Are you always raving to a new love prospect to your friends every other week? Do those friends get confused when you tell them you’re dating a girl named Rebecca when they don’t even know what happened to Louisa from a few weeks ago? Maybe you’re convinced that things never work out with your boyfriends because “the spark dies out” or they “stop trying” after a while. Hey, it could be true. Dating is messy, and there are a thousand different reasons why things didn’t work out with those last few people.
Sometimes, however, it’s always good to take a look at yourself as a possible common denominator. Do own a never-ending list of ex-partners? Do you consider yourself in love with the thrill of “love at first sight”? You might just be a serial dater. Not sure? Psych2Go will help you find out. Here are 5 signs that you might just be guilty of serial dating.
1. You’ve never been single for too long
Being in a relationship can definitely have its perks. It’s nice to feel loved and appreciated by someone who also happens to like seeing you naked (if you’re into that sort of thing). But, as the process of dating often goes, relationships can run their course. Breakups happen, leaving us single. Some of us have always been single. But being alone does not equate to loneliness. Single can have its perks too.
Taking time for ourselves is an opportunity to reflect on our past relationships and to determine what we need from new relationships in the future. This, however, can be scary for some people, who may not want to self-examine themselves in fear of realizing they might be a commonality in why their relationships aren’t working out. Would you rather die than not have someone to call your partner? You might be a serial dater.
2. Your dating history is questionable
Do you have more exes than you can count on your fingers? Do you have a difficult time making a relationship last past a year, or even a couple of months? Are you afraid to take new dates to certain spots in fear of running into one of your many exes? This is another red flag that you might be a serial dater.
A high kill count isn’t the only thing that can cause someone’s dating history to be questionable. The quality of your romantic picks is also a tell that you might be a little obsessed with dating. Going out on a coffee date with someone even though they seemed boring, disinterested or even downright rude to you when you first spoke? These lowered personal standards are also a sign that you might be a little too desperate to find company. Even if it’s miserable.
3. You want to move too quickly
Are you ready to say “I love you” a week or two into dating? Thinking about moving in together because the month you’ve had together was just that amazing? Yes, this is yet another red flag that you might be a super-serial dater. This eagerness is common for many people experiencing their first relationships. It’s hard for a first-time dater to pinpoint what the feeling of love is to them, or understand that it is healthy to take the time to get to know a partner before sharing a home together.
Everyone has made the mistake of trying to progress a relationship too quickly without truly evaluating whether they are compatible with their partner. But if this fast pace is a habit for you, it might be a sign that you haven’t yet learned the value of taking things slow – it might be possible you’ve let it happen so many times that it’s hard to picture what a steady relationship looks like.
4. Making promises you can’t keep
“I’m going to marry you someday.” Ever heard that one before from someone you’ve been dating for like 2 months while working a part-time job and doesn’t understand that the average wedding in North America can cost thousands of dollars? No? How about “I’m going to take you to Italy next year.” That would sure be nice, wouldn’t it? Let’s hope you get that far.
That sounds a little cynical, I know. But budding relationships are about getting to know each other! Instead of promising marriage or a fancy vacation or even that you’re going to find an apartment together, focus on what’s in front of you first. It’s fun and exciting to romanticize a future with someone. But let’s make sure that you’re compatible first: socially, sexually, ideally, morally, emotionally… ask yourself what their flaws and shortcomings are and if you are able to look past them for the remainder of your being together. If that all checks out, Italy is a go.
5. You get restless after the honeymoon phase is over
This is perhaps the biggest tell of a serial dater. The real kicker? You can really only see this sign once you’re already together. The honeymoon phase is loved and feared by all. It is the time span during which you and your partner feel a peak physiological connection to each other via hormones. Whenever you see them, norepinephrine fills you with excitement; your pupils enlarge at their sight and the palms of your hands moisten. Their scent and contact cause you to release vasopressin and oxytocin, which strengthen your sense of attachment and attraction. Testosterone and estrogen push your sexual urges; all you want is to see them naked and on top of you.
And then the honeymoon phase wears off and the fairytale is over. Yup. This time of heightened hormonal activity can last anywhere between 6 months and a year, but for some people – especially for couples who spend long periods of time together – the honeymoon phase can wear off after 3 months.
People often become serial daters because they confuse this period of infatuation with sustainable love. The feelings we feel because of these hormones can be addicting, and it can be a shock to our systems when we look at our partner and no longer feel the immediate rush that we used to. For this reason, many people decide to end things.
But infatuation is not sustainable love! The honeymoon phase tells us that our partners are perfect and that we need them. Sustainable love is realizing they are not perfect by any means, but we accept them and their flaws. Sustainable love is understanding the expectations a couple has for one another – in terms of mutual respect, among other things – and trying their best to fulfill them.
Are you someone that tends to run away when that spark seems to go out? Next time, don’t! You won’t regret it.
Let Psych2Go know what you think! Have any thoughts on serial dating? Are there any topics you’d like the author to write about? Feel free to leave a comment down below.
More articles on dating:
Helm, Katherine. Hooking up: the Psychology of Sex and Dating. Greenwood an Imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC, 2016.