Many consider serial monogamy a convenient alternative to monogamy, and for some, the only dating style that works. Then, there are those whose heads spin at the mere idea of commitment. And on the other end of the spectrum are the serial monogamists who gravitate toward exclusive relationships.
Like all serial daters, they’ve had enough practice to perfect their charm. They are usually as romantic as they come, so sweeping you off your feet is all in a day’s work for a serial monogamist. However, with these folks, the charm, dates, and romantic gestures, in general, are a means to an end: a relationship. Preferably, as soon as they can make it happen.
Unfortunately, therein also lies the main distinction between serial monogamy and monogamy, period – the former’s commitment often comes with an expiry date. But how do you tell a serial monogamist apart from just a regular Joe looking to start something serious?
Well, the signs are always there, and while they may not always be apparent initially if you are dating a serial monogamist, you’ll most likely relate to the following.
- 1 13 Signs You’re Dating A Serial Monogamist
- 1.1 1. They’ve been in a series of ‘serious’ relationships
- 1.2 2. They have more than a handful of exes
- 1.3 3. They've had relationships with all sorts of women
- 1.4 4. They got over their last relationship real fast
- 1.5 5. They have baggage from past relationships
- 1.6 6. Most of their interests are yours, as was probably the case in their previous relationships
- 1.7 7. They struggle with independence
- 1.8 8. They are more in love with the idea of you than you
- 1.9 9. They are weirdly faithful
- 1.10 10. They are a love junkie
- 1.11 11. They live in fear of a breakup but can't articulate why
- 1.12 12. They advocate leaving the past in the past
- 1.13 13. They pressured you into your current relationship
- 2 FAQs
- 3 Summary
13 Signs You’re Dating A Serial Monogamist
1. They’ve been in a series of ‘serious’ relationships
The first place to look in times like this is your partner’s relationship history. Serial monogamists are all about that exclusive love, and their dating life will reflect as much. They don’t speak casually, not when it comes to romance. The idea of keeping things open is not for them, so they can get attached over even as little as one hookup.
When it comes to dating, they'd much rather prefer to skip the awkward initial uncertainty and just jump right to committing exclusively to one another. How far they go with each person they date varies, but it’s not uncommon for some to get so serious they take it (almost) to the point of marriage before it collapses.
2. They have more than a handful of exes
Still on dating history, while their monogamous counterpart is still trying to determine whether to keep things light or date exclusively, a serial mono is in a relationship. If they break up at the same time, while the latter is still trying to pick themselves up from the heartbreak, the former is already getting serious with someone new.
When you have such a revolving door love life, you tend to go through partners like clothes. And with each relationship that ends, yet another person joins their growing list of exes. Unlike with casual flings where former lovers aren’t even considered ex-partners, these would be, in every sense of the word.
3. They've had relationships with all sorts of women
Even if you get the chance to know about your boyfriend/girlfriend’s exes, it may not be enough to pinpoint their taste. Other than maybe gender, there is usually no direct pattern in terms of what they have in common. This is because a serial monogamist's primary type is someone interested in an exclusive relationship, any other pluses are just a bonus.
This isn’t to say physical attraction isn’t a factor for them. Just that such basic stuff pales in comparison to the prospect of true love, which is really what serial monogamists search for in every new flame.
4. They got over their last relationship real fast
You can profile a person’s dating style by how much gap they put between one relationship and the next, which we’ve established in this case is barely any. So, I guess the question now is, how long was your partner broken up before you started dating?
Has the time they took to move on to you from what was by all indication a serious relationship, while flattering lowkey bothered you? If yes, you are probably right to be suspicious, especially when it lines up with what you know of their past relationship timeline.
5. They have baggage from past relationships
Unfortunately, with such overlap in relationships comes cumulative baggage. We can only do our best to control our emotions, no one can actually escape having them. That’s why it’s only healthy to take some time to get over traumatic experiences like a breakup before diving into something new.
As things stand, taking that time is damn near impossible for a serial mono, so they are bound to repeat the same mistakes they made in previous relationships. You can also expect them to carry over emotional baggage from all that history into your relationship.
That can be a lot no matter how it surfaces, whether it’s that they won’t stop talking about the ex or they are emotionally distant.
6. Most of their interests are yours, as was probably the case in their previous relationships
As someone puts it, serial monos are romantics to the core. They know just what to do to win a girl over, like being super attentive and providing common ground. So, it may not have been so strange when they just went along with all your interests when you started dating.
Now you’re together, it may become more apparent when you realize outside of work/school, most of the other stuff they do are either originally yours or have to do with pleasing you. While this is not inherently bad, romantic even, it can indicate a bigger problem like a lack of individual identity or sense of self.
7. They struggle with independence
Co-dependence or overdependence in your relationship is another telling sign. At first, it’s cute when your boyfriend can’t attend a birthday party if you are not going, but then it starts to surface in other aspects as well. Where other couples struggle with one partner not paying the other enough attention, your own issue might be that you spend too much time together.
So much so that you feel guilty whenever you decide to strike out on your own. This struggle is most evident in their life between partners. As those with the dating pattern tend to come most alive with intimacy, being alone is the worst for a serial monogamist.
8. They are more in love with the idea of you than you
The other thing with serial monogamy is that it's never specifically about any one person, no matter how special, for those who practice it. It's more about being in a relationship than actually being with you; makes it a lot easier to move on to the next one when it crashes.
I say when because a crash is inevitable when you build a long-term relationship on romanticism instead of reality. They are often so taken by the idea of being in love that mere compatibility/infatuation is enough to convince them you are their soulmate. Then they pour everything into proving that, for as long as you’re able to offer that fix of intimacy.
9. They are weirdly faithful
For someone who likes relationships so much they can’t be without one, you’d think serial monogamists would play the field more. But they are usually not interested in any of that. It only slaps when they are able to form an emotional connection, and when they do, they throw themselves into making the most of it, almost like an addict.
However, this loyalty isn’t based so much on moral ideals as another box to check in their “don’t fuck it up” list. Almost like they are playing a role in a script where they do their best to read their lines as long as they are into the story.
10. They are a love junkie
Speaking of scripts, that's how relationships generally work in the mind of an average serial monogamist. They go through the motions, fall for you, win your affection, and play it all out chapter by chapter, from sending love notes to moving in together. They thrive on being part of a couple and the heady rush of having someone to exclusively call their own.
Unlike serial daters, all a serial monogamist wants is to commit, if only for a limited period. They will hardly give you any reason not to believe they are in it for real as long as they are consumed by you.
Whether their partner breaks up with them or the romance goes on a decline, reality always wins. Still, no matter how broken up they are about a relationship ending, their go-to cure is yet another one and round and round goes the cycle.
11. They live in fear of a breakup but can't articulate why
Another twist on the point about serial monogamy not being about you per se can be seen in their tendency to hold on to relationships they still want. Say whenever you’re going through a rough patch, you can see them desperately trying to hold on, but if you ask, they can’t deliver that definitive reason as to why.
A seasoned one might have some rehearsed romantic line or two to pass the moment, but usually, the truth is they just don’t want to be alone. Once they make that connection with you, they can't help feeling anxious about losing you, even before the flaws of compatibility start to show.
Such fixation can imply anything from an attachment pattern to mental conditions like BPD or NPD.
12. They advocate leaving the past in the past
Not all serial monogamists see their romantic lifestyle as weird, but most are aware that full disclosure can come across as red flags to potential love interests. So, as a principle of sorts, the majority prefer to go the “don't ask, don't tell” way.
They won't go into the details of their past relationship (not consciously anyway), because the odds of you liking what you hear are slim. And for the same reason, they won't risk pressing you about your dating/relationship history either. For an affair often so intense, this is one area serial monogamists put the superficial in living in the moment.
13. They pressured you into your current relationship
The all-in nature of serial monogamy means they almost always push for a relationship sooner than others might. Since they are most comfortable in a pair, a serial monogamist doesn't see the need for the usual dating games. By the second date, when you are still trying to pace how often you call or text, they are likely getting ready for the DTR talk.
I mean, someone has to initiate things on the exclusivity front, of course, and with just two stakeholders involved, the math adds up. But how persistent were they about it? And did their energy drop when it looked like you wouldn’t say yes? On its own, this is inconclusive at best, but if it fits like a puzzle with the other signs, you are likely dating a serial monogamist.
A serial monogamist prefers exclusive, committed relationships to open, casual ones and likes to be in one at all times. It means to be so uncomfortable being alone or single that they go through a series of serious partners without necessarily taking time to get over each one.
Like all forms of relationships, dating a serial monogamist has its pros and cons. Loyalty, unlimited attention, and probably the most passionate romance you’ll experience are typical. However, so are possible drawbacks like codependence, idealism, and emotional baggage.
Both are a relationship form in which someone has only one partner at a time. However, while the latter may be till death does them part, serial monogamy is hardly ever for life. Serial monogamists love to be in a relationship, and while in it, they only have eyes for their partner, but once it ends, they seek to commit to a new partner.
If you are not looking to promptly commit to a serious relationship, you may want to stay clear of serial monogamy. You may also like to express caution if you are looking for a lifetime partner because what are the odds you will be the last one in their series of long-term relationships?
Bar those, whether or not it’s a red flag depends on how open they are about it and what you’re looking for.
Like all steps towards self-improvement, breaking out of the cycle of serial monogamy will take work. It won’t be easy, but you will have to learn (and love) to be by yourself, if only between relationships, for a start. Spend more time nurturing your other connections outside your love life, form and stick with interests on your own, etc. Meditation and therapy can also help.
So, are you dating a serial monogamist? If you can answer this question better than at the beginning of this post then my work here is done. Now you can focus on figuring out the next step. Let me know what you think in the comments as always, and if you enjoyed this piece, why not share it?
As hopeless romantic I struggled tremendously in my love life. After many years of searching, trial & error, and countless failed relationships, I finally found my Mr. Right. It wasn't an easy road, but one that has taught me an incredible amount about the workings of relationships between men and women, and this is what I hope to share through my writing on this blog.