We all know that friend who hasn’t been single in, perhaps, her entire life. It might even be you, who knows? Typically that person doesn’t know that she’s a serial monogamist. Like Taylor Swift, she just thinks she falls in love easily. But we all know, it’s much more than that.
But first things first: what’s the difference between a serial monogamist and a serial dater? We enlisted the help of Stephan Labossiere, certified relationship expert and author of How to Get a Woman to Have Sex With You… If You’re Her Husband. “A serial monogamist always wants to be in a relationship,” says Stephan. “A serial dater is not trying to take it that far. A serial monogamist is seeing only one person at a time, while the dater can be seeing multiple people at one time. A monogamist embraces commitment, while the dater is not trying to be tied down.”
So how do you spot a serial monogamist? How do you know if you are one? Her Campus has the signs to look out for!
Sign #1: You’re always in a relationship.
Of all the signs that you’re a serial monogamist, this is probably the most obvious. Whether it’s a 5-week fling or a 3-year love, you’re never without a boyfriend.
“I’m a senior in college, and I have been single for probably a total of a month of my dating life,” says Ally*, a senior at the University of Illinois. “I know it’s weird, but I love having a boyfriend. I am really uncomfortable being single.”
While some college “relationships” are loosely defined, serial monogamists’ relationships are not. Regardless of all the other things going on in your life, you want a commitment. “It’s a distraction from the real issues that need to be addressed,” says Stephan.
“I’m not the kind of girl who has a bunch of insignificant flings, though,” Ally says. “I’ve dated most of my boyfriends for at least a year or more.” Serial monogamy is not one long-term relationship, however. Rather, it is a series of dating commitments.
Sign #2: You still talk about your exes even when you’re in a new relationship with someone else.
When most people enter a new relationship, the object of their affection consumes their lives for a period of time. And while that’s probably true for most serial monogamists as well, they still can’t get their exes out of their head. “When you don’t take time to heal, you take baggage into the next relationship,” says Stephan. “You may not truly be over your ex, and you are just hoping a new person helps you move on.”
“I definitely feel like I continue to obsess about my old boyfriends even when I’m dating someone new,” says Meg*, a senior at the University of Iowa. “I wonder if they’re still thinking about me and how much of an impact our relationship had on them. That’s especially true if they start dating someone new soon after our breakup.”
Serial monogamists like to believe that their relationships are some of the strongest they, and their partners, will ever have. Stephan says that because of this, they become consumed by their relationships even after they’ve ended.
Sign #3: Your hook-ups always become serious commitments.
While the majority of college girls can probably say they’ve had a casual hook-up at one point or another, serial monogamists generally cannot. “This is because you aren’t really a hook-up type of person,” says Stephan. “You like the stability of a relationship. You can try to play the game all you want, but it isn’t your true desire.”
“I have definitely never had a random hook-up,” says Meg. “If I hook up with someone, we are then on the path to dating. I don’t like the casual thing.” What Meg says rings true for many serial monogamists. Hooking up is typically a part of dating, which is why serial monogamists refuse to hook up without some semblance of a commitment or the hope of one.
“I would never hook up with someone I wasn’t serious about dating,” Ally says. “I will stay in touch with a guy if I hook up with him to try to make something happen.” Clearly, a hook-up is not always just a hook-up.