“I think biologically we are attracted to more than one person, but given society and our needs, monogamy works better”
– Nancy Friday
Since human beings passed the primal stage of hunting and gathering, many have questioned whether monogamy is natural or not. Or, if it is a social construct meant to keep people in line. And to produce a stable environment for children and the community. But usually, when things go against what we were created to do, eventually DNA overrides it.
There is a reason why monogamy continues throughout the ages. There is some benefit that it serves for the survival of our species. But for the serial monogamist, it isn’t a question of whether monogamy should exist or not. There are no other types of relationships. Serial monogamy is a way of viewing relationships where once you begin one, the object is to make it a “happily ever after,” forever after, period.
What is a Serial Monogamist?
A serial monogamist is someone who goes from one committed relationship to the next. But they don’t see it as being a character trait; instead, they would insist that they just fall in love easily.
A serial monogamist finds both comfort and identity in being in a committed relationship. And, also, when in one, they expect that the person they are with, likewise, should commit.
A serial monogamist is someone who you have never known to be single without someone by their side. They go from one commitment to the next. There are no boundaries about how long the relationship lasts. It is more that every relationship, whether it is three weeks or three years, holds the same intensity and commitment.
What are the Signs of a Serial Monogamist?
The most obvious sign of a serial monogamist is that you can’t remember the last time that you were single. Or, any significant amount of time that you weren’t dating someone seriously. Whether it lasts two weeks or twenty years, once you say we are dating, you are exclusive. And you expect the same from your partner.
The serial monogamist is never on their own for a very long time. One break up typically leads to finding someone else very shortly after. It isn’t that you have had one or two serious relationships throughout your dating career. It is that all of your dating relationships have been significant, no matter how long they actually last.
Your Quick Hookups are Never Quick or a Hookup
Although you might be the first one to talk about a cute guy or girl you hooked up with, in a bar, that hookup is never just a hookup. You have an impulsion to make it mean something more. And you consistently seek to get to know who you were with. And also, to commit outside of the casual nature of a nonchalant meeting.
The serial monogamist can’t seem to come to terms with the thought that sometimes relationships are just fun and not meant to be forever. There is always hope in the back of their minds that something more will materialize.
Almost like approaching each situation with rose-colored glasses, every new encounter has the potential to be the one and only. So no matter how much they try to trivialize a chance encounter, for a serial monogamist, it isn’t ever trivial.
You Can’t Seem to let go of Your Past Exes
When you are a serial monogamist, it isn’t uncommon to replace one relationship easily for another. And if you are hurt in a breakup and don’t take the time to examine, heal, and let the dust settle, you will almost inevitably bring the past into the future.
For someone who tends to be a serial monogamist, talk of their exes long after the fact, and regardless of how long the relationship lasted, does not subside in subsequent relationships.
In some instances, it almost seems as if they have substituted one person for another without ever really considering why it didn’t work. Or, trying to discern what it was about the relationship that didn’t go as planned. And that can sometimes be a recipe for disaster.
If you enter into a new relationship without ever morning the previous one or taking stock to find out what worked, what didn’t, and what you should stay away from in your next relationship, history is likely to repeat itself. There has to be a moment of pause and introspection to ensure that your future relationship goes more smoothly than the one that got away.
You Don’t Like to be Alone
For some serial monogamists, being on their own in a social setting is tortuous and something that they will avoid at all costs. Because there might be a bit of social anxiety that accompanies the desire to meld with another person, being on one’s own continually tends to make them feel insecure.
They often feel as if something is missing when not attached. If you are someone who doesn’t like to venture out without another at your side, you might be a serial monogamist. Ladies night and guys night out is not an easy thing for someone with serial monogamy. Having someone at your side helps to buffer the social anxiety that you feel when you are solo.
Your Social Life Revolves Around Your Latest Relationship, and Your Friends are Less and Less Excited About Your New Love
For the friends of the serial monogamist, the thrill of a new relationship wears off quickly. Since they probably see you fall in love over and over, it is nothing new. And making matters worse, they probably feel the sting of losing you when you do find a significant other. The serial monogamist tends to cling to the relationship with full force, often leaving other friendships in the dust. The current relationship you are in always takes precedence over all else that is going on in your life.
The most significant consequence that stems from a serial monogamy need is that when you break up with your significant other, your friends are not so interested in picking up the pieces. They already realize that whatever attention they give to you will not be returned. And they also know that they will get dropped as quickly as possible when you fall in love again. So if you find that your friends are less enthusiastic about your love ventures, and less so with each new one, you might want to examine if there is something habitual about what you are doing in your love relationships.
What Being a Serial Monogamist Says About you
Being a serial monogamist is not a bad thing if you are happy and well-adjusted. There is a component of serial monogamy that is guided by the belief that true love does exist. Also the optimism that a relationship that is invested in can last and be healthy forever.
So if you find that you enter into new relationships with your personality intact, you can obtain a sense of self and identity in the relationships you are in. You aren’t intentionally looking for someone to complete you, then serial monogamy can just be an expression of your upbringing. And it might be your commitment to finding someone and making a promise that you keep.
When Serial Monogamy can be Detrimental
If, however, you jump from one relationship to the next, find that you can’t be alone, or fear to be in social situations without someone at your side, that might signal a problem. Or, if you will put up with an unhealthy relationship for the sake of keeping a promise, then that can indicate you might need to examine if there is some insecurity that you have about being on your own.
If you never stop to take a look at why your relationships fail but jump from one to the next, then there is a good chance that you are going to be in a succession of unhappy and unhealthy relationships. If that is the case, they may all inevitably end in the same manner.
Finding A Healthier Approach to Relationships
Sometimes we do things in life that we don’t really understand ourselves. And if those habitual behaviors tend not to go our way, are unproductive, or don’t end up getting us what we want, then it might be time to examine what is perpetuating them.
Only then can you stop and find more productive ways to be happier and healthier you. If you are a serial monogamist going from one committed relationship to the next, you might want to take some time to perform some introspection. Only then can you see if there is something that is driving you to make every relationship a lasting one, whether it fits or not.
In the end, it is okay if you want to commit yourself, just make sure that you are committing yourself to the right person and for the right reasons. If you have a succession of failed relationships, it might be time to discuss the forces behind your serial monogamy by contacting a counselor.
They might be able to provide some insight into whether there are more productive ways to approach relationships. And also, if there is something that you are avoiding in your need to be continually attached to someone else through your serial monogamy ways.