The urban dictionary defines a serial dater as “One who engages in the process of systematically dating an obscene amount people in a short span of time, Someone who feels like they always need a boyfriend or girlfriend”. I never knew this was even a term until my third year in the University when I joined a spoken word group.
The moment someone in the group referred to himself as a “serial dater” and said he had been single for three months . A part of me knew this was what I was when he mentioned it but the Nile is not just a river in Egypt. It takes a lot of courage to accept the truth about yourself and even more courage to go through the process of change. Serial dating is an addiction that has been over looked and underestimated. Most people who are involved with this are usually battling with depression and low self esteem.
Anyways back to my story, so after my friend in the group had opened up about being a serial dater and others encouraged him to stay single for a while, I said nothing though. The term bounced around in my thoughts for a little while but I decided to ignore it. I had recently gotten my heart broken again for the umpteenth time and was already getting into another relationship with someone I barely knew anything about, with all the red Flags in the air. It was like I was on autopilot, almost like second nature.
The moment one relationship ended I jumped into another one without taking time to heal or process my experiences. I kept making the same mistakes over and over again, dating guys I would not even be friends with on a normal day but like I said it was like I was on autopilot. My sister had advised me several times to take sometime to myself and stay single, but before she could blink her eyes I was already in another bad relationship.
Being a serial dater is very toxic, especially if you have been in bad relationships which is often true in most cases of serial dating. You have a lot of piled up emotions inside you, a lot of bitterness and anger. And sometimes this underlying feeling of not being good enough. The root cause of this is depression and low self esteem. I attended an all girls boarding secondary school, whenever I went home on break I hardly left the house, I was very antisocial and shy. My parents caged me a lot, and there were a lot restrictions placed on my movements and dressing. By the time I was sixteen and graduating I was still shy when talking to the opposite sex. I could not even have a boy look at me without turning the other way. I was painfully shy, and I was a pushover.
A lot of my peers in school had already had boyfriends and would talk about it openly and I was very curious about what it would be like to have one. After graduation I did not get into the University until two years later, during that time I would talk to boys in my neighbourhood. My mother was furious about that, she did not want me talking to boys and even embarrassed me publicly on one occasion. It still did not work because she had to go to work and whenever she was not around I would sneak out to hang out with my male friends. Unfortunately I did not choose the most responsible set of male friends, I started experimenting with all kinds of drugs but fortunately I never got addicted to any.
I finally got into the University when I was nineteen and from then on my dating life went down hill. In my first year I talked to a whole lot of guys and had too many male friends. Although I was still a virgin at the time but I was still very curious to experience what my friends were always talking about. So I had my first relationship at the age of nineteen. I went from relationship to relationship during my university days, never being single up-to three months but gladly I was able to graduate with a good grade.
I am currently a graduate and I will be turning twenty-four in a few months. I ended my last relationship three months ago and I am currently single. Honestly staying single has not been easy and sometimes it feels very uncomfortable. I have had to ask myself some very hard questions and review the past few years of my life. I finally accepted I am a serial dater and doing my best to stay single and deal with the issues that cause me to date so mindlessly. It definitely has not been easy, I did not love myself so I kept looking for someone to love me and approve who I am so I could feel good about myself. But now I realise I do not need a relationship to be happy or to be fulfilled in life.
Written by Leela for Diary of a naija girl