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Is past behaviour the best predictor of future behaviour?

(29 Posts)
aLeopardanditsSpots Fri 02-Sep-16 21:08:56

Can a leopard change its spots?
I don't think they do but just wanted a general consensus.
If someone had a history of broken relationships lies cheating and child abandonment what would you think the chances of them ever having a happy healthy relationship would be?

CocktailQueen Fri 02-Sep-16 21:12:07

Pretty damn low, without either counselling, a strong desire to change and motivation to change.

SangtheSun Fri 02-Sep-16 21:13:19

As someone once said to me, after I discovered my exe's second affair "Ever seen a stripy leopard?".

Scarlettablue Fri 02-Sep-16 21:14:29

Have you just met my ex on a dating site? grin

SandyY2K Fri 02-Sep-16 21:15:26

Yes., it is in my opinion.

If the someone has cheated in almost all their relationships, has told lies in all relationships and has abandoned children, why would they suddenly become any different? Why would the reason they cheated before, not arise again?

Unless this person has had therapy and can explain what they have discovered about themselves and how and why they've changed, then they aren't a safe partner.

Why would anyone take them on their word thst they've chsnged?

Resilience16 Fri 02-Sep-16 21:16:00

If they really want to change and put real continuous effort into addressing their behaviour then I guess change is possible.
But if they don't acknowledge there is a problem, or have no incentive to change then change is unlikely.
They have to really be committed to wanting to change. You can't make someone else change their behaviour, they have to want to.

aLeopardanditsSpots Fri 02-Sep-16 21:18:00

Sorry for vague post and thanks for replies. Stripey leopards grin not seen too many of those around.
My ex. Now living with the girl he cheated on me with. I'm mostly over it but sometimes the hurt and anger still takes over.
I don't think he can change. I don't think he sees how he lives as wrong so why would he. I do wonder how many more times his family can stand by and watch him do this.

forumdonkey Fri 02-Sep-16 21:18:06

In my experience, no. If someone has been upfront and told you, take it as they are warning you they will do it to you. They will have less guilt because you stayed with them knowing what they are like.

ohwhatsinausername Fri 02-Sep-16 21:22:46

Very good point from Forum. Wish I'd have thought of that before getting with my ex!

Sparklesilverglitter Fri 02-Sep-16 21:24:11

I do believe people can change, we can do stupid things when we are young ( cheating for example) then grow up and never do it again. At the end of the day people do make mistakes but I don't think you can always judge somebody by the past.

My DH had cheated in previous relationships and had many sexual partners. People said we would never last that he was a "jack the lad" type but 18 years later we are happy and he has always treated me with respect and we have a fantastic life together. I don't know what changed my DH with me, I don't know if he grew up or me and him are just a better fit that the previous partners he had, he knows I am strong and wouldn't take any messing around which I think is a big thing too.

How does your partner treat you? Do you have a happy healthy relationship?

aLeopardanditsSpots Fri 02-Sep-16 21:24:17

Haha no he didn't tell me. There were lots of red flags I ignored though. Working on myself now.

ohwhatsinausername Fri 02-Sep-16 21:25:43

But yes, sorry, in answer to your original post, I wonder the same thing about my ex and new relationship...

But he did similar to me when our relationship was new and I suspect he just has a shiny new mask on at the moment.

I've already seen/heard hints of it falling off already, with him flirting with other women when he's supposed to be happy... hmm

Makes me glad to be rid grin

aLeopardanditsSpots Fri 02-Sep-16 21:26:15

Sparkles he's not young he's 35 with 2 kids this pattern of behaviour has been going on since early 20s that I know of.
I'm not in a relationship. I'm too traumatised to even think about relationships.

Eatthecake Fri 02-Sep-16 21:29:50

Yes I think people can change if they want too.

In my younger days I cheated on partners, I also shagged around a fair but none of those guys made me want to stop. Then at 26 I met DH, we are still together 23 years later I am happy, I have Never cheated and I have complete respect for my DH and would never risk losing him and ruining our little family.

Sometimes I believe you just need to meet that 1 person you are suited too.

aLeopardanditsSpots Fri 02-Sep-16 21:32:06

Eat I'm guessing you didn't have kids with or propose to those guys before you cheated on them?

SandyY2K Fri 02-Sep-16 21:38:32

Sometimes I believe you just need to meet that 1 person you are suited too

So if you hadn't met the one, why not end the relationship and move on to the next guy. Sorry, but that's a poor excuse for cheating.

Canyouforgiveher Fri 02-Sep-16 21:43:05

I think it depends on the behaviour and when it happened.

If someone very young is in a non committed relationship and cheats, well it is probably not indicative that they can never commit. They are young, messing around, not being serious. By young I mean late teens/early 20s and definitely not living with someone or married to them. People mature a lot in their 20s. I know I did.

Otherwise, no, I don't think people change. If he cheated on his wife and abandoned his children, chances are higher than usual that he will do it again. But even if he doesn't he is still the asshole who abandoned his children. I wouldn't want to be with that man, even if he wasn't going to cheat on me.

I also think it isn't just cheating etc that is worth looking at. If someone is unkind to previous friends or partners, is resentful of paying maintenance for children, is vengeful about exes, then that person is probably not a good person.

HappyJanuary Fri 02-Sep-16 21:47:24

I think a lot hangs on whether the behaviour is habitual or a one-off response to a particular set of circumstances.

Someone who repeatedly lies and cheats, and is capable of child abandonment, is unlikely to change IMO although they may get better at hiding it.

Pinkheart5915 Fri 02-Sep-16 21:49:50

I think people can change, if they want too.

My DH went from different partner to different partner sometimes cheating for Years before we met, never settling with anybody. We have been together 10 years now, very happy healthy realtionship, his always been respectful to me, his never let me down even when I was at my lowest ( I was in a really bad way for a long time) after our first baby was stillborn, He has always known with me he gets 1 chance he slips up once and me and him would be over, I wouldn't put up with any crap not only for my sake but for the DC too.

ComtesseDeSpair Fri 02-Sep-16 22:04:13

I think people can change, if they want to and if they have something they value above their previous way of being: although I can't help but think that people who are serial cheats in multiple relationships must ultimately either not think that cheating is wrong or not care about the feelings of their partners; and I'm not entirely sure what they'd have to do or go through for that mindset to change.

It can go the other way, too: I know quite a few men who, in all their many years of monogamous relationships were faithful and loyal and the kinds of men who everybody around them believed would absolutely never, ever cheat - yet who ended up cheating. Their previous behaviour therefore wasn't necessarily an indicator of how they'd behave forevermore.

TheNaze73 Fri 02-Sep-16 23:29:22

I'd say 99% of the time, once a cheat always a cheat. However, I have known people who've met "the one" who overnight have had a charisma & personality bypass & have been happily married for years. Very rare though I'd say

GutInstinct Fri 02-Sep-16 23:48:53

People put too much emphasis on whether someone can change, when sometimes it is the affair that changes someone.

In my experience someone who has multiple affairs becomes swept along with the pattern of cheating. But someone who has a one off affair in response to an unhappy marriage may regret that affair and never even contemplate doing it again.

I had an affair. Not justified, not OK, but it was the catalyst for me to end an emotionally abusive marriage. If anything, I changed in order to have the affair. And when it was all over, I didn't have to swear I would never do it again, I just knew that I never could.

I didn't leave for OM fwiw, my H would have taken me back in a heartbeat, but I realised that I could never go back.

I have a new partner now who knows my history and trusts me implicitly. The very thought that I would ever become drawn to someone else again just doesn't even feature in my thought process. It's as if that part of my life never happened. It did, and I will forever regret it, wish I'd walked away when I realised things were as crap as they were, but in truth society doesn't support someone's right to end a relationship for anything other than violence or infidelity. Emotional abuse doesn't count, and even when I explained to people what had been going on in my marriage their response was "but he never hit you."

My ex on the other hand is now emotionally abusing his new partner in the same way. He has eroded her freedoms in the same way he did mine, and is gaslighting her into believing that she is all alone in the world and needs no-one else but him, and that the world is in fact against her.

What it comes down to though is taking ownership of the things that you've done, and realising that for some even a one off is a deal-breaker and they wouldn't go there for fear of being the next broken hearted victim. If people don't trust then they won't want to be with someone who has cheated whatever the outcome or regret. And that is something which a cheater has to carry even if they also carry the regret of what they've previously done.

aLeopardanditsSpots Sat 03-Sep-16 09:37:17

I'm not talking about one off affairs. Im Talking about a long established pattern of behaviour.
I know he won't change. Guess I just wanted some support in that view and validation. Wasn't expecting so many people to justify their or their partners affairs.
I didn't know he was a serial cheat. he told me he'd never cheated and one of his exs had cheated on him. In reality he cheated on every woman he's been involved with.
The point about good loyal men going on to cheat is an interesting one. I guess you can never really know someone. Sad.

HappyJanuary Sat 03-Sep-16 09:46:38

'Wasn't expecting so many people to justify their or their partners affairs'

I'm always amused to hear women on here and in rl justifying their OH's previous affairs as him simply not being with the right woman. It's really just victim blaming, to make themselves feel safe : he won't do it to me, I'm special.

Unfortunately you only have to spend five minutes on here to know that's not true.

donners312 Sat 03-Sep-16 10:04:35

Of course people who have no empathy for their children or ex wife, don't want to pay maintenance for children or bother with their children, think only of themselves and generally act appallingly are not going to suddenly become kind, compassionate people.

People may be in bad relationships and have exit affairs or whatever that doesn't necessarily make them bad people.

But people with consistent bad behaviour are not going to go on and lead happy and fulfilled life full of love so yes - past behaviour (and not one off examples of weakness) is the best predictor of future behaviour.

Just like people who are crap at work and are always losing their job etc are not suddenly going to become the CEO of a really successful company are they?

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