Serial Monogamist (noun): One who spends as little time as possible being single, moving from the end of one relationship to the beginning of a new relationship as quickly as possible.
Thanks to this concise definition by Urban Dictionary, I have instantly been transported back in time to my teenage years. In retrospect, it’s strange that I wasn’t aware of how much time my friends and colleagues spent being single. I honestly wish someone would have taken me aside and pointed this out to me.
Maybe that’s what this article can do for you. I haven’t broken it down to a science, so all I have are my personal experiences. But maybe there’s something you can identify with.
At the time, I was partly shooting from one relationship to the other because I was obsessed with this notion of Love. Thanks to 90s sitcoms and romantic ballads, I had fallen in love with that ideal of love. Unfortunately, that ideal only exists in the span of the first several weeks, or months of a relationship. The elusive “Honeymoon period,” or as my buddy AJ describes it, “The Cupcake Phase.”
Looking back, I think one of the most embarrassing outcomes of being a serial monogamist, was that I found myself looking for second-string replacements anytime my relationship became frustrated. Once that ideal, cupcake phase starts to rupture, you lift your head up and start looking around. Maybe the next girl/guy around the corner can have a perfect relationship with you. And you get the ball rolling even before the previous one is over.
It was almost like I could not even move on from the current failing relationship I was in, unless there was another’s arms that I could fall into. As a result, people around school started thinking that I was some kind of wannabe player. Like I was trying to see how many girls I could get with, but I barely slept with any of them (mostly because I had an irrational fear of AIDS because those bastards scared us senseless as kids in the 90s).
Another outcome of this tendency towards serial monogamy was that I found myself in a lot of on-again-off-again type relationships. It was always one of those situations where things weren’t working out great so we called it off. But days, weeks or months would pass and somehow I would convince myself that I had made a mistake. Rinse and repeat. It wasn’t ever going to get better after breaking up, I was just afraid of being alone.
The final tell of serial monogamy was that zero-to-sixty acceleration from being acquaintances, to being “in love.” Somehow I would fall deeply, passionately in love with a girl in embarrassingly small spaces of time. I would convince myself that this was the one within days.
Finally, one day I met a girl who was as much of a miserable serial monogamist as I was. I didn’t know it at the time, but all of the typical tells and patters were becoming clearer to me because I was seeing in her everything that I had done:
She had mirrored my irrationally fast inclination to be “in love.”
She had a string of ex-boyfriends who she could summon at the drop of a hat to take my place.
She broke up with me and regretted it, and got back together with me only to break up again.
This unhealthy cycle went on until finally one day I couldn’t take it anymore. I had never been on the receiving end of this negative tendency until now. And it hurt to know that I wasn’t someone who she actually cared deeply about, but was rather a blip on the screen of something much bigger than me in her eyes. Like a stepping stone in an endless staircase.
After that things got kind of weird for me and I stopped dating for a year or two, just spending time on myself and developing some hobbies that I let fall to the wayside while making room for ‘All of the Love!’
After that I met a great girl whom I am still with. I don’t think we would be in such a great relationship if I had never realized the problem I had with serial monogamy. If you’re in this boat, then wake up and take a step back from relationships for a while. It will be hard, but it’s the only way to grow.