Jackie blogs at Hope Boulevard about midlife as a single woman. This post on serial daters was originally featured there.
As a single girl I have learned over the years that we all have different relationship goals. Some want to get married. A few want a steady romance, but not ready for marriage. Others actually like being single and the ‘goal’ is to stay that way. And then there are those, whom by choice or mental instability go the route of the serial dater.
A serial dater is defined as one who dates and/or has multiple partners. A revolving door, if you will, of playmates and activities. They enjoy the variety. No pressure to focus on just one person. It has even been referred to as a “healthy option to avoid obsession”. Yeah, that’s a stretch for me, but nice try.
There are those that believe it decreases boredom while increasing amusement. However that usually comes at someone’s expense. And speaking of expense, it is not the path to take if you are on a tight budget. Going out several times a week can put a huge dent in your pocket. Serial dating can also take on different forms. It can be used by those just looking for fun and an assortment of activities. Some apply the concept just to have casual sex. Others might combine those two while claiming to actually be looking for someone to take seriously.
I guess it sounds like I’m a hater. Not trying to be. I understand you cannot meet one person, one time and decide you have found forever. (Unless you live in a Lifetime movie.) It is a process. I get that. Maybe I’m just jealous. I am not good at juggling. At my age I can’t remember my grocery list if there are more than two items. I certainly could not be responsible for remembering multiple names/dates/places to be. I would have to be lucky enough to only date guys named Bill. Or Xavier.
So since I am obviously incapable of being a serial dater, I will do what everyone else does when they can’t master a skill… Mock it.
So here is my Ode To Cereal (I mean Serial) Daters:
Alpha-Bits – This Serial Dater (hereafter referred to as SD) has a Rolodex of names ready at their disposal for a last minute rendezvous.
Fruit Loops – This wacky SD can’t make up their mind and keeps going back to ‘recycle’ dates. The crazy thing about Fruit Loops, is that it takes one to know (or go back to) one.
Cheerios – Just happy being free and unattached. Always up for a good time.
Corn Pops – The SD who pops in and out of your life/phone just when you think they are gone for good. The difference between Fruit Loops and Corn Pops is that you don’t keep falling for their games.
Corn Flakes – This SD is just Plain and Non-Committal. (At least if you are going to be non-committal, be exciting and flamboyant.)
Frosted Flakes – Non-Committals with gray hair.
Fruity Pebbles – We ALL know SDs like these. Just plain crazy. Avoid at all costs.
Honeycomb – These are the sweet talkers. They want you to believe they are not really SDs. They know just the right things to say to make you believe they are legit. It takes a little time and gut instinct, but you will eventually see through them.
Life – This SD is of a more serious variety. They are not ready to settle down, but they are upfront about their plan/agenda. I guess if you are going to spend time with a SD, this would be a good one to go with.
King Vitaman – Since they don’t have a Queen Vitaman, I’m going gender specific and say.. He’s the MAN. (Or thinks he is.)
Kix – Just wants to have fun. Similar to Cheerios, except much more exciting.
Lucky Charms – If you are charming, you might get lucky. I actually met a guy whose online profile name was Lucky Charms. True story.
Raisin Bran – This one tries hard to keep you going.
Rice Krispies – Snap, Crackle, Pop. Always exciting, but with too much going on. Hard to pin down to anything specific and not much substance.
Special K – He/She is convinced you will keep answering their texts, because they are Special…K?
Total – No lack of self-confidence with this SD. They believe they are the whole package. It is quite possible they are, but no one is permitted to stick around long enough to find out for sure.
Trix – This silly SD always has something up their sleeve.
And last but not least…
Wheaties – The SD of Champions. They are experts at juggling and multi-tasking. Maybe they are honest about it. Maybe they are comfortable with this lifestyle. One thing for sure, they have done it for so long they couldn’t be in a serious relationship if they wanted to.
Okay, okay. I guess I’m finished with the ridicule. It is probably true that many serial daters are just in a transitional phase and want to explore possibilities. There is no crime in that. It is helpful when they are upfront with their dates about their motivations. I will be optimistic and say most of them probably are. For those of us who still fall for, or are misled by them, just know it has nothing to do with you or your worth. It is just where they find themselves on the journey. We are all allowed a spot on the path.
It is very difficult to be single, starting over and dating after 50. The pool is shrinking, the waistline is expanding; it’s not always easy to read the intentions of the person sitting across the table from you. Just keep a positive outlook. And understand there is no one-size-fits-all way to dating. Stick to what feels authentic to who you are. If you become really good at being yourself, you will attract the right people into your life. Dating or otherwise.
As for me, I’ll stick with Capt’n Crunch. (I’ve always loved a man in uniform.)