Dating Don’ts: How Not To Be (Or Date!) An Overlapper

When I asked an old friend why she hadn’t just broken up with her live-in boyfriend instead of beginning a messy affair with a married neighbor, she snapped, “Don’t be stupid—nobody leaves a relationship without having another one in place.”

Oh, please, I corrected her. Of course they do. People fall out of love or get angry and leave without a safety net all the time. But as I thought back, I realized that for as long as I knew her, she never had. Even when she pretty much hated the one she was with, she stuck it out until she’d lined up his replacement. I could never understand why. My friend is beautiful, successful and very smart; surely being single for a little while wouldn’t end her world.

Women aren’t the only ones guilty of this. I know—and have unfortunately dated——plenty of men who careen from one girlfriend directly into another, often with a big fat overlap; connecting the two relationships like a murky Venn diagram. I understand that being single can be annoying and lonely sometimes, but there are plenty of good reasons not to be—or date!—an Overlapper.

Being a narcissist, nothing less than perfection is acceptable, so they start looking for the next mirror. Got that, fatty? You’d better stay at the top of your game if you want to hang onto an Overlapper.

1. Karma! While overlapping is definitely cheating, the difference is these types go into it with the sole purpose of transitioning into another relationship. But however you word it, Overlappers deceive one or both parties in order to get what they want. When you begin a relationship dishonestly, it usually comes back to bite you in the butt. At the very least, you will never be fully able to trust an Overlapper. Because—as yet another cliché based in truth goes—if he does it with you, he’ll do it to you.

2. Drama! Breakups are never fun, however splits caused by infidelity are hand’s down the most explosive. If you’re like my friend and her man (who, against all odds, actually left his wife), this means that instead of talking about hearts, flowers, and butterflies—like other new couples—you spend your nights plotting how to hide assets and whether or not your overpaid lawyer is enough of a shark. How romantic!

3. The Pressure! Though they may appear independent, people who can’t be alone are that way because they need to see themselves reflected in someone else’s adoring eyes. But when their mirror (aka, partner) develops a flaw (weight gain, job loss, etc.), their image of themselves reflects that.

Being a narcissist, nothing less than perfection is acceptable, so they start looking for the next mirror. Got that, fatty? You’d better stay at the top of your game if you want to hang onto an Overlapper.

4. Not cute! “I met my boyfriend when his puppy peed on my foot” is the perfect example of a meet-cute story. It has all the key elements—chance, humor, and, best of all, a cuddly puppy! “I met my boyfriend because I was his kids’ nanny and then his wife found out, which is how I got this black eye,” is definitely not a tale you’re going to want to share at parties.

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