Have you ever had that friend who breaks up with one person to go out with someone else? They are miserable before they break up. Happy as hell with the new person for a short period of time, then become miserable again. They then break up with the new person and before you know it, they are back to dating the original person again!!
It is almost as if they want to fool around with someone new but can't unless they are in a relationship with them. And they don't want to completely give up on the first person.
Yes, in a way this is serial monogamy (I'll add this to the Definitions page). But I'm focusing here on the fact that they go back to the same person every time.
Let's forget about labels for a minute and just ponder what is happening. Wouldn't you, as the person being left and returned-to each time, finally realize what was happening and tell your partner "Hey, you are going to come back to me anyway. Instead of us breaking up why don't you just go have fun and come back when you are done." ?
Ok, I know I know. Why would someone wait around for their partner to come back in that situation? Why wouldn't they just say "To hell with you, don't come back!" and be done with them?
Yeah. Forgot about that sneaky little bug didn't ya. Because they are in love with the person who wants to go play with others once in a while!
To be fair, I would tell them to go have fun and come back when they were done. But I wouldn't tell them "I'll be waiting for you". No way. I would say go ahead, have your fun and come back when you are done. But while you are out, I won't be sitting here diddling myself. I'll be out having fun too. Yes, I'll come back when I'm done and we'll still have a relationship. There is no need to move out, divide our stuff, break up or anything like that. We will still sleep together, do fun things together, all that good stuff. But I'm not just going to sit by and wait for you. If we are going to do this, let's do it right.
Out in the open, on the table, honestly.
I'm going to try and remember that the next time I hear about one of my friends having relationship problems. When they say something like "I think Bob is cheating on me" or "I think Bob is thinking about cheating on me". My response will be, "He can only cheat if cheating is possible. Redefine your relationship so he is free to see other people, then he won't need to cheat."
What will you do?