Have you been working really hard to find true love? Are you making this big relationship mistake?
Most people at least go through a phase where we are diligently working to find the love of our lives. We want companionship, a family and honestly we really want happily ever after!
There are TONS of posts, books and articles about how to find Mr. / Ms. Right. But there’s not nearly enough material dedicated to how to BECOME Mr. / Ms. Right. So we tend to get our hopes up with every new relationship. Looking outside our selves. Trying to figure out if the person we’re with right now is our ONE. You know… the key to our future dreams and happiness.
Oftentimes people get in the habit of being in one committed relationship after another. I call this serial monogamy. We all know someone who does this. The truth is, if this is you, there’s nothing to be ashamed of! You’re working really hard at finding the love of your life. But, you don’t have to! Here’s how to identify and break the serial monogamy pattern and find your true love!
The Biggest Relationship Mistake: Being a Serial Monogamist
Perhaps you’ve never heard this term but surely you or someone you know fits this category. A serial monogamist is a person who is always in a committed relationship. They never seem to be single, or not for long enough for anyone to notice. Sometimes they even replace their current love interest with someone new BEFORE ending the relationship.
Usually serial monogamists believe that the person they are with is “the one”… until they don’t. Sometimes they are afraid of being alone. Sometimes they just believe that if they continue the series of committed relationships they will eventually find their true love. Eventually something will stick. But often they are settling, getting in way to deep and headed for a lot of suffering. This is not the way to find the love of your life!
Too Much at Stake
The truth is you need to break your serial monogamy habit because there’s way too much at stake! It’s not only that you are very unlikely to ever find true love this way (and that’s bad enough). There are actually serious risks to your well being. Serial monogamy can even be dangerous!
Loss of Self
Maybe you have been seeking love and validation from others your entire life. This can happen in the best and worst of childhood experiences. You may not have lost yourself but actually never knew who you were to begin with.
Sometimes it isn’t obvious to the person in the relationship that they have changed so much but It is apparent to outsiders. Friends and family may notice significant changes from one relationship to another. Think about it, have you ever made big changes for the person you’re with. Possibly changing everything from political affiliation and religion to eating and lifestyle habits? Maybe your partner doesn’t even know there has been a change. They assume it was always that way.
Let me ask you this… if you have to change who you are to be in the relationship how can you possibly find lifelong happiness? Are you planning to become this new person permanently? You deserve to be loved for who you are, not who you’re pretending to be or who you might become!
First let me start by saying, it is NEVER the fault of the victim… EVER! That said, narcissists and abusers tend to be very drawn to serial monogamists. They toy with their emotions and gaslight them into believing no one else will ever love them. They emotionally swallow them and control them. This is because they don’t fear being left and they can use their partner as a mirror.
Don’t assume that because yours or someone else’s relationship appears perfect, it is! Narcissists and abusers are often very socially engaged and extremely charming. They might seem like your perfect match. If you have lost yourself or don’t really know who you are you will mirror them. And they will LOVE that. But it will never be enough! Slowly over time the control and power balance will start to shift.
You’ll not only blend in but you’ll be swallowed whole. As you modify yourself to keep the relationship you’ll lose every bit of your dignity, individuality and self-confidence. You’ll sincerely believe that you can’t leave. This is especially true if you were afraid to be alone to begin with. It’s exactly what your partner was looking for. They are taking advantage of your vulnerability!
Whether you end the relationships or your partners do there’s a lot of heartbreak. When relationships end it is always hard on both parties. There’s a lot of pain. Even if you end things amicably the loss of the future you dreamed of or planned is difficult. It requires closure and time to grieve. When you’re rushing from one relationship to another there is never time for the wounds to heal.
How many times can your heart be broken before you become cynical and callused? Maybe you’re already there. Giving up on love isn’t the answer! Changing your approach is!
Break the Habit
Breaking the serial monogamy habit is like quitting smoking cold turkey! You just have to do it! If you are in the wrong relationship it’s time to get out (without a backup plan). If you are currently between relationships stay there! You NEED to be single!!!
How to be Single (5 Simple Steps)
The only way to avoid being a serial monogamist is to BE SINGLE! You need to do it at least for a little while! This is FAR more effective if you don’t live with your parents! Often without meaning to they provide a surrogate for your mate. Being single can be tough, and lonely, and scary! So, it’s good to have some idea of how to do it and do it REALLY well!
1. Get a Roommate
These are in no particular order but I know that when I say to be single outside of your parent’s house that might be a tall order. You see, your time in college living in the dorms doesn’t count for your single & not at home time. And, let’s be honest… you probably had a significant other most of your college life anyway (or wanted one). This is true of many college students even if you aren’t a serial monogamist.
I know that living on your own can be extremely challenging from a financial perspective! So, find a room mate! Preferably a single one! If that won’t work for you, you can even rent a room in someone else’s house or even do some traveling. This doesn’t need to be a permanent arrangement. You can move back in with your parents down the road. But, you just need some time for yourself.
2. Spend Time With People You Love & Doing Things You Love
Spending time with people we love and doing things we love helps us deepen our connection to ourselves. If you have no idea what those people or things might be take a moment to brainstorm some ideas. Grab a paper and pen and set a timer on your phone and put the thought in your mind “what would I like to try”. Now write everything that comes to mind… no judgement! There are no bad ideas here! Pick a thing or two and go do them or at least schedule them!
The people you love still love you and miss you. So, if you’re feeling funny about reaching out to someone you haven’t seen in a while because of your relationship status, reach out! You may find that you have in fact burned some bridges but you’ll likely also be pleasantly surprised at the ones that aren’t even charred! Spoiler… you’ll probably be surprised which are which!
Oh, and remember… just because you aren’t living with your parents doesn’t mean you can’t visit! Just don’t make it a nightly thing!
3. Hang Out With Single Friends
Enjoy time with your single friends just hanging out! This should be time dedicated to enjoying each other not meeting new perspective partners! Don’t have any? Get some! Start attending meet ups. Join a club. Go to the gym. Take a class. There are SO many ways to meet other single people. Be sure that you are looking for friendship and establishing clear boundaries for yourself and others! You aren’t looking to meet your next romantic partner. FRIENDS ONLY!!!
4. Follow the Years to Months Rule
What is the years to months rule? It’s a general guideline as to how long you need to be single between relationships. Here’s how it works… the number of years you were in a relationship equals the number of months you need to be single! If you were in the relationship for less than 6 months then the number of months you were in the relationship equals the number of weeks you should be single! Also, make it a rule for yourself that you always wait at least 1 month before entering a new serious committed relationship. Even if your previous relationship was only 3 months you still need that time!
What’s the time for
When leaving a relationship you need to be sure to take the time to recenter yourself and heal. When you care for another person and it doesn’t work out, even if you part as friends, it takes time to adjust. Sometimes there is an actual grieving process. Be kind and gentle with yourself and be patient. Give yourself however much additional time you need.
5. If You Want to Date… Date A LOT
When you feel ready, you can date! You can actually date all you want! Just don’t date only one person. Be honest with the people you’re dating. Simply tell them that you aren’t ready for a serious commitment. Have fun! This is a great opportunity to learn more about what you want in a partner. What’s out there?
If you’re struggling to find a good dating pool consider online resources and friends of friends. Put yourself out there! You may also find that in your pursuit of your own interests and hobbies you find someone you’re interested in dating. Go for it! Just don’t commit and don’t rush in!
Own Your Sexuality
Talking about dating leads to this conversation that might be tough for some of you! You CAN make your own choices about sex and so can your partner! ALWAYS be honest with your partner about your relationship status. Both men and women can handle this and they deserve to know! If the person you’re dating isn’t comfortable having sex outside of a committed relationship, respect that and don’t lie to them or mislead them. If you are comfortable having sex outside of a committed relationship, go ahead! Be safe, physically and emotionally. Choosing to have sex doesn’t a relationship make, but be clear and honest about it!
Find the Love of Your Life
Through this process you will learn so much about yourself! You’ll discover who you are and what you want! You’ll be free to explore other people and interests. And… you may have guessed it… you’ll find the love of your life!
The truth is, they were there all along! No, I don’t mean your childhood bestie! I mean YOU!!! You are the love of your life! The only way you will ever find your life partner is by FIRST finding your true love… YOU!
Once you have discovered how incredible and amazing you are, once you know who you are and what you want, you will draw the right people to you! When you know that you are the PRIZE you’ll attract people who treat you that way. Then you can establish a real and vulnerable relationship with them that will grow over time! That’s how you’ll find the perfect fit and your happily ever after!
Share this with your friends, single or not! Help them discover that they are the love of their own lives! Even people in very happy relationships forget this!
These are really great tips! I know several serial monogamists who could use a little reading on the subject. Thank you for sharing such an interesting perspective.
I’m glad you enjoyed this post! I know several as well and a few have broken out of the habit. It can be tough but it’s so worthwhile!