Dear Mistress Maeve,
A friend just told me that a mutual friend of ours referred to me as a “serial dater.” First of all, I don’t even know what that means. Second of all, why do women find it so amusing to talk about other women behind their backs? The woman in question is in a marriage she clearly detests with a man who has about as much personality as a corpse, but you don’t see me out there telling the whole world about it.
I’m a 32-year-old female, and, yes, I’ve had a series of short relationships (three to six months), but I’ve also had a couple long-term relationships. I just haven’t found the right match for me yet — is that a crime? Even if I am a serial dater, is that something to apologize for?
Are You Serial?
Dear Are You Serial?,
Sadly, women (and men) like to gossip about other people’s relationships — especially when their own love lives leave something to be desired. If I were you, I would pull that “friend” aside and say, “Hey, I heard you were concerned about me being a serial dater. Would you like to talk about it?” She may spit out a surprised apology, to which you can respond with “It’s OK — just please only discuss my private life with me in the future.” Or she will take you up on the offer to discuss the ins and outs of your dating life, to which you can respond, “Thank you for your concern, but I’m happy with my choices — and it’s really none of your business.” Either way, you’re addressing the issue head on and taking your power back.
As far as your serial-dating status is concerned, don’t lose sleep over it, but be mindful. Serial dating — the act of jumping from one relationship to the next, staying single as briefly as possible — allows people a happy medium between polyamory (having multiple partners at once) and lifelong monogamy. However, serial dating can breed both a fear of commitment and a fear of being alone — what a conundrum! If you find yourself rushing into relationships with people you’re not gung-ho about, it may be time to take a break and indulge in some alone time. Better to do some serious soul searching now than to look back at your dating life and think, What the hell was I doing?!