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Are You Serial?

Mistress Maeve


Published April 15, 2009 at 1:51 p.m.

Dear Mistress Maeve,

I recently heard the term "serial monogamist" from a friend who used it to describe the guy who dumped me a few weeks ago. We'd been dating for a couple months, taking it slow and getting along fantastically - until he suddenly "met someone" and insisted that we were, the whole time, "just friends." I've asked a number of people, Mistress, and even my therapist agrees that we were dating. He's rearranged the facts of the story to create his own version of the truth. From what I know about him and his past relationships, and from what I've read about serial monogamy, it certainly seems to fit his behavior. As hurt and angry as I am, though, I'm left wondering if he's capable of opening his eyes long enough to realize that he's thrown away a fantastic opportunity. Is there hope for a serial monogamist, or will all of his relationships be doomed to failure?


Didn't Deserve This


Dear Didn't,

The Dartmouth Free Press published an interesting article in 2005 claiming that serial monogamy - the act of jumping from one relationship to the next, staying single as briefly as possible - has become the most popular dating trend of our time. The article suggests that serial monogamy is the most socially acceptable mode of dating, a happy medium between polyamory (having multiple partners at once) and the lifelong monogamy expected by previous generations.

Ironically, serial monogamy breeds both a fear of a commitment and a fear of being alone - a Catch-22 that your guy could be experiencing. But, honestly, if he's not willing to admit you were even dating, why waste your time trying to analyze his behavior? If his fear of commitment is beyond his control, it is most certainly beyond yours. No, you didn't deserve this. But it's time to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and take this as a lesson learned: Open the lines of communication early - if you believe you're "dating," let it be known.

Serially yours,