There’s an interesting term that’s come to my attention: serial monogamist.
Apparently it just means a person who’s with a lot of people, but like, one at a time. Not much of a break in between.
Now, every single time a relationship ends for me, I assume a new one will never arise and spend 2+ years practicing to be a monk, so folks who behave this way are a mystery.
Let’s see if we can figure out what’s going on with the help of some insights from Redditors.
1. “It feels so sad.”
It’s not a healthy trait to keep bouncing off from one relationship to another. It goes to show that people are afraid of being alone or always codependent on a partner for happiness. Many do this cause its a short term solution to move on quickly and not deal with breakups in a healthy manner.
But since you asked, I know some people who keep backups through online dating or from work or friend circle. Many also keep looking for someone better while in a relationship and when they do find that someone, they break up to go to the newer option. F**k just typing this feels so sad.
2. The potential dating network.
Having hobbies. You can meet so many people that way.
I recommend going in with the intent to just make some friends- if you’re desperate it’s going to show, and desperation is not attractive.
Having friends gives you a support network, and a potential dating network.
3. “Not particularly ethical.”
I have a friend who I’ve known since we were about 8. She has not been single for more than a week since we were 16.
She maintains this by not breaking up with the previous guy until she has a new one lined up to take his place.
Not particularly ethical but it stops her being single which she hates.
4. Go for broke.
They’re consumed by the idea of being alone so they put extra effort into not letting that happen.
Kinda like going from being fired from a job to another job so you don’t become broke
5. Come a little closer.
I literally starting dating the guy who sat next to me at work after I broke up with my ex.
Strangely enough, my ex also sat next to me at work at a different job, so I guess I just choose whoever is physically closest to me.
6. Jealous much?
My roommate is one of these people. I’m convinced he’s a s** addict. And misses out on a lot of other (potentially mind expanding) experiences because he’s lonely and wants to f**k someone.
Or maybe I’m just jealous that he bangs all the babes
7. “They found me.”
I was a “serial monogamist” for awhile. Important to note that this is “serial”, not “parallel”. No cheating, no “overlap” – just not a lot of time between ending one relationship and starting another.
It was always somebody I already knew. Usually somebody I hadn’t really thought about like that or figured they wouldn’t be interested in me anyway.
The relationship ending was almost always not what I wanted. That is to say, I got dumped. I wasn’t shopping around for somebody new and sabotaging myself.
I didn’t go looking for somebody else to date. They found me. Given the choice I’d have preferred more time. But when this kind of thing happens you don’t get to just be like “thanks for your interest, can you come back in a couple months?” The spark is here now, your choices are to see where it goes or not. I don’t regret making that choice. I would have always wondered.
8. Craving change.
I knew a girl like this in school. In those 4 years she had 5 boyfriends and I had none. Since school she has been engaged twice and has changed careers several times.
I on the other hand have had 1 boyfriend and 1 career path. Some people crave change or have a lower bar for entry.
One is not better than the other. People live their lives differently. I was jealous of her at the time but knowing myself her life would have been too chaotic for me.
9. Searching for contentment.
People think they need to find the happiness that doesn’t exist in their lives in somebody else.
They aren’t content with who they are, so they validate themselves by the presence of another
10. For some people…
Being an attractive, nerdy, outgoing woman with a healthy love for booze and working in a male-dominated field pretty much meant I was surrounded by dudes who were interested in me ever since I got to college. Met them in class, at work, online gaming, at bars. Almost every single one was my friend first.
I feel like I’ll marry my current boyfriend, and I have to say I’ve had practice at seeing if something will work out — in the last 13 years I’ve had 6 serious relationships and a whole lot of less-serious ones. During the last few I made sure to force myself to be single for a while so that I’d not fall into any co-dependencies the next time around, which happily has worked (well, except for the booze, but I’m doing better on that front too). I’m significantly more emotionally balanced than I was even just three years ago; I think it’s possible my (then untreated) anxiety was spurring me along a lot more then.
11. One is done.
At the end of most relationships, one person is already well-past over it before the breakup happens.
In that case, all of the hovering relationship suiters finally see an opening. In some cases that’s while the relationship is still going, in some cases it is in the relationship change status, in others it is when the newly-single person finally feels free to hang out with people previously blocked.
When I was single, I had a mental list of who I would love to go on a date with as soon as they became single. We were friended, worked together, or already had common interests. Due to that, once an opening presented, it was time to declare intent.
12. The first date merry-go-round.
Before covid, the longest stretch I had between relationships was around 2 months.
Typically, I’d end up in a new relationship with a friend of a friend, acquaintances and the like that had found me desirable but couldn’t act on it because I wasn’t single. Once I was single they’d start flirting and if we clicked…
A few times I ended up with someone I worked with, for the same reasons as above.
When that didn’t happen I’d end up getting on the ‘first date merry-go-round’ via dating sites until I met someone I clicked with, which usually didn’t take more than a few tries.
I’m apparently a mystery. Women found me interesting because my mind worked differently from what they were used to, I treated them with respect without being a pushover and they couldn’t ‘figure me out’ easily, which led to them falling for me.
By the same token, once they figured out the mystery (which usually took 1 to 2 years) they’d soon find me to be “boring and predictable” and that would signal the start of them falling out of love with me and I’d be back to square one.
14. The pursued.
They’re the one coming to me, if they didn’t i would just be lonely.
15. Wait, what?
You mean you don’t keep spares in your basement?
16. The mental checkout.
In my experience, people who are serial monogamists emotionally/mentally check out of their current relationship and start looking for their next partner (long) before the end.
Had this happen with two exes…both pulled away over the course of about 3-6 months and immediately after our breakups were dating people they knew from work/hobbies/extended social circles.
I don’t know if this is a widespread phenomenon, but that has been my experience.
17. “Vine swinging.”
Attractive works. But, the other route is what i see many people do. Which was coin by the great philosopher and poet George Costanza, “Vine swinging”.
They setup the next relationship before the one they’re in ends. Happens very often, some times it’s the cause of the break up. Some times simply a circumstantial thing.
18. All in the family.
I have a friend who does this, she normally meets people online and then goes to meet them in person. As long as I have known her, since she started dating in middle school, she has always had a boyfriend in some form.
I honestly think it was because of her mother, who treated her sister better than her and didn’t act like she wanted her around.
It was a need for affection from someone that evolved into depending on someone to be there for her.
19. Fear of loneliness.
I had a friend like this; she just didn’t like the idea of being alone and said yes to any guy that asked her out.
The dude usually ended up being the same: not wanting to be alone.
20. Planting the seeds.
The ones I know who do this plant the seeds for a new relationship before they end the old one.
They decide they want to break up, so they go huntin’, and don’t break up until they’re sure they’ve found someone who’ll date them. Or they meet someone they want to date and ditch their current partner.
They’re just very good at picking up new partners, which makes sense since they’ve had a lot of practise. And at least one of the people I’ve met who bounces from relationship to relationship is not very picky
21. Dropping hints.
The one time I left one relationship and jumped into another, I was unhappy dating the one guy and had been dropping hints that I was going to break up, and he was actively trying to convince me not to, so I caved in and waited for a good excuse or moment. Then I met a dude at a new job and felt an instant connection. That was the push I needed, so I broke up with dude A and got together with dude B.
Now that I’m not 19 years old, I know myself well enough and have enough confidence in my perception that I wouldn’t let myself be talked into staying in a relationship that didn’t suit me.
I’m also lucky enough to be able to support myself alone on one income, so I’m not forced to find someone else to share bills with before I can afford to leave a sh**ty relationship. I’m sure that plays a role for many people.
22. Social circles.
Don’t let your social circle shrink into nothing while your dating. Always have options, and having friends gives you many options. Assuming that they will set you up with other people.
General tips. Set boundaries. Have a plan for your life. Value yourself first. Don’t be afraid to end it.
23. Not all negative.
Let’s break some of the negativity on this thread.
Humans aren’t solitary creatures. We form families or tribes. Things are easier when we’re together. There’s shared work and shared resources. Nothing wrong with being alone, but being part of a group (even two) makes life easier and potentially more rewarding.
Just flipping the script on most of these comments indicating that there’s somehow something wrong with “these people”
24. Gotta bounce.
Was in a relationship with someone who would bounce from one to the next. She couldn’t give the correct love needed and my needs didn’t matter eventually.
We had a long relationship and I broke her cycle of boyfriends but it was a struggle. I just hope I helped her honestly but I don’t talk to her anymore.
25. Places of obligation.
I used to meet people at the places i was obligated to be. School, work, friend groups, friends of exs, etc. before i decided that was too much drama.
As for bouncing between people? I made it very clear to my partners that my relationships were casual and i didnt get super attached. Of course ive at this point accidentally gotten attached a few times, but those just serve to remind me of EXACTLY why i need to never get attached again
26. Happy alone.
Honestly, I am one of these people and after a recent PROPER heartbreak, I’ve realized it’s not healthy and for the first time in my life I am going to focus on myself and being happy alone. The heartbreak has taught me so much in just 3 weeks, and I am not going to be ready for a relationship for a very long time after being led on and treated badly by someone I fell really hard for way too soon.
I’ve always had options because I’m a very kind and understanding person with a huge loving heart and listening ear, I am very down to earth, and I am an attractive woman who is super nerdy so I’ve always got gamer guy friends who adore me.
27. The waiting game.
I think a lot of people are missing one point that is very important to the equation. A lot of people find future partners that are currently in relationship and are waiting for them to become single to make a move. Have you Ever wondered why whenever you’re in a relationship you seem to be attracting more women ???
It’s because the fact that you are in a relationship shows that you have a specific set of characteristics or at least some kinds of minimum set of qualities That makes you dateable. It’s similar to buying a product because it’s popular, because it’s popular it shows that there’s some quality to it and you being in a relationship shows that you have that quality. So you might not fit with your current partner Needs but you might fulfill the needs of somebody else.
So in the end it isn’t necessarily the person that’s in a relationship that is looking on the outside to date but the outside world seeing your boyfriend/ girlfriend as a valued because you made them so
28. Emotionally easy.
I haven’t been single for more than six months consecutively since I was 16, and I’m 31 now. 🤔
I’ve been in a lot of long term relationships where the last year is a slow, steady decline. After each one, there’s been a gap of like, two or three months before a friend admits to being attracted to me and asks me out and generally it goes from there. None of the people I’ve ended up dating hit on me when I was in a relationship; I don’t really tolerate people disrespecting my current partner. But, historically, I get asked out by someone pretty quickly when one relationship ends.
I have a wide circle of friends, I get emotionally attached easily, and don’t like to give up on romantic partners even when things are rocky (though I am getting better at that).
I’ve never cheated on a partner since one time when I was 16 (felt horrible; zero stars; do not recommend and will not do again), but I also never stayed single for long. I think it’s more of a combination of being “emotionally easy,” willing to commit quickly, unwilling to break up without like seventy million “how can we fix this” convos, and being a fairly driven, outgoing, and semi-attractive female.
29. Follow the rules.
Rule 1: Be attractive.
30. That simple?
They’re less picky.
All very insightful. Except for that last one.
Do you have any thoughts on this?
Share them with us in the comments.