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Marriage Myth: Once A Cheater, Always A Cheater

Episode #735

Do you believe in the old saying, “Once a cheater, always a cheater?”
What circumstances can prompt individuals to transform despite challenging situations?
While trust can be rebuilt after infidelity, it necessitates a genuine commitment to change and a mutual understanding of boundaries. Providing practical advice for individuals navigating through the aftermath of betrayal, this episode encourages listeners to prioritize self-reflection and assert healthy boundaries in their relationships, fostering a foundation of trust and respect.
In this episode, you’ll learn that individuals can indeed undergo transformative changes, but with crucial catalysts that drive the process.

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Doug Holt  00:00

Hello, guys, and welcome back to another episode of the powerful Man show, once again greeted with the majestic Arthur Magoulianiti and the amazing Tim Matthews. Guys, today I want to talk about marriage myths, and I want to bust a myth or actually solidify a myth. And I want to hear what your guys ‘take is there. So I’ll say a statement, and Arthur, I’ll start with you. Tim, we’ll move to you and you say true or false, and then we’ll talk about some dialogue. Right?

Arthur Magoulianiti  00:42


Doug Holt  00:44

Sound fun? You guys are well prepared for this one, I can tell. As always.

Tim Matthews  00:49

As always, yeah.

Doug Holt  00:50

Once a cheater, always a cheater.

Tim Matthews  00:51


Doug Holt  00:52

I said I’d start with him. You listen to the rules, buddy. I agree. False as well. So let’s start with this conversation because this does come up, comes up with two ways. Right? Obviously, the man could be the cheater, but since we do have some women that listen to this podcast, the lion’s share are going to be men. So let’s talk about when your wife in particular, cheats emotionally or unemotionally. Is she always going to be a cheater moving forward? In other words, can you ever trust her again? Or can a zebra, in fact, change its stripes?

Arthur Magoulianiti  01:29

Well, zebra can’t.

Doug Holt  01:31

But like my pre frame.

Arthur Magoulianiti  01:33

Yeah. However, I think somebody can. Yeah. And they will if they do some personal growth along the way. If nothing changes, they’re going to be stuck there. And I think what it really needs is for that person to address what is that thing that they are chasing outside of the marriage as far as that connection, that feeling, that validation, whatever it is, what do they need that they’re not getting? And two, is it something that’s recurring? Is it a pattern? Because if it’s a pattern, they can break it.

Doug Holt  02:08

Yep. Tim?

Tim Matthews  02:09

Yeah. I think whoever cheats gets to take responsibility for why they’ve cheated and to your point, do the work. I also think the other person in the relationship has a part to play as well. I don’t think they need to take responsibility per se, but I think they do really get to communicate very clear boundaries of what is acceptable and unacceptable and very much hold true to those boundaries as well.

Doug Holt  02:37

Yeah. So I also think it’s a myth and with caveats. So an asterisk, if you will. And I think where that asterisk comes into play is, I think if boundaries have been set, so if a guy’s wife has cheated, then boundaries get set and they get delineated and agreed upon and she cheats again, then it’s time to exit. Right?

I think she hasn’t proven herself to be worthy. That’s my personal opinion. Does it mean she’s going to change at some point? Maybe, but it’s not going to happen immediately because the boundary, clearly she’s not respecting the man’s boundaries at this point. That’s twice that she hasn’t respected because there is an unwritten boundary that you don’t cheat right on your spouse. We all know that. And that gets broken by men and women.

And then if that gets broken and the boundary gets set once again and it happens and there’s no course correction to both of your points, the work has to be done by both partners, then there’s an issue there that you’re going to go, this has happened once, twice. We unfortunately talk to men that this happened three, four, five times. Right? Or more times than that, or it continues to happen time and time again.

And that’s where it’s kind of like eventually you get to the point where thank somebody for showing you who they are, right? Showing you who they really are and they’re not going to change. And if they’re not getting help or they’re not seeking help and they’re just giving lip service to the idea the odds are. That’s on you. What’s that famous thing? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Doug Holt  04:11

Yeah. The thing that really bugs me about this particular topic is I love how the guys in our movement are very big on taking responsibility. Right? What could I do differently? Right? In this particular scenario, we’ve also seen it where guys wives have crossed the boundary once, twice, three times. And that strength that the men have to take personal responsibility becomes a weakness because then they start saying, oh, well, what wasn’t I giving her or what wasn’t I doing that led to this? And it’s like, dude, come on, you could always ask a better question because you’re always going to find something you could have done or what that was lacking. Right?

But there comes a point where the thing is on her, on him, whichever way it goes, and they just get to take responsibility for the fact that they’re choosing this behavior consciously or unconsciously, whatever. They’re choosing it and they’re not taking responsibility for their part in it, or they are, but not seriously. Enough, clearly, because they’re not respecting the boundary, and you got to stop looking for what you could do differently. It becomes a bit of a joke to me personally.

Arthur Magoulianiti  05:24

Yeah. I think if there’s been an agreement, a discussion and an agreement, and the boundaries are there.

Tim Matthews  05:30

But isn’t that what you do when you give vows? That’s the initial agreement.

Doug Holt  05:35

Yeah. That’s why it’s the second time it’s been violated.

Tim Matthews  05:38

Exactly. Yeah.

Arthur Magoulianiti  05:39

All right, so then, yeah, on the back of that, of course, if you’re not going to improve, if you’re not going to move forward, if the other person is not going to respect that, then you get to follow through on the consequences.

Doug Holt  05:49

Yeah. And I think that’s the key. Right? So on the flip side of that coin, we’ve all done stuff we regret, right? We’ve all made mistakes and when I think of once a cheater, always a cheater. Well, you’ve shared publicly on the podcast that when you were dating women, you would cheat on them all the time. I’ve done dumb stuff in my 20s in particular, and most men listening to this. Do you still think you’re the same man in your 20s as you are in your 40s? I hope not, for everybody’s sake.

Now, I know some guys I grew up with my 20s that are exactly the same guy in their 4 s. And, yeah, that’s their own lifestyle choices. So the point being is people can change. They can make significant changes, but there needs to be a catalyst to the change. And sometimes the affair or getting caught is the catalyst, and then it’s, what do you do with that information? What do you do with that new change?

I do believe some people just screw up. The heat of the passion, the heat of the moment, they make a bad decision. Alcohol or whatever’s involved. It’s happened to some men in the movement where it’s been a one night stand. They were at a company party or whatever it was. Something happens, and then they’re like, they hated it. They regret it for the women. They find out their wives, something similar might have happened. Sometimes the man’s not showing up or hasn’t showed up for years, and out of desperation and loneliness, she’s sought another person. All these things can happen. It’s just how do you course correct. So if men are finding themselves in this situation where they’re like, man, I just found out my wife had an affair. Is this saveable? What would you say?

Tim Matthews  07:22

Providing she’s willing to do the work and take responsibility. Yes.

Doug Holt  07:27

What he said.

Doug Holt  07:30

I agree, but I also think he needs to do the work. I think it takes the couple to do the work. And I don’t put the onus just on the man. I think the man also has to do work to heal. Right? Men want to be tough. They want to be macho. I don’t need to heal. I don’t need to do any of this stuff. But you got to. You got to do stuff to heal and move on.

Tim Matthews  07:48

I don’t think the guy should be leading the race, though. In that particular scenario, I think the guy could say, hey, I take response, built it from my side. So I’m going to go over here and work on me, but I’m not going to hold you accountable to make sure you work on you as well. You get to do the work for yourself because you see the need to do it, not because I’m forcing you to do it.

Doug Holt  08:08

Yeah. She can’t do the work just to get him back and she can’t do the work just to — she needs to do the work because she sees the need to do the work.

Tim Matthews   08:16

Exactly. And vice versa. Right. If it’s the wife that catches the guy, same thing applies.

Arthur Magoulianiti  08:22

And she must want to do the work to stay in the relationship. She must value the relationship to that degree. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Doug Holt  08:29

Yeah, I agree 100%. So let’s give some advice. We’re all agreeing on this one pretty quickly here. And I’m just picturing a guy listening to this who’s in this moment of desperation of man. He’s found out his wife, his whole world’s been turned upside down. Right? He’s found out his wife has been cheating, she’s had an affair, physical or otherwise. He doesn’t know which way is up, which way is down at this point. What advice are you going to give a guy that’s caught in that situation, in that pit of despair right now? Tim, I’ll start with you.

Tim Matthews  09:00

Yeah. I think the first thing is, by all means, you could reflect on how you have been showing up and how that may have influenced the circumstance here. By no means do I think you should be taking all the burden for this, but definitely taking stock. Second thing would be, is she willing to take responsibility? Does she see that anything is wrong with this? We know of guys whose wives have done this who blame the guy. Well, I did it because you didn’t do this or you did that or whatever. That isn’t a healthy place. Right? That isn’t going to work.

So we also know guys whose wives have said, hey, I’m sorry. I messed up. It’s a one off. I love you. I want to be together. I’m willing to examine and explore why I did that. What was going on inside of me that led to that? Right? Maybe she’d been a single mum for a while. Not a single mom, but a stay at home mom craving some excitement because the guy wasn’t paying her attention. Whatever. Right? So second thing would be, is she willing to take some kind of ownership and responsibility? Then, thirdly, can you work on this together? Like you said, there’s got to be individual work and the work as a couple. And if you can, then great, go down that path.

Doug Holt  10:10

Arthur, anything to add?

Arthur Magoulianiti  10:12

Yeah, just similar lines. There’s got to be a level of regret that the person shows. If there’s no regret, then there’s no ownership. And which goes to the second thing. That person, he or she, have to take responsibility. If they got the regret responsibility, then the relationship becomes the key focus. They both come together and agree a way forward, then you can work with it. If they’re not showing up in any of those areas, then you don’t have enough to work with.

Doug Holt  10:39

Yeah. I think also I’m going to add on to this. If I’m the man listening to this, well, if I was talking to the man listening to this, one thing I would say is, hey, what do you get to do for yourself to move past this and to put yourself in a position where in your next relationship or this relationship, it’s unlikely to happen again. Now, that could be increasing your SMV. I’m not saying it’s the guy’s fault, but it’s usually a call to arms for men to step up the game. Right?

There’s a reason she’s drifted. Could be emotional, could be physical, could be she’s crazy and just not a good person. That’s entirely possible, but let’s throw that one aside because that’s extremely rare. I can only think of one or two cases that I’m aware of where that’s the case. Usually she sought out another man because something was lacking from the man that she was with, that she previously saw in him. That’s the key. And men just get to reclaim and become reactivated, is what we call it. Become reactivated as a man.

So make sure you’re taking your steps, because otherwise, if you decide to kick her to the curb or you decide just to sweep things under the rug, it’s going to happen again, and, or it’ll happen in the next relationship, and then guys get this whole idea that women are evil or what have you. And that’s just not the case. It’s simply that the guy’s not showing up with the most powerful version of himself. So find a way to find your power. Become a powerful man and get grounded within side yourself so that regardless of what happens external of you that you’re doing well.

Arthur Magoulianiti  12:14

Yeah, I love the saying that says whatever you don’t deal with in this relationship, you carry on to the next. And so, yeah, you definitely get to do your work.

Doug Holt  12:23

Yeah, I found that true in relationships I’ve had in the past for sure. And it would carry forward into my marriage. And if I didn’t put a stop to that, I’m sure I’d be on my third or fourth marriage by now at this point. Well, gentlemen, as we always say, in the moment of insight, take massive action. Arthur, anything you want to leave these guys with?

Arthur Magoulianiti  12:41

Yeah, well, be clear on your boundaries. Be clear on what you’re willing to stand for and. Yeah. Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Doug Holt  12:51

I love it. Be clear on your boundaries and I’ll add something into execute on your boundaries.

Tim Matthews  12:56

I was just thinking that a boundary. That consequence is not a boundary.

Doug Holt  13:00

No, there’s no reason to respect you if you don’t honor your boundaries. Yeah. Anything else you want to add for these fine men?

Tim Matthews  13:06

I was just thinking that. Yeah, just building on the whole respect thing. People respect what you stand for, right? That’s what helps people to understand who you are and what your value and such. So if you’re going to create a boundary and you don’t honor it, where’s a respect? And guys complain, oh, why didn’t she respect me? She should respect me. Well, you’re not respecting yourself, so how could you expect somebody else to respect you?

Doug Holt  13:30

Well said. Well said. Yeah, I’ll say. That is, create clear boundaries, guys. When you’re coming out of this, if you find out your wife has had an affair, create a clear boundary. Clear your side. If she crosses that boundary, consequences. Hard, fast, firm consequences. Boundaries are there for a reason. And then also do the work on yourself. Do the work on yourself so you can find forgiveness, happiness. Not forgiveness just for her, but forgiveness for yourself so that you can move forward and make sure you’re not carrying this on to your next relationship. And like we always say, in the moment of insight, take massive action, guys, until next week, we’ll see you on The Powerful Man show.

All right, guys, that’s a wrap for this episode. But as I always say in the moment of insight, take massive action. You see, there are two types of men that listen to a podcast like this, those that go on from one podcast or show to another just hoping things are going to change and realizing that they’re going to be in the same place month after month, year after year.

You see, I was this guy so I completely get it. You may just not be ready. But there’s also a second man, a second man that listens to a show just like this. And this is a guy who takes massive action so they can shorten the learning curve, compress time, and get RESULTS to be the WOLF. See, WOLF is an acronym for Wise, Open, Loving, and Fierce.

Now ask yourself, which one am I? And just be honest with yourself there. And there’s no judgment on my end. But if you’re ready to move from deactivated DEER mode, which is Defend, Excuse, Explain, and React to activated WOLF, Wise, Open, Loving and Fierce, then go over to thepowerfulman.com/grow. And go there now. In fact, I’ll make it super easy for you. I will even put the link right in the description here so you can just click it and go over there now to learn more. Guys, in the moment of insight, take massive action. Go from deactivated to activated, because like I said, life is too short for average and I’ll see you on the next episode!