Are You A Serial Monogamist? Signs & How To Change

Being a serial monogamist might not seem like a big deal. After all, you’re a grown woman who loves love and won’t stop until you find it, which means dating lots of different people. However, this behavioral pattern can have greater and more harmful implications for your life as a whole. Read on to discover some signs this term applies to you and how you can change.

Signs you’re a serial monogamist

  1. You dive straight into labeling the relationship. If you’re one of the people who always crave labels in relationships after no time at all, you’re likely to be a serial monogamist. It means that you’re always coupled up and never consider a more flexible, casual approach to dating. If you need that “boyfriend and girlfriend” title more than the emotional support itself, it’s a sign that you need to change.
  2. You always plan for the future. This sounds good on paper, but it isn’t healthy in the long term. You need to be present in the relationship and meet people where you are. It’s not helpful to constantly defer and look to the future while ignoring the needs and issues in the present day. It leads to superficial relationships that look good from a distance, but actually don’t really serve either party. Be in the moment and enjoy yourself. That’s something a serial monogamist always struggles with.
  3. You always expect exclusivity. This just isn’t something that you can rely on as the standard in the modern world of dating. Yes, it might have been the default mode a few years ago, but it’s quite a limiting standard now. If you get there over time and earn that loyalty and commitment, then fine. However, that level of commitment from day one just isn’t realistic. You will turn good people away by piling that pressure on too early, and that’s why a serial monogamist needs to be more adaptable.
  4. You judge polyamorous people. This is a huge sign that you’re a serial monogamist. You have no flexibility about how dating should work, and that absolutism extends to your judgment of polyamorous couples. In your head, there’s only one “correct” way of dating, but that’s restrictive and mean-spirited. Leave your judgment out of other people’s relationships and you’ll be much happier. It’s none of your business, and frankly, it shows that you’re very close-minded. It will limit the kind of people you attract in relationships, and you won’t grow as a person or expand your horizons. Live a little!
  5. You get overly jealous of their time. When you start to hoard your partner’s time or resent it when they spend time with other people, that’s not a good thing. A major sign of being a serial monogamist is when your belief that there should only be two people in the relationship starts to become an insistence that you two should be each other’s entire world. It stops you from hanging out with other people and it means all your eggs are in one basket. It isn’t healthy and in fact, it’s parasitic.
  6. You’re overly defensive. Serial monogamy might just seem like it describes a person who’s always in a committed relationship, but it goes beyond that. It means that you have dependencies on the other person and expectations about their time. Their life becomes yours and you’re expected to filter into that. Without flexibility, you become more narrow-minded and defensive of your relationship, because it is your life. Other people are well-rounded outside of their relationship, but because you’re not, you suffer.
  7. You prize yourself in being in a relationship. It’s more important for you to have the status of being “taken” rather than the emotional benefit. That’s unhealthy and you won’t learn any more about yourself. A serial monogamist tends to have a conflict of faith when not in a relationship, and that’s pretty sad.
  8. You can’t be alone. This is worrying, particularly if you’ve always been that person that’s been in a relationship since you were young. It means that you haven’t learned how to be alone or independent. This will trip you up later on, It’s so important to become comfortable in your own company. As a serial monogamist, this is a skill well-worth mastering.

How to change your ways

  1. See a therapist. Address the problem directly and make sure that you can get to the source of the issue by attending therapy with a professional. Unpack why you feel that way and why you feel the need to displace the emotions in your life with people. This will allow you to work through your issues and overcome them.
  2. Be alone more. Get comfortable being alone. The central way to achieve this is to focus on exposure therapy. That’s how you will form new coping mechanisms and learn to be more independent and self-supporting. Stop accepting loads of beige flags just because it’s better than being alone. As a serial monogamist, it’s important to acknowledge that not all relationships are good relationships.
  3. If you don’t see yourself in the relationship, ask why. Spend some time with yourself unraveling why you feel the need to disguise yourself in a relationship. If a part of you doesn’t want to be seen in the world without a partner, ask why that is. Figure out how to overcome that and accommodate your needs without disguising them.
  4. Open yourself up to new experiences. Experiment with your sexuality and sleep around a little more. You’ll surprise yourself, and you will judge people less for doing that once you do so yourself.
  5. Stop bracketing yourself inside identities. Don’t put yourself in a box and limit yourself. Other people deserve to see you as you are, and you deserve to see other people too. It’s modern and flexible, for a modern world. Stop living in the past and get over being a serial monogamist.
Hannah has a Masters degree in Romantic and Victorian literature in Scotland and spends her spare time writing anything from essays to short fiction about the life and times of the frogs in her local pond! She loves musical theatre, football, anything with potatoes, and remains a firm believer that most of the problems in this world can be solved by dancing around the kitchen to ABBA. You can find her on Instagram at @_hannahvic.