Spot a serial dater from a mile away

Friday, June 19th, 2020 00:00 | By
Dayan Masinde, relationship counsellor. Photo/PD/COURTESY

While you may be dating to find a long-lasting relationship, others might not have the same intentions. They just love the thrill of chase. 

Netflix recently launched a reality TV show called “Too Hot to Handle.” The contestants are people who identify as notorious serial daters and non-committers when it comes to relationships.

The contestants are put in a villa together for what they assume is going to be a four-week sexcation.

On the contrary there is $100,000 prize money and it depends on all of them remaining abstinent for the four weeks in the retreat.

This may seem like a relatively simple thing, but for most serial daters it is a challenging task worth a $100,000 prize.

Serial daters or people who are addicted to dating are those who deliberately look to have fun and don’t want anything serious; who love the thrill of the chase and the idea of romancing many partners; who fear commitment but also fear loneliness.

Such is the case of Caroline Mikuzi. After ending her relationship with her boyfriend of four years she cast herself into a new world of singledom in 2017.

This involved non-committal exploration as most people do after ending a long-term relationship; she would have up to three dates with different men on the same weekend.

“When my relationship ended I was heartbroken and lonely. I found myself wondering whether the best thing was to give myself time to heal or meet new people and fall in love again as quickly as possible as if it was as easy as picking something from a supermarket shelf- I chose the latter,” recalls Mikuzi.

Mr Right This Minute search

Having read a lot of ‘how to get over a boyfriend’ articles on the Internet, she noticed most dating therapists recommended dating around after break-up.

“I downloaded Tinder and started interacting more with men I found attractive and this led to several dates.

After the break-up, I occasionally doubted my self-worth, so the idea of multiple dating as a way of dealing with my issue felt appealing since my self-esteem was slightly damaged and I needed to feel lovable and interesting,” she says.

In the beginning, Mikuzi notes the first dates were freeing and exciting. “I started enjoying the chase more than I enjoyed building a relationship with the people I met.

Long-lasting relationship.

I gradually became more obsessed with first dates and meeting new people and less enjoyed meeting the same people over and over.

My friends were never surprised when I called just to tell them about my new date.

One time one of my friends failed to invite me to her girls’ night out because she assumed I would be going on a date that weekend,” she says. 

Although she loved the thrill that came with non- committal speed dating, Mukuzi had not realised she had dipped herself into the modern dating world full of all kinds of men, most of them not suitable for her.

“I would tell myself I was not looking for Mr right but ‘Mr right This Minute’.

This made me do things I did not like, go to places I did not like and pretended I did and kissed someone I did not see a future with just because I could not stand the thought of being alone,” she says

“I was a serial dater jumping from one relationship to another because I was subconsciously looking for someone who would make me feel better about myself.

This was just a quick fix and you know quick fixes do not last. I eventually ended up feeling lonely so I started involving myself with fewer people and today, I have developed a much more meaningful and fulfilling relationship,” she adds.

The serial dater loves the thrill of chase; they love the first couple of dates; they relish that new date feeling.

Maybe it’s an ego thing, maybe it’s a boredom thing, but securing a new date is their ultimate high.

According to Dayan Masinde, a relationship and marriage counsellor, a serial dater is someone who leads on multiple people with the illusion of exclusivity, but they are not ready for a relationship and are just looking for experiences.

But how can you spot one? “Many serial daters come hard and give big promises quickly.

But even with their big promises, they are slippery, meaning they are not always available.

They hit on you hard and fast and it dies quickly,  because most are more into the chase, hence they easily get bored,” he explains.

Be open

Serial dater want to get physical with you quickly. They love intimacy, and physical intimacy is the best.

They also don’t talk about life beyond the date. They don’t want to get to know you.

In fact, they’ll often choose locations they think have the best chance of not seeing anyone they know. 

If they do end up seeing someone they know, you will not be introduced. In fact, you’ll probably just be sitting there awkwardly while they talk.

Once the adrenaline dies and the serial dater gets bored, they may decide to move on to another relationship and they mostly break-up through withdrawing and one is left wondering and second-guessing themselves.

“Leading on someone with an illusion of exclusivity is selfish and most serial daters are selfish.

If you see nothing wrong with going out with a steady number of people without being exclusive, then you should inform the other person before leading them on. Then, they can decide if they are okay with it,” he advices.

While some serial daters could have been hurt before, some could also be suffering from esteem issues, so dating multiple people offer some sort of gratification and validation for them.

“Being a serial dater can be stressful and draining. Although it will give you a short while high, it is not worth it.

You may think you are giving little, but in reality, you are investing your time and finances on different people with no intentions of getting to interact with them on a deeper level.

This robs you the opportunity of knowing and handling a serious relationship,” he notes.

He advises serial daters to check themselves, analyse their goals, and should seek help if they find it difficult to break free.

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