We probably all know people who find it extremely hard to bond with someone or stay in a relationship with the same person for a long time. Sometimes people are quick to judge these “serial daters” and explain their behavior by saying they’re irresponsible and frivolous. But, surprisingly, the bonding issue might have far deeper roots, and today we want you to hear from scientists about what they think may be the genetic cause of someone’s messy dating life.
Some men are “serial daters”
Blake Lively, Rihanna, Gisele Bündchen, Bar Refaeli, Nina Agdal, Camila Morrone, Gigi Hadid, Kelly Rohrbach, and this is not the complete list of Leo DiCaprio’s girlfriends over the years. The actor is considered to be a real “serial dater” and an example of someone who can’t stay long in a relationship.
Psychologists define “serial monogamists” as people who jump from one relationship into the next without spending much time being single in between. Serial daters love the feeling of the chase and the excitement of the start of a relationship. Then they jump ship just before anything too serious can develop.
Genetics also has something to say about men like Leo, and their conclusions may change a lot in how we treat “serial daters.”
It is all about genes and how they affect people’s minds.
While psychologists insist that fear of commitment may arise from factors like fear of rejection and the wish to always have the upper hand, genetics dive into a deeper theory. They describe a “bonding gene” and claim that this gene may show whether a man is good “husband material” or not.
Scientists found that differences in a gene that is responsible for the hormone vasopressin were strongly tied to how well a man bonds in a relationship.
Women married to men carrying the “poorer bonding” form of the gene said they had “lower scores on levels of marital quality than women married to men not carrying this variant,” according to scientists.
It may be all about a special thing called gamophobia.
Gamophobia is a strong fear of commitment or fear of marriage. It can keep people from enjoying lasting and meaningful relationships. A painful breakup, divorce, or traumatic experience in childhood or adulthood may make people afraid to commit to someone they love.
Surprisingly, genetics also plays a hand in gamophobia. People who have a fear of commitment may have a genetic predisposition to it, as there’s a strong link between genes and anxiety.
People with gamophobia may even experience physical symptoms like nausea, heart palpitations, dizziness, trembling, or upset stomach. It can happen when they just think about making a commitment to another person.
There’s not just one gene that distracts people from bonding.
Dr. John Lucas, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, agrees that genes drive much of human behavior, including mate bonding.
“It’s unlikely to be a single gene, it’s likely to be multiple genes that are expressed incompletely and interact with the environment,” says Lucas. He added that what psychologists call “temperament” is probably also “hard-wired” by our genetics.
“But temperament, through training and experience, becomes personality,” Lucas admits. “And personality is a complicated situation, of course, and it involves the ability to commit.”
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