Tales from a serial monogamist

Dear Annie: I can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to my love life. I’m a serial monogamist; I began dating at 18, and I haven’t spent so much as a month single since. But it seems as if just about every guy I’ve dated ends up being a cheater or a deadbeat.

Prior to my current relationship, I was with “Ray,” who was underemployed. I had just received an inheritance (he didn’t know about that when we started dating), so I had no problem being generous — at first. Gradually, I found myself paying for all his expenses. He didn’t have a car, so I let him use mine. He never filled up the tank. I started to find his laziness and lack of ambition unattractive.

That’s when I started spending time with “Derek,” who is a chef at the restaurant where I work, in a different light. Long story short, I broke things off with Ray and started seeing Derek.

I thought things were going great. But a few weeks ago, I went to use my laptop and noticed he was still logged on to Facebook. In general, I try not to snoop, but I couldn’t help it this time. I saw the most recent message, which was from a girl, and they’d been talking regularly for the previous two months — flirting, sending each other selfies. I confronted Derek, and he insisted that they’re just friends.

I don’t really believe him, but I can’t bring myself to leave him. I don’t know whether there’s anyone better out there. What is it with guys today? — Serially Disappointed

Dear Serial: You’re jumping from relationship to relationship as a kid hops between couch cushions in a game of hot lava. What is so perilous about being single that you rush into shoddy relationships with men you don’t much care for? That’s not just a rhetorical question. I mean for you to really look inward and do some reflecting.

Instead of searching for your next boyfriend, you should be finding yourself. Break up with Derek. Don’t date anyone for six months. Until you learn how to be happy with yourself, you won’t be happy with a partner.