Despite what your unfaithful ex may have told you, there’s a good chance it will happen again. According to new research presented at the recent American Psychological Association Convention in Washington, D.C., people who cheat on their partners in one relationship are 3.5 times more likely to cheat in their next relationship. People who were victims of infidelity in the past were also more likely to be cheated on again.
The study, led by University of Denver graduate student Kayla Knopp, examined 484 unmarried 18-to-34-year-olds and found that cheating was just one of a few distressing relationship patterns observed.
People with a history of aggressive relationships had increased odds of entering into similar couplings down the line. The study also revealed that physically aggressive partners who reported shouting, yelling, shoving, and pushing were three times as likely to engage in that behavior in future relationships—while their targeted counterparts were five times as likely to fall victim again.
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Unfortunately, cheating is all too common: 33% of men and 19% of women admitted to being unfaithful in a survey of more than 100,000 people released in 2013. More shockingly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 1 in 4 women have experienced intimate partner violence (IPV) in their lifetime. IPV includes physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, and psychological aggression like coercive tactics.
“We like to think that we can learn from our experiences and our mistakes, especially when it comes to love,” Knopp said in a press release. She notes that additional research and clinical interventions are needed to help people break away from harmful dating habits. Judging by these grim statistics, we hope there’s help coming soon.
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