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Do Cheaters Miss Their Ex?


Reading time:

5 min


Published on:

Thu May 30 2024


Written by:

The Personal Development School

It’s a question that always arises: do cheater miss their ex? 

It’s a complex question to answer. 

Infidelity is an emotionally charged topic that often leaves a trail of heartache and confusion. Asking if the cheater misses their ex-partner can bring up a lot of emotions, pain, and even more questions. 

To delve deeper into this question, it's essential to understand cheating, the types of cheaters, whether they miss their exes, and how they can rekindle a relationship. 

What is Cheating?

In the context of a relationship, cheating is when a partner engages in the behavior of being emotionally, romantically, or sexually involved with someone outside the committed relationship without the knowledge or consent of one's partner.

In simple terms, cheating is being unfaithful to your partner.

It breaches the trust and fidelity expected within the relationship and can occur in numerous ways, including physical affairs and emotional infidelity. It can cause devastating emotional turmoil for all parties involved, leading to couples counseling, separation, or divorce. 

Unfortunately, the statistics behind cheating and affairs prove that they are quite common in today’s modern world. 

Major Cheating Statistics

According to TechReport, in 2023: 

  • Since 1990, there has been a 40% increase in women committing infidelity
  • Up to 16% of married couples admitted to being unfaithful in their marriage 
  • 57% of marriages ended in divorce due to infidelity
  • Up to 88% of women commit emotional affairs over physical affairs 
  • 30% of people cheat on their partners with someone at work 
  • 60% of emotional affairs commence at work

While there is a typical image of a type of person who commits adultery, there are several different types of cheaters with different motivations.

cheating partner

The 6 Types of Cheaters

The Opportunist

Opportunist cheaters may not actively seek out affairs but may succumb to temptation when presented with the opportunity. Their motivations are based more on circumstances than on how they feel towards their partner or relationship.  They often act on impulse without considering the consequences. They may feel guilt and remorse after breaking their partner's trust. 

The Validation Seeker

This type of cheater commits infidelity because they are driven by a need missing in their relationship. They seek validation and affirmation from others to boost their self-esteem and ego. They thrive on the attention and admiration they receive outside the relationship because they might have had their physical or emotional needs met in their own relationship. 

The Closet Poly

These individuals may genuinely believe in non-monogamous relationships but lack the honesty or courage to communicate their desires openly with their partners. Therefore, they may engage in affairs to fulfill their polyamorous beliefs, as they view external connections as enriching and beneficial to their primary relationship. They might act on their infidelities throughout the entire relationship. 

The Serial Cheater

The name says it all; this type of person is a repeat offender with a pattern of constant infidelities due to a struggle for commitment and intimacy. They often seek novelty and excitement outside the relationship, which is why they seek external sexual satisfaction. They are unable to remain faithful for long periods. Their past relationships might indicate if they are serial cheaters. 

The Thrill Seeker

These individuals seek affairs, driven by a desire for excitement, adventure, and getting caught. It stems from the rush to be “caught” and do something “wrong”. However, they also seek to maintain their current monogamous relationship to keep that feeling alive. It’s just part of their need to satisfy their need for adrenaline and stimulation.

The Exit Strategist

The Exit Strategist cheater uses infidelity as a means to exit the relationship. Feeling trapped or unhappy in the relationship, they may seek emotional or physical connections outside it as a prelude to ending it. It also gives them an “out” if they are caught or tell their partner. 

couple in counselling after cheating

Do Cheaters Realize They Made a Mistake?

Most cheaters experience a profound sense of loss in the immediate aftermath of a breakup.

They eventually realize the gravity of their betrayal, how it impacts their partner, and how they’ve now lost something significant to them.

Cheaters also mourn the loss of the trust, intimacy, and connection they shared with their ex-partner.

The realization of their mistake often dawns on cheaters during introspection and self-reflection.

These moments usually occur when:

  • They are alone or when they feel lonely
  • They get cheated on themselves
  • The reality of their situation sets in
  • When there is a lot of distance in the relationship
  • When they go to places that remind them of their partner
  • They have constant reminders about their ex
  • When they see their ex with someone else 

However, while it might be painful for the cheater, this period opens up the possibility of change and growth by looking at the root causes of their infidelity.

There is an opportunity to understand their cheating behavior, potential trust issues, their emotional journey,  insecurities or abandonment issues, and what constitutes a healthier relationship. 

The best approach is to implement a period of no contact with their ex-partner so they have the necessary space and time to confront their actions, take accountability, and acknowledge the pain they've caused.

Do Cheaters Miss Their Ex?

Depending on the circumstances and situation of the relationships and the type of cheater, most cheaters end up missing their ex.

Cheaters who miss their former partner do so because they regret their actions, feel guilty about the pain they’ve caused, and are angry that their long-term relationship is over. They thought the grass was greener on the other side or had a lapse in judgment.

This is common for the Opportunist, the Validation Seeker, and the Thrill Seeker.

However, some cheaters don’t miss their ex-partners at all.

Those like the Exit Strategist do it because they are unhappy in the relationship and need to escape. It can also apply to the Validation Seeker, as their partner does not meet their unmet needs.

The Serial Cheater and Closet Poly also tend not to miss their ex. The former because it is a habitual part of their lives, while the former have an innate belief that monogamy might not work for them.

However, both can realize their actions by undertaking extensive self-reflection and self-improvement.

Watch this video below to learn about why people cheat and how to prevent being cheated on:

Why Do Cheaters Come Back?

Simple — intense feelings of regret, guilt, and desire for forgiveness and redemption.

Cheaters realize the error of their ways and look towards changing themselves while healing the relationship at the same time. They may want to prove to their ex-partner that they’ve changed their ways, so they seek to rekindle the relationship or get a "second chance." 

Other reasons can include the fear of the consequences of their infidelity, such as loneliness, social stigma, not breaking up the family household, or recognizing the grass wasn’t greener (which is common after starting to date again).

However, reconciliation is a deeply personal decision that requires careful consideration and communication from both parties.

It's essential to assess whether the relationship can overcome the betrayal and whether both partners can invest the time and effort necessary to heal and rebuild trust.

Selfishness, jealousy, and resentment might be lingering factors in the relationship.

Reconciliation is a complex process that requires honesty, accountability, and mutual effort to rebuild trust and restore the relationship's trust foundations.

One of the best places to start when it comes to reconnecting in your relationship or overcoming the fear of cheating is our Rebuilding Trust & Overcoming Jealousy in Your Relationships course. 

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