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Recently, I went on a date with a really nice guy, and I thought that he might be a good partner, but as I prepared to leave the restaurant with him, a lady pulled me aside. She told me to watch out as he was a well-known serial dater.
Not knowing exactly what it was (and it sounds like a serial killer or something), I excused myself to the ladies' room and flipped out my phone. What I found made me change my mind about going back to his place, or even going on future dates with him.
A serial dater isn’t a keeper, and here’s why.
What Is a Serial Dater?
A serial dater is a person who dates with no intention of actually pursuing a relationship to the conclusion (so, not a serial killer then).
When you are dealing with a serial dater, it’s usually someone who is hot and cold, seeking instant and temporary connection, and lacking commitment to a mature relationship.
Serial daters don’t want the house, white picket fence, and 2.5 kids.
Instead, they love dating, but when they feel the pressures get too much, they start distancing themselves or step out and find a new partner (leaving you confused and out in the cold). They are in love with the idea of being in love.
When you are dealing with a serial dater, know that they don’t want to settle down. Instead, they want to live life happily, without commitments, and be free to pursue casual relationships. However, the serial dater never intends to cheat on their partners.
You should also be warned that serial daters come in all shapes and sizes, and members of all the different sexes can become serial daters. For them, it’s all about the thrill of the chase (date), and not about taking the pony home (so to speak).
Unlike a player, who is only trying to get into a date’s pants on the first night, a serial dater will often hold out, seeming to let the romance blossom, but the moment it gets real, they back off.
They are driven back by the mention of commitment, and anything beyond a casual relationship is too much structure and responsibility for them to handle.
How to Avoid Attracting a Serial Dater
Nobody wants to be the object of someone’s desire merely for the entertainment value of a few dates. Most of us want to be in fulfilling relationships that are about support, love, and affection. So how do you avoid being a serial dater’s next prey?
Firstly, know what the signs are and if you suspect someone is a serial dater, you should become extra cautious. If you haven’t seen any signs yet, there are a few things you can do that may cause a serial dater to back off or lose interest in you.
Don’t move too quickly.
If the serial dater has to work really hard to win your affections and win you over, they may lose interest and head for easier prey.
Socialize with Your Married Friends.
Hanging out with your married friends, and letting your serial dater go with you on double dates is a sure-fire way to let the serial dater lose interest. They don’t want to hang out with couples, and they don’t want to socialize with people who won’t be a potential date.
Talk About Your Future Together
If he’s not interested in discussing a long-term plan for your future, then you are not with someone who is serious about spending any more time with you than it takes to get into your pants.
By talking about the future, your plans to have kids and where to raise them, and what a great parent they’d be, you are quickly dousing the flames of passion that drive a serial dater.
Discuss Their Dating History
A serial dater isn’t going to be comfortable admitting they have a mile-long dating list. They know it looks bad. Be open about their past relationships, and discuss it with them.
If you feel there’s still something worthwhile about this person, you can try to really get to know them and let them know you, which may help them decide that their days of chasing that dating thrill are over.
17 Signs that Someone Is a Serial Dater (Watch out)
Since a serial dater isn’t a typical player who is just out for sex, it can be harder to spot the serial dater and avoid them (since they create a relationship that doesn’t lead anywhere).
Some signs that indicate your date is a serial dater can help you steer clear of unfruitful dating dramas.
1. It’s All About the Chase
Some serial daters don’t even move past date number two. While it may be all about getting to home base with you, it can also be about getting you to say yes when you’ve been saying no for a long time.
When someone goes on a date with you after nagging and begging you to have coffee or dinner with them for a long time, but then don’t even call or check in the next day, it can be a sign you’re dealing with a serial dater.
They’ve gotten their thrill – either in sex or even in just your giving in and going on a date with them – and now they move on.
2. They Have Many Pokers in the Fire
Serial daters often have several singles lined up for dates. For them, it’s about going on a date, not necessarily who they go with. A serial dater may literally have a phonebook full of numbers to call for someone who will be their “love” for the evening.
They hate being lonely, so they are always dating.
3. They Drop Lavish Gifts
If a serial dater is still trying to “win” their goal, they will shower you with lavish gifts. Expect huge bouquets of roses and expensive jewels from them as they use their wealth and influence to buy your affection and submission to their dating fantasy.
4. They Want Sympathy
When a person tells you all about their past toxic relationships, they are trying to get your sympathy. The serial dater is an expert at playing the victim. Don’t fall for their “poor me” routine.
A serial dater will use sympathy and play the victim card to win your affections and paint themselves in the light of innocence, when they are really just positioning you like a pawn on their dating board.
5. Expect Them to Have Other Dates
Whether the date is on their radar or already being planned, you are never your serial dater’s sole focus. Oh sure, they can be charming and very winsome, but they already have another single lined up for their conquest.
It’s all about the date, not about who it’s with.
Remember what I said about the phonebook filled with numbers? Yip, you’re not their only interest.
6. They Look Around, Even When With You
Roving eyes are a sure sign they are already looking for their next dating target.
So, when you are dating a serial dater, you can expect they will flirt with others, leaving you feeling insecure and unsure about where you stand.
When you confront them about seeing them eyeing up another single, you are met with accusations of not trusting them, being too needy, and seeing things or imagining things.
Soon, you are gaslighted by their behavior that denies your feelings, and you end up feeling as if it’s all your fault (and it wasn’t).
7. They Lead You On
A serial dater is great at stringing along future dates and keeping current dates as a backup plan – as long as the date isn’t becoming too demanding or looking for greater commitment. They will lie, cheat, and steal your heart without even blushing.
If only they would tell you they only want a good time, you’d be able to lower your expectations, but instead, they string you along, seeming to be “the one” for you – until it turns out, they’re not.
8. They’re Great at Playing the Romance
With all the practice they’ve had at dating, it shouldn’t be a surprise that a serial dater is really excellent at romance. They know how to lead conversations, wind you up, and get you basking in their adoration – which strokes their ego.
Unlike other dates who may seem a little clumsy, a serial dater knows how to turn a “quick coffee” into dinner and movies, or even a “let’s go back to my place” kinda date.
9. When it’s Over, They Ghost You
Serial daters are also lacking in courage, and they won’t own up and tell you a relationship is over. Instead, they disappear or ghost you. They stop texting, don’t return your calls, and are never home when you stop by.
You are left feeling confused and wondering if you lost your marbles, and you thought there was a connection when, clearly, there was none.
10. They Constantly Need Attention
All of their actions, from lavish gifts to romantic gestures and expensive getaways, are geared at getting your attention.
Like a little child who never got the love and affection from their parents, they want you to constantly shower them with your interest, love, attention, and dedication.
In a way, a serial dater sees themselves as a gift to all singles they date, which gives them a sense of entitlement.
11. There’s a Long History of Short Dates
Most of us have been on a couple of dates, and while we may have had one or two relationships that didn’t go past the third or fourth date, a serial dater has a slew of “abruptly ended” dates. While you may have one or three exes, a serial dater has dozens of exes.
It’s a long road of dates that ended and relationships that quickly fizzled.
12. “You Changed Me for the Better.”
Hearing someone say that you helped them become a better version of themselves is flattering, to say the least, and that brings a burden of reciprocity.
You feel bound to tell them how they’ve made you feel good or let you live better – giving the serial dater the gratification they want.
13. It’s the Thrill of Sexual Gratification
While some serial daters may take a few dates to work up to getting you where they want you – the bedroom – it’s their ultimate goal to get sexual gratification. Some serial daters move faster, seeking to get their thrill as quickly as possible.
A serial dater is also known to be quite physical; they are quick to kiss, hug, and hold hands. They unbalance you with the endorphin release of feeling like you are in love. As a result, they can quickly steer the date towards their goal, which is to satisfy an urge.
To them, it’s not about the person. In fact, you’re a blank spot on their ambitions, and anyone can fill it. Sadly, for a serial dater, it’s never personal.
14. Your Friends Don’t Matter to Them
When someone you’re dating doesn’t show any interest in meeting your friends or family, it should be a warning sign.
Chances are that they are actually only trying to get their thrills from you, and once that’s been enjoyed, they move on. Therefore, they don’t have much interest in meeting the people in your life – they’re not planning on being in your life for long anyway.
Another reason they may not want to meet your friends or family is that they fear being found out or having someone else see them for who they are. By isolating you, they can manipulate you and get what they want.
What about a serial dater who is interested in your friends, especially single ones? Remember, a serial dater is always on the hunt for their next date, and in their books, all’s fair game.
Your single family members, friends, and colleagues are all potential future dates to them. So if they pay attention to your circle, it’s only to spot their next conquest.
15. They Have Several Online Dating Apps
It’s all a game, and serial daters have their nets cast wide, including online dating. You’ll find serial daters on any number of online dating platforms from eHarmony and Tinder to exotic and niche dating sites.
These are all fertile grounds for a serial dater to find their next date and line up the future ones too.
As soon as the serial dater leaves the restaurant or even your apartment, they are on their phones, checking who has tried to hook up with them online. It’s the ultimate thrill to always have singles ready and there for them.
When someone starts seriously dating you, it’s usually expected that they discuss their other relationships, go exclusive, and cancel memberships to an online dating community. However, a serial dater won’t do this. They always have one foot out the door.
16. There’s No Real Progress
With a serial dater, the relationship may quickly heat up, but then it stagnates. It’s the same place for dinner and movies, the same level of commitment and a decreasing interest.
Remember, since they don’t want to commit, the serial dater doesn’t plan past the first couple of dates. They’re not invested, so they quickly lose interest, at which point, the dates become very lukewarm and “blah.”
17. They Are Never Single
Your serial date is never comfortable alone. Their sense of worth is determined by their ability to land a date (any date) and not be alone – which is also how they avoid thinking of their misdeeds.
While we all have breakups, a serial dater is always between relationships. It’s like they’ve just had to break up with their past date, but never a case of they have worked on themselves for the last six months and are now ready to date again.
Serial daters don’t like being single.
Final Thoughts on Serial Daters
Have you been on a date with a serial dater? It’s the worst feeling to be so swept off your feet, only to realize you meant nothing to the other person, and you were merely a momentary distraction to them.
Take care to know who you are dating, discuss your goals and expectations before diving under the covers, and ultimately, find someone who will cherish and support you because they actually like you.
And if you want more resources on dating and relationships, check out these blog posts:
- Can Two Introverts Date and Make a Good Couple?
- 6 Steps to Stop Worrying About Your Relationship
- 20 Ways to Get Over Someone You Love & Move On