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Serial Cheater – Signs, Personality Traits, psychology and How to Deal with Them

Serial Cheater – Signs, Personality Traits, psychology and How to Deal with Them

Updated on Nov 03, 2023

Reviewed by Julianne Cantarella, MSW, LSW , Certified Relationship Coach

Serial Cheater - Signs, Personality Traits, & How to Deal with Them

So, you’re here to know about a serial cheater… then I’m guessing you either have one in your life or know someone who may be dealing with them.

If you’re the former, I know you feel cheated, gutted and depressed… and curse your destiny for playing such a wicked role in your love life.

…and it’s normal.

But what isn’t normal is to look away from reality.

So, if you’re ready to tear apart a serial cheater’s façade, this think-piece has got you all the answers… starting from who are serial cheaters to their personality traits, signs, and much more.

So, without further ado, let’s begin!

Who is a serial cheater?

Serial cheaters are addicts who are romantically involved with several people simultaneously for romantic or materialistic benefits.

Human beings can truly fall in love with ONLY one person at a time. You can’t love three people simultaneously or back-to-back.

Moreover, after a breakup, it takes you some time to grieve, and move into another relationship. The transition doesn’t happen overnight.

But for serial cheaters, none of these “normal” rules apply.

They can be in a romantic relationship with more than one person at a time. They mostly get into relationships for some romantic and materialistic benefits. The moment they stop feeling the thrill, they change its source. All this happens while the exclusive partner is unaware of the infidelity.

Anxious if you’re with a serial cheater? Well, the definition isn’t enough to recognize them. So, let’s know more about them here…

Signs of a Serial Cheater

Cheating is subjective… because different people define cheating differently. Whether you define your partner’s actions as cheating or not is totally up to your judgment.

However, in today’s generation, though ethically unacceptable, cheating is quite common. Despite its vast definitions, young (and old) romantics often get cheated on or cheat.

So, let’s find the basic signs of a serial cheater here…

1. The victim card never goes down.  

A cheater never takes the blame on themselves. So, if your partner is a serial cheater… they’ll show you how they have always been on the losing end in past relationships.

They will try to gather sympathy from you and tell you sob stories.

These infidelity stories are one of the traps that they set up to lure new and ripe prey.

2. “My ex was an A**hole”

In all the sob stories, there’s one thing common in all of them and that is – it’s always their ex’s fault.

Even after cheating on them – which is a key cause of the failure of their relationship – they don’t accept their faults or even feel guilty about their behavior. Moreover, they call their ex fickle-minded or worse, abuse them.  

3. Their phone is always out of your reach

A serial cheater will keep their phone miles away from you… all because they don’t wanna get caught red-handed with their other love interests’ messages popping.

If you ever see a strange message and ask them about it, they’ll start lying to cover their secrets. 

Moreover, if you’ve ever answered their phone because they weren’t around, you know what it led to – a MASSIVE fight!

4. They never own up to their mistakes

Cheaters don’t like to be called cheaters. They consider themselves infallible and always try to highlight others’ faults.

For example, if you’re busy with work, they will blame you for not giving enough time and effort into the relationship, and also an excuse to seek love from outside the relationship.

If you’ve been a victim of this, you know it’s time to call it off!

5. They manipulate people

A serial cheater cheats on their partners continuously… and for that, they obviously need great manipulation skills.

…and the worst part is most of them not only have it but also excel in it.

They can find their way out of anything and anywhere. So, if recently you feel your values have been dazed, it’s because your partner made you believe that.

6. Commitment scares them to the bone

If you’ve ever dated a serial cheater, you know, they’re really afraid of commitment.

They would never accept your relationship publicly and when asked to justify the mean gesture, they give irrelevant excuses. They do not like to settle down with only one person and miss the chance to flirt or go out with different people.

And so, the “committed” status doesn’t fit them well.

After all, to get more partners, they have to play singles.

7. They’re obsessed with looks

Most serial cheaters are obsessed with their physical appearance. They cannot pass through a mirror without stealing a quick glance at themselves.

They like to be the center of attraction and often wear revealing outfits to attract people. Further, they also don’t date a person who doesn’t fit their definition of “good-looking”.

8. They can never stop flirting

Yes, I know healthy flirting does no one any harm. But they don’t stop there. They often jump the line and hope for their partner to be okay with that.

For example, they will buy a drink for someone else and come back saying “it was only a drink!”. They dance with other people and touch them at places that are not “flirting” anymore. The list of compliments for the girl/guy they met at the bar never ends.

If you spot one or all of these signs, it’s time to take serious action, buddy!

9. Their world starts and ends at “Me”

Ofcourse, what else can you expect from a serial cheater? They don’t care about anyone but themselves. They are extremely self-absorbed and only concerned about their wants, dreams, and desires.

Well, there’s a line between self-love and selfishness. You should definitely love and respect yourself but being overly obsessed about self-wants screams RED FLAG.

10. There are some places they never want to go

When you’re out together, do they avoid certain malls, cinema halls, restaurants, and hotels? And every time you ask them “why”, the answer is never convincing.

A cheater won’t ever take you to a place where they have visited with other love interests. The local people saw them on another date… and if they also see you, there’s a chance their dirty secrets can be exposed.

11. Your instincts say something is fishy!

Let me tell you something out and aloud: your instincts never lie! Never.

So, if your instincts tell you that your partner is not right for you, believe it and confront them.

There may have been signs that only your subconscious picks up and that is why you must never dismiss what your gut has to say.

12. The lies are never ending

Did they tell you that they were in the office, but they weren’t?

Did they tell you that they were going out for dinner with their manager, but instead went with a school bestie?

Did they tell you X amount was spent on home bills but instead bought a gift for the girl next door?

…well, the list never ends.

If your partner bombards you with unreal excuses, never ignore it. Serial cheaters can lie at the drop of the hat… and when caught, can easily cover it up with sweet lies.

13. They’re always busy pleasing people

As serial cheaters are attention seekers, they try to invest their time in becoming more attractive and charismatic.

I mean, who knows when their bait gets a fish for them?

These b@$t@rds maintain a clean and respectful image, so much so, that no one will ever believe there’s jackass hiding behind this innocent face.  

14. They couldn’t sustain any relationship

The serial cheaters are not interested in long-term relationships. They get into a new relationship as soon as they break up with the first one. They change partners so fast that it will almost feel like they never had one before this.

But, when you ask them about it, they’re always ready with a heart-wrenching breakup story.

15. They’re insanely busy

Maintaining multiple partners at the same time is a tough job. And that is why serial cheaters manage their time very wisely.

You’ll often find them giving excuses about the insane work pressure, or business trips. This is all the time they are busy fishing for other love interests.

And when you confront them with this, they will make some convincing excuses.

16. They leave you confused

On some days your partner treats you like you’re the most beautiful person on this plant. While on others, it is just the opposite.

If this seems familiar to you, you must realize something’s off with them.

Sometimes, they might even ask you to dress or behave like the person they currently admire. And a few days later, “you’re beautiful just the way you’re”

This hot and cold behavior often leaves you confused and you feel lost.

17. They don’t trust you

Most people think that people surrounding them share the same personality traits as them. Similarly, a serial cheater thinks you’re a cheater too and often doubts your intentions.

For example, if they find your phone busy, they’ll immediately ask for a screenshot of your call log. All these are dangerous signs of a toxic relationship.

18. “Cheating isn’t a crime!”

Serial cheaters don’t think cheating is a big deal. They don’t believe that people who cheat are doing something wrong.

Sometimes, they even blame their partners for not giving them enough love which eventually led to infidelity.

They blame destiny, situation, and their exes, but won’t ever accept cheating on them.

19. They get bored very quickly

If your partner is always praising someone else, it may be because (s)he is your partner’s recent love interest.

Yes, cheaters can’t be interested in one person for too long… rather they explore and meet new people in a never-ending quest for a better person.

Their heart keeps jumping from one person to another, and so does their interest.

20. They always need attention

Serial cheaters want to be the center of the world, ALWAYS.

They like (read: LOVE!) the attention people shower them with and often take desperate measures to seek that.

They want the entire world to jump around them so that they have enough fishes to jump next to.

21. Where’s the flexibility?

A serial cheater is very rigid and is extremely defensive about any kind of change.

They will try all their might to prevent even minor changes in their daily routine. No matter how many benefits the new change can bring, they will refuse it on the face.

22. They appear too-good to be true

Serial cheaters due to their disloyal behavior become a pro in lying and making up stories about everything. And to attract more people of the opposite sex, they try to show themselves as very superior and well-to-do.

They hide their weaknesses and never stop talking about strengths. They never shy away to narrate false stories of success, achievements, money, and anything else that can make them appear attractive.

23. Their friends tell you about the not-so-good habits

Friends who have known your partner for a very long time know about their habit of talking and flirting with random girls.

And a few among them who have your best interest in mind will drop subtle hints about how your partner is not the right choice.

You will also notice that your partner doesn’t like you to be around their friends… ofcourse, they’re afraid to be exposed.

24. Transparency is nowhere to be found

In a healthy relationship, couples don’t hide anything from their partners. So the moment your partner does it, it’s a red flag.

As couples, you definitely expect your partner to be transparent with you and share their daily whereabouts, concerns and everything else. But a serial cheater will never do that… and it’s time you must do something about it.  

25. You don’t affect them as much

When someone is in a relationship with a serial cheater, they may fall in love with them deeply without knowing about their actual behavior. But after knowing about their partner, they feel cheated and heartbroken.

But, this does not affect the serial cheater a bit. They lack empathy and are often unapologetic about it.

Trust me, this will not go far. So, it’s only wise if you step out now.

26. They make fake promises

A serial cheater, in an attempt to lure you, will make a lot of unreal promises.

While an honest lover is known for their word of mouth, a cheater on the other hand can only make fake commitments. They’ll make you dream big, only to hurt you in the end.

27. They’re too sweet with the opposite sex

Another absolute sign of serial cheater is that they are too sweet to the opposite sex.

So, if your man always tries to be extra chivalrous to the girl next door or if your girl is often found on the backseat of her male colleague, you know something’s up!

They don’t leave a chance to drop “just” a complement and extend a helping hand to someone they met just a few minutes back. And due to their flattering nature, everyone considers them as genuine and like them back.

28. They love new adventures

Since a serial cheater needs to be out there to find a new fish, they are extremely outgoing and love to socialize. They will never say a no to any social gathering and often hesitate to tag you along.

Of course, they can’t flirt openly with you prying around.

29. They don’t have a balanced sex life

There are two possibilities here. A cheater’s sexual urges get fulfilled in many ways. You are not the only source of pleasure for them.

Therefore, when you want to have some fun on the bed, they deny. No matter how much you try, nothing seems to ignite the fire between you two.

The second possibility is that they are with you only for physical pleasure, so they want you in bed 24×7.

30. They don’t discuss or debate with you

Couples debate and discuss on serious topics only when they expect something from each other. But when you don’t have expectations from your partner, the conversations will be only limited to surface level.

And this is probably because their expectations are getting fulfilled from somewhere else. 

So, these were some absolute signs of a serial cheater, now let’s head on to know a few…

Serial cheaters personality traits

Serial cheaters are so well rehearsed with their cheating skills that they won’t be able to ever catch them if you don’t know how to pick on the tiny cues.

To help you in the endeavor, here are some personality traits of a serial cheater.

1. They seek validation

No matter how hard you try to feel confident; when you know you have done something wrong it automatically affects your confidence. That’s when you start seeking validation from others.

The same is the case with serial cheaters. Deep inside, they know, they’re wrong. That’s why they seek compliments from you… very often.

2. Somehow, they’re always guilt-free

One of the most common traits found in cheaters is they never own up to their mistakes. They consider themselves innocent, and they can go to any extent to prove it.

In a blink of an eye, they will turn the tables on you and make you the culprit for no fault of yours. Most times, you will find yourself apologizing for things you never did… while they are sobbing as a victim.

3. They are extremely private

I understand that we must respect each other’s privacy, even in relationships. But when a person tries their best to hide something, it creates suspicion.

Why is their phone on silent round the clock? Why are there fingerprint locks on every app?

…and every time you try to confront them about it, they become defensive and give you a long lecture on space and privacy.

4. They show sudden expressions of guilt

How can you not feel pity for someone who makes efforts to change and rectify their mistakes?

That is where the cheater hits the jackpot. They win your trust and sympathy. They know that you will give them another chance even if they keep making the same mistake again… and again… and again.

5. They’re great manipulators

Like we discussed before, serial cheaters are great with words. They can almost convince you for anything, no matter how absurd it sounds in real life. Sometimes you might even hate yourself for not being able to resist this.

6. They never keep up to their promises

If you love someone, you naturally wish to spend the rest of your life together…

But when a person is a cheater, they will keep you hanging… their social status is single and their exit doors open.

7. They’re always ready to rock the party

I am not the obsessive type who is jealous of their partner’s dressing up. No. You can dress up all you want but for yourself, not for the world. Cheaters instead dress-up ONLY for the world and to lure other potential interests.

8. They’re super flirty

When you are in a relationship, there’s only so much flirting you can do with others. But with a serial cheater, there are no boundaries.

They think it is absolutely normal to hang around, dance, drink and talk with someone else while you’re sitting on one corner. In some cases, they think it is fine to even hook up with someone else.

9. They’re selfish… to the core

Cheaters are so full of their own that your presence or absence doesn’t impact them much.

They are so busy fulfilling their own needs, they would never bother to ask you about yours. They consider themselves so superior, that they never seek your opinion on important decisions.

Long story short, they don’t care about no one except I/Me.

10. They don’t have genuine friends

Cheaters befriend cheaters only. As the saying goes… you can better tell a man by his company.

Even though they’re social animals, they don’t have any genuine friends because let’s be honest no honest person would ever want a cheater friend.

So, if your partner parties with a few friends every day yet bitch about them at the back, you know it’s a red flag.

11. They leverage social media… in a wrong way

Cheaters have a dual personality – One that is exclusive to you and the other for the outside world or one in real life and the other on social media.

So, if your partner’s social media appears too-good to be true, it’s time to dig deep.

They’re more likely to send requests to strangers, use dating apps, talk for a long to the opposite sex on social media, and even lie that they’re single. These little habits are major warning signs that you’ve been trapped by a serial cheater.

12. They’re fake

Not just your partner but if anyone makes unreal promises and tries to give out of the world commitment to you, take a step back and think about it twice.

Genuine and honest people will never, I repeat, NEVER make such unreal commitments. They’ll expect equal maturity from you.

13. They spin yarns of lies

Ofcourse, what else can you expect from a serial cheater? They will tell you a lot about them, their interests, past relationships, and even their mistakes… and each of them will be filled with lies… and only lies.

In each scenario, they will represent themselves as a hero so that you fall for them. When you dig a little deep into the matter, you will know that it was all a bluff to play on your emotions.

14. They’re people pleasers

Everything about serial cheaters is attractive – appearance, body language, talking style – everything. They use their charm as bait and play some age-old tricks to win people’s trust.  

15. All of their relationships are short-lived

When you listen to their stories, you will realize that all of their relationships ended very soon. Have you ever thought about why?

It’s because they are smart enough to move away whenever the relationship demands more than they can give. And they will do the same to you.

16. They’re a Busy bee

A cheater always needs a space to sneak out. What’s a better excuse than pretending to be a workaholic? That will never raise suspicion and you cannot confront them.

So, they try to make work excuses and spend time with their other love interests. That is their secret to balancing their extra love affairs.

17. They play hot and cold

If your partner is sweet one minute and frustrated the next, it may be because they want to regain control of the relationship.

Or maybe they want you to play chase when they ignore you and be addicted to love and pampering.

Well, just another trick to hide the dirty acts.

18. They have trust issues

Yes, you heard that right, a cheater finds it very difficult to trust others.

They will keep track of your daily whereabouts, question you if something is off-routine and also need proof.

19. They justify infidelity

“I am a cheater. But I’m not wrong!”

They’ll try to convince you that infidelity is not wrong and you’re making a fuss out of nothing. Each time they will have a new story to support their cheater role.

Sometimes, it can be in the ‘heat of the moment”: and the other times, it will be “I was too lonely”. And, each time, they will convince you to forget and move on if you want this relationship to last long.

20. They’re fickle-minded

Serial cheaters can’t stick to one thing for long… that’s because of their fickle nature.

They seek a new adventure everyday and in the search of which don’t mind leaving their past relationships behind.

21. They often complain

Why do you think that serial cheaters are afraid of commitments? It is because they never feel satisfied with what they have in life… whether it’s about a person or a situation.

They want to have everything, all at once… which is humanly not possible. So, the dissatisfaction makes them chronic complainers.

22. They’re autophobic

Call it a phobia or a need, serial cheaters can never imagine living a desolated life. They want to be surrounded by people all the time.

This is exactly why they hop from one person to another. They make sure to have a backup ready for them in case one leaves.

23. They’re Headstrong

“Don’t try to change me” … is their favorite dialogue. Whenever you offer an improvement, suggestion, or correction, these people will make a big deal out of it.

They start blaming you for trying to change their personality. And yes, forget that they’ll ever improve. They won’t!

24. They appear unrealistic

If you feel someone is too good to be true, then they might be fake. It’s entirely up to you whether you want to cross-check their personality or you prefer living in your love bubble.

It’s not that good people don’t exist, but all of us have some scope for improvement. Nobody can be perfect. So if they pretend to be perfect, it’s time to think about it.

25. They lay well-planned traps

What do you do to protect your dirty tracks? Make a foolproof plan.

That’s what serial cheaters do, they prepare a full-length plan before executing their lies. If things go magically in their favor, it doesn’t mean they’re correct. It means they’ve done their homework.

26. Serious conversations are a no-go

Have you ever seen a thief reading books on ethics or morals?

Not possible, right?

Similarly, a person who is afraid of commitments will never indulge in serious or deep conversations.

27. They don’t care about you

A person who cares, never cheats.

A serial cheater is never bothered about your emotions or feelings. As mentioned earlier, they are so self-centered that they do not care about the world. They do not even ask you about your day or your well-being.

28. They use sugar-coated words

Another trait of a cheater is they will make you feel like the most special person on this planet.

They will make you believe that there’s no one like you, or at least they’ve never met anyone like you.

But here’s the deal – they use the same words with everyone else.

29. They’re greedy

A cheater will always wait for the right moment to plunge into action. You’re a source of satisfaction and pleasure for them. They will seek benefits from you at every chance they get.

30. They have untimely sexual urges

For a cheater, settling down with one person is like a nightmare. It is mostly because of their desire for pleasure.

And, naturally, they want to taste different fruits with different moods and seasons. So no wonder they’re too much into sex.

That was all about the signs and traits, but you must know where it is coming, right? Here you go…

Serial cheaters psychology

Studies show that cheating elevates the self-esteem of serial cheaters. They enjoy the thrill and satisfaction of cheating. It might also be because they’re narcissists, psychopaths, or addicted.

A Spanish study conducted on Spanish youth and adolescents to understand the psychology of serial cheaters showed that cheating boosts a cheater’s self-esteem.

Serial cheaters might seek excitement by cheating on their partners several times. Unlike one-time cheaters, they do not feel guilty or ashamed of their acts. Instead, they feel a different kind of thrill in it.

You can call it the feel-good factor that makes the cheaters feel high after they played with someone’s heart. But it’s not just the thrill… sometimes, personality traits of narcissists, psychopaths, or addicts can also make them a serial cheater.

Now that you’ve learned what serial cheaters are and how to identify them, it is even more crucial to set your boundaries with them.

Moreover, a few traits or signs from this list doesn’t prove that your partner is a cheater. All these traits and signs, collectively in maximum proportion, signal Infidelity.

If you’re lucky enough to discover that your partner is not a serial cheater, congratulations!

But if you’ve spotted one, run fast and don’t turn back. And here’s what else you should do…

How to deal with a serial cheater?

Finding out that your partner is a serial cheater is not the end. You must know how to handle this critical situation.

I know it’s difficult for you, and with a broken heart, you’re unable to think rationally. You might even hate yourself for being such a fool but honestly, it’s not your fault. Don’t bash yourself buddy.  

Instead, focus on your career, your health, and your emotional well-being. Easier said than done… I know. So, let me carve a path for you here…

1. Instead of lamenting about your heartbreak, start thinking practically. Take less interest in them. Once they stop getting responses from you, they will automatically lose interest in you and walk away.

2. Don’t blame them without solid proof in your hand. You are well aware of their manipulative and blaming nature.

3. Don’t try to correct them. You can teach someone how to cheat, but you can’t teach a cheater not to cheat. Don’t ever waste your time in such fruitless endeavors.

4. Don’t give yourself false hopes. They will change only when they’re willing to change, not when you want them to.  

5. Show them proof of how they’ve cheated you, and then leave them. If they correct themselves and return… and if you’re willing to… then give the relationship a second chance. Or else call it off.

Other than all of this, I am sure there are some questions still knocking your head. Keep reading to find the answers.


Human beings often turn to denial after a shocking experience… After all, the heart can’t get over someone so fast. But denial will only cause you further damage.

So, read these commonly asked questions about serial cheaters and then make an informed decision.

1. Can a serial cheater change?

People are subjected to change. One can change at any point in time. 70% of humans undergo behavioral, emotional, and psychological changes at any time in their life. However, one cannot measure or suspect when such changes might take place.

But, once a person is recognized as a serial cheater others hesitate trusting them. This impacts the cheater and they might feel: “Even if I undergo a behavioral change I won’t be trusted, so it’s better the way I am.”

2. Can a serial cheater be loyal?

This is like answering, can a thief be honest? Even if they’re, who’s gonna risk it?
A serial cheater repetitively cheats their partner. Their unethical behavior is not in their control and they become accustomed to cheating.

There are rare cases where people have real feelings for their partner but still trifle around with others just for fun.

3. Why do serial cheaters want to stay married?

Because marriage gives people a license to do whatever they want without being questioned by society. The majority of married people do not hesitate to cheat their partners.

Often serial cheaters opt for marriages and continue their unethical behavior even if it affects their partner emotionally and mentally.

4. Do serial cheaters feel remorse?4. Do serial cheaters feel remorse?

It’s hard to determine if cheaters feel remorseful after cheating their partners.

Serial cheaters are hollow inside, i.e., they have no emotional baggage. They might feel guilty but this attitude does not force them to change themselves.

Serial cheaters lack emotional empathy, which is important to change.

5. Are serial cheaters addicted to sex?

Not all serial cheaters need to be addicted to sex. Every individual has different desires. Once a person feels their partners are not sufficient for them or they can’t cater to their wants, they search for a replacement.

Many people may have high libido which is not tolerated by their partners, so they search for people who match their vigor and energy.

So, no sex is not the only reason for their infidelity and serial cheaters are not always sex addicts.

A word from ThePleasantRelationship

If you find that you are (or were) in a relationship with a serial cheater, it may be heart breaking for you.

But gain control of your emotions and make a wise decision … because a slight mistake in your judgment can ruin your love life.

Of course, mistakes don’t define you. But it’s still better to not commit knowingly!

Remember, there’s a difference between giving a second chance to your partner… and giving a second chance to a cheater.

No matter what, don’t risk your heart for the latter, ever.