Should you beware of the serial dater?

Julie went out with Yossi and was enthusiastic about him – until she discovered that he had dated every single relatively attractive woman in the area, including all her friends!

By TAMAR CASPI
August 13, 2010 16:41
4 minute read.
The dating game cartoon

dating game311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Julie called me last night with a new dating debacle. She’d met this guy on JDate that she knew from the area, and they started instant messaging each other. Conversation flowed, she laughed, she was interested, and it seemed 100 percent mutual.

They went out, and the date went really well too – there was chemistry, and they had a lot in common (including many mutual lady friends). They wanted to make plans to see each other again.

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After the date, the problem reared its ugly head.

Julie knew Yossi had seriously dated one friend and gone out with a few others, and she approached some other mutual friends to tell them about the great guy from the community that she had gone out with, a guy she admittedly she probably wouldn’t have given a chance to had he approached her at a networking event. Finally, she said it was Yossi.

The excitement dimmed when these mutual friends heard his name. All of them had dated Yossi as well! She started to hear more and more rumors about additional friends and acquaintances, all of whom had dated him as well. Turns out Yossi is a serial dater.

I actually know Yossi, and I was able to discuss this new predicament with Julie quite knowledgeably.

Yossi was like me before I met “S” – looking for my beshert and willing to turn over every rock until I found him.



Yossi really wants to get married (although not exactly in a stinking-of-desperation kind of way) and he has dated every relatively attractive woman in the area.

Some were just one or two dates, others were longterm relationships. None of the women had anything bad to say about Yossi – just that “it” wasn’t there.

When Yossi runs into his exes at events, at bars and clubs, or just on the street, they greet him cordially with a warm hug and kiss on the cheek. There is no animosity. But there’s also no concrete reason any of them stopped dating. There’s just something you can’t quite put your finger on.

Instinctually, I didn’t think Yossi was right for Julie, but I thought he would be good dating practice, and so I explained my thought process to her and softened the edges about the whole serial dating thing.

I told her that she shouldn’t have a problem with someone who has dated everyone possible; it just means they are looking for the same thing as she is.

As long as her friends who dated the guy give her their blessing and warn her if there’s anything worth knowing, I say he’s free game.

JULIE HAD realistic reason to be concerned, but she had already been on a date with Yossi and enjoyed herself, so why should she be punished because others didn’t have dates that were as successful? Had she not gone and asked each friend about him, she would only have known about the few mutual friends he had dated, and not about the expanded list, and she would have gone on a second date without any preconceived notions.

I told her that I would be more concerned if she didn’t know one person whom he had dated. Yossi was obviously committed to finding a Jewish woman, and that’s exactly the type of guy Julie was looking for.

At the time I met “S,” I used to say that “there were no guys left in the city because I had either dated them, their relative or their friend.” That’s right – I too was a serial dater.

But “S” was perplexed. Had I really been in relationships with that many different guys? Of course not! Ninety-nine percent of them were just first dates that went nowhere.

So “S” told me that I needed to change my terminology.

Going on one date with someone doesn’t mean you “dated” them. Not even two dates does. I had to learn to specify these “one-timers,” as opposed to those I had seriously dated. The former list was lengthier by far – like, by a 1,000 (okay, that might be an exaggeration, but not by much!).

In fact, “S” would rather I not count the single dates at all, and forget about the guys who were totally inconsequential to my life. By using the formula “S” suggested, I had only actually dated a few people. The others simply didn’t count.

The next time I see Yossi, I plan on sharing this concept with him because where both of us erred was in thinking that joking about dating everyone and their brother (or sister) is cute, when, in fact, it is the opposite.

Yossi should concentrate on the specific girl he’s on a date with and not even play Jewish Geography until the second or even third date. True, it’s important to get endorsements from your mutual friends – but when you’ve dated all of those friends, the endorsement isn’t quite as meaningful and could actually be more hurtful.

It’s better to allow your date to form his or her own opinion first.

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