How To Recognize a Potential Cheater Before You Marry - How To Win a Man's Heart

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August 8, 2017

How To Recognize a Potential Cheater Before You Marry

While many good people end up entangled in an unintentional affair with a friend or co-worker, there are some markers that distinguish the vulnerable from the less vulnerable.

The following is a list of traits that increase a person’s tendency to cheat:

a. Did either of his parents have an affair? 

According to research by Bonnie Weil, 80% of people who cheat had a parent who cheated, even if they didn’t know about it at the time.

Adult children of cheating parents pick up on underlying attitudes and dynamics that promote cheating.

They are more vulnerable to having affairs, than those who grew up in families where faithfulness was modeled and reinforced.

b. If so, does he condemn the unfaithful parent’s behavior or does he make excuses for it? 

Sons who demonstrate strong convictions about the sanctity of marriage are a safer bet than those who “explain” why their parent had an affair.  There is no excuse for affairs, no matter how difficult the challenges in the marriage.

c. Does he have a history of promiscuous behavior? 

A history of promiscuity (many sexual partners) has been shown by research to be one predictor of poor sexual boundaries in marriage.

Unless a previously promiscuous person has worked hard to demonstrate a significant season of celibacy, he may not have repaired his poor boundaries and weaknesses in this area.

d. Did he cheat on past girlfriends? 

If you learn he was unfaithful to any girl he seriously dated before, proceed with caution.  The best predictor of the future is past behavior.

Simply admitting his past indiscretions is not proof of remorse.

You need to look for sorrow over his past cheating, and an attitude of genuine contrition.

Even then, be careful.  His remorse may only be skin deep.

e. Has he ever cheated on you? 

Signs of a capacity to cheat sometimes show up during dating and engagement.

Whether it is a one-night stand, kissing other girls, flirting with others in your presence, or going behind your back in any way – look out.

You may have heartache in store for you in your marriage.  If this has occurred, do not ignore it.  Either get counseling together or break up with him…now.

f. Do you catch him in lies? 

Potential cheaters reveal their true nature through a tendency to lie.  If you catch your beau in a number of lies – run away, as fast as you can.

And, if he “only” lies to others, he will not hesitate to lie to you once the romance settles down.

g. Does he have a selfish-streak or an attitude of entitlement?  

If your fiancé frequently insists on having his way, or acts as if the world owes him unearned privileges, you are dealing with a person who has the mentality of a cheating partner.

Selfish people do not make good marital partners and can rationalize an affair more easily than partners who are naturally loving, giving, and caring.

h. Did his mother and/or father let him get away with a lot growing up? 

People who were not well disciplined as children, often rely on charm to wriggle out of consequences for misbehavior.

A person who gets away with indiscretions of any kind, may think he can get away with an affair.

The more charming the man, the more careful you need to be.  He may be used to getting what he wants – no matter what.

i. Does/did  his father come across disrespectful or chauvinistic to his wife? 

The impact of a father’s modeling on a growing son cannot be overestimated.

Unless the son disavows the father’s disrespectful attitudes toward women and has worked hard to undo his father’s damaging influence, he may have adopted his father’s beliefs of male-superiority.

Men who view women as toys or tools, are potential cheaters.

About the author


Linda Macdonald is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the Pacific Northwest with 25 years’ experience helping individuals and couples repair the hurts between them and find empowerment in their lives.

She is also the author of How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair.

Her website is: