… always a cheater, or so the saying goes. At a Thursday symposium reviewing new research on unmarried couples and families, University of Denver psychology graduate student Kayla Knopp confirmed that people who cheat on their partners in one relationship are three-and-a-half times more likely to report cheating again in their next relationship.
In the study with 484 unmarried 18-to-34-year-olds, Knopp also found that people who were cheated on in the past are also more likely to be cheated on again.
The past also seems to predict the future when it comes to physical and psychological aggression in relationships: Respondents who reported lots of yelling, shouting, pushing and shoving in one relationship were three times more likely to engage in the same behaviors in their next relationship – even after controlling for their partners’ aggression in both relationships. And people who reported being the victims of aggression in a previous relationship were five times more likely to report being victims again in their next relationship.
“We like to think that we can learn from our experiences and our mistakes, especially when it comes to love,” Knopp said. But as this study shows, that is likely not the case. More research is need to help develop clinical interventions to help people learn from their past experiences and making better relationship choices, Knopp said.