Serial dating may seem like a good idea. Who doesn’t want to be desired? Isn’t it nice to always have someone who wants to have a relationship with you? Doesn’t it feel amazing to never be a part of the “sad single people” club? After all, isn't being single simply the worst?
While I’m all about people feeling good and loving love and whatnot, that isn’t what serial dating is about. All three of my best friends are serial daters. They never stay single for more than a month between boyfriends.
For one of them, there is always a new guy on the hook. She has someone lined up before she even breaks it off with boyfriend #1. It’s kind of artistic, really. She gets tired of the guy she’s with, finds a new one, makes him fall in love with her, and then kicks the old one to the curb. Color me impressed… but it also scared the shit out of me.
Unfortunately, her taste has not been stellar. She had a few good ones in her early twenties, but the last two guys have been effing dreadful. I truly believe it’s because even though she is quite honestly the most badass woman I have ever met, she has a crippling fear of winding up alone.
I can seem baffling, but I get it. I’ve done both the single thing and the serial dating thing. It wasn’t until I was single for almost two years that I figured out how I was supposed to be treated (ahem, like an absolute queen). I dated a bunch of jerks and was dicked around to the point where I was exhausted from the douchebaggery of it all. Who has time for that?
And the truth is, if you’re relationship hopping, it says a lot about you and your inability to cope with loneliness.
Because you don’t hop from relationship to relationship because you “just can’t seem to stay single.” You hop from relationship to relationship because you don’t know how to be single.
The problem is, you’re never going to find the right guy or girl this way. If you don’t have time to learn who you are as a person, it’s going to be impossible to see your past mistakes and, god forbid, learn from them.
Being single may be scary and all, but it’s going to help you find “the one” faster than jumping from person to person. If you don’t know how to stand on your own, how can you expect to know what a partnership looks like?
Because jumping from person to person means you’re not looking inward.
If you keep looking to the next relationship, keeping the next one on the hook, ready to leave at any moment, you’re doing this for a reason. You’re not addicted to love, you’re addicted to validation. You need someone to worship you and love you because you don’t want to work on yourself. You can’t make yourself feel good and so you depend on others.
If you stay in relationships, you can avoid doing any work on yourself. It’s easy to pretend you’re perfect when you’re devoting all of your energy to sustaining a romance. Being alone is scary because it means you’re not just missing out on your ex, you’re forced to confront skeletons that you may not be comfortable sorting through.
Because self-love is where finding true love starts.
After all, finding love actually doesn’t begin when you find the right person. It begins when you love yourself. Why? Because if you don’t love yourself, trust yourself, and know your worth, you’ll never be able to find a person who does the same.
For a long time, I didn’t love myself. Hell, there are still moments when I’m so stricken with fear and guilt over my tumultuous past that I can’t help but cry. It’s a learning process that never ends. After a lot of work on myself, I can say with total honesty that I do love myself and I am aware of what I deserve. It wasn’t until I came to that elevated state of understanding that I stopped settling for assholes and found a person who loves me unconditionally.
Because if you keep jumping into relationships, you’ll never find the right relationship.
On top of self-love, you need to be alone with yourself. You need to take a second to figure out what YOU want, not what you think you SHOULD want. This is real life, not The Notebook. You’re not Allie, and he or she is not your Noah. You are real-ass people with real-ass problems and emotions and you have to face them.
I’m not saying that you can’t have legendary romance. I’m saying if you set unrealistic standards for the people you date, without any consideration whatsoever about who the other person actually is, your relationships will always fail.
Take some time to truly sort out what you, a real human person with real human emotions, want from a relationship. That requires time, which means — you guessed it — being single.