What Is A Serial Dater? Signs To Look Out For And Tips To Handle

Dating experience | | , Senior Editor & Correspondent
Updated On: March 21, 2024
serial dater psychology

If you have just entered or gotten back into the dating pool, let me tell you about some fish. There is the romantic one, the forever one, the fling one, and the causal one. But there is one in particular that looks nice but has an evil edge – the serial dater. Many allegories could be used to describe serial daters. They are the bees that jump from flower to flower or male snakes that form mating balls to subdue competition in order to mate with the female snake (sounds fascinating, right? Look it up)!

Serial daters are suave and chic – they are attractive and will have your attention at first glance. They are master manipulators masked by charisma. I am not saying that serial daters are horrible, they mostly just lack general conscience. They may present themselves to be different, almost like out of a dream. Beware, it is a trap! That impression is not going to last for long.

What Is A Serial Dater? 

Let’s define it this way – for a serial dater, dating is like a sport they think they are good at. They will date people one after the other for kicks or out of compulsion. Serial dater psychology is defined by a vicious cycle of hooking up and breaking up. For them, it is like clockwork that fills the emotional void within. People who get into serial dating either like having the upper hand in everything or are very afraid of rejection – often it is a mix of both. They will lead you on just long enough till you are ready for commitment and then, they will vanish. They live for this high.

5 Signs Of A Serial Dater To Watch Out For

Serial dater signs are often not visible so easily. They are wrapped in mush and intense romance. A serial dater will never let you know his/her true intentions. They will seem like they’re into you right from the beginning. They will make you feel like an oyster wrapped by a shell, the shell representing themself – such will be the comfort of their company. In this initial attraction phase, you may let your guard down. Proceed with caution! Even if there is the slightest spark of logic or rationale, explore it. You may want to know if you are being preyed on by a compulsive dater. Moreover, it is important for you to identify a serial dater to find love in the time of hook-up culture. Here are some serial dater signs you could watch out for. 

1. A serial dater will make large statements 

Right from the beginning of your dating cycle, a serial dater will tell you that they were a player and that you changed them. They may even pretend to be vulnerable with you – saying that they have never opened up like they have with you. They will make you feel, with their large statements, that you know them inside out. They will make you feel valued and loved but all of it is a facade, they’re all falsities.

These statements are a classic symptom of serial dater psychology. If they have been making these for a while, it is time to reassess the situation. Has this person ever revealed their intention about dating? Has the conversation moved forward or is it stuck in the same cycle of dates and grandiose statements? If you get mixed answers to these questions or see no signs he (or she) wants to make you his girlfriend, a serial dater – like a venus flytrap – is strengthening their hold on you. 

2. A serial dater will make you jealous 

People who are on a spree of serial dating will ensure that they make their partner jealous. They will boast about adventures with the opposite sex, bring random people’s names into conversations and even try to focus on other people while you are dating. This is all made to make the current partner feel a tinge of jealousy. They may even end up comparing you to their ex.

By making you feel jealous, serial daters may feel better about themselves because firstly and most importantly, they care deeply about themselves. However, an excessive dose of jealousy could be bad for a person. It could throw you into a vortex of self-doubt. This low self-esteem could do more harm than good. In short, jealousy is not healthy and if you are being fed strong doses of it, you may have a serial dater on your hands.

Related Reading: 8 Ways On How To Deal With A Jealous Partner

3. A serial dater likes the attention 

If there was a spotlight on your relationship, it is likely it would constantly be focused on the serial dater. They like to make everything about them. Even when they plan dates, they will ensure that everything is to their liking. However, they will make it seem like they did it for you. When you do not like something, they may throw a tantrum and sulk. In short, it will abundantly clear that you are dating an attention-seeker.

That brings me to a sub-topic: extreme attention-seeking by playing the victim. A serial dater may be full of sob stories that will make your heart melt. They will mention emotional abuse and misuse of woke terms to describe their past. There will be a high level of delusion that you may not recognize at first. However, if you have not been influenced by the charms of this compulsive dater, you should ask questions. You may find inconsistencies in their stories. That’s how you catch a serial dater and save yourself. 

serial dater signs
A serial dater will display high level of attention seeking

4. A serial dater is often just out of a fresh break-up

A person with a compulsive dating habit will always just be out of a breakup and they would want to jump into another relationship because they – out of habit – cannot stay single. The breakup story could also be very sad and dramatic. A serial dater may also be very proud of the fact that they broke up with their ex. Always note that they will be the ones who will have broken up and not the other way around. Because a serial dater cannot handle rejection.

Tina, a banker, told me that she had once come across a serial online dater; serial online daters are arguably the worst kinds who are capable of catfishing. “George connected with me on Bumble. We spoke for months and finally met. It was one of the most charming dates. He appeared heartbroken over his ex, which seemed very fresh. We kept meeting – I consoled him all the time. One day, I saw his phone buzz. It was a Bumble ping. I thought we both had been off it since we were dating,” she said.

She was determined to catch him while cheating. Once when Tina and George were sleeping next to each other, she took his phone and unlocked it through his Face ID (she just placed it in front of his sleeping face). She discovered that George was engaging with 30 people and was dating at least five girls simultaneously. Once she confirmed that he was a serial online dater, she somehow found the five girls he was dating and told them that they were caught in the trap of a serial online dater. 

5. Serial daters like long dates

Let’s clarify these first – long dates are not bad. Some relationship-oriented people enjoy long dates, especially if they feel an instant connection. So, let’s not vilify long dates. However, serial daters often aim for long-drawn dates. The more time you spend with them, the greater chance they have to sweep you off your feet. They will want you to be invested in them as soon as possible.

Related Reading: 25 Free Date Ideas for Couple | Cute, Fun, Romantic Dates You Must Try

How To Handle A Serial Dater

Now that you know what a serial dater may look like, it is time to decide how you are going to handle them. Are you going to give this a genuine chance or are you going to put yourself and your mental health first? There is no need to decide immediately. If you want to hang around and see how things go, I have some serial dater relationship advice for you. These five rules will teach you how to handle this compulsive dater. 

1. Do not sleep with a serial dater

Serial daters would want to get physical with you very soon. For many, the pinnacle of serial dating is sex and achieving it with consent. Then, it usually ends there. The serial dater will lose interest in you and will soon start looking for their next prey. You do not want this to happen, right? Do not be under the impression that engaging in sex with a serial dater will seal the deal. You are wrong. Do not give in to the temptation. Do whatever it takes to steer clear.

2. Give them instructions

A serial dater is meticulous – they have everything planned to have you hooked. The trap closes slowly. Before that happens, take charge. Give the serial dater instructions. Tell them how you wish to communicate with them. Their reaction will be interesting. A serial dater will probably be averse to you being a regular part of their routine. This may either keep them at bay or may reveal the real person beneath the serial dater.

Related Reading: 15 Warning Traits Of A Serial Cheater – Don’t Be His Next Victim

3. Engage yourself and ignore the serial dater

It is abundantly clear by now that a serial dater is going to push you right to the edge. But do not wait for their call or message – don’t stay trapped in the oyster they create for you. Build a thrilling life for yourself. A serial dater does not complete you. You must be able to be a better version of yourself – maybe date yourself – independently of anybody else. Let the serial dater see that his charms are not robbing you of your senses.  

4. Loop them into a schedule

If you feel that a serial dater is overpowering you, you need to set a schedule for yourself. Plan your dates with them before they start controlling your time. Tell them that you need to see them for a certain amount of time. You could also subconsciously decide how much time and energy you want to spend with the serial daters. Once you turn the tables, a serial dater may get baffled. In the long run, they may also reveal the person underneath the facade, revealing a fake relationship

5. Be yourself 

This is a very generic piece of advice, I know. But there’s no better way to show a serial dater that their illusory moves on you are just that – a mere illusion. If you keep your mind clear, you will be able to see through their falsities. Moreover, the serial dater should also know who they are trying to date. They often do not appreciate a sense of individuality and may try to quickly distance themselves. In that case, good riddance. 

Serial dater relationship advice is a lot about self-assurance. Once you’re self-assured is when you will be able to resist them or have the power to change them (if you have indeed come to like them). Tread this situation with a little caution though because it is slippery. And if you slip, this serial dater will catch you and make you believe in romance extraordinaire, but only for a little while!


1. Can a serial dater change?

Every person is capable of change. So yes, a serial dater can change. However, do not expect this change to be miraculous or instant. Sometimes people do not change completely. Some characteristics are intrinsic. So while a serial dater may change, they may retain some of their habits in a subconscious form.

2. Why do people become serial daters?

There are many reasons – loneliness and rejection being the primary ones. Loneliness can drive a person to date a string of people without them realizing that they could be emotionally draining the other. They also cannot bear rejections or the emotional void that comes after, so they keep on dating.

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