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Dating From the Inside Out
by Susan S. Davis

The Serial Dating Phenomenon

Generally, serial daters tend to measure relationships in weeks or months instead of the “traditional” method: years. The concept of exclusivity on a short or long-term basis is a relatively foreign one, to the consummate serial dater. It often isn’t because they don’t desire it, but rather, because it simply never seems to materialize as an option for them.

Serial daters often continue along the same vein, because, in reality, they are just not ready for any type of commitment. Some are so focused on what it is that they think they should have in their “perfect” relationship model, that they cannot see good opportunities right in front of them. Still others, insist upon “having it all,” and when one component is missing, use it as an opportunity to “discard” someone and move on.


Other reasons that serial dating could be so prevalent, is because there seems to be so much emphasis on the hunt itself, from online dating websites, to social events that offer the opportunity for everything from speed dating, to social clubs, happy hour, and neighborhood haunts.

Serial daters pride themselves on not “settling” – while reveling in the search activity itself. While serial dating, on the surface, can be beneficial, at the same time, there is a danger of going overboard with it, as well. One can get so caught up in the scheme of it, that the dating activity itself begins to actually take the place of the relationship that may have been sought after not so long ago.

According to statistics, there are approximately 95.7 million single adults in the United States alone. While many seek long-term, committed relationships, others do not. One of the most important keys to successful relationship building, assuming that is the objective, is to know how to distinguish the people who desire the same thing that you do, against the players – those people who often seem as though they date for the thrill of it, or view it as a numbers game, using the dating system to fuel their social pool, rotating people in and out of their own personal harems.

While the serial dater may believe there is no harm in what they are doing, the people left in the wake of the resultant social hurricane, may become frustrated by the dating history characterized by seeing a person for two or three dates, and then never hearing from that person again.

In some remote cases, while there has been some e-mail contact or the occasional phone call after the last date, there is usually never a mention of seeing each other again. For the person unfamiliar with the routine and social demeanor of the serial dater, it often becomes an issue of confusion – and people begin to wonder if there is something inherently wrong with them.

Being able to discern who is on the same page as you are is a skill that is necessary to develop, to keep from wasting a great deal of time in the long run. The phenomenon of serial dating has been fueled by the Internet, as a worldwide pool of available and potential individuals makes it easy to quickly communicate and meet. Like most things, this can be a good or a not-so-good situation.

For career serial daters, they all seem to have justifications for why they continue to indulge in the lifestyle of serial dating. Here are a few issues that you may find it useful to be aware of:

1 – When serial dating, there is never a danger of being alone. Because there is always a pool of people at the ready, and there is almost a system in place of social networking to replace any who drop off.

2 – Most often, a serial dater usually doesn’t have to deal with “testing” or manipulative behavior -- because there is always a backup person (or two, or three). This makes it even easier to walk away from any dating situation.

3 – Oftentimes, dating someone that seems ostensibly unavailable (as serial daters often appear to be) - becomes a challenge to attempt to “win over” the person.

4 – Casual, immediate intimacy is justifiable. The serial dater usually enjoys several casual relationships at the same time, on the rare occasion, while “working” on a serious one. In this way, there is no time “wasted” if a situation doesn’t work out.

For the serial dater, it seems like every need is being met: companionship, intimacy, and friendship, as well as variety. For the serial dater, the word “dating” can often be synonymous with physical intimacy. While this can serve the needs of the serial dater quite well, people who are not aware of the serial dater’s intentions, can walk away feeling victimized. And, of course, aside from the emotional and spiritual harm inflicted, there is always the risk of physical harm to the body, as well.

"Players," also prevalent in the dating arena, are a bit different from the classic serial daters, in that the player’s goals usually never included settling down in any fashion. Often, part of their ruse, is to appear as though they actually are relationship material, when in fact, they are very far from it. Usually using the technique of “omission,” that is, simply not voicing that they are not seeking anything more than a casual involvement, dealing with the player can be a slippery slope.

Whether or not all of the reasons a person engages in serial dating really is just an excuse for promiscuity, is very difficult to determine. While it may be tempting to go with the latter interpretation, sometimes, there is, indeed, a long-lost goal of romantic stability present.

Ultimately, as people continue to socialize in search of suitable dating partners, it is important to maintain your own goals, and be clear about them with yourself and others. Whether the goal is to find a more permanent relationship, or simply to endeavor to spend quality time with a number of individuals, maintaining honesty is a very important component to consider. Anyone who believes that misrepresentation of any kind is acceptable will find that sooner or later, the truth will come out. Therefore, it really is better to be open minded, while always being up front about dating intentions and goals.

Susan S. Davis is a published book author and writer, currently doing research for a romantic screenplay she is writing. Her Dating From The Inside Out column is published every Tuesday.

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