7 Signs of a Serial Dater to Look Out For

Uncover the definition and signs of a serial dater and what makes someone develop a pattern of serial dating.

There are all sorts of dating types out there, from those who tiptoe into romantic endeavors to people who go all in when it feels right. But there are also those who seem to jump from one relationship to another, breaking hearts along the way. If you’re dating with intention, seeing the signs of a serial dater might be unsettling.  

We’re here to talk about serial dating, including what it is, why people develop this type of dating pattern, and the signs to look out for.

What Is Serial Dating? 

The serial dating definition is someone who hops from one relationship to the next, showing no signs of pursuing a long-term relationship. A serial dater typically doesn’t stay in the relationship long enough to develop an emotional connection and might even avoid it altogether. 

What Makes Someone a Serial Dater? 

There are several reasons why someone might develop a pattern of serial dating, so let’s dive into the serial dater psychology. 

They’re Looking for a Romantic “High”

You know that feeling you get when you first meet and get to know someone who piques your interest? There’s an undeniable spark (or full-on flame) that lights up inside you, making you giddy, excited, and passionate. Well, some people who serial date might be constantly pursuing this romantic “high,” letting go of the other person once things simmer down and they don’t feel those intense emotions anymore. Basically, once the honeymoon phase is over, they’re onto the next. 

They’re Insecure

People who fulfill the serial dating definition might do so because they’re insecure in who they are or what they have to offer. In other words, they might jump from one relationship to another as a way of constantly seeking validation, one of the top signs of insecure men and insecure women.

They’re Afraid of Commitment

Serial dating is a telltale sign of avoiding commitment. Learn why some women and men afraid of commitment might replace long-term partnerships with short-term flings. 

They Fear Being Alone 

It’s normal for humans to crave community, but when it manifests as a fear of being alone, that can be a sign of deeper issues. People who aren’t confident in being by themselves, even for short periods of time, might seek serial dating relationships as a way to have constant companionship.

They’re Attention Seekers

People who serial date could be seeking attention by means of romantic pursuits to win someone over. Wooing others is part of their DNA, and they might find the feeling of someone falling head over heels for them (again and again) extremely enticing. 

They’re Overwhelmed by Options

Let’s face it: There are so many ways to meet people these days. And while that is a great thing, the sheer number of options that singles come across through dating apps can make anyone feel overwhelmed. A larger pool of potential partners comes with it a feeling of “there’s gotta be more out there.” So even if someone meets a compatible person online, they could still wonder who else they might find, motivating them to hop from relationship to relationship.

Learn why matchmaking is a great alternative to dating apps and how to find a compatible partner.

Signs of a Serial Dater

By now you’re probably wondering, “Is a serial dater a red flag?” A serial dater isn’t necessarily a red flag, especially if you’re looking for a casual dating relationship. But if you’re dating with the intention to find a long-term partner, a serial dater is probably a red flag because they might have some issues holding them back from a committed partnership. 

Instead of thinking about serial dating as good versus bad, consider your dating expectations to determine if a serial dater is someone to be wary of in your own romantic journey.

Here are seven signs of a serial dater so that you know what to look out for. 

They Love Bomb You

Serial daters like displaying over-the-top shows of love in hopes of wooing you or as a way of creating an intense, passionate beginning to a relationship. These grand gestures, also called love bombing, could take the form of statements or gift giving that seem exaggerated for having just met someone. 

They Play Hard to Get

While some serial daters might love bomb you, others might opt for playing hard to get, turning on the charm but then not following through with communicating. They might see this as the thrill of the chase, grabbing—and holding—your attention until it no longer serves them.

They’re Emotionally Unavailable

This is one of the biggest signs of a serial dater: they’re emotionally unavailable. Perhaps it’s hard to have more than surface-level conversations or get to know personal details. Maybe they avoid talking about their past or being vulnerable with you. If you get the sense that the person isn’t ready for deep and meaningful communication, chances are that they’re on the serial dating train.

They’re Hot, Then Cold

Many serial daters are quick to rush into a dating-ship, potentially texting or calling frequently and showing intense signs of infatuation. But then, everything can come to a screeching halt. You might find yourself suddenly wondering where they are or going days without speaking. This is probably a sign that they’re ready to move on (or have already).

Here are tips on how to cope with being ghosted and how to deal with rejection.

They Flirt With Other People

Do you notice your partner making eyes at other people when you’re out with them? Do they outwardly flirt with strangers or even your friends when you’re socializing? While a little friendly flirtation is sometimes unavoidable in day-to-day life, outward displays that make you feel uncomfortable are certainly red flags. A serial dater might be on the lookout for their next relationship even when they’re in one already. 

They Avoid Moving to the Next Level

The tendency for serial daters to be emotionally unavailable also means that they have an inability to take the relationship to the next level. Perhaps you’re developing deep feelings for them, but any time you want to talk about the future or where things are going, they shut down or play it off as something to discuss later. 

What you might be looking at is a situationship, that often-dreaded place between casual dating and a committed relationship. Read more about the signs of a situationship and what to do if you’re in one.

Their Romantic Past Speaks for Itself

The best way to know if the person you’re seeing is the serial dating definition is to listen to them discuss their past romantic endeavors. Have they bounced around from relationship to relationship? Do they talk about how much their exes wanted them, playing to their own ego? Are they typically the one to break off a relationship? Do they ever share stories of when they were single? 

If you gather that serial dating has taken center stage in their past, then be on your guard. 

Looking Into the Future

Now that you understand the psychology behind why people become serial daters and the signs of a serial dater to look out for, it’s time to consider your relationship goals and values and determine if seeing this person is right for you right now. If they’re not ready for a relationship that’s committed and heading into the long term, but that’s something you desire, it might be best to move on.

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