I’m A Recovering Serial Monogamist

Photo: courtesy of the author
How To Know You're A Serial Monogamist And How To Recover
Love, Self

Here's how I learned to love myself.

Since junior year of high school, I have been in a constant series of relationships. It was a perpetual cycle of dating a boy for a few months, breaking up, being single for a few weeks, and then tapping my closest guy friend as my next boyfriend.

I don’t actively seek out a new companion the second I heal from the last heartbreak but the last few years have followed this trend.

I was a textbook serial monogamist — I was constantly jumping from relationship to relationship with my longest period of single-dom lasting only two months.

RELATED: 6 Things Being A Serial Monogamist Means For You — Both Good AND Bad

This would have been fine except for the fact that each breakup became progressively worse. The final exchange would get nastier, we started blocking each other on social media, and friends would be split among us.

After this cycle took a serious toll on my social and mental health, I realized I had to end it.

During this time, I wasn’t completely dependent on my ex-boyfriends. I still went out and did some pretty badass things like ran for student body president, created a modern theatrical production of George Orwell’s 1984, and developed a patent for a nuclear reactor. I didn’t let myself be consumed entirely by my relationship.

I just wanted that regular force of stability in my life. I wanted to have a person that would always be there to drive me home or hang out late at night when I’m feeling lonely. And because of this, I never saw my ex-boyfriends as independent individuals who were choosing to grow in a relationship with me. I subconsciously saw them as props to my life who would help solve my problems and fight my demons for me.

My serial monogamy came from a place a fear.

Specifically, a fear of loneliness. And I constantly felt lonely because I was uncomfortable spending time with myself. Every time I went through a breakup, it felt like I was losing my best friend, my social status, and I viewed myself as a failure.

RELATED: Why High Self-Esteem Is The Secret To A Healthy Relationship

One of the best things I did to break my cycle of serial monogamy was train for a half-marathon. My rigorous training schedule had me going on frequent runs that took up serious space in my Google Calendar where I would spend hours with my thoughts.

I also made a couple of other changes to my lifestyle — I started meditating, began going on more “friend dates” with my girlfriends, and deleted my dating apps. I also created a Google Doc that is my current online diary where I dump ideas, fun facts, favorite words, and periodic entries reflecting on my day. All of these things helped me shift my priorities and gave me a greater sense of internal stability.

The biggest change was when I learned to value my own validation as much as I valued validation from others.

When I was in a relationship, I could always share a funny joke or an interesting idea and get an immediate response. But then I learned to share and appreciate things with and for myself. And once I did that, I began to develop an intimacy with myself where I could be my absolute, true, uninhibited self.

RELATED: The Smartest Thing A Woman Can Learn Is To Never Need A Man

There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be in a serious, committed relationship. My problem was that I was not a whole person independent of my relationship. I was defined by the relationship I had, and I was terrified of existing outside of that definition. And until I know that I can be my own person, I am banning myself from all relationships.

Anyways, the best opportunities come when you aren’t looking for them, right? A partner is like a buddy on a hiking trip. They can help make the journey easier and can bring different skills to help you survive together, but in the end, you’re the one who has to make that journey. For a strong, healthy relationship, don’t expect anyone to solve all your problems carry you to the end. Instead, look for someone who will be a supportive, loving companion who sings songs with you on the trail.

RELATED: I Don't Want A Lover, I Want A Best Friend

Meredith Biechele is a lifelong multidisciplinary learner with a passion for art, education and public service.

This article was originally published at P.S. I Love you. Reprinted with permission from the author.