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Can a serial cheater really change?

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Summerluv123 posted 7/6/2014 09:53 AM

As of right now, WH and I are S. He is living with his parents. He has had 3 A's and I think I am finally getting to the truth about all 3. One was 15 years ago and the other two were in the last 2 years. This weekend has not been fun.

WH fluctuates between regret and remorse, which I think at this point (7/4 was last D-day) is probably where he should be. I just wonder can a serial cheater ever go deep enough to find their issues and truly change. I have heard all of the regret before, but I am now getting actual remorse and that he needs to find out why he keeps doing this to his family. He just started IC. We never did any type of therapy before, that was the biggest fail in this whole thing. We did not do the work to save our M.

I do not want to give up on my WH as I see he truly is a broken man. But I just do not want to waste my time on someone that will never change. I know this won't be fixed overnight and I am doing the 180 as best I can. He constantly texts me sorries, regrets, horror about the pain he has caused me and the kids and lots of "I love you" and don't give up on me. I don't respond all of the time, but at times I can't help it. I do care about him. He knows I am seeing a lawyer this week.

Has anyone had a successful R with a serial cheater? Can they truly recover to a point where R will work? I never knew he had so many issues as our communication was non-existent. I guess getting married as teenagers was not very smart and a big regret I have. We are still the same two teens that got M so long ago. We need to grow up! I hope IC can help us at least for our kids sake.

brokensoul73 posted 7/6/2014 10:17 AM

My wife cheated once before we got married and then had an affair 1 year into our marriage. We've been married 16 years next month and I'm not sure if she's been faithful since the last one. I don't know if they can change. I like to think so but my gut says no. I do know that if anymore cheating goes on then i'm done.

Chrysalis123 posted 7/6/2014 10:31 AM

I think it would take years and years of dedicated therapy and work for the serial cheater to change.

I know it would take years and years of work after that for the marriage to be repaired.

tfkeel posted 7/6/2014 10:37 AM

I just wonder can a serial cheater ever go deep enough to find their issues and truly change.

Personally? I think not. I elected to not give my WW a chance.

I learned through affair discovery that she had been promiscuous prior to her marriage and during her previous marriage.

I saw no change in her attitudes or behavior which indicated to me that any possibility of change actually existed.

I know it would take years and years of work after that for the marriage to be repaired.

And, the reward for all these years of pain?

Isn't it to only be married to a person who had such little respect and regard for you as to
humiliate you in your business, your community, your church, and your family?

A person whom, if you knew "then" what you know now, you would have never walked the isle and pledged your life to?

[This message edited by tfkeel at 10:41 AM, July 6th (Sunday)]

Summerluv123 posted 7/6/2014 10:52 AM

I saw no change in her attitudes or behavior which indicated to me that any possibility of change actually existed.

Had you seen a change after IC/MC would you have given that person the opportunity to try for R?

tfkeel posted 7/6/2014 11:12 AM

Had you seen a change after IC/MC would you have given that person the opportunity to try for R?

I did give the opportunity for R, but it was never taken. Had I seen any change, I would have tried to stay the course.

cayc posted 7/6/2014 11:37 AM

Possible? Yes. Technically anything is possible. Probable? No. The probability is that a serial will always cheat.

The strange thing about serial cheaters is that they LOVE to be married. It's like they need that safe place, that touchstone to prove to the world they are lovable, and simultaneously have someone to cheat on. (So serials will always remarry immediately if you D them).

Other things about serials. They live a rather entitled, me-oriented life. Every action they take is done in order to burnish their image. They can do crocodile tears if they are challenged on their cheating (b/c they shows the world that see, they have empathy and shame). They will use MC and likely IC to as a venue to learn how to gaslight and manipulate better. And they use it to further snow their partner that "see, I'm remorseful, I'm trying".

So what's the one thing your xWH always returns to? That one thing that he holds up as evidence as how you "did him wrong" and that's what he's reacting to when he cheats? There's something, and he'll use it to deflect in MC and IC to make the cheating about YOU and not him.

If anything I've said rings a bell with you ... the likelihood of reform is just not high. I'm sorry.

wifehad5 posted 7/6/2014 11:40 AM

Sure they can. They need to want to, but it's totally possible

Ostrich80 posted 7/6/2014 13:29 PM

I think anyone can change...if they want to. It would take a lot of work, in themselves but doable. What's you ws attitude? Is he pouty, pissed, defensive? Any of these going on, its a solid NO.

Summerluv123 posted 7/6/2014 15:59 PM

Thanks guys! You have given me a lot to think about.

Ostrich - you asked how my WH is now. He is not doing too well. He cries a lot and is constantly telling me his is sorry. Out of all 3 A's this is the first time that I have seen him this bad, but it is also the first time I have kicked him out. His reality of being out of the home and away from his family has sunk in I think. He is not blaming me at all for the A's only himself and says he needs to find out why his thinking is so screwed up. He knows he needs to learn boundaries and self control. I hope he can change for our kids sake.

This time seems different, but we are also only 2 weeks out from the last D-day. I had a TT D-day 2 days ago, but is was TT from his A #2. It was way more involved than I thought (it was with a neighbor that is still living here). She filled me up with all of her lies 2 days ago and he has been trying to tell me his truth. I think the real truth is in the middle somewhere. I see this woman all the time!!! UGH

I want to be strong, but it is so hard. Right this minute I do not want WH back, but I don't know how strong I am to resist if I start to see meaningful changes in him. Just being honest..I still love him.

StuckinBetween posted 7/6/2014 20:00 PM

Our stories sound similar. I'm on DDay3 as well, although we did some ic and mc 2 years ago. I heard all the same stuff and he apparently did learn a lot about himself and why he does what he does. Didn't stop him from online sex chatting while he was recovering from knee surgery while I was doing all the house /kid stuff including a 4 year old birthday party. WH also expresses serious shame, sadness, remorse, etc etc. imIts hard not to get drawn into his pain and sorrow but there is also a part of me thinking - you don't get to cry about this as you created it! I also find myself waiting to see if things were to die down again, he would just go back to old ways. He can be in a happy, 'I will do anything for you' state (which is fear is drivin by hopefulness in winning me back), then to a devastated place when I calmly reiterate that he can't.

Just watch for anything that feels like a pattern or developing pattern.

tl502 posted 7/6/2014 23:51 PM

Our stories are similar as well. I only had one dd, but found out about 2 a's and 2 ons that day.
I believe that my h has changed. I believe that he wanted to change. There is always the chance that he could relapse, but he is putting in the work to be the h that I deserve.
Will I ever totally trust him? Probably not. Do I trust myself? Absolutely! But as long as I see him making progress, I'm willing to give it a try.
Decide on your conditions for r, make them clear to him, then hold him responsible for upholding them. Remember, it's on him to change, serial cheaters have alot of work to do, and have to prove themselves safe over and over again.
He will try to downplay and rugsweep, but hold true to what you need and hold him accountable every day.

Ostrich80 posted 7/7/2014 03:03 AM

Besides being.upset with himself for the pain he's caused, he needs to do some constructive work to figure out why. The biggest mistake I made was allowing my ws back in when he begged to show me he was serious. As soon as he got comfortable, he refused mc, said it wasn't necessary, and a handful other things.I asked him to do. I should have waited, it may have helped save my M. I was naive and desperately wanted to believe him. If your ws is out of the house, let him do what he needs to do without your assistance. If he really means it, he will Seriously don't let him back in until he shows true R. I wish I had found SI sooner and.I would have known that.

sohowamI posted 7/7/2014 03:58 AM

Well, if you look at my tagline, you will see that I am still married to who was a particularly 'serious' cheater.

I stood my ground after I found out (this was the second DD, the first five years after we married). I didn't know anything for the next thirty years...

What I do have is someone who is willing to do everything that I have asked of him. He is still in IC, although we had a year of MC, the IC was far more important because it meant that HE had to work on himself intensively.

He IS remorseful as well as regretful. However, I will never lose sight of what he has been and what he has done. He states categorically that he will never, ever cheat again and I have told him that one infraction, however tiny it is, then it's over and I'm gone.

Only time will tell. The cheater's mind set is different from anyone else's. They are broken people with self-esteem problems who need the constant adulation. Mine needed the chase, the pursuit, the conquest. The sex was secondary in many cases, although he had a LTA for 12 years where he was 'in love' with AP.

It's hard. There are days when I want out but there's too much history and there are better times now than there were before...

My IC tells me to live in the present and to take note of all the things that he does now that are good and that are in complete divergence to what they were before.

It's an on-going process and I wish you lots of luck.

By the way, we didn't separate because I felt that close proximity made us work on the relationship. That he could see how badly I had been affected by this trauma meant that it finally opened his eyes to his narcissism and self-entitlement. It meant that I worked on him psychologically as well. That he was forced into confronting himself and literally seeing 'himself' for the first time - and every day he tells me how much contempt and distaste he feels towards himself. He still doesn't necessarily 'get' it all. There are gaps in his emotional awareness that confound me.

Summerluv123 posted 7/7/2014 06:36 AM

Thanks so much for all of the responses.

This thread has been helpful as it is very hard to see just the evil in my WH. I did not know that person existed - even though I knew of the 2 prior A's I had no clue he would do that again and that the would go to the lengths he did just to hide it and the fact he thought he was "in love" with her. This was OW #2, I think OW #3 was to get back at #2 and really had nothing to do with me except that she was one of my BF's. Granted he was still cheating on me the whole time. His thinking is really warped.

Really I get the affair down thing, but good grief he went way down... not sure how he was ever attracted to me as she is down right manly (looks and ways). I guess love really is blind.

I had to be rude to him yesterday to give me some space - the constant apologies are just more than I can handle right now. He know I will have to see a great improvement even to start having conversations again. I do agree that it is hard to work on this when he is not around. But I need the space right now too.

Just so lost and can't wait to see my IC tomorrow!

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