ON LAST night’s episode of Married At First Sight we saw one of the couples, Sharon and Nick, wrestle with an age-old relationship dilemma: Once a cheater, always a cheater?
The pair had previously discussed their respective deal-breakers. For Nick, the fact that Sharon had cheated in the past was a massive issue.
“That is a big thing to me. Cheating’s black and white. I just hope she has never cheated on anyone. I think: Once a cheater, always a cheater,” Nick said.
Sharon tried to let Nick know that in the five years since she was unfaithful, she’s changed a lot.
“That’s not who I am anymore. I’m a very loyal person. I’m a very trustworthy person. I’m very honest and genuine,” she said.
“I want that in my partner as well because I know how sh*tty it is to be that person that does the wrong thing and to be on the receiving end of it as well.”
Relationship exert Nikki Goldstein says the phrase “once a cheater, always a cheater”, is too black and white.
“Many people cheat once and never do it again. It’s different for every person,” she told news.com.au.
“In fact if someone has gone through a bout of infidelity, they have experienced all the negative emotions that come with it. They know how terrible it can be, how ugly it gets … They understand the negative side of cheating and that can be the motivation to never do it again.
“They’ve had to sit with that. Someone who hasn’t done it or who hasn’t felt what it’s like. That person may have learned from it and hopefully those feelings can stop them from doing it again.”
Dr Goldstein says if your partner does admit to cheating in the past, use that admission as a springboard to asking questions: Why did they do it? What did they learn from it? What was the actual cheating like? Was it a one-off thing or a two-year affair? How do they feel about it?
“If they are the type of person who has cheated on every partner … that’s when the alarm bells go off,” she said.
“Is this person cheating because they get to a certain place in a relationship where they’re comfortable, it’s not exciting anymore and they want that attention and affection from someone new, so they look elsewhere? Ask that question.
“It’s a good catalyst for a healthy conversation about your boundaries around infidelity.”
By the end of last night’s episode, Nick appeared to have softened his initial position and was willing to let Sharon’s previous infidelity slide.
“Anyone else I probably would’ve been like, ‘I can’t deal with it.’ But, now I’m thinking, ‘I’ve got to give 150 per cent’,” he said.
“I’m not going to let something like — something in the past — wreck how I feel. Even though it’s black and white … I can see how genuine you are.”