The Advantages of Serial Dating

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I have a confession to make: I am a serial monogamist at heart.

If I like a guy after a couple of dates, it seems logical to me to focus what time I have to date on getting to know him better. I don’t usually declare I am exclusive, but rather quietly make the decision and move forward in the budding relationship. Considering I have an exit strategy handicap, this is not a good approach to dating. By the time I really get to know the guy, I have mentally and emotionally committed to the relationship, making it harder to walk away.

I spent time thinking about how to proceed before reentering the dating scene. It was clear I needed to take a new approach, giving myself time to get to know a guy before allowing myself to jump in head and heart first. I believe my new, brilliant-for-me approach to dating will bring about a better dating outcome.

I am now a serial dater.

In thinking about my own dating challenges and how a serial dater operates, it makes sense. Unfortunately, being called a serial dater has a negative connotation. According to the Urban Dictionary (I know, the definitive source of knowledge, right?), serial dating is defined as:

One who engages in the process of systematically dating an obscene amount of people in a short span of time. This definition encompasses, but is not limited to: internet dating, bar dating, long distance flirtations, one night stands, friend with benefits, and personal ad surfing. Can be considered a politically correct alternative to word ‘player’ both with and without a negative connotation.

Recently I read an article entitled “Are They Serial Dating or Seeking a Long-Term Relationship?” It was an excellent piece, listing all the angles of serial dating from someone who is a professional player to questioning whether we are all serial daters until we determine someone is the right one for us. There were many viewpoints shared with the hope of contributing to the dating concept being viewed more favorably.

What I see as advantages to serial dating:

  • It can lead to a long-term relationship if the person wants to eventually be in a committed relationship.
  • Taking this approach reduces the chance of switching to monogamy too quickly.
  • Having a lot of first dates leads to a greater understanding of likes and dislikes in a future partner.
  • Meeting someone new who suggests a different restaurant or activity only leads to greater life experiences.

I have officially been a serial dater for a few weeks and have been happy with the early results. I have had a string of first dates with only one I am interested in seeing a second time. While I am looking forward to the second date with the one guy, I am equally excited for a few upcoming first dates this week. What I have learned so far is that this approach tempers my enthusiasm, keeping me from getting too excited about any one person before knowing a lot more about him. So, regardless of the stigma attached to serial dating, I am happily settling in to taking my time, dating a lot, and letting time be my friend in this process.

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18 responses to “The Advantages of Serial Dating”

  1. It gets exhausting though, doesn’t it? I’ve been in ‘have fun’ mode since my last really serious relationship (ended over a year ago) and I bounce around between loving the freedom and minimal obligation to being tired of ‘serial dating’ and also liking have a go-to person for company that isn’t always in date-mode.

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      I am too early in the “fun mode” to not like it, but I could see wanting all the great things that come from being in a more serious relationship. That said, I want it to be with the right person so taking my time and serial dating is hopefully going to help me find the right person instead of finding myself in a committed relationship with the wrong person. At least, that is my hope.

  2. I like your new found approach. One, you are not wasting time with something that “might” work and 2nd, you usually know within the first 30 seconds if it is right or not. Trust your gut and heart before your head confuses what you know to be right. Wishing you lots of success and hope you are able to find what I have. 14 years, still madly in love and still going strong. :)

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      Thanks for visiting and commenting. Taking my time is a great approach. I am having fun in the process too.

  3. I think you are wise to take this approach. Though dating can be extremely exhausting at times, it’s fun when we learn to kick back and enjoy the ride. And it sounds as though you are doing this.

    I have a friend who approaches all dates with the same mindset: does this guy want to settle/get married? And I think she hasn’t had a FUN date in a really long time because of it. She’s limiting herself by checking off requirements on a mental checklist she keeps. What about the guy who is spontaneous and adventurous? See him Monday. The bookworm who can quote your favorite movies? Date him Tuesday. Or how about the guy who makes you laugh and teases you over cocktails? Boom–Wenesday.

    You are kind of making me really miss my single days but shhhh ;)

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      I am all about fun and new experiences as I slowly get to know guys. No more rushing in without really knowing who a man is or says he is, but rather learning over time. I hope this works better. If not, it will at least be more fun!

  4. That’s actually a good idea and a great list of advantages. Where were you when I was single!! :)) Good luck!

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      Thanks. I am running out of ideas if this doesn’t work!

  5. So, for those of us who tend to jump ship too fast, is this just a new way to label what we do? One date — done. Next date — different guy — done. Or does there need to be some openness to long term?

    (Mainly asking b/c I can see myself “justifying” my too-fast exit strategy with serial dating)

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      You should definitely not take my serial dating approach to dating with your leanings towards jumping out too quickly. You would never make progress, Kimberly!

  6. It can be fun, for sure. But it gets old, and it gets old fast. What about something in-between… “casual” dating?

    I don’t think it’s really about the amount of guys you date at once, but your mindset, no matter what. You can casually date ONE person without getting all lovey-brained. See him once or twice a week, tops. Make other things you enjoy doing your social priority… Because I don’t think that serial dating is going to make you change the way you respond when you do like someone.

    Basically you’ll use the “other” first dates as distractions to NOT see “guy you really like.” And that’s kinda not fair to “first date guy.” If you want to spend less time with “guy you really like,” the spend time doing other things. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be dating others, you know?

    But until you get to that point, go on lots of first dates, have a blast, and enjoy it!

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      I am hoping that as dates evolve with someone I want to continue seeing that it will just naturally become an exclusive situation….down the road. I think I will end up between serial monogamist and the negative connotation of serial dater. Happily in the middle should work for me. But, since I am just starting back again, I am more on the serial dater end of things–having lots of first dates and having fun while I get to know the guys and evaluate with my head whether there should be a third, forth, or fifth date.

  7. I like your approach. As a culture, we seem to have become far too eager to throw everything into each relationship experience instead of just enjoying the dance of traditional dating. Why the do or die mentality when it comes to finding “the one” I’ll never know.

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      Thanks, Jack. I find I am feeling less pressure and stress taking my time. Jumping in head first and being fully committed is a time commitment I don’t want right now. When I realize a guy is worth that investment, then I will make it. Until then, nothing serious. I made the mistake of rushing consistently these last several years. Never again.

  8. More power to you. I can’t do it. It definitely has its advantages as dating is often a numbers game but, pathetic as it may be to admit, I can’t stand dating. I want to skip to the “I feel great in your presence” stage and forget about all of that “So, what were you like growing up?” stuff — so doing that with multiple men makes me cringe! :-)

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      It was an interesting ride while it lasted. I agree that it’s not easy!

  9. Great piece! I’m also serial dating now and love it. I’ve had only two long-term relationships that were unsuccessful party because I hadn’t spent enough time dating different kinds of people. I got too invested with those people too quickly, thinking that they were the only ones that had a few qualities I was looking for, while overlooking all the red flags. Serial dating helps keep me from feeling there’s only one fish in the sea.

    1. Naked Girl in a Dress

      You have a great perspective on dating Pauline! I too found myself wrapped up in a relationship with a man with far too few redeeming qualities. I thought it was better than the one before, not knowing how good a solid, loving relationship could be. Until you find “the one,” there’s nothing wrong with serial dating. Have fun!