Let’s not beat around the bush or go with some flowery definition about serial monogamy. A serial monogamist is someone who is never not in a relationship.
If this describes you, it could mean a number of different things. Being a serial monogamist is not necessarily a bad thing. It could just mean that you connect quickly with other people and tend to be most comfortable in intense, one-on-one relationships.
However, it might also limit your ability to grow and get to know yourself, since you’re so often dependent on someone else.
The following five signs of serial monogamy illustrate how you can detect this habit in your own behavior, along with some tips on living a healthier, more independent lifestyle.
1. YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE BEING BY YOURSELF
No one likes to be alone all the time, but everyone needs a little “me time” at least once a week. To determine if you’re a serial monogamist, consider how you would respond to the following scenario: It’s Saturday afternoon and you need an outfit for a party the following day. You plan on going to the mall, but your boyfriend (or girlfriend) refuses and all of your friends are busy. Do you:
- Go alone and enjoy the fact that you can go into all your favorite stores for as long as possible without annoying anyone.
- Wear your headphones the whole time and get in and out as quickly as possible, feeling self-conscious and lonely the whole time.
- Overthink the anxiety of going out alone and opt to stay in instead, even considering skipping out on the party altogether.
If you chose B or jumped straight to C, you might have a dependence problem. But instead of letting anxiety overcome you and feeling like you need someone around for reassurance, it might be a good idea to start trying to embrace your own independence and free time. Most guys find partners that are dependent on them to be a bit of turn off. You’ll learn 9 more turn offs to avoid here.
The funny thing is that the more you get used to doing things separately without a partner, the more fun and novelty you’ll actually bring to being with a partner.
2. YOU HAVE NEVER CASUALLY DATED
The odds are very low that you’ll find “the one” on the first date, so you might want to question your motives if you’re someone who has never dated anyone that they did not end up in a relationship with.
This is especially important if those relationships were short-lived and/or unhealthy. You shouldn’t feel like you have to commit to someone else after just going on a few dates — even if you feel like you’ve fallen in love really quickly.
Besides, if you find yourself developing feelings for and bonds with a few different people, it may mean that you’re not quite ready to settle down yet. Doing so may just perpetuate the cycle of unhealthy serial monogamy.
“The chase” is often considered to be the sexiest and most satisfying part of the relationship, so go ahead and relish it.
3. YOU JUMP QUICKLY INTO SERIOUS RELATIONSHIPS
Cohabitation before marriage has actually shown to improve the likelihood of a relationship’s success, so long as each partner is 23-years-old or older, and there has not been an unexpected pregnancy.
If you have a habit of moving in less than a year into the relationship, you might be a serial monogamist who is more prone to having relationship problems.
Commitment certainly is a great thing: it can make you feel secure and closer to the one you love. But if you fall into it too quickly, it can make you feel overly restricted and even trapped, resulting in a toxic relationship as I talk about here.
Since it can be difficult to fully understand your partner’s lifestyle and expectations for your relationship so early in, you may be more likely to confront these problems in a contentious manner when you move in together too quickly. To avoid this as much as possible, make sure you talk about some of these issues while you’re still casually dating a potential partner. Or even give them hypothetical situations to see their reaction.
For example, you can ask how often your partner expects you to stay in on the weekends, and how often they do themselves. If you’re both currently living different lifestyles, it may be best to live apart until you’re around the same page when it comes to going out, being responsible, and securing financial stability.
Wow…that was boring and serious…but it’s important to consider this stuff, rather than risking a far worse situation down the line.
4. YOU HAVE A “TYPE”
To a certain extent, everyone has a “type,” and that’s not always a bad thing. Maybe you have a thing for basketball players or tall guys or surfer dudes, but if there are too many overlapping characteristics between your partners you may be setting yourself up for an unhealthy form of serial monogamy.
Although it isn’t totally fair to reduce people to their characteristics, there are some personality traits and lifestyles that simply can’t function together in a committed relationship.
For example, if you tend to date spontaneous guys who love loud parties and chaotic living, while you prefer a more structured, quiet way of life, then in the long term this kind of relationship may prove to be too stressful to actually work.
You might want to consider trying out a relationship with someone that shares relatively similar characteristics and traits to you. You’ll even find that this makes it easier for him to fall in love with you.
If you’re not sure what you like, take a risk by dating some people who you wouldn’t normally go for. How do you know you aren’t really into video game nerds if you don’t give them a try? Even if you go through several different people and find yourself right back at the same type, dating outside of your comfort zone can be a learning experience that will help you determine more specifically what you want out of a relationship.
5. YOU HAVE A HISTORY OF CHEATING, BUT ‘LOVE’ BEING IN A RELATIONSHIP
Although some would argue that cheating negates a person’s title of “monogamous,” others believe that “social monogamy” (only dating one person at a time and ‘claiming’ to be sexually exclusive) is enough to classify someone as a serial monogamist.
If you have found yourself struggling to remain faithful in the past, it may be because you’re not ready to be in a committed relationship. Or perhaps you fear loneliness too much to leave your current partner without having another prospect lined up.
Either way, this is a bad habit to get into, and it’s one that can take years to break. Do yourself and your partner a favor and only commit to them when you are 100% ready to be faithful and stick around. To ensure this kind of commitment, never pressure yourself or your partner into taking a step that either of you are hesitant to take.
In other words, take it slow
SHOULD YOU BE A SERIAL MONOGAMIST?
There are some people out in the world who are just better-suited for serial monogamy.
But since this is the default and most normative dating style in our society, you should question whether or not you are accepting something as the standard without deciding whether or not it truly works for you. What’s most important is that you are able to maintain a healthy, independent lifestyle no matter what your relationship status is.
Also, it’s best not to assume that because a certain dating lifestyle worked for you at one point in your life that it will work forever.
People change as they grow older—from their preferences to their lifestyles to their emotional stability. You should always be moving forward in your love life and seeking out relationships (of all kinds), but remember that choosing to stay single does not equal stagnancy.
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