship. It is, however, important to distinguish between narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), and psychopathy as not to confuse them:
- Psychopathy: These individuals are often referred to as predators. They prefer to work in private and in isolation.
- NPD: May be concurrent with BPD. NPD individuals often choose to operate in public because they enjoy praise and attention. They see themselves as perfect. NPD individuals are more demeaning when it comes to criticism (in contrast to those with BPD).
- BPD: May be concurrent with NPD. BPD individuals often express anger in a rage but show remorse after, contrary to NPD individuals.
Narcissists vs. Psychopaths—Traits and Characteristics
Psychopath or Predator
Everybody loves me.
Human rights don't matter.
I'm never wrong.
Rules and laws should be broken.
I have no equals.
Most people deserve to be fooled.
No one measures up.
People ask for it.
Rules don't apply to me.
You should appreciate me.
You'll never be like me.
I don't care about suffering.
My arrogance is greatness.
Emotions? Not me.
I don't have to be loyal, but you do.
I have a history and I don't care.
I'm allowed to be critical but not you.
People's lives don't matter.
Show interest in me.
"No" doesn't mean anything.
It's not manipulation, it's preference.
Physical violence is ok.
I only spend time with certain people.
Risk taking is no problem.
Just do what I say.
If people trust me, it's their fault.
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.
Liars and Cheaters, Oh My!
Not all liars are cheaters, but you can’t be a cheater and not be a liar: the two go hand in hand. The liar's life is so full of deception that the line between truth and fiction is blurred; the lies often become more and more intricate the more desperate the cheater is to cover their tracks.
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? Need some tips for processing jealousy on your end? Consider ways to understand and overcome jealousy.
Why Do Cheaters Get Jealous?
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, and they need to feel needed and wanted, always.
But What About Evolutionary Psychology?
Contrary to popular belief that males are simply programmed to cheat, the advantage lies within the female's court. According to an article by PacificStandard:
'Mating with multiple partners increases the genetic diversity of a female’s offspring, increasing the odds that at least some will survive regardless of changing environmental conditions. It can help a female acquire so-called "good genes" for her young . . . '
Sure, nature favors genetic diversity, but cheating is a choice. While always needing more may simply apply to other areas of life, we often see issues with sexual behavior and, specifically, impulse control when it comes to cheating. A cheating man or woman will often go outside of their marriage to indulge in sexual satisfaction. The reasons they choose to be unfaithful and go outside of their long-term relationship could be many and oftentimes require the help of a relationship expert or similar professional.
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.
Is Flirting Cheating?
Not necessarily, but it can lead to more. 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.
Why Are Cheaters so Weak?
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. As shocking as it may be, you may want to consider the signs of an extra-marital affair.
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 fuel their fire. They just can't seem to resist the thrill of the chase time and time again, 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.
What Leads to Compulsive Cheating?
These thrill-seeking, cheating partners tend to be compulsive cheaters. They are constantly trying to squeeze the best out of life, whether it's gambling, impulsive spending or the beautiful woman or handsome man in the club. If it's not one thing, it's the next. The feelings they get from the pursuit or chase outweighs a lot of the positive qualities of a secure, trusting relationship. They're all about indulgence and pleasure.
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.
What Does Cheating Say About a Person?
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.) These people, too, do not play by the rules. They may resort to nasty things like emotional blackmail or blackmail on social media to keep things their way in addition to lying.
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.
How Do Cheaters Feel About Themselves?
They are more inclined to believe that cheating is a normal, acceptable behavior. They tend not to realize the repercussions on their current relationship. They may be blocked emotionally from past trauma, which causes them to lack empathy or remorse a lot of the time.
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.
A Word About Habitual or Chronic Cheaters
Habitual or chronic cheaters, otherwise known as serial cheaters, simply lack respect for their partner. If they have done it to you, they have probably done it to others or will do it to others in the future.
Once a Cheater Always a Cheater? The Takeaway
Although I am not a relationship expert, these are just some of the most common traits cheaters share. What is considered cheating is really up to you and your significant other. In summary, just be aware of the signs and don't make excuses for poor behavior. Being disrespected by a man (or a woman) is never acceptable, and it is often an indication of bigger problems in a relationship.
A Note About the Warning Signs
It is important to note that these warning signs are based on trends of infidelity and the traits of serial cheaters—this does not necessarily mean that your partner is cheating. If you are worried about your significant other, work with a relationship expert or similar professional to get to the heart of the matter.
If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.
Believe in Your Worth
Cheating, lying, flirting, verbal and emotional abuse are all things that should never be overlooked or tolerated from your partner. 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.
Video: The Most Common Traits of Cheaters
- Borderline and Narcissistic Personality Disorder Differences
Though BPD and NPD share some common symptoms, they are distinct personality disorders with their own set of diagnostic criteria.
- Narcissist or Psychopath — How Can You Tell? | Psychology Today
We hear the terms all the time, but what is the difference?
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.