Auntie SparkNotes: Am I Just a Serial Monogamist?
I like being in relationships. I really enjoy them. I'm happy in them, but I'm also happy single, too. I like just chilling with my friends and having a good time without having to worry about pleasing anyone. So, I have a question.
I just broke up with my boyfriend a little over a week ago. There's a couple guys I really, really like, but some people think that I just want to be in a relationship. I don't think it's true, but they do have a point: I have not really been single for long since Sophomore year in high school, and I'm a freshman in college. There was Guy A for three months; six days after that breakup, I dated Guy B for ten months; two weeks after that, I dated Guy C for a month and a half. Then came a four-month break, and then I dated Girl D for three months. After her, I was single for a couple months, and then came Guy E for three-and-a-half.
Now I'm single, and I don't want a relationship right now, but I could see one in a few weeks (preferably after finals). Most of these people, I wasn't all that attached to. The relationships were too short, or there just wasn't a connection. But I felt a connection with Guy B, and he took me forever to get over—and I felt a connection to Girl D, but something catastrophic happened that made me sever all ties.
I have this tendency to see myself with multiple people at once, even though I really only fall for one or two. So, I am attracted to two different boys right now. But do you think I am attracted to them, or that I just want to be attached? I hope it's the former, but reading over this email, it isn't looking good.
Really? I don't know, Sparkler. I think it looks just fine.
Because where your friends seem to see your serial relationshipping as something you're doing automatically and out of fear of being alone, I just see the typical romantic history of an 18 year-old college kid who likes and is good at dating—most of which isn't unusual, and none of which is cause for alarm. I see a standard-issue first attempt at a high school romance that fizzled out after three months. I see just one truly serious, long-term relationship, followed by a quickie rebound and then several restorative months of singledom. I see you trying something different, with an experimental foray into dating ladies that unfortunately didn't end well. And I see you going off to school as a free agent, then enjoying a three-month freshman fling that lasted as long as your first college semester.
And most importantly, I see the one choice that serial monogamists who just want attachment at any cost never make, and that you've made twice already in your two years of active dating: to be completely, contentedly alone when you're in the process of getting over someone.
Meanwhile, you said it yourself: you aren't unable to be single, and these relationships don't rule your life. You just enjoy making a connection with a person you find attractive—and in a more adult social sphere, i.e. one where people tend to date around without feeling compelled to slap the "boyfriend" label on anyone, nobody would think it was odd if you were attracted to or spending time with several different people. But in high school and college, where the options pretty much boil down to either a) seeing one person exclusively, or b) hooking up with multiple people casually? Your best option, and the best fit for you, is probably the one you've gravitated to naturally: having monogamous romances with one person at a time, even if the romances themselves are casual and don't last all that long.
Of course, if you do start to feel like your identity is too wrapped up in being coupled up, then taking a break from dating is an obvious, easy solution that you're more than welcome to try. But as long as your life remains robust; as long as you're not neglecting your friendships, your passions, and your studies; as long as you don't become dependent on a boyfriend or girlfriend to validate your worth; and as long as you still occasionally enjoy spending an evening solo and going to bed alone, there's no reason why you shouldn't keep on connecting with people in a way that's fun and enjoyable for you.
Especially if those people have cute faces and shapely butts.
Got something to say? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at email@example.com.
Want more info about how this column works? Check out the Auntie SparkNotes FAQ.