Have you ever dated a woman whose attitude suddenly changes for the worse? Or been with a guy who starts to play games out of nowhere? Or maybe the person you’re seeing abruptly turns into a rude, mysterious person with no explanation. It happens to the best of us.

As a guy, I’ve often seen these abrupt changes happen with one type of woman more than any other. Namely, “The Serial Dater.” In my opinion, serial daters are some of the most dangerous women online. These are the type of women that play the numbers game and try to go on as many first dates as possible.

While this may seem like a reasonable thing to do in order to find that special someone, it is also a red flag. Why? Because serial daters are often the type of women that are always looking for the next best thing. No guy will ever measure up to their ideal fantasy of what they see on television and in the movies. We can have a good date, but if we didn’t sweep them off their feet like Ryan Gosling in The Notebook, it’s just not good enough.

Many of these women will often waste the best years of their lives looking for something that just doesn’t exist, instead of taking the time to actually get to know people that could be a great match! Unlike the movies, in “real life,” most people don’t fall in love after a first date. Nor do they feel an earth-shattering connection after a couple of drinks. Yes, it may happen to some people out there, but more often than not, these are the type of feelings that only occur when we are young teenagers, hopelessly falling in love.

In my humble opinion, the way we fall in love changes as we age. It still happens, and even just as powerfully, but not as instantly. For most adults, feelings of adoration and love take time to develop and we must get to know someone for who they are on several different levels first. As our emotional connections build up, the love builds up as well, and we eventually fall in love.  Again, this is not true in all cases, but I believe this is how love works for the majority of adults.

The serial daters out there do not give these feelings time to progress. They just jump to the next email or date if they did not instantly fall in love after a date or two. Eventually many of these misguided serial daters will find themselves in a relationship at some point after dozens or even hundreds of dates, but more often it is because they reach a point where they are exhausted from looking, and just decide to settle because time is ticking!

There are, however, warning signs that can help us to avoid serial daters. For example, pay attention to the stories that your date tells. Sharing bad date stories is fun, but the fun can only go so far. I actually recommend swapping bad date stories when I give online dating advice because it gives you something to bond over, but the key word is still “fun.” If your date endlessly talks about online dating in a way that sounds as if they are frustrated, they probably are! This person could be just another jaded online dater and should be avoided. This is just one of the many signs of an online dater. Stay tuned for more advice about red flags to avoid in my next column!

Joshua Pompey is the author of three online dating books for men, and runs a profile writing service. For more information, click GetREALDates Online Dating Profiles or The REAL Online Game Online Dating Tips.
  1. Joshua this is in response to the above, I am sure that there are women and men that do what you said, However you have not taken in consideration that when you go out you might be going out simply to make connections not only for dates but also to connect with people and net work. The other thing that you guys do not seem to understand is that no, we do not expect to be swept off our feet like in the movies, we know that is great acting and nothing else, however there most be a strong chemistry in order to have a bond grow between the two people involved. Sometimes although you find the person extremely handsome or beautiful it does not happen. So do you think that people should lie in order not to hurt the other person or should they be sincere with them? The other thing is that sometimes women get a funny vibe immediately from the date that it will probably not go anywhere and that the man is only looking for a quick lay. Therefore does not bother seeing them again and continues on her quest to find a better match, so you are telling me that in order not to be called a serial dater one should simply stop all together? I think you men have too many rules and regulations to follow and I think half the time you do not know yourself what you actually want leaving us women baffled. The other thing that I have noticed is that if things do not work out with a guy he finds it extremely easy to bash the woman to make himself look good. Women do not do that, they simply state it did not work out. It is hard enough to date at our age and find that true friend and lover. We do not need another thing to add to the list of being concerned about.
    Middle age woman who is in the dating game right now and tired of the ups and downs that it offers.
    This is the second time that I have stated that because it is annoying to constantly see the same comments. If the answer came out exactly the same it should tell you it is the honest opinion of someone who does not know or think of herself an expert within the subject

  2. Wow Patricia! I could have written the exact same critique as you spelled out precisely how women deal with these issues. The problem is not gender-based for there are serial dating men and women. The issue at the core is dating itself. Today, a date is either a hookup or a make or break meeting between two people who don’t know a thing about each other. Brilliant concept. What it should be, as Joshua puts it, is a chance to get to know someone not as a date but as a friend that could lead to a romantic date. Unfortunately, that rarely happens because we simply don’t care enough about each other to bother with it. The funny vibe thing that you refer to is an example of that and it is the women (as exemplified by that vibe) that have all the rules and regulations. Most men are pretty relaxed about all this.

    It is also funny to me that the only ones who seem to take the time to talk with each other are those 60 and up. That could be because they are each grandparents so sex is not the main focus of the meeting, friendship is. The romance and sex comes later. If only we could take that lesson and apply it to our 40s and 50s when we still have a few years left to enjoy each other.

  3. My partner views me as a serial dater, because I am one chatty woman, I am not rude and I know how important it is to be polite. I am a midwife and it is my job to build a relationship with someone who is vulnerable very quickly in order that they trust you. Also my father was in the RAF, this involved moving around, I learned as a child to be sociable very quickly in order to be accepted by my peers at school. I love people and find all people fascinating. I will talk to street seller, Big issue sellers, tramps, ticket sellers in train stations, a guy in a bar if I am there alone, waiting for a appointment when I have arrived at the destination too early. I see absolutely nothing wrong in this behaviour.

    I have played golf and been chatting to total strangers on the way around the course who happened to be male but it would not have made any difference to me male or female. I have taken phone numbers to maintain contact with people I have met on the coach to London and it drives my significant other mental.

    He calls me a serial dater and simply does not understand me. He tells his friends I go into bars to chat up other men.
    I am at the point of calling it a day. He is just too possessive. How do two so different people reconcile these sorts of issues.

  4. The other thing I find hysterical on dating sites, is, if a woman dates a guy and she goes to bed with him on the first date she is not to be trusted again or respected, but what is said of the guy??

    Your advice is very one sided, not at all objective and I would expect a site like yours to give sound advice. If you wish to bash women it should be in private.

    There are people who are looking for someone special and move around date sites doing just that. There are men and women who are looking for sex. That is their choice so long as there is honesty in their approach to others, respect and move on.

    My advice would be to follow your own instincts, not look for the signs someone else has decided tell you someone is to be trusted or not. Surely it is the case that actions have consequences. If one is having a sexual relationship without first building a friendship then it is quite likely there will be possible problems later on. IT is like the bible says, do not build your house on sand, we all need stable foundations and it is so in relationships.

  5. I’ve recently had several women who appeared to have a good first date with me, they told me they wanted to see me again, and then about-faced and wouldn’t tell me why. It’s enough to make me wonder if someone (and here I’m thinking the JDate web people) had contacted them and passed on something about me to turn these women off. I’m wondering if a website would do this. I am not aware of any woman complaining about me and I have no reason to think that any would. But is it possible that the good folks at JDate would undermine the dating prospects of one of their paying subscribers?!

  6. @Jay I am just like you, it’s called being a free spirit. Why so people assume that every conversation leads to something more when we are simply connecting to other human beings. This is society today. Madness

  7. Dating websites encourage the serial daters – of course that’s where their money is! Match is known for bad practices like fake “someone is interested!” emails on the day your subscription expires, keeping profiles up people think they’ve blocked, continually sending you “matches” even if you no longer subscribe, etc. This can really hook some people into serial dating – the too many fish in the sea thing. If you start to date someone you’ve met online how can you trust they aren’t still online, even if they say they want to commit? You can’t really and, at the first sign of cold feet, they may be back there trolling because it’s so tempting. Some people are attention junkies who can’t cope with the give and take of real intimacy – prefer “keeping it light” but still enjoy the occasional conquest. Online sites are their kind of place. Ugly but true.

  8. Serial dating is bad for either gender, if you are setting up 3-5 dates per week you might think you’re keeping them straight but you’re not, and people can tell. You will begin to compare and classify your dates within the first 5 minutes without any evidence.

    This is one reason online dating, as it is now, is a horrible thing for our society in general. It creates a fantasy world for women that gives them the illusion that there are 200 men for every woman in the world, based on the attention they get online. In fact there are a lot more women on the earth than men lol.

    Meeting in REAL life doing things you enjoy will always be the best way to go. It helps you avoid becoming jaded and bitter (I’m a thirty something and have some really beautiful and wonder female friends in their mid 20s who are older than I am because of this!)

    Attention you really haven’t earned doesn’t really mean anything- I have dated women who started out gorgeous and a few dates in I had completely lost the attraction. Regardless of how attracted you are that level will either increase or decrease as you get to know them- it never stays the same.

    I have my own creative company and dating is always in my back burner but i still enjoy it- they key is to meet people as PEOPLE and treat them the way you would a friend. If there is a connection there you’ll find it; but bringing all your serial dating data and baggage may blind you to what’s right in front of you.

    My advice- realize online dating sites are a 100% lie when it comes to defining yourself, your worth as a partner and even your popularity. Get out there, do things you enjoy and enjoy the people you meet naturally. Be your best self and great things will happen. But first you gotta unplug.

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