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  • 'Serial Monogamist' or Commitment phobe?

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    Old 08-02-2007, 08:38 PM   #1
    Nooneknows79
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    'Serial Monogamist' or Commitment phobe?

    I have a bit of an issue to discuss here; sorry for the long post, but any help is greatly appreciated! I recently heard of the phrase 'serial monogamist', a person who just jumps from one relationship to another, regardless of how long they last. They keep wanting to enter one after ending one, enjoy the short-term emotional satisfaction, but quickly fall into a fear of commitment and being in something 'without an end in sight'. It's as though they hate being single, but love it at the same time, and same with relationships. They really enjoy serial dating, just meeting, talking, and going out on simple dates with many people, but never commit, either because they are afraid to, scare off the other person, etc.

    I'm starting to believe I fall into this category. I have become addicted to the 'rush' from meeting some new girl and going out with her a few times, or even just once, and then expecting it to end. This all started a couple years ago, I was really optimistic back then, and met someone with whom I felt (or thought I felt) a real connection. We went out for a very short time, it ended badly, and I guess since then, I have never taken dating or relationships seriously. At the same time, I have raised up some exceedingly high standards for the person I would want to commit to for a long-term, and not many people meet them. In two years, I have probably experienced some 15-20 instances of infatuation with this or that girl, usually on superficial things, like looks, because how well can you know someone in a few weeks?

    The one time I did almost seriously commit to someone because of commonalities and personalities instead, she ended up using me, and it was hard to get out of, even had to go through counselling for that. I don't know how or why I feel this way. I get rejected so often and so regularly, that I never believe a relationship is even possible for me, because it never has before. When I really liked someone, I really did, and I believe I became too persistent and nagging on them so they ignored me. It's as though I have built up a couple weeks messaging and coffee dates into a level all of its own, making myself feel as much regret and anger as friends who have broken up after years with someone. I can't really say I have ever loved anyone, thats another fear I have - I sometimes feel as though I simply cannot feel those emotions, and maybe its wrong to say, but I have been in situations where I kissed and held hands with etc people, and I couldnt' FEEL anything. And at the same time, I believe I have fallen in love with someone who dosen't exist, well she does but I met her once a year ago, was actually rejected quite callously, but I still feel in my mind that she was the perfect one for me, so its as though I'm in love with a ghost, and am seeking that same level of perfection in everyone I meet, then when being dissapointed, get discouraged yet again. I don't want to compromise and would be willing to wait years to meet someone like her again. I don't know if this is a bad way to approach dating? It's a very frustrating situation, and I don't see how to get out! Why is it that I can be crazy over someone I met so briefly and so long ago, and then hold up everyone I meet to the same standards and prefer to just torment myself with memories than try anything? Also, I am very much dependent upon looks. I feel that I am quite attractive, physically at least. Then I regularly see guys I feel aren't as much so have no troubles meeting beautiful women. I am always so careful to take good care of myself, work out on a regular basis, and so forth, and many older ladies have told me they think I am very attractive, yet it dosent really seem to matter, its as though looks count for nothing in this all.

    Thanks for understanding, and for any advice...

     
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    Old 08-02-2007, 11:55 PM   #2
    Seraph
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    Re: 'Serial Monogamist' or Commitment phobe?

    There is another term you could throw in here - "Love Addict". It seems to be a bit compulsive for you, you seem to need to be 'in love' at any given moment. It is all or nothing, the girl of your dreams, or a disposable woman. I think this is a pity, you leave yourself open to all sorts of hurt and disappointment (as you have discovered). I don't really have any advice for you except that you need to work a bit on this stuff. You are living your life in the shallows, always afraid to get more than your feet wet. Maybe you are protecting yourself in some way and you would want to find out what and why. I know I probably would. Have a talk with a therapist or psychologist, or read up on love addiction. You will find it interesting. Sera

     
    Old 08-03-2007, 10:36 PM   #3
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    Re: 'Serial Monogamist' or Commitment phobe?

    Well, it kind of sounds to me like you're on the right track when you say you're in love with someone who doesn't exist. You say you met her once, but over a year ago and very briefly. You say she rejected you, but you don't say if you actually dated her and for how long, so I'm guessing you didn't actually date her at all, and if you did it wasn't long. Which means, there is NO WAY you could have really gotten to know her as a person, her religious and political affiliations, is she a democrat or republican and why, her views on childrearing, her intellect, her heart, perhaps even whether she was a dog or a cat person, if she was a clean freak or a slob or somewhere in between, etc. I think holding every woman you meet up to a standard that even this women probably didn't measure up to is definitely setting yourself up for failure, and or course is unfair to the women you meet. No one is a perfect fit, no matter who you meet, you will always have to make some adjustments and compromises. The key isn't finding someone who fits perfectly into your vision of the perfect woman. The key is reaching that point within yourself where you are willing to find and accept a good woman that you would be willing to compromise for and still not feel like you're settling.

    Also, you're absolutely right, looks don't count for much. There are studies all over the place that say that when women are just out for a casual, short term good time, they will go after the gorgeous bad boy, but when they are ready to settle down, looks and superficial charm can't make up for maturity, security, strength, kindness, understanding, common values, life philosophies, etc.

    Have you ever been friends with a woman you dated? It kind of sounds like maybe not. I think that's where you need to start. You have to do some soul searching and decide if long term commitment with one woman, real honest love, even marriage, if therse are things you even want. Maybe you don't really want them. Figure that out first. And if you decide you do want those things, I'd say you probably need to next work on finding a woman you can really be friends with. If your looks aren't the problem, and women reject you over and over once you get past the superficial stage, then I'd say you need to take a long hard honest look at your approach, how you treat these women. Do you treat them like friends, fellow human beings that you respect and care for and would do things for and go out of your way for like you would your male buddies, or do you treat them like things you're trying to obtain or conquer? You haven't given us a lot of information on exactly how these relationships play out and the part you play in each of them, so I don't know, but perhaps these are some things to think about and give you a starting point.

     
    Old 08-05-2007, 08:09 PM   #4
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    Re: 'Serial Monogamist' or Commitment phobe?

    Thanks for the advice. I know it is alot to think about and to work on. This post will be a bit long, but I will try and say what I feel is needed. I actually am very successful and ambitious in many other aspects of my life, and have accomplished many great things at an early age. But the relationship thing is the one thing that has never worked out for me. In short, I have only dated a few people, had infatuations (going both ways, never equal though) many times over, and alot of frustration. My longest relationship lasted a couple of months, the others, less than a month. So nothing, really, that one could consider long-term in any way, except for the amount of drama I infuse - I have had friends tell me that I have put as much emotion and feeling on the line from a short infatuation as they have from relationships of years. I only started dating a few years ago, for many reasons which will take too long to detail, suffice to say, I never believed in myself that I could do it and that noone would ever take an interest in me (I used to be quite overweight and had a major lack of direction in my life, and had real hard time of it until I got to Uni - this is no longer the case but some of the feelings remain). So that experience kind of 'sparked' something in me that it was possible.

    So after that I went on a 'quest' of sorts, to 'find the one'. I was pretty naive. But as I discovered more and more, that yes, women do find me attractive, I began to try very hard. Maybe much too hard, I searched every medium out there. What this amounted to was alot of drama with online dating, met some really cool people and really got into it for a while, girls I met abroad, at dances, etc. But it didnt really amount to anything other than a few coffee and movie dates and so forth.

    I think many factors come into play with this all. For much of my life, I was relatively shy, inward, one of the fat kids made fun of in school with no friends, etc. This all started to change when I got into Uni. I made a major turn-around, lost a ton of weight, revamped my 'look', worked a couple of very sociable jobs and went off to see a good chunk of the world; net result, I became very confident, successful, and changed, in a short span of time. I found I started to attract many attractive women, on a very basic and superficial level, but nothing happened. I think, when I ponder, there are three main issues I have: 1) Because of how well things have gone, how good I feel and look, and so forth, I have made exceedingly high demands for myself and what I am doing with my life, and thus, also feel so in relation to any potential girlfriend. For example, I really want someone who can talk deeply and take a real and vital interest in the world, in cultures and history.2) A weird paradox exists, where I still feel on occasion as I did before, regardless of how I look, and I am a bit of a loner, and am quite introspective. I mean to a normal or above-normal level, in that I am the type of person who is very laid-back and who enjoys spending time by myself, maybe more so than others. I am the type of person who would rather go travel somewhere or take long walks etc by myself, listening to my music, and just reflecting on things. So I tend to really value my 'alone' time, and I feel I am unable to convey this properly to potential dates; I don't want to isolate them or ignore them, I just enjoy this side of myself much more than others. 3) I don't 'believe' attractive women would find me attractive in the same way I them, so maybe that is one reason I become 'in love' so soon, the thrill of it all, and pursue them in the incorrect fashion, then obsess how it will never happen. Very foolish, but thats the way Ive turned out. But I've made physical attraction a major thing for me. I guess I am very meticolous in how I look and present myself, and therefore am really interested in beautiful women, who take the same degree of care. I couldn't date someone who dosent work on or value physical activity, for instance, because I feel it is such an important part of who I am and my life.

    And, I guess one more thing on the 'ideal' woman. Of course, no one is perfect, and never will be. And it is about being compatible. But I tend to attract, for whatever reason, a very specific subset of girls: the young (19-22ish), petty, insecure pretty girls (princesses, you could say?), and if they see interest in me, I completely misread how to act around them, or I attract, still young, but very clingy girls, who want to form an intimate emotional bond from day 1, which scares me off right away. But I guess I probably do a remnant of this myself! So this one girl, this 'ghost', was not perfect, but, she was a bit older and more mature. That, and she fit what I feel I am 'looking for': I am an Eastern European myself, as was she. And I prefer to date only girls from this area or with strong roots there. She was also classy, well dressed, educated, with the physical features that I love (eg dark hair, tall) That and she was interested in me! So these kind of girls aren't a dime a dozen. I could see myself engage in a long-term committment with someone like this, but not with the petty princesses. I am too cynical or annoyed with them for that. So I haven't met anyone quite like her before or since, so it frustrates me and I hope to one day do so. I can hold out as long as necessary, if I know it can happen. So, I need to somehow deal with this all, its alot to deal with and I hope I can. Thanks again for listening!

     
    Old 08-06-2007, 06:59 AM   #5
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    Re: 'Serial Monogamist' or Commitment phobe?

    I can't help feeling, from reading your post, that in re-inventing yourself physically and socially, you have tried to change your basic nature to fit the new image. This is a lot harder than losing weight and buying new clothes etc. Unless you have done a fair bit of hard personal work, you are still the shy overweight boy in there and this is reflected in your approach to romance. You are a bit critical of anyone who is attracted to you, and dismiss them as "petty". As you have said yourself, that none of your relationships last more than weeks, perhaps there is an element of "if she likes me, she must be no good". Not a lot, but it sounds like a little of that operating. I may be wrong, feel free to correct me, but there are things you can think about. Whatever is happening with you, I am sure you will work out and settle confortably into your new self in time. Until this happens, I think that you will not find your ideal woman. I feel you will recognise her when you are ready to.

     
    Old 08-08-2007, 08:46 PM   #6
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    Re: 'Serial Monogamist' or Commitment phobe?

    Thanks, I think you have made alot of good points. I have made alot of progress, but perhaps not enough. I don't know if its that I'm too shy to approach anyone, as this is not nearly as pronounced as before. Getting past initial stages is difficult, as I said, though once I find I have gone out on a first date and started talking, I can and do get really into it! I have developed a fairly cynical and critical approach to dating and love, in general. Maybe it's a combination of several things, including being hurt numerous times over, over-analyzing, etc. I think partially, it could maybe be a protective device, as well - I am sometimes afraid to open up to potential dates, and view them with a critical eye, in that I tend to compare their actions and reactions to me with what previous girls did, (some of whom were abusive), which maybe isn't a fair thing to do, and maybe they can sense it. I have trouble treating each new girl completely seperate from a negative view of women as a whole. I am afraid to open up emotionally to anyone I don't know, I only trust my close family and friends with such feelings, and not a stranger.

    And perhaps the whole 'if they are attracted to me, what's wrong with them' approach is correct, to a degree. When I went on dates with some really beautiful girls, I didn't 'believe' or understand why they were doing so - rather than just focus on the fact that it was happening, I questioned why, why? And I have made a really large pattern of generalizing, based on hurt feelings and an endless list of rejections, going both ways. I feel I would be really happy with someone that I really clicked with and where there was a good deal of attraction on both sides, and would like that, but at the same time, transfer my negative feelings and experiences of the past onto new people, which isn't really cool, I guess, but I have reasons why. That 'ghost' I mentioned, I felt there was so much initial spark and chemistry, and that it was on both sides, I regret never being able to find that again, and avoid making an effort to connect with someone unless I feel that major spark right at the start.

     
    Old 04-04-2008, 10:06 AM   #7
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    Re: 'Serial Monogamist' or Commitment phobe?

    Wow, I really feel for you. Have you ever thought about looking into your relationship w/your parents as a possible source. The key for me has been self-awareness. To understand WHO you are and WHY you do what you do is half the battle. Start looking within. I am guessing, just based on your long threads, that you have unresolved lack of self-regard, self-esteem for yourself. Its like you still feel, deep down, like the insecure fat kid. Love that person inside of you. Learn to love and unconditionally accept that wonderful little fantastic boy inside of you. Just b/c you look better now, does not mean you are more valued. That kid IS you. A huge part of you. Learning to love yourself is the BEST thing you can do, mi amigo. I am just learning.

    Once you have found a real sense of self-esteem/self-respect (vs. self-esteem based on external sources such as your charm/looks/flashy car/flashy job) you will find a well-spring of love and deep joy deep within yourself. This source of deep self-love will allow you to look at others, namely women, in a much less superficial way. Its amazing how much more love you can feel and see in many more potential mates. The standards you have will not drop- they will change based on deeper (less superficial) values.

    Stop with the superficiality. Its not making you happy. Look deep within, mi amigo. Deep within you is a wonderful honorable amazing beautiful soulful man. Wayyyy past your superficial grooming, flat abs, big pocketbook, career "sucess", flashy sports car and house full of "stuff". These are just bells-n-whistles. I know the man mags talk about attracting women with wealth, charm and power however a real relationship is based on MUCH more than this. And you can have it all. You can be gorgeous, fit, trim AND have emotional intimacy for yourself and your own deep needs. Its not mutually exclusive.

    The journey is well-worth it. I'd look up Love Addiction (I am reading it now) and any and all books on self-esteem (most folks suffer from false self-esteem b/c they are Highly Competent in many areas of their life and look good, make good money, have advanced degrees, etc....) Self-esteem is the key to a happy fulfilled spiritual life. Do not make light of this foundation within yourself. I'd also consider books on Codependence. You might suffer from this. I sure do.

    Take care and keep in touch my friend. I wish you the best in your journey to becoming "whole"

    A

     
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