Finding your fairy-tale prince is not a one-way ticket to “happily ever after.” As much as the childhood programming (indoctrination) we’ve gone through would like to have you believe, no one will come and swoop you up to save you from the abysmal millennial dating scene. And excessively looking for him in every person you meet will kill this fantasy… hopefully, one day. Welcome to millennial serial dating.
Urban Dictionary defines a serial dater as:
One who engages in the process of systematically dating an obscene amount people in short span of time.
Serial dating is taking over our dating scene. We continuously search for an uncompromising version of the guy or girl we think we want. This leads too many people to create unreal expectations about the kind of partner they think they’re entitled to – oftentimes that person just doesn’t exist. Sure, who wouldn’t want a six-foot tall, European aristocrat with the chin of a commercial pilot, the sensitive disposition of a poet and the brain of a Nobel-winning astrophysicist?
But, as we all know, perfection doesn’t exist in the real world, and if it did—let’s be honest—it’d be terribly dull. Flaws and imperfections are what makes people interesting. They help us to develop our relationships over time and get closer to the people we care about.
A good friend of mine, let’s call her Blair, recently broke up with her third boyfriend of twenty-sixteen. As a serial dater, she’s grown accustomed to trying and tossing men like it’s nothing, so she wasn’t too heartbroken, though I can’t say the same for her unfortunate casualty. Blair’s not looking to broaden her experiences on the dating circuit, though it might seem that way. She’s trying to find Mr. Right. And who is Blair’s Mr. Right, you might be wondering?
Mr. Impossible, because he doesn’t exist. When I have the patience for it, I listen to Blair describe her various dates’ and boyfriends’ shortcomings: they don’t have a career, they’re not attractive enough, they’re too serious, they’re not mysterious enough… If I didn’t know any better I’d believe there were no good single men left. But I do know better. You see, Blair’s got this detailed list in her head and for a guy to work out, he’s got to check off all of those boxes. And there are plenty of boxes.
Blair’s Prince Charming is a damaging concept and it’s uncompromising because it prevents her from meeting guys on their own terms and getting to know them for who they really are, instead of being blinded by the false ideal she’s got in her head. I tell this to Blair. I tell her all the time, yet she doesn’t seem too interested. She feels entitled; she wants what she wants, and she’s convinced she’ll get it even though it’s likelier she’ll end up alone, or with someone pretending to be something he’s not.
I’ve even asked Blair how she’d feel:
if a guy had the same uncompromising standards she has. Would she make the cut? She seems to think so. She seems to think she’s not asking for too much.
People shouldn’t be held to unrealistic standards. In Blair’s case, she’ll serial date for a lifetime to find her Fairy-Tale Prince. Ironically, she’s probably overlooked plenty of men who could’ve made her happy and given her the kind of relationship she wants, but because she wasn’t open to them, willing to look past their superficial faults, or see them for who they were instead of the ideal in her mind, she missed out.
Fairy-Tale Princes only exist in movies and even then they’re cardboard cutouts of human beings. Real people are complex, nuanced and most of all, filled with surprises; and that’s a good thing, anything else would be unexciting. So quit serial dating and learn to love the flaws in people that genuinely interest you.